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19th Annual Remembrance Program Set for June 11 Honoring Those Who Perished In The Middle Passage
6/8/2016 4:48:49 PM


Coach Bob by Jae Gregory
On Saturday, June 11, 2016, The Charleston Remembrance Committee will conduct its 19th Annual Charleston REMEMBRANCE program, paying homage and tribute to the millions of Africans who perished during the “Middle Passage”. The International Coalition to Commemorate African Ancestors of the Middle Passage (ICCAAMP) has proclaimed every second weekend in June as the International Commemoration Weekend to Remember the African Ancestors of the Middle Passage.

The Middle Passage refers to the part of the African Holocaust during which captive Africans were crammed into the cargo holds of ships like livestock, bound for chattel slavery in the Americas. These living, breathing men, women and children who had families, hopes, dreams and aspirations were stripped of any sense of humanity.

Historians estimate that 10-20 million Africans died from disease, starvation, suicide and murder during this torturous voyage. Author and historian Dr. John Henrik Clarke proclaimed, “If the Atlantic were to dry up, it would reveal a scattered pathway of human bones- African bones marking the various routes of the Middle Passage.”

The public is invited to Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island to unite for the annual memorial and healing rite in Charleston, SC. Similar programs will take place simultaneously at numerous ports around the world, including New York, California, Washington, Virginia, Panama, The Virgin Islands, Brazil and Ghana.

Participants will gather in the auditorium at Fort Moultrie at 9:00 AM for the educational presentation featuring Ann L. Chinn, Founder and Executive Director of the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project (MCCPMP). This initiative was designed to address the transatlantic human trade, slavery, and remembrance. The presentation will be followed by a drum-led procession to the beach, African dancing, and prayers.

Participants will then proceed to the (Toni Morrison) “Bench by the Road” at 11:15 AM to prepare for the libation ceremony. The public is invited to attend and participate through short prayers, poetry, dance, or other forms of expression.

Libation will be poured at 12:00 noon SHARP, coinciding with those being poured in other locations worldwide. The ceremony will conclude with a drum circle. Attendees are encouraged to wear white or African attire and to bring flowers and fruit as an offering.

The annual commemoration provides an opportunity for members of the African-descended community to remember the millions of Africans -- men, women, and children, who were sold, kidnapped, shipped and who died along the route from Africa to the Americas. By remembering, we honor and restore the humanity of the nameless faceless Ancestors, and disrupt the collective amnesia. We also begin the process of healing from the fear, pain, guilt and shame of the experience that continues to traumatize the African descended community today, and we start the restoration of cultural identity, dignity and pride.

The late Bob Small was the "Griot" for this event for the past 17 years. He is deeply missed and those in attendance will be calling his name on Saturday June 11 at 12 noon in his honor.

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