Funded by the Community to the tune of $1.2M in Portsmouth New Hampshire – 200 slave grave remains and ancestral treasures now to live in their permanent Portsmouth home.
Portsmouth’s African Burying Ground Committee Announces Events Marking Completion of Memorial Park Project Events Including Reburial Ceremony, May 20th – May 23rd
PORTSMOUTH, NH – The City of Portsmouth and its Mayoral-appointed African Burying Ground Committee have announced a multi-day commemoration to coincide with the completion of the African Burying Ground Memorial Park – We Stand in Honor of Those Forgotten.
A reburial ceremony for the remains that were exhumed as part of site excavations on October 7, 2003 will be held in the morning of Saturday, May 23, 2015 at Chestnut Street.
A series of events leading up to the reburial will include an onsite visit by Middle School students with project artist and sculpture Jerome Meadows, an unveiling of the artworks, an ancestral vigil and, after the reburial ceremony, a large public celebration at Portsmouth Middle School.
“We are returning the Chestnut Street site to sacred ground; the Portsmouth community has found a meaningful and powerful way of honoring those buried beneath the street,” said Vernis Jackson, Chair of the African Burying Ground Committee. “These events are about remembering the dead and returning the remains to the earth, as well as acknowledging the site’s history and celebrating the community-wide effort that has made this project possible.”
The City, the African Burying Ground Committee and a group of dedicated volunteers have raised over $1.1 million towards the project. A total of $60,000 remains to be raised, according to Jackson. “We still need the community’s help to put our fundraising over the top,” Jackson said. “Now is the time for everyone who wishes to be a part of this important Portsmouth project to contribute.” (Donations may be made on the secure website http://www.africanburyinggroundnh.org or by check c/o African Burying Ground, 1 Junkins Avenue, Portsmouth NH 03801.)
Final Site Work
In the coming weeks, project contractors will return to the site to finish remaining work, which includes installations of the decorative fence at the Court Street end and decorative pavement for the travel lane, as well as remaining work on sidewalks, blue stone, and granite seat walls. Finally, in May, the original works of outdoor public art will be installed. “We have reached out to the abutters to make them aware of the remaining work and schedule, they have been incredibly supportive of this project for which we are grateful,” Chair Jackson said.
Reburial Service and Public Celebration
- Wednesday, May 20th – 9:00 a.m. On-site event with artist and sculptor Jerome Meadows, Portsmouth Middle School students and the community for artist discussion and to view student-designed tiles in for the Park’s decorative railing.
- Friday, May 22nd – African Burying Ground Ancestral Vigil at New Hope Baptist Church. Services at 7 p.m., midnight and 6 a.m. with opportunities throughout the night for members of the community to participate.
- Saturday, May 23rd –
- 8:30 a.m. – Reburial Ceremony at African Burying Ground
- 10:30 a.m. – Public Celebration at Portsmouth Middle School Auditorium
- 7:00 p.m. – Blind Boys of Alabama at The Music Hall – A concert in recognition and celebration of the African Burying Ground Memorial
For full schedule and details please visit http://www.AfricanBuryingGroundNH.org.
On an October morning in 2003, a series of coffins were revealed during infrastructure upgrades in the heart of the Portsmouth’s downtown. Through archaeology and DNA analysis the City confirmed the site was a segregated burying place for Africans and their descendants (likely both enslaved and free) where as many as 200 individuals may be buried below. Their names are unknown and their resting place – in use from the early 1700s through to the 19th century – was paved over, built over and mostly forgotten as Portsmouth expanded from the waterfront. Only one other site in Northern New England -the African Burying Ground National Park- is of comparable age and history.
Since 2004, the Mayoral-appointed African Burying Ground Committee has worked with the Mayor and City Council, the community in public forums, and the Chestnut Street abutters to create a plan to return the site to sacred ground. In order to acknowledge this history and make it accessible, understood and experienced by residents and visitors, the Portsmouth community has chosen to close this public street and transform the downtown City block into a public place of reverence, reflection and learning. The original works of outdoor public art created for this Park will connect this site to the African continent and people, call to mind the skilled labor of enslaved and free Africans that built Portsmouth and its maritime economy, and honor the people buried beneath the street.
To date, the African Burying Ground Committee and a group of dedicated volunteers has raised over $1.1 million towards the $1.2 million goal. This has included over 600 donations ranging from $5 to $100,000; the City of Portsmouth has contributed $250,000 towards the project construction. Honorary chairs of the fund-raising campaign are Dr. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
To learn more about the African Burying Ground, visit www.africanburyinggroundnh.org.
Principal photography is taking place now in Providence Rhode Island. But, the problem is Rhode Island is an 88% white state and not enough people of color are auditioning for the roles.
This is paid work.
Seeking Asians, Blacks, Latinos and Hispanice. Male or Female.
18+ and 18+ looks like teen.
Acting experience is nice to have but if you don’t have any, that’s okay. Bring a friend.
To be selected for a PAID ROLE – send photos and your phone number and general availability to CONTACT@BLACKBOSTON.COM
NEED you to wear your most expensive suits, your finest jewelry, dress to impress – this is a cocktail party scene. Send that look, those photos. You can submit different options.
You’ll be paid for your efforts.
Easter is a time of renewal believers and non-believers fully share, even while not sharing most (though not all) Christians’ belief in the resurrection of Jesus. There is no contradiction, especially in America. It is a unifying season.
Thirteen words from a familiar hymn sung at the memorial service for a friend last month were a reminder of the power of Christian belief. This takes some explaining. The hymn was Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which is one of at least two hymns expunged from some Christian denominations’ hymnals. The other was “Onward Christian Soldiers,” which 40 years ago was deemed to be too militaristic. The distinction between marching to war and “marchingas to war,” in the hymn’s lyric, was rejected. (Today, students taught English at many of our leading universities would say, “marching like to war.”)
So the only way for a wonderful man to have “Battle Hymn of the Republic sung at his own memorial service was to have the words and music printed in the program. The 13 striking words are:
He died to make us holy; let us die to make men free.
A friend’s lifelong commitment to Julia Ward Howe’s rollicking hymn of commitment to the Christian life and to the abolition of slavery during the Civil War. For us, inspiration in a time that sometimes seems to have reduced the English language to a single letter. “I.” The first person pronoun at the center of everything.
Believers and non-believers can envy the well-led Christian life.
From services at sunrise to nature-walks in the middle of this very northern-New-England-like mud season, Easter Sunday will be celebrated in many ways. It is not for us to instruct. We will only note an opportunity that should appeal equally to either the secular or the devout….
On Sunday, the Corner Stone Lodge at 565 Washington Street will hold its monthly “all-you-can-eat” breakfast from 8 to 11:30. The cost is $5 for children, $7 for seniors, $8 for adults. At 10:30 there will be an Easter egg hunt for children 12 and under.
The proceeds of the Lodge’s many charitable activities go to the Interfaith Council’s Food Pantry; to $500 scholarships for Duxbury High School seniors; and to other nearby causes. Its events on Sunday aren’t the only way to spend Easter morning. If one does attend one may be confident the “first person pronoun” will be nowhere in sight.
–D.A. Mittell, Jr.
Here are revealing interviews with the USATF Indoor Championship athletes competing at Reggie Lewis Center this week.
Olympic Pride, American Prejudice unites relatives of 1936 African American Olympic heroes at Chicago shoot
The Olympic Pride, American Prejudice Chicago shoot captured more than just never-before-heard interviews with the families of three of the African American Olympians who lived in Chicago. The shoot proved to be the first-ever meeting of the families of 1936 Gold and Silver medalist Ralph Metcalfe, 1936 Olympian and first black woman to compete for the USA, Tydie Pickett, and 1936 Olympian John Brooks. The three families by chance were on the set at the same time. Ralph Metcalfe, Jr. was interviewed first and decided to stay to meet Bernita Echols and Faye Walker. The senior Metcalfe had been friends with Tydie Pickett, mother of Bernita and Faye and spoke of her to Metcalfe, Jr.
Dr. Daria Brooks Terrell, a Chicago Orthopedic Surgeon, and daughter of John Brooks, arrived with her mother Wannetta Brooks before Ralph, Faye and Bernita departed. The moment was magical, profound and heartfelt and certainly one that harkened back to the moment when their relatives joined each other on the deck of the U.S.S. Manhattan, unknowingly about to change history.
The daughters of Tydie Pickett had never met Daria, but they knew John Brooks was instrumental in Tydie Pickett’s career and decision to go the Olympic Trials in 1936. After hugs, tears and lots of reminiscing, they exchanged numbers and planned to keep in touch. Of course, they all look forward to seeing each other at the premiere of Olympic Pride, American Prejudice!
Help us champion the stories of 18 families who contributed significantly to Black, American and Human history by sharing this campaign with your network.
There are 72 hours left in Black History Month.
Let’s make documentary history!
AboutBlackBoston.com seeks to refer you to a travel agency in needs of these services.
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