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“Nationals October 2019

Annapolis to be named UNESCO site for “Slave Route Project”

| October 06, 2019, 01:39 PM

Annapolis was recently designated as a “Site of Memory associated with the UNESCO Slave Route Project” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). A historic marker will be placed at City Dock following a series of community meetings to determine the marker design and selection of a local historian to draft the text.

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Annapolis is one of 42 locations across the continental United States, and one of five sites in the state of Maryland identified as being a Middle Passage port of entry, a place where children, women, and men in bondage first placed their feet after leaving the continent of Africa. The marker will commemorate the lives of enslaved Africans – those who perished and those who survived – who were forced to endure the trans-Atlantic journey known as the Middle Passage.

“It is an honor for Annapolis to be a designated UNESCO site,” said Mayor Gavin Buckley. “It is important for residents and visitors to be reminded of history.” Buckley added, “I would be remiss not to thank Janice Hayes-Williams for her work on this project. It is a significant piece of the Annapolis story.”

Launched in 2011, the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project (MPCPMP) has identified 52 locations in the U.S. as Middle Passage arrival sites.  The non-profit organization seeks to educate the public and develop a more inclusive historical narrative as a means to facilitate national healing and reconciliation.

MPCPMP worked with the City of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County officials to prepare the request for “Site of Memory” designation. UNESCO names heritage sites of significance around the globe. These heritage sites are landmarks legally protected by international treaties because they are judged important to the collective interests of humanity.

“Too many of us are either unaware of the tremendous significance City Dock played in the story of the trans-Atlantic slave trade or reluctant to acknowledge it,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “The marker will serve as a permanent reminder of the long and horrific reign of terror endured by African Americans in this country and in Anne Arundel County.”

Annapolis will join port cities in Jamestown (VA), Galveston (TX), New Orleans (LA), Camden (NJ), Philadelphia (PA), and many others with a marker as an acknowledgment of the history of the trade,” said Ann Cobb, Executive Board member of MPCPMP.

In Maryland, Annapolis joins Historic Londontowne, Historic Sotterley (Calvert County), and Baltimore as designated UNESCO “Sites of Memory.”  Oxford, on the Eastern Shore, has also been identified as a documented Middle Passage arrival site.

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