Sunday, June 12, 2011

Photo essay: 22nd Annual Tribute to the Ancestors of the Middle Passage

Here are some highlights from the 22nd annual Tribute to the Ancestors of the Middle Passage, an annual event that takes place on the second Saturday in June in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Similar ceremonies take place around the globe from Africa to Brazil to South Carolina. The annual tribute is in remembrance of the tens of millions of Africans who, after being kidnapped from their homeland, died during the voyage across the Atlantic – the Middle Passage – and their bodies were plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, which was to become the largest African burial ground in the world.

The ceremonies involve singing, dancing, prayer, worship, and drumming all day long. At sunset, a procession moves to the ocean where offerings of flowers, rhum, honey, and fruit are made.

It was a rainy, densely overcast day this year which made photographing a challenge, but that did not stop worshipers including myself from gathering to pay tribute to the ancestors of the Middle Passage. When I thought about the sacrifice that my ancestors made during their journey, I decided a little rain would not keep me home. It tuns out the rain was not rain at all, but an anointing and blessing from the heavens---or so the faithful believe.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011