In response to the violent attacks against members of the African-American community in the United States, I received an email from my friends at The National Society of the Sons & Daughters of the United States Middle Passage. This is a hereditary society organized for descendants of individuals enslaved in our country. Their mission is to connect to their ancestors and to each other; commemorate the memory of the enslaved; and educate their fellow countrymen, women, and children, including the citizens of the world, about the horrors of American Slavery. To be eligible for membership, you must be a descendant of people enslaved in the United States prior to the passage of the 13th Amendment. For more information, click here.
Here is a statement contained in the email sent to me from the Society about the recent incidents involving violence against members of the African-American community here in the United States:
Trenton, New Jersey (June 5, 2020)— We express our condolences to the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, and Dreasjon Reed, and others who were recently and unjustifiably killed, either directly by law enforcement personnel, or by others with the tacit approval of our legal system. Unfortunately, these incidents are not new and have occurred many times over a very long and violent history of aggression towards African-Americans in our country, going back to the institution of slavery. The current violence occurs against the backdrop of a global pandemic that is disproportionately ravishing the African-American community. These are very difficult times.This year has certainly presented its share of challenges, but we are encouraged by the nonviolent protests of so many individuals here and across the world. In the words of Frederick Douglass, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” We stand with protesters who demand justice and a permanent change in the valuing of black lives and black bodies.At Sons & Daughters of the United States Middle Passage, a hereditary society for descendants of people who were enslaved in the United States, we want to see a final end to the racism we and our ancestors have long endured. We believe education and racial reconciliation are key. We plan to extend our efforts to create content and to support the education of the history of slavery in this country and to promote the knowledge that we are all equal and we are all Americans. We continue to plan our 2021 annual conference, tentatively set for May 21, 2021 at Rutgers University, where we will commemorate the memories and contributions of our enslaved and freed ancestors who provided the mortar made of their bones, blood, and sweat, for the stone foundation of our freedom. We will encourage descendants of enslaved people to connect to their ancestors through genealogical research and to connect to each other. We support a full reckoning of the evils of American slavery.If you want more information, please contact us.Please be safe and stay well.Dr. Evelyn A. McDowell, Ph.D.President and Chair of the Board of Directors