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, September 28, 2012

The Hope House Foundation and "Paint it Forward"Fundraiser

Join us on Oct. 20th and Oct. 21st for the the Hope House Fall Stockley Gardens Arts Festival. After a meeting with the Hope House earlier this summer and sharing Sara Credito's art with them - which they loved; they commissioned Sara cre ate a painting for their Stockley Fall Poster! Here is her creation for the Hope House Foundation; which she appropriately named, "Rooted in Hope". We are excited to be working with the Hope House at this festival and for the "Paint it Forward" fundraiser. "Paint it Forward will be the first time art is made on-site at the Stockley festival in over twenty years" Join us under ther tent to meet and greet the artist, Sara C Credito, get a signed poster, and come to the fundraiser Saturday evening. Enjoy a day out in a beautiful fall setting as we enjoy the arts and raise money for adults with disabilities. Doing good feels GREAT!!!!!!! Stay TUNED!!! Thank you Cindy Cutler for introducing me to Elena Montello...at the HRBOR event this summer!! You both are amazing women-happy to know you both!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

living your passions...

I am still coming down off the intellectual high that I received at the 2 day "1619 conference: The Making of America" at Norfolk State Univeristy. I met some amazing scholars, Friday closed with an amazing performance by the Legacy of Weyanoke and we closed the conference on Saturday with a Remembrance ceremony. Ahhh...to do your passion is to truly live!

Friday, September 21, 2012

"1619 Conference: The Making of America" begins TODAY!!!!

The "1619 Conference: The Making of America" begins TODAY!!!! Our special 1619 Remembrance ceremony will be tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 22nd at 4:30 pm. If you can join us! 1619 Ritual created by Dr. Joanne Braxton and Prof Artisia Green of the Middle Passage Project at the College of William and Mary and Chadra Pittman Walke of The Sankofa Projects.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

1619 Conference: The Making of America

Join us for the 1619 Conference: When did we become Americans?" at Norfolk State University Friday, Sept 21st and Saturday, Sept 22nd spearheaded by Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander. The 1619 conference will have scholarly presentations, workshops, special guests like Dr. Michael L. Blakey, who was the Scientific Director of the African Burial Ground Project and is now the Director of the Institute for Historical Biology at the College of William and Mary. Dr. Joanne M. Braxton and Prof Artisia Green of the Middle Passage Project at the College of William and Mary(W&M) and Chadra Pittman Walke of The Sankofa Projects have created a 1619 Ritual of Remembrance ceremony for the conference. The ceremony will occur on Saturday, September 22nd at 4:30 p.m. Join us to honor our ancestors. We are honored to have Chief Lynette Allston who is the Tribal Chief of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia participating in oursacred ceremony, Baba Ogunjimi will bless the event and the Weyanoke Legacy singers will perform who represent the African Native Connection. Calvin Pearson of Project 1619 and Dr. Bill Wiggins of the Contraband Historical Society will be presenting at the conference as well. You dont want to miss this event!! To register for the conference: www.nsu.edu/1619

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Connections Across the Diaspora

"If you disassociate yourself with your Ancestral heritage, be that Japanese, Chinese, Indian, African, you are lost to your ancestral, your cultural heritage because you 're asleep. If you are alseep spiritually you can be oppressed and manipulated." by Ade Adelaja. When I heard these words by Ade Adelaja spoken in the beginning of the trailer for,"Ancestral Voices: Esoteric African Knowledge I knew I had to see the film. I immediately contacted the directors and was told that I could purchase the film through amazon.com which I did. Once I received the film, I sat glued to the screen taking it all in. I had never seen a film addressing traditional African religions, asking the questions and posing ideas to contemplate in this way about why we embrace or abstain from Traditional religions. I knew I had to find a way to share it with others. Over the past few months, I have kept in contact with the director of the film. I was hoping to catch the directors at one of their screenings as they were touring the United States. Unfortunately there were no screenings scheduled for Hampton or the surrounding cities. I decided that this film had to be shared and discussed and The Sankofa Projects could be the vehicle to get it to the masses. I emailed scholars, professors and community people and shared the trailer and the buzz of interest began. I set a date to show the film at the local library and planned a discussion afterwards with scholars and members of the Traditional Religions. I emailed the director to share that The Sankofa Projects would be screening the film at the Hampton Public Library, as part of our mission is to serve as a liaison between the grass roots and academic community.

What wonderful news to see that our screening is listed on their Facebook page above and on the website for their production company below in this link. The Sankofa Projects is truly making international connections. This is what the Diaspora is all about!!! The Africana House at the College of William and Mary has decided to screen this film as well. This is fantastic news!! />

If you can, please join us on October 14th at 1:15 p.m. at the Hampton Public Library. This film is a must see and the worthy of being discussed.

"Ancestral Voices..."is truly food for spirit and the soul!!! Join us for the discussion afterwards with scholars, leaders and members of Traditional African Religions from our community. This event is FREE and open to the public. Please RSVP to chadrapw@gmail.com as space is limited. Thank you! Asante sana! Obrigado! Date: Sunday, October 14th Time: 1:15 p.m. Where: Hampton Public Library 4207 Victoria Blvd Hampton, VA Hope to see you there!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Ancestral Voices" Screening -October 14th 1pm Hampton Public Library - 4207 Victoria Blvd

Please join us for a viewing of this amazing film Ancestral Voices as it explores African traditional religions. Directed by Verona Spence and Dalian Adofo- A Longbelly Film.

EVENT IS FREE... just bring an open mind- discussion afterwards

Hampton Public Library
207 Victoria Boulevard, Hampton, Virginia 23669

Sunday, October 14, 2012. 1:00pm until 4:00pm.

The Sankofa Projects creates and promotes educational and cultural events focused on the African Diaspora. As well, we create Rituals of Remembrance Ceremonies to honor the ancestors and aspire to fill in the missing pages of the historical record so that it accurately reflects the contributions that the African influence has had on the globe. The Sankofa Projects serves as a liasion between the grass roots and academia.

FOR MORE INFORMATION--- CONTACT: chadrapw@gmail.com or 757-816-1579

Peace and blessings!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9-11, Remembering our Ancestors

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack where thousands of people lost their lives, families changed forever and the world would mourn this tragedy for years to come.

For me, September 11th and the World Trade Center holds a strange yet special memory as this was the place I worked for almost 4 years doing a job I loved, lecturing and giving tours of the historic African Burial Ground (ABG)Project in New York City. It was while I was working at the World Trade that I had a prophetic dream which I believe saved my life years later. On September 11, 2001, our office ,which was housed at 6 World Trade Center, crumbled along with the towers on that horrific day.

My joyful memories...I remember how elated I was when I interviewed and was offered the job as Public Educator at the Office of Public Education and Interpretation of the African Burial Ground Project. I would lecture to children as young as third grade and to the elderly, in schools, libraries, churches and at universities. I would also become the Public Relations Media Coordinator to the project sending out press releases, creating Press Kits and packages and sending images like the one above to magazines to be featured in publications.

I felt a sense of accomplishment working at the ABG because I followed my passion and found a job in my field, despite the fact that everyone said I would never be able to find a job in Anthropology. I was so proud to be working on such a historic project as this National Monument and National Historic Landmark site. I was honored to tell the stories of these early Africans who lived and were enslaved in New York in the 1700's and took great pleasure in dispelling the myths that said that enslavement did not occur in the North. I loved sharing the archaeological findings from the grave sites; the artifacts which proved that Africans brought their culture with them as was seen in the waits beads, shrouding of the dead and filed teeth found in the grave site and on the skeletal remains. These 419 burials were the proof, were the physical evidence that NY was heavily involved in this immoral trade of human bodies as New York had the second largest population of enslaved Africans next to Charleston, South Carolina. I was proud to be working alongside and learning from these amazing and brilliant scholars like Dr. Michael L. Blakey, Dr. Warren Perry, Dr.Edna Medford, Dr. Cheryl La Roche, Jean Howsen, Dr. Sherrill Wilson to name a few. I was privileged to meet and work with community people; grassroots leaders who had a deep respect and reverence for these ancestors and adopted them as family. I was honored to sit at the feet of the elders and listen to their stories. It was here, at the ABG, where I would make lasting lifelong friendships for which I am eternally grateful. On one day, the place that held so many beautiful memories for me became, for so many, a place of horror, tragedy and death. I kept thinking about all the people I knew who worked in the towers, the security and federal police, my friends at Fed Ex, and people I knew in the Smoothie and Bagel shop I used to visit daily. I kept thinking about them and wondered if they ever made it out alive?

So today we are reminded of that tragedy and of the lives lost. The tradition of honoring Ancestors goes way back decades, probably to a time before time. Many have been committed to this sacred work of honoring our ancestors and find it cathartic to revisit the places, the grave sites, the sacred ground or sacred places to remember their loved ones.

Whether is it a day of remembrance to honor the lives lost on September 11th, a Remembrance Ceremony in South Carolina on Sullivan's Island or a ceremony in St. Croix to honor the African who perished in the Middle Passage, whether it is a ceremony to honor the lives of Native American Indians who were slaughtered at Wounded Knee or whether we are honoring the people of the Jewish faith who were brutally exterminated during the Holocaust, those who perished in the Tsunami of 2004 along the land masses of the Indian Ocean, revering the deceased, honoring our ancestors is something we all recognize as sacred and important and necessary for our communal healing.

A need to heal is a big part of what motivated me to start the tradition of Remembrance in Virginia. For those who perished during the Transatlantic Enslavement Trade, there was no sacred ground for the descendants to visit. That sacred ground is not ground, but water and has been referred to as "the watery grave of the Atlantic Ocean". (Adkins) The first burials of millions of African men, women and children who never made it off the enslavement ships alive was the Atlantic Ocean.

May we all begin to heal and for all those who have transitioned, let us do this in Remembrance of them.

Photo credit: Chester Higgins

Work 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.

1619 Conference at Norfolk State University

The Sankofa Projects is proud to announce that we are co-creating a Ritual of Remembrance ceremony with the Middle Passage Project of the College of William and Mary to be held on Saturday, September 22nd at 4:30 p.m. Please join us for the conference and this ceremony.

"How should America prepare for the 400th anniversary of 1619, the year that the House of Burgesses began and the first documented Africans arrived in Virginia?

What kinds of programs, themes and new understandings might we wish to highlight and promote? How can we create historical accessibility to the meaning of 1619 when most of America has no understanding of its significance?

Beginning on September 21-22, 2012, we invite the community to join us in a discussion of the significance of 1619 and its importance in making American society and culture. We hope that this conference will establish the groundwork for a national dialogues and reinterpretation of major events that began in 1619 that would shape the contours and character of America.

This conference is supported by

NSU International Programs

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

Lemon Project, College of William and Mary

NSU Title III-Honors College: Discipline-Specific Honors Programs

Middle Passage Project

Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia"

Text taken from http://1619makingofamerica.com/about/


Cassandra L. Newby-Alexander, Ph.D.

Professor of History

Norfolk State University

757-823-2268 (w)

757-823-2639 (f)


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Freedom Fighters at Hampton University-2 more days

2 more days of Freedom Fighters: Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman Series by Jacob Lawrence at Hampton University

January 27, 2012 – September 8, 2012

Jacob Lawrence’s Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman series from the late 1930s present the dramatic biographies of two American abolitionists who lived around the time of the Civil War. Together, the paintings have an extraordinary conceptual unity and visual eloquence. Although completed very early in Lawrence’s career, these two series embody some of the artist’s strongest work.

Image is Ironers
Artist: Jacob Lawrence
Artist's Lifespan: 1917-
Title: Ironers
Date: 1943

Location of Origin: United States
Medium: Gouache
Original Size: 21 1/2 x 29 1/2 in
Style: American Scene
Genre: Genre

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

President Obama in Norfolk...My first born in the News

Tuesday was JC's 1st day of school and we are excited to have our first born in the first grade. However, when we learned that President Obama was speaking at Norfolk State University, we knew we could not miss this opportunity to share this moment in history with our sons.

JC wanted to film President Obama so his dad put him on his shoulder. Guess who was on the evening news??? JC and his dad are at 1.34 of the video and seen in the photo wearing the orange baseball cap.

Today was his first day in first grade and he is excited to be back in school. When he was asked at school this morning, "Where were you yesterday?", he told everyone, "I went to see President Obama". This video and picture are the proof! Seeing President Obama is history in the making...this is education at its BEST!!!!