8th Year Sankofa Honoring the African Ancestors of the
‘Middle Passage’ at Buckroe Beach June 8
Pre-event Lecture ‘…Dying, but fighting back: The Myth of African Docility’
At Hampton History Museum June 3
Hampton, VA - For the 8th year in a row, The Sankofa Projects will host its annual International Day of Remembrance ceremony on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. on Buckroe Beach in Hampton, VA. The ceremony will be to the left of the Main stage at North 1st and Pilot Avenue, at the far end of the beach. As a lead-in to the Remembrance Day event, The Sankofa Projects will present a special lecture at the Hampton History Museum on Monday, June 3 at 7:00 p.m.
“Over the nearly four centuries of the (Transatlantic) slave trade, millions of African men, women and children were savagely torn from their homeland, herded onto ships, and dispersed all over the so called ‘New World’, according to noted historian Dr. John Henrik Clarke. “Millions would walk on board the enslavement ships never to disembark those ships alive. Many jumped overboard resisting enslavement while others were cast overboard and left to drown in the Atlantic. These are the Africans whom the world FORGOT and whom we honor annually at Sankofa’s Remembrance!” says Chadra Pittman, Founder & Executive Director of The Sankofa Projects.
Annually since 2012, through her organization and programs, Pittman has been telling their story; giving voice to this injustice and educating the public about the perilous journey of the Middle Passage which consumed the lives of so many during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Following a tradition of Tributes to the Ancestors spearheaded by author and activist Toni Cade Bambara, Remembrance at Buckroe Beach was born.
“The Middle Passage is the untold chapter in the annals of slavery. Remembrance is a spiritual ceremony and a communal gathering which remembers the Africans the world forgot, is a celebration of their lives and is the funeral these Africans never received.” says Pittman. “Hosting Remembrance in Hampton is historically significant to the narrative of enslavement,” she adds. “We acknowledge the beginning of slavery in the United States at Point Comfort in 1619 and the catalyst for what would become the end of slavery with the Contraband Decision in 1861 at Fort Monroe, now, through Remembrance, we acknowledge the horror of what happened in the Middle (Passage).”
The program of Remembrance will include a ceremonial walk around the Tree of Remembrance, educational presentations, traditional African dancing and drumming, community presentations, tributes dedicated to Native Americans/First Nations people, Bay Shore Beach and the innocent slain and Freedom Fighters who lost their lives in the global pursuit of justice. The Honorable Dr. Mary T. Christian will give the keynote. Throughout the program, there will be theatrical presentations, poetry, meditation, and traditional African and African American spirituals. The program features a Kemetic Opening, a Drum Call to the Ancestors, musical and dance performances and a Communal Offering dedicated to the Ancestors.
At 12:00 noon an International Libation for Remembrance will be orchestrated by Baba Orimalade Ogunjimi of Ile Nago. Occurring simultaneously across the United States and internationally, Communal Libations will take place in the cities where Remembrance and Tributes to the Ancestors are held.
Event sponsors include the Hampton History Museum and the City of Hampton Parks, Recreation and Leisure Services. This event is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to respect the sanctity of the sacred ceremony. Traditional African attire and/or white clothing is encouraged. Organizers suggest that attendees bring beach chairs and umbrellas to provide. Those wishing to participate in the Communal Offering to the Ancestors should bring fresh flowers.