Welcome to The Sankofa Projects blogspot!!!

"In the spirit of SANKOFA...Reach Back and Fetch your history & your culture so that you will take purposeful steps into the future."

~ Chadra Pittman, Founder & Executive Director

For more info or to schedule a program contact us:




Saturday, February 22, 2020

African American History is American History and Black History Month is EVERY month!!!

I was invited by the most wonderful human being, former teacher of my children,who became my friend Mrs. Aimee Cawley Ryder to come to Aberdeen Elementary School in Hampton to give a presentation to her class. I used to volunteer in her classroom at Luther W. Machen Elementary School and she was an incredible teacher. We’ve kept in touch over the years and she asked if I would come to her class and speak with her students. Of course I said yes... I was honored to do so. I talked with them about the field of Anthropology and my work at the African Burial Ground National Monument, brought African artifacts for them to hold from Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal and instruments for them to play and we discussed world geography locating African countries on the map while listening to South African Queen Mother Miriam Makeba. I’ve been teaching for almost 35 years now from 3rd grade to college classes and senior groups from church groups to those who are incarcerated. Every time I teach, I am reminded of the joy I feel giving back...and with the youth, telling them how special they each are and reminding them of the great culture and civilization they come from. Thank you my dear friend for inviting me to spend time with your class and thank you for the handmade gift and card from the students which I will treasure. #BlackHistoryMonthisEveryMonth #Humanity #AfricanAmericanHistoryIsAmericanHistory This is a HUGE part of my life’s work and the work of The Sankofa Projects !!!! 4 EVER!!!!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Breaking Ground to Unearth our Past From the NY African Burial Ground to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens: Groundbreaker's 2019 Ceremony

On Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 11:00am, the Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG) honored the 200 African American women and 20 African American men who literally broke ground, cut down trees, cleared what was a swamp land and warded off snakes to create the beautiful Norfolk Botanical Gardens. They worked year round, through the harsh winters and unbearably hot summers so they could plant the beautiful azaleas which we enjoy today. After the Garden was complete, these 220 African Americans were not allowed to visit the garden and enjoy the beauty they created because of the racist laws of Jim Crow segregation.
11 years ago, the NBG decided that they would honor these people, referred to as Ground breakers, who are now all Ancestors. Annually, they have a ceremony and bring the families of those Groundbreakers together to honor what these 220 people gave to the city of Norfolk. This has been an untold story of the history of Norfolk and of the Garden which the NBG does not want to be buried any longer.
The story of the Gardner's moved me as many of you know my Anthropologicial work began with a literal groundbreaking that unearthed 419 Africans excavated from a 17th century African Burial Ground in NY. The bones of these enslaved Africans remained hidden under the streets of lower Manthattan for centuries. My job as a Public Educator and Media Coordinator was to educate the public about this untold history of these Africans in colonial New York. My sacred and scholarly work for the past nearly 30 has been centered around excavating history, honoring Ancestors, giving voice to the untold stories like the Africans in Colonial NY and through my work with Remembrance, honoring the millions of Africans who perished during the Middle Passage and ensuring that the historical record reflects these narratives and their contributions. Anually, we remember these Africans and restore their humanity through Remembrance. We walk around our "Tree of Remembrance" as a part of the ceremony because we have not forgotten our roots, our history, culture nor these beloved Ancestors. Members of Sankofa and the community embraced Remembrance in 2012 and give their time and talents to honor our Ancestors...annually we gather at Buckroe Beach to remember them. So grateful for those whom this story has touched and who support these works to honor these Ancestors. (please join us for our 8th Annual Remembrance Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 11am...for more information visit www.thesankofaprojects.blogspot.com For 8 years now, I have lectured across the United States on this work of Remembrance and I create Remembrance ceremonies which honor people, the famous and the forgotten, historic & sacred places which hold memory of what happened there and critical time periods in history which continue to shape and influence our lives today. I am beyond honored to share that I have been chosen by the Norfolk Botanical Gardens as a 2019 Recipient of the Groundbreakers Award for my work with The Sankofa Projects, Remembrance, and 4 E.V.E.R.
This is a full circle moment for me to be honored in honor of these 200 women and 20 African American men, who are now Ancestors who laid the foundation for this majestic garden as giving voice to untold history and honoring the our beloved Ancestors is my sacred work.
With NBG CEO Michael Desplaines
Dear family friend, Dr. Warren Buck
Sorors of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Dearest of friends Edris, Imani and her spouse Grateful to the Norfolk Botanical Garden for this honor. Grateful to my dear friends and family for their support who traveled near and far and sent love and well wishes across the miles. Grateful I am to the Ancestors and for setting me on this path to do this sacred work.


Join us...Saturday JUNE 8th at 11am Buckroe Beach

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Activism and Social Justice Movements Across the Globe- Lecture by Chadra Pittman at Christopher Newport University

From my years at the African Burial Ground National Monument to my organizations, The Sankofa Projects and 4 E.V.E.R., my work has been rooted in "giving voice" to untold stories, excavating history, acknowledging the pioneers and freedom fighters who paved the way, advocating for social injustices and honoring our Ancestors through Sankofa's Annual ceremony of Remembrance at Buckroe Beach. www.thesankofaprojects.blogspot.com
Education, Activism, Community Engagement and Social Justice are the cornerstsones of my orgznizations and life's work. Through our programs, we challenge hegemony and strive to eradicate oppression in all it's forms. I was invited to give a lecture at Christopher Newport University for a Feminist class being taught by Dr. Danielle Stern; I was thrilled to do so as I am always excited to engage with students.
In the spirit of Sankofa, which teaches us to reach back and fetch it, I took the class on a journey through time. We visited critical moments in history which have shaped the lives and laws of this land. We explored ageism, sexism, homophobia, racism, heterosexism, classism, misogyny, patriarchy, ableism and I challenged the relevance and lack thereof of these "cultural norms." I spoke of the necessity of intersectionality and the importance of acknowleding our shared humanity. We explored the ways women and some men fight for social justice. In this current political climate which seems to embrace, coddle and excuse rampant xenophobia, we moved beyond the borders of the United States and investigated how and if culture shapes the lives and work of international activists. We explored the various forms of oppression and how "othering", patriarchy and privilege contribute to a feminism which is racist and exclusionary. We uncovered common threads in our humanity that bind us to one another in our collective pursuit of justice while acknowledging the battles won and risks associated with being an activist. It is imperative that I introduce these students to the names and faces of scholars, activists and game changers who often are invisible in mainstream educational systems like Audre Lorde and others who paved the way.
It was an absolute joy to meet this dynamic group of budding scholars who were engaged, outspoken and excited about their roles in this world and our collective future. I am so grateful that in a political climate and world which seems crazed, unjust and xenophobic that these students have professors like Dr. Stern who are courageous enough to tackle difficult conversations and are willing to work towards understanding. When the lecture ended, I spoke with many students about their class projects and they shared their dreams for their futures. I left feeling inspired by these students and parted from them sharing one of my favorite quotes by Sir James Baldwin, "The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in." I want the youth to always know they can make a difference in this world. Thank you again my friend... for inviting me to your class and for providing this space for me to share this work that I am engaged in with this next generation. I am optimistic that they will take this world by storm, do great things and leave the world better than they inherited it! Hopeful...and grateful...sincere thanks Danielle!!! ☮πŸ•‰πŸ‘ŠπŸΎπŸ‘ŠπŸΎ♀️πŸŒˆπŸ–€πŸŒ
#Educator #Anthropologist #SocialJusticeWarriorsUnite #JamesBaldwin #AudreLorde #IntersectionalFeminism #TheSankofaProjects #4EVER #Humanity

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Beloved, your LIFE matters!!

Today, someone woke up ready to give up on life. They woke feeling depressed, overwhelmed and they feel like they cant take another step forward. They went to bed crying... contemplating taking their life. They are caught up in despair and are feeling their life isnt worth living. Beloveds...Suicide is real.
If you woke up like this, please tell someone...reach out, ask for help. Please call the hotline...1-800-273-8255
Know that although you may not feel it...You are loved and needed on this Earth. Please talk to someone. You can rewrite a new story or chapter in your life.
If you've lost someone, I pray that you are comforted by the memories and that they are welcomed into loving arms of the Ancestors. Ashe. Aho. Amen.
If you know someone who has hinted about suicide and you are concerned for them, please reach out to them and remind them they are not alone. Beloveds...You are LOVED...you are not alone! Reach out for help. πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€ Chadra 4 E.V.E.R. The Sankofa Projects #RemembranceOfThoseWeLost #YourLifeMatters #SuicidePrevention Remember this...
In memory of Stephen Carr Kratovil, Jr. ****All images are from Pinterest.*****

Friday, November 2, 2018

Humanity Extended in the Height of Hate Filled Times by Chadra Pittman

I watched earlier this week, a large crowd of "white" people in Pittsburgh kneel and turn their back on 45 bc he hasn't denounced white nationalism = Using your privilege to denounce hatred. Thank you. I heard on NPR that a "black" Baptist minister was going to have Shabat tonight in honor of the 11 Jewish people murdered in Pittsburgh = Kindness extended. Thank you. The Muslim community raised $ for those affected in the Jewish massacre = Compassion extended. Thank you. The Baptist minister said when that when Michael Brown was killed, that the Rabbi and members of the Synogague she is visiting this evening came to her church to offer condolences and to pray with the family of Brown = one hand Washes the other. Thank you. In the midst of the inconceivable insanity in the world, moments like these, if just for a moment restore my hope in humanity. πŸ–€ STILL praying for the families in Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Charleston, Parkland, Sandy hook, Columbine, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, Philandro Castille...