Updated: Oct 24
African Naming, Healing & Cleansing Ceremony
This year I was determined to attend as many of the events sponsored by and associated with the Enslaved Landing Day commemoration as possible. The Enslaved Landing Day is a commemoration of the first enslaved Africans to land in the English colonies and is faciltated by Project 1619 Inc. and their affiliated partners.
And so, on a summer morning in August, I headed over to a beach on Ft. Monroe to attend the Healing and Cleansing ceremony. At the time I did not realize that the ceremony included African Naming.. As I watched the sunrise with African drumming in the background, African dignitaries in attendance and a number of other people who were there to witness and participate in what can only be described as a spiritual experience. As people lined up to go into the water and receive healing and cleansing, I found myself taken back to childhood days, when I would accompany my parents to baptism ceremonies by the river at our home church in the mountains of Virginia. As a child I was fascinated with the pageantry of it all. As an adult, I was moved by the significance of being cleansed.
The following written content regarding the significance of the African Naming ceremony was provided by Roots to Glory Tours, who partner with Project 1619, Inc.
Each year, Roots to Glory Tours provides opportunities for those interested in reclaiming their birthright and traditional names from the country of their ancestry. As part of the Enslaved Landing Day commemoration events, The African Naming and Healing event took place at Fort Monroe on August 28, 2022. The shores of Hampton, Virginia were chosen in order to commemorate where Africans first landed on English soil in 1619. This is an opportunity for our people to be cleansed from all of the trauma of COVID-19 and find reprieve from the racial reckoning that is taking place in the United States.
“In Africa, names are extremely important..." - Ada Anagho Brown, President, Roots to Glory Tours
Before they were enslaved and called Bob, Mary, Billy, Thomas, and Joe our ancestors had names. In Africa, names are extremely important. A name can tell you what family you come from, what day of the week you were born, your religious practices, what was happening in your community during the time you were born, and most importantly your lineage (a lot of people are named after grandparents).
The mission at Roots to Glory Tours is to return the rightful name to those whose ancestors were victims of the slave trade. This year our naming ceremony was held on Fort Monroe beach in Hampton, Virginia on August 28, 2022 immediately following a spiritual cleansing at 6am..
Photos and Video provided by Barbara Gibson.