A groundbreaking exhibition of recently uncovered archival treasures of the African presence on the Delaware River from the collection of the Independence Seaport Museum, opens on May 4, 2013. This exhibit examines Philadelphia history through the lens of four major themes: Enslavement, Emancipation, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights. Curated by Tukufu Zuberi, University of Pennsylvania Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies and a host of PBS History Detectives.
The Opening Ceremony on May 4, begins at 10:00a.m, with a Blessing of the River on the Seaport Museum’s dock, Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia, PA. (Open to the public).
The Blessing of the River commemorates the enslaved Africans disembarked from slave ships on the Delaware River; remembers Black seaman, sailors and dockworkers who earned a living, or fought for liberty there. The Ceremonies begin with the libation or the pouring of WATER as a symbol of cleansing, purification, and rebirth to greater possibilities of human excellence.
The Delaware River, flows through African-American past and present. It represents the pain of the Middle Passage, our connection to Ancestral homelands across the Atlantic; the triumphant survival of the descendants of those Africans, and our call for healing and hope for future generations.
The Procession & Ceremony will be lead by:
Ron Wandering Feather, Deputy Chief of the Tsalagi Tribe, Lakota Pipe-holder Shaman
Nana Akomfohene Korantema Ayeboafo
Awo Ifagbemi Sekou Olayinka, Babalawo & Olobàtálá at Ilé Ìwà-Pèlé (House of Gentle Character), Philadelphia
Shenuti, Iya Adjua
Rev. Worthington, Woodbury & Vicinity Ministers Conference
Denise Valentine w/Keepers of the Culture, Inc.
Tyehimba: Zumbi Soweto, Baba Jabali Wazuri, Ogun Keme, and other invited drummers
A day full of family-friendly activities follows, featuring entertainment by Dancespora, CHE Nautical, and more, celebrating African and African American culture. Free with museum admission.
Independence Seaport Museum
211 South Columbus Blvd & Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
The Philadelphia Middle Passage Ceremony and Port Marker Project is leading the movement to conduct an Ancestral Remembrance Ceremony/Memorial Service at Penn’s Landing. The purpose of the ceremony is to acknowledge Penn’s Landing, and other locations on the Delaware River, as ports of entry for Africans during the transatlantic human trade; to commemorate the nearly 2 million Africans who perished in the Middle Passage; and, to garner support for the installation of a marker in their memory. Finally, we celebrate the triumphant survival of the descendants of those Africans and offer healing and hope for future generations.