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:




Friday, August 31, 2012

African Independence Day 2012

Habari Gani!!! Happy African Independence day!!!

"During the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League(UNIA-ACL) Convention of 1920 August 1st to August 31st, held in NY the Declaration of the Rights of the Negroes(Africans) Peoples of the World was adopted. In order to encourage our race all over the world and to stimulate it to a higher and grander destiny, we demand and insist on the following Declaration of Rights:

Of the 54 Rights Listed in the Declaration of Rights number 53 and 54 reads as follows;

53) "We proclaim the 31st day of August of each year to be an International Holiday to be observed by all Negroes (Africans).
54) We want all men/women to know we shall maintain and contend for the freedom and equality of every man, woman and child of our race, with our lives, our fortunes and sacred honor."

If I had two things to amend in the text below, it would be Negro to African and race to culture. I still cringe when I see or hear "Negro" being used to describe people of African descent. However, this text was written in 1920; very different times and out of respect for the movement I have posted the text as it was written. What is important is the work they were engaged in; that is the take away.
As well, I would describe people of African descent as a culture as humans are distinguished by cultures and fall under one human race.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

LIFE...according to the Shawnee

"All life is a ceremony. Every act is a ceremony creating a result in our lives. Every ceremony we do always brings results to our lives. If we do bad medicine to others, we do bad medicine to ourselves. If we keep on doing bad ceremonies, we will eventually destroy ourselves."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Of Lions and Hunters...

Lions and hunters by Chadra Pittman Walke

Chinua Achebe writes that "Until the lions have the historians, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter." For the past few days, since the ceremony at Fells point, I have been thinking a lot about this saying.
There were many months leading up to the Fells Point Ceremony in Baltimore of writing, preparation to create the Ritual for the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port markers Project's (MPCPMP) dawn and dusk ceremonies. Many conference calls, emails, misunderstandings, issues that came up and clarity found. I have learned "grave", pun intended, yet valuable lessons on this journey. Although some of the lessons were surprising and completely unexpected, they were necessary in order that I move forward with a new awareness of my responsibilities to the dead, the living and the unborn.
I am grateful to have been part of the team of writers that created the template for the ceremony. Dr. Joanne M. Braxton, Dr. Rachel Harding and I brought to this project years of knowledge and experience which we possess individually and collectively. In order to create a meaningful sacred ceremony and to fulfill a sacred covenant with the ancestors, we created a template which we gave freely to the MPCPMP as a gift to the ancestors and I pray they, the ancestors, are pleased.

For decades now, many have across the United States and the globe have committed their lives to this sacred work of honoring our ancestors. Tributes and remembrances are nothing new. Many have been working in this tradition of paying honor and tribute to our ancestors who perished in the Middle passage of the Trans-Atlantic Enslavement Trade for a long time. Remembering our ancestors is necessary---it is the work we must do to heal and to move forward taking purposeful steps.

It is also important to acknowledge the work that others have done in this tradition before us. When we honor those who came before us, we honor ourselves as well. We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

International Ritual of Remembrance

So proud of the work we have to done for the Ancestors.

For the past few months, Dr. Joanne M. Braxton, Dr. Rachel E. Harding and I co -created the Ritual Liturgy for the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Marker's project. Over the next 8 years the template we created will be used in 175 port cities where African entered countries during enslavement across the United States, the Caribbean and Europe.

Grateful to be doing the work that I love and I pray the ancestors are pleased! There will be a dawn and a dusk ceremony at 6am and 7:15pm. The ceremony will be at Fells Point on August 23, 2012-- Broadway Pier Baltimore, MD Peace and blessings, Chadra

Friday, August 17, 2012

Many Blessings of the Ancestors

I feel what has happened recently can only be described as Many Blessings of the Ancestors.

Since the Remembrance ceremony at Buckroe beach, I have been invited to partake in four radio interviews, to write and co-author articles, contribute to books, consult and create rituals for an International organization and co-create a ritual with the talented Professor Artisia Green, President of the Black Theater Network for a 1619 conference; The Making of America at Norfolk State University lead by brilliant scholars Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander and Dr. Joanne Braxton, Founder and Director of the Middle Passage project at the College of William and Mary.

Over the past few months, I have been working closely with Dr. Braxton, who has taken me under her wings and provided me opportunities to spread my own wings. To her, I am incredibly grateful. I consider the work involving the ancestors sacred work and I am honored to work on their behalf as I create rituals, write articles and attempt to fill in the missing pages of the historical records of the contributions Africans have made across the globe.

For the past three months, Dr. Joanne Braxton, Dr. Rachel Harding, Professor at the University of Colorado, and I have been working on creating a template for an International ritual of remembrance ceremony to be used throughout the African diaspora by the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project (PMP) over the next 9 years.

The first ceremony for the PMP will be held in Baltimore next Thursday, August 23rd. I will be in Baltimore participating in the ceremonies so if you are in Baltimore come, join us. If you want more information, email me: chadrapw@gmail.com

These are truly exciting times!! I thank all of you for the love and support you have shown me over the years as you have encouraged me to get back to the work that I love... and the work that I came to this Earth to do. Watch out doctoral programs, here I come!!!

Obrigado...asante sana to you all!!! (thank you in Portuguese and Swahili)
peace, love and many blessings,

Works Cited:

Adkins,L.E. (2009). Burial in the African Diaspora-Burial, African Practices in the Americas. A. Pinn(Ed.),African American Religious Cultures.(667). ABC CLIO.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

BBDLW Reunion & Weyanoke Coming Together Day

On Friday, August 10th after over a year of planning by my mother, Cecelia White Pittman and my cousin Mose Ball, we had our first ever Bell, Ball, Dancy, Lewis White Family reunion in Newport News, Virginia.

This BBDLW brought together 5 families who are all connected by a common ancestor Harriet Jones. We have traced our family history back 189 years to Harriett Jones who was born in 1819 and bore 5 sons. Harriet gave all her sons the last names of their fathers which is the reason why we 5 families know we are related today.

My mother after many weeks of preparation ran herself ragged and could not attend the 1st night's activities. She was missed but family stepped and registered family and we got everyone fed and singing karaoke and line dancing until 11:00 p.m.

Saturday morning, I conducted a Genealogy workshop where we talked about the construction of race, tracing lineage, our Native and African roots. We spoke about our common ancestor Harriett and talked about race relations during that time as her 1st child was born and fathered by a European man at the age of 15 years old. Was that relationship consensual? Was Harriet enslaved? Was Harriett raped?

That afternoon, I went to the Weyanoke's Association, Coming Together Day in Charles City County in Virginia. It was an amazing event under the tall pine trees of the Fish Hatchery, we were smudged with sage and then were lead in by Mr. Harrell and Mrs. Harrell, Founders of the Weyanoke Association, as they sang a traditional African Native song and chant.

There were lectures and singing and drumming. I gave a lecture on the importance of Remembering our Ancestors and the June 9th ritual at Buckroe Beach. I spoke of the importance honoring our ancestors and the importance of the youth the work of our ancestors forward.

We had a banquet Saturday night and danced the night away. We saw how incredibly talented our family is with the poems read and performed, the beautiful singing as her background dancers we lovingly named the Pips, we honored our eldest relative who is 99 years young.

We ended the reunion with a church service and a lunch where we signed volunteer registrations for President Obama's 2012 campaign and took pictures to send in to them campaign.

It was a beautiful weekend as we met new family , reconnected with family we know yet haven't seen in a while. In the spirit of sankofa, we must look back before we can move forward. I am grateful for all these new people in my life, my family whom I did not know before this weekend yet I grew to love them by the time the weekend was over. I so look forward to seeing them again soon!

If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to talk with your family members and plan a family reunion. Touch your roots and know the rich history you come from. You will be glad you did!

Monday, August 6, 2012

COMING TOGETHER DAY - Weyanoke Association 14th Annual Celebration

Greetings Remembrance Family,

I hope you this e-mail finds you in the best of health and spirits.

Part of the mission of The Sankofa Project is to support the initiatives of other organizations we believe in, who are doing worthy deeds in the community and shedding light on the history and culture of Africans of the Diaspora. The mission of the Weyanoke Association is "promote research in, and the sharing of, Black or (African and American African) and Red (Native American or Indian) history and culture, and the places where they intersect."

The Weyanoke is hosting their 14th Annual Coming Together Day this upcoming Saturday, August 11th at 1:00 p.m. in Charles City County Virginia ~ Free Admission.

Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery
11110 Kimages Road
Charles City, VA 23030


Join us in supporting the Weyanoke as they mark the 393rd Anniversary of the African settlement near the Weyanoke Indians in what is now Charles City County.

In the spirit of Sankofa,