Reconciliation Walk Planned for Annapolis

Reconciliation Walk Planned for Annapolis in September

(Annapolis, Maryland) The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation, with the support of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau, an interfaith group of congregations, and a number of other community organizations and educational institutions, is planning a dramatic demonstration of commitment to racial reconciliation and healing on September 29, 2004, in the historic city of Annapolis.

In partnership with the Lifeline Expedition organization from London, England, the Foundation will be presenting “A Slavery Reconciliation Walk of Penitence and Forgiveness.” The walk will embody a journey of penitence for Europeans from various countries and European-Americans, from their involvement in the slave trade, slavery, and its legacy, to the present day. For Africans from various countries affected by the slave trade and African Americans, it will be a journey of forgiveness for their oppressors. Each group commits to seeking a path to reconciliation and healing.

“The Lifeline Expedition United States tour follows tours made in years past to cities in England, France, Spain, and Portugal. Annapolis is pleased and excited to have been selected as the first stop for Lifeline Expedition on their U.S. multi-city tour,” says Leonard Blackshear, President of Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation.

The walk will start at the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial at the Annapolis City Dock, where Kunta Kinte is believed to have arrived in America aboard the slave ship Lord Ligonier on September 29, 1767, and then sold into slavery. Walkers will wind through the historic city, stopping at sites of symbolic importance in the history of Africans in America. The walk will dramatize the path from slavery to freedom. Walkers will pass such sites as Middleton’s Tavern where slaves were once sold, and end at the Thurgood Marshall Memorial, dedicated to the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, who also was the lead lawyer for the landmark Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision, which ended “separate but equal” public schools. Each stop along the walk will be punctuated by presentations planned for education and awareness. The short walk will end with the descendants of slaves and the descendants of slaveholders leading the audience in a ceremony designed to dramatize four steps toward racial reconciliation and healing.

“One of the aims of the Lifeline Expedition project is to bring people from Africa, the Americans and Europe to work, to pray and to walk together with the goal of promoting reconciliation,” says David Pott, London based director of the Lifeline Expedition project.

The Foundation is calling for volunteers. Many workers will be needed to help prepare for the Walk and for accompanying discussion groups, seminars, and other activities that will take place before and after the Walk. The Foundation is also seeking descendants of slaves and slaveholders to contact them about participating with those who have already stepped forward, in what is to be a very positive and inspiring ceremony at the end of the Reconciliation Walk. Inquiries about what is involved are welcome, with no obligation on the caller’s part.

Please contact the Foundation at 410-841-6920 or Carol Youmans at 410-263-5625.