MIDDLE PASSAGE UNSUNG HEROES MEMORIALIZED

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A wreath laying service was held on Wickhams Cay on February 2 in memoriam of the African relatives who died in what history has named “The Middle Passage”— the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean that kidnapped Africans were forced to cross on their way to the Americas, and the Caribbean.

Elder Gilbert Trott explained the significance of the locally held event, and noted that during that horrific tragedy known as the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, a vast number of Africans were murdered, and died on the voyages. He also noted that there is little, as far as memorials go, in respect of the persons that so tragically lost their lives.

The Elder who plays a key role in the organizing of the annual event disclosed that his interest in African history began when he was twelve years old. He stated that at that time there was no internet, and information sought had to be accessed from European countries via libraries, museums and in some cases archives. He also pointed out that the information conflicted when compared to what was taught in the education systems and media.

He said that he was further convinced of the information disparity when he travelled to Africa: “After visiting Africa with my wife not as tourists but as returning relatives, I realized the blatant lies and distortions about the people, and the continent. It brought me closer to them. The more I learned, the deeper my respect, and no human being whose bones still lie at the bottom of the Atlantic or in a Churchyard deserves to be ignored or forgotten.”

Elder Trott explained that for four years he tried to get support for a memorial service, and that it wasn’t until 2009 that this became a reality when he stood alone on the Cay with a wreath donated by Blossoms Florist. He said his daughter videoed the wreath throwing and posted it on the net. This, he said, caught the attention of Art Christopher, Jerome Joseph and the African Studies Club who joined him in 2010 along with family members and about 30 other people.

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