Old Town Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida is a “Site of Memory” identified by the UNESCO SLAVE ROUTE PROJECT and part of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. (The acronym UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.)
“Site Of Memory” Marker Dedication & Ceremony — Aug. 16, 2022
Amelia Island Living previously published information and photos about the “Middle Passage Marker” and a bench that was initially placed in Old Town Fernandina back in 2020. The marker’s official unveiling ceremony ended up being canceled in March 2020 due to the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic. Years have passed, and now the formal dedication event and ceremony was recently announced to be happening on August 16, 2022.
What Is “The Middle Passage?”
“The Middle Passage” was the Atlantic Ocean voyage made by captive Africans to Europe, to the Caribbean Islands, and to South, Central, and North America from 1441 to 1886 as part of the transatlantic trade. It was the largest and longest forced migration in human history, with 24 million people removed from their families and communities, marched to the Atlantic or Indian Ocean coasts of Africa.
As noted on the unveiled sign pictured below, after the U.S. Constitution banned the importation of Africans in 1808, Fernandina, became a location where “traders registered, had inspected, unloaded, and sold their enslaved imports.”
According to a recent news release about the dedication event, “On Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 11 a.m., the Amelia Island Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project Committee will hold a dedication ceremony at Fort San Carlos, located at the Fernandina Plaza Historic State Park (715 San Fernando Street) on Amelia Island. The ceremony will formally honor and remember the two million Africans who died during the transatlantic human trade voyage commonly known as the Middle Passage and the 500,000 who survived and disembarked on U.S. territory.”
Along with the marker dedication, the ceremony will include a libation, traditional African tribute to the ancestors, a call of the African nations, and proclamations from community leaders.
“The Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project (MPCPMP) is a non-profit tax-exempt organization established in 2011 to honor the two million captive Africans who perished during the transatlantic crossing known as the Middle Passage and the ten million who survived to build the Americas,” as described at their website, see more at MiddlePassageProject.org.