Community Conversations were held at various community venues in and around Charleston from May 2017, up until May 4th 2019, and since the reinterment. A central part of our ethos as a team is the importance of listening to the community to understand how we should remember and honor our Ancestors.
On on February 27th, 2019, we hosted Egungun Tunji: Ancestors Rise Again! At this event we provided the DNA research participants with their results and Dr. Schurr and Dr. Fleskes discussed the ongoing DNA analyses. Rodney Leon, architect for the New York African Burial ground memorial also described his work. In this Post & Courier video (above), La'Sheia Oubre reacts as she opens her DNA test results as part of the DNA research project.
Each year, on May 4th, we recognize the anniversary of the Reinterment with the pouring of libations, prayers, drumming and storytelling at the Anson Street African Burial Ground.
A Memorial for the Ancestors
In the fall semester of 2018, College of Charleston Professor of Art and Architectural History, Dr. Nathaniel Walker, taught a class that focused on Landscapes of Memory. Students studies monuments and memorials from around the world, with a focus on African designs and memorial landscape in the U.S. south. The students proposed designs for a memorial for the Anson Street Ancestors at the Rise Up event that we hosted at the College of Charleston on November 7th, 2018. The students then updated their designs based upon community feedback and these proposed designs were exhibited at the Addlestone Library at the College of Charleston and at the City of Charleston's Cannon Street Arts Center.
In the fall of 2021, Mayor Tecklenburg and Nigel Redden, with invited community members, led an effort to raise money for a permanent memorial for the Ancestors. Artist Stephen Hayes was selected to create a memorial for the Ancestors. Over the coming months, La'Sheia Oubré and Joanna Gilmore will be working to engage community members in the process of creating the memorial.