Black people are the original victims of identity theft.
Thousands of years ago, our ancestors were stolen from Mother Africa, scattered across the Diaspora and subjected to the most unimaginable forms of debasement, humiliation, and dehumanization. Ship after ship after ship crossed the Middle Passage and landed in North America, South America, and the Caribbean. The bloodlines that traveled in the belly of those cruel vessels were planned for permanent dilution in those treacherous waters. The brave souls who survived the harrowing journey were never to return.
Inherent in the architecture of the transatlantic slave trade was the erasure of the identity of our ancestors. Our languages were silenced. Our names were deleted. Our families were separated. Our communities were demolished.
Our ancestors endured the unthinkable and overcame the unimaginable, yet they survived…and they live in us. But the story doesn’t end there:
1. We are their testimony.
From generation to generation, after Emancipation and Reconstruction, through Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, Black people were intentionally and painfully disconnected from the truth of who we really are and where we really come from. We were not supposed to know our African identity. In fact, we were taught to hate Africa. Systems were created to encourage us to despise ourselves. Our ignorance was essential to our physical and mental bondage. But now we can be free. In spite of the consistent structural efforts to keep our identities hidden, we have the opportunity to reclaim our identity and discover our ancestry.
2. The Ancestors are calling.
From deep in the soil of the South, whispering in the wind across Caribbean cane fields and echoing across the waters of the Middle Passage, our ancestors are beseeching us. They are longing to be discovered. They want us to learn what they could not. They want to be known.
Thanks to AfricanAncestry.com, Black people are finally able to discover our roots by using DNA to trace our ancestry. Using the largest database of African lineages, we can discover the country and ethnic group of our Mother’s Mother’s Mother’s Mother and our Father’s Father’s Father’s Father to 2,000 years ago, before the first slave ship landed on Africa’s shores.
As we get to know our ancestors and learn about the rich culture and beautiful countries from which we have come, we more fully know ourselves. When we know who we are, we know where we’re going. Equipped with the full knowledge of self, the possibilities are endless.
3. Resist. Reclaim. Renew. Restore.
In economic, political, social, and spiritual framework designed to obscure the truth of our identity, the discovery of who we are is the ultimate act of resistance. We can foil the long-ago laid plans to keep us disconnected from the greatness that abides within the culture and history and art and science and architecture and wisdom abundant in our ancestors. In the reclamation of what was intended to be lost forever, we can create a renewed sense of self and a restored sense of pride for ourselves and our entire families.
What better way to honor the tremendous sacrifice of those who were unable to know the truth, than to discover it for ourselves? So many lived and died with questions, but we now have access to the answers.
The ancestors are calling. They want to be known. It is an ancestral imperative. How will you respond?
For specific direction on ceremonies and practices that you can use to honor our African ancestors and answer the call, CLICK HERE to get your copy of The ADACI Guide: How to Commemorate Our African Ancestors from our partners at ADACI.