Archive for Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ceremonies honor slaves who died coming to U.S.

June 10, 2007

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— Eighteen years ago, Tony Akeem organized a ceremony in New York City to honor the millions of Africans who died crossing the Atlantic during the slave trade. Similar observances have since spread around the world.

On Saturday, offerings of water, honey and rum were poured along the shores of South Carolina and elsewhere for Middle Passage Remembrance Day. The remembrance is held the second Saturday in June.

"We must, we must, honor our ancestors," said Tony Akeem, who has been organizing an observance at Coney Island, N.Y., since a 1989 conference on the slaves' brutal trip was held at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he works as a photographer.

The observances have spread from Philadelphia to San Francisco and from Brazil to Ghana. Most were started by people who have attended the New York event, Akeem said.

Saturday marked the 10th year South Carolina was participating in the remembrance. About 100 people gathered at a Fort Moultrie dock on Sullivans Island near Charleston.

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