This is a photo taken at the NY African Burial Ground site in 1996. I am pictured here (blonde locs, hands raised or talking with my hands as usual) giving a tour at 290 Broadway in 1996; the site where 419 African men, women and children would be excavated and where it is believed 10-20,000 Africans are buried in the 5-6 acre African Burial Ground(ABG).
For 4 years I worked at the #WorldTradeCenter as a Public Educator and Media Coordinator for the NY African Burial Ground Project. I LOVED my job!!! I gave hundreds of tours annually of the sacred ABG site, the artwork inside of 290 to commemorate the Ancestors still buried there and the Foley lab where the artifacts were housed. Here is where I first heard "SANKOFA" and where I made life long friendships. This work set the stage for what would become my life's work involving giving voice to the untold stories of our Ancestors. I listened to the whisper given to me in a dream and left that job however, my new job was in the World Trade Wall Street area. I was drawn to that area, drawn to the story of my Ancestors who were interred there. In April 2001, I moved to Richmond, Va.
On September 11, 2001 I watched as the first plane went into Tower 1. My building sat adjacent to Tower 2. I watched in disbelief as this majestic edifice where I spent 4 years of my life crumbled and I was horrified to think of the precious and innocent lives lost on that day and before, thoughts of the brave men and women who lost their lives helping others will never be forgotten, the African Burial ground will never be forgotten.
16 years later...and I am still telling the stories of our Ancestors and honoring them through our annual event at Buckroe Beach in Hampton, VA. REMEMBRANCE, where we honor our Ancestors who perished in the Middle Passage and the Transatlantic Trade.
This is my work.
This is SANKOFA!!
Photography by Bill Thomas, Temeka Diouf, Terez Dean and Dianna Chappela Lewis