“Without their land, they will have no history, without their history, they will have no future.”
This was one of the underlying beliefs that supported and perpetuated the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The true history of this country is one that is hidden and not taught in education, the history of enslavement within that propagandized history remains a topic that is often avoided and historically manipulated. When it is brought up, typically in February when many Black people (African-Americans) specifically celebrate Black History Month, it is often (purposefully) mis-remembered as moment so far removed from the present, and amicable of sort between both the enslaved Africans and their enslavers. Only recently have the superficial discourse surrounding the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the institution of Enslavement begun to deepen and broaden to reveal the truth of what many Black people have known for some time. Because America’s social and governing structure is rooted in the enslavement of Africans, the erasure of their humanity becomes propagandized collective memory.
Researching, visiting and imaging ‘tourist’ sites my ancestors were likely held in captivity and bondage is my way of reckoning with the history of enslavement within my ancestral lineage. Exploring the psychology of color to presence their lives not just to the horror of this institution they were held within, but that in my own existence, they survive. Through my lens I can look back and reclaim their humanity, leading me to a deeper to my own identity. Allowing the work to become a reflection of both my ancestors and myself. Through the images, I examine the artifacts of social memory to discern the lives that my ancestors, the enslaved, lived. Through documenting these ordinary objects and the likely environment they lived in, I am able to emancipate their lost humanity. The meaning of Sankofa teaches us that we must reach back and gather the best our past has to teach us, so that we can be responsible for our full potential as we move forward. This is my Sankofa.