KEY WEST, FLORIDA, U.S.A.: LOCAL EPICENTER OF
ON AUGUST 25, 2019
WHAT: The 2019 Annual South Florida Community Observance of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition, and DAY OF HEALING / 400-YEARS REMEMBRANCE
- • Honoring the memory of the 295 African refugees buried at the Key West African Cemetery, and of all who perished in the Middle Passage and all who survived to give life to future generations.
- • Honoring the Key West community’s historic humanitarian support of victims of the “slave trade,” and current leadership in gathering and preserving knowledge of this history.
- • Recognizing historic Sites of Memory in Key West and the Florida Keys related to the history and heritage of the international and domestic “slave trade”: Key West African Cemetery: Mel Fisher Maritime Museum: Cornish Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church and the Sandy Cornish Memorial Trail.
- • Joining the national observance of the 400th ANNIVERSARY of the 1619 ARRIVAL OF THE FIRST CAPTIVE AFRICANS IN THE BRITISH COLONIES OF NORTH AMERICA, at Point Comfort, Virginia (modern Fort Monroe), launching the saga of slavery, racism, and resistance in the United States, and the National Bell Ringing at 3:00 p.m., Eastern time, for four minutes, one for each of the four centuries.
- • Joining the global observance of the 25th ANNIVERSARY of the UNESCO SLAVE ROUTE PROJECT, launched in Benin, West Africa, 1994, as an international call to all nations touched by the history of the “slave trade” to preserve all evidence and knowledge of it so that the story will not be lost or forgotten.
- • Observing the anniversary of the start of the victorious Haitian Revolution in 1791, which would bring about the Abolition of the “slave trade,” double the size of the United States, and become a beacon of hope for freedom and independence throughout the hemisphere.
- • OBSERVING THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1919 “RED SUMMER” YEAR OF ANTI-BLACK “RACE RIOTS THAT ERUPTED IN CITIES ACROSS THE NATION.
WHEN: Sunday, August 25, 2:00- 5:00 and 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. EDT
WHERE: Cornish Memorial AME Zion Church, 702 Whitehead Street
and Key West African Cemetery, 1074-1094 Atlantic Blvd,
(at Higgs Memorial Beach, just west of the White Street Pier, and adjacent to the West Martello Tower historic brick fort) Key West, FL 33040
Day of Healing | Nationwide Bell Ringing Ceremony
August 25, 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the first landing of enslaved Africans in English-occupied North America at Point Comfort in Hampton, Virginia, now part of Fort Monroe National Monument, a unit of the National Park System.
The anniversary will be commemorated at Fort Monroe as a day of healing and reconciliation. The park and its partners are inviting all 419 national parks, NPS programs, community partners, and the public to come together in solidarity to ring bells simultaneously across the nation for four minutes--one for each century--to honor the first Africans who landed in 1619 at Point Comfort and 400 years of African American history.
Bells are symbols of freedom.
They are rung for joy, sorrow, alarm, and celebration...universal concepts in each of our lives. This symbolic gesture will enable Americans from all walks of life to participate in this historic moment from wherever they are--to capture the spirit of healing and reconciliation while honoring the significance of 400 years of African American history and culture.
Since its establishment on August 25, 1916, the National Park Service has cared for extraordinary historic and cultural sites that are pivotal parts of the American narrative. Parks and our programs can be places of healing and reconciliation. As we gather at parks on this day across the country to commemorate the landing of enslaved Africans 400 years ago, we honor this powerful moment in American history and the significance of four centuries of African American history and culture.
For parks and our partners, here’s how to engage with this moment:
Find a Bell
Your bell could be big, small, old, or new. It could be lots of little bells, one church bell, or a carillon. Be creative as you create a moment that has personal meaning, power, and resonance for you and your group.
Make your connection
Explore the messaging above about the symbolism of bells. Does your site feature a bell? Share a picture or story about a historic bell, maybe the bell of a ship, on a writing desk, in the collection, in a building, in transportation. What does your bell symbolize? Joy, work, celebration, time, education, technology? Can you connect it to the concept of healing and reconciliation?
Plan Your Event
The nationwide bell ringing will take place at 3:00 p.m. EDT on August 25, 2019, the 400th anniversary. Choose a location that accommodates your audience comfortably and, ideally, is a place that has a connection to your group or community’s unique story. You may want to gather a few minutes early to be sure you’re ready at 3:00 p.m. EDT.
Share Your Event
- Parks should ensure that their event (internal link for employees) is added to the park’s calendar on NPS.gov--be sure to tag it “400th commemoration” to have it appear on the main page for the 400th anniversary.
- Partners can share their events on their websites and work with their partner parks to ensure that their events are included in the park’s calendar on NPS.gov.
- Share the news of your event with media in your area. Feel free to share the messaging on the NPS page for the 400th anniversary to describe the nationwide moment and include your unique connection and messaging.
Use Social Media
- Social media is a key way to share the moment with sites across the country and with people around the world. The event at Fort Monroe National Monument will be livestreamed. Consider livestreaming your program using Facebook Live or other social media platforms. (Parks should only use approved social media platforms.)
- Don’t forget to use the hashtags #RingToRemember and #400Years in your posts.
- Explore your unique connection and messaging in your social. Invite your audience to share their stories, too.
- Create a page on your website that explores the meaning behind your unique story and place and link to it from your social media posts that day.
Commemorative Events at Fort Monroe National Monument
If you’ll be in the Hampton, Virginia, area on August 23-25, learn more about attending the weekend of anniversary events on-site at Fort Monroe.
Last updated: August 6, 2019
Source: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/partnerships/bell-ringing-for-400th.htm, accessed 08/15/19
Tomorrow evening Historic Virginia Key Beach Park will be home to an Emancipation Circle healing event in observance of the 400th anniversary of the start of slavery in what would become the US in Virginia in 1619 when the first captive Africans were brought from Ndongo (in present-day Angola), West Africa and sold to English settlers there.
The drama, and trauma, which began with that arrival still haunts us today like an open, unhealed wound. The Association of Black Psychologists and the South Florida People Of Color organization are among those cooperating to present this event.
ALSO: Please note the Day of Healing on Sunday, August 25, with a call for a Nationwide Bell Ringing ceremony at 3:00 pm, Eastern time, for four minutes (one minute for each of the four centuries), and the upcoming event in Key West on that same date.
Historic Virginia Key Beach at Center of Local 400th Anniversary Remembrances
As special observances are held around the nation, and even internationally, of the 400th anniversary of the fateful arrival of “20 and odd” captive Africans from the kingdom of Ndongo, Angola, aboard the ship White Lion “at Point Comfort (modern-day Hampton) in the fledgling British Virginia colony about the later end of August” in 1619, signaling the start of the “racial” drama that continues to haunt the United States today, no less than two inspired remembrances will mark this “teachable moment” at Miami’s landmark Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, 4020 Virginia Beach Drive (off Rickenbacker Causeway), Miami, Fl 33049, on August 18 and 20.
This milestone opportunity to revisit, reflect upon, and be empowered by the full meaning of the last 20 generations of African presence in English-colonized Native North America has provided the vision for “The Year of Return” observance on Sunday, the 18th from 2:00-4:00 p.m., presented by the South Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP, in solidarity with the national organization’s groundbreaking “Jamestown to James Town” 7-10-day pilgrimage of African Americans to Ghana, West Africa (where a district of Accra, the capital, is named James Town, near Fort James, one of the numerous dungeons along the coast of that country where captured Africans were held until they could be sold to slave ships).
Honoring All of Our Ancestors and Future Generations
The Miami NAACP event will include Native American, traditional African, and contemporary prayers, drumming, speakers, performers, and open dialogue, as well as sharing insights about the pilgrimage.
On Tuesday, August 20, from 6:00 p.m. until sunset, an “Emancipation Circle” event, presented in cooperation with the Association of Black Psychologists and South Florida People of Color, continuing the open dialogue ritual that was so vital to our traditional African villages as a source of collective knowledge, wisdom, and strength in unity, by welcoming and sharing personal reflections.
Both events invite participants to bring offerings of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, grains, honey, and other such appropriate items (which do not harm the environment) to be placed at the conclusion in honor of Ancestral generations and those yet to come.
A New Emphasis on Healing and Empowerment
One of the most notable aspects of practically all of the observances being held is the emphasis on recognizing that we are all carrying the inherited pain of centuries of trauma related to the Transatlantic “slave trade” and to enslavement itself (which is why in the past so many people were reluctant to discuss our history), but that we are now more ready than ever before to acknowledge and confront that pain because of the even more powerful story of individual and collective strength and wisdom that enabled people to live, laugh, love, and create and not be defeated in spite of all the sufferings and horrors, a remarkable legacy like no other that is now coming to light.
Notably, these observances are seen as a launch pad for the future even more than a remembrance of the past: the start of the next 400 years being far better, for all people, than the last 400.
A Special Place
It is not accidental that these events are being held at Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, Miami’s onetime only “Colored Beach” in the segregation era (yet fondly remembered as being far better than most typical Colored parks throughout the rest of the South, thanks to a uniquely thriving and highly respected Black community), which is also the sacred site for one of the nation’s longest running Annual Ancestral Remembrance of the Middle Passage ceremonies each June.
These events add to the Park’s recent new level of prominence as a result of the publicity generated by the Ultra Music Festival and, more importantly, with the signing of the City of Miami’s agreement with the County to allow bond funding to bring the long-awaited project of an indoor/outdoor historic, environmental, and cultural museum to fruition.
It cannot go without notice that these Quadricentennial remembrances include keen awareness of such important dates as the August 17 birthdate of Marcus Garvey, the August 23 start of the Haitian Revolution, the August 28 March on Washington, and the 100th anniversary of the “Red Summer” of anti-Black ‘race riots” around the country in 1919, among others.
Admission to the remembrance events is free, and more information can be had by calling the Park office at 305-9600.
ANNUAL ANCESTRAL REMEMBRANCE HEIGHTENED BY 400-YEAR ANNIVERSARY
Miami, Florida’s annual Sunrise Ancestral Remembrance of the Middle Passage ceremony on Sunday, June 9, from 5:30 -8:00 a.m. at Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, 4020 Virginia Beach Drive (off Rickenbacker Causeway, just before the Bear Cut Bridge to Key Biscayne).
(Please note that this date reflects a change made last year from earlier years, to the second weekend in June, in solidarity with numerous other cities nationally and globally, and the new date also avoids the past conflict with early morning lane closures on Rickenbacker Causeway for a bicycle event.)
The 2019 ceremony takes on much added significance from this being the landmark 400th anniversary year of the fateful 1619 arrival of the first “20 and odd” captive Africans in British-occupied Native North America, in the fledgling colony of Virginia: an occasion for reflection, study, and assessment of what 20 generations of the African presence since that time in what would become the United States has meant to the world.
Now in its 28th year, the Miami event honors the memory of all of those millions who endured the unspeakable horrors of the Middle Passage, as the so-called “slave trade” was known, including those who died even before they could be sold to the ships, between the point of their capture and their imprisonment in coastal dungeons and warehouses; the untold numbers who perished at sea; and those who survived to give life to future generations.
Though nameless and faceless to human memory, the unquiet spirits of those countless lives-that-mattered are not forgotten, nor are those of the Native Ancestors of this land, whose timeless wise stewardship of it has enabled it to nurture us today, and whose genocidal “removal” by colonial invaders was inseparable from the saga of slavery.
Open to All
Park gates will open at 5:30 a.m. and the ceremony will begin, as always, with a Native American Opening Blessing, followed by a traditional African pouring of libation, prayers from diverse cultures, performances, special remembrances, and open-mic “Village Talk” for the sharing of positive thoughts, insights and information, before concluding with the placement of offerings to be carried out to sea, after which there is informal family gathering, fellowship, and sharing of refreshments.
Participants are invited (but not required) to bring offerings of fruits, flowers, grains, nuts, eggs, yams, and other appropriate food and cultural items that do not harm the natural environment.
This year’s powerful focus on the 400th anniversary calls for a deeper understanding of who those first Africans were, where they came from, their cultural perspectives, and what transpired during their lifetimes-that-mattered, but the importance of their story is made much more clear by the history which occurred before and since their arrival.
We recall, for example that Africans, free and enslaved, had begun arriving in Florida and other Spanish settlements more than a century earlier, and that Africans were in the Americas for centuries before European colonization and slavery, as many Indigenous accounts confirm.
It is revealing that only decades 1619 the laws of the Virginia colony began to equate slavery with African identity, giving rise to racism and all of its toxic myths and propaganda.
Among the most notable historic developments resulting from that aftermath is also brought into focus by this being the 100th anniversary of the “Red Summer” peak year of 1919, when a rash of “race riots” – wanton attacks on Black people by racist mobs, including beatings, murders, and destruction of property, erupted in cities around the nation (and would continue into the early 1920s on Ocoee and Rosewood, Florida; Tulsa, Oklahoma, and other locations).
Truly, “Those who ignore the past are condemned to relive it,” and this occasion is but one of many opportunities yet to be created during the year to learn the lessons that history has to offer, including greater awareness of inseparable Native American heritage, and the connection of all of this emerging knowledge to the upcoming “Let’s Talk: an International Day of Drumming and Healing” event on Wednesday, June 19, to acknowledge and address the centuries of trauma which we all carry within us: and to the reborn Poor People’s Campaign for economic justice and equality, all of which give real substance to this 400th year
For further information on the Ancestral Remembrance, please call 786-260-1246 or 305-904-7620.