Go from slavery to freedom in one day

Published 12:01am Thursday, October 11, 2012

The first event of the fifth annual Mid-South Black and Blue Civil War Living History will begin at 6:30 a.m. Saturday at Natchez-Under-the-Hill.

We will gather the spirits of enslaved African descendants shipped down the Mississippi River from Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee and up the Mississippi via transshipment at New Orleans from Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, the Caribbean and Africa to make cotton “king.” From there we will drive in their footsteps to the historic Forks of the Roads Enslavement Markets Sites for a rally where a tax-credit housing development is being built on one of the enslavement selling market’s land mass.

Participants are encouraged to wear traditional African white clothing.

At 11 a.m. our living history event moves to Historic Jefferson College in Washington. Jali Morikeba Kouyate “Griot” and Master Kora musician from Senegal, West Africa, will perform live playing the African Kora instrument.

The Kora is a 21-string instrument from the West African countries of the Gambia, Senegal and Mali, land of the first African ancestors and foreparents of those enslaved by the French in Louisiana and Mississippi.

It is an ancient instrument that is part of Africa’s rich spiritual musical institutions. He will also tell the oral history of the Kora’s African Roots of the banjo, violin, guitar, etc. played by blacks in the Americas from the days of chattel slavery, through the Civil War and on to the present day.

You can greet and meet an African royalty descendant and special guests at a reception.

Through his seventh-generation grandson Dr. Artemus Gaye’s attendance, the Fulani West African Prince, Abduhl Rahman Ibrahim, “Prince Among Slaves” (book and movie), who was 40 years in captivity and enslaved on Greenwood Plantation here in the Natchez area, returns to Washington 184 years after his freedom in 1828.

Approximately 250 years ago (1762-2012) Abduhl Rahaman was part of a royal family in West Africa in what is now Guinea. He was the “second or third of 33 sons” of the Fula King of Futa Jallon, at the time a created self-serving Muslim influenced political state entwined in Christian European demands for Africans to be captured for enslavement trafficking across the Atlantic.

Caught up in a war of “I capture you today and you capture me tomorrow” to meet these demands, at age 26 he was captured and sold to “British slavers for two flasks of power, a few trade muskets, eight hands of tobacco and two bottles of rum.”

He survived the transatlantic “Middle Passage” to America, where he was ill-gotten/purchased and enslaved by Thomas Foster. The Prince married Isabella, a first generation American-born enslaved Christian woman.

Starting at 1 p.m., local volunteer role actors will bring alive for those attending this year’s program verified and historical factual narratives showing “black” sailors and nurses on the Union Naval ships.

For our sesquicentennial component of the American Civil War Commemoration, Natchezians David Dreyer, Royal Hill, Jamal McCullen, Darrel White and myself will be re-enactors wearing Union replica sailor uniforms will tell stories of Adams County runaway “slaves” who became Union Freedom Fighting Sailors in the Mississippi Valley in the summer of 1862.

Civil War era “black” women nurses were “forerunners of the United States Navy Nurse Corps.”

Natchezians David “Black Dot” Williams, Danielle Terrell, Jacqueline Marsaw, Crisceda Crawford, Juanita Searcy and Delores Bassett will be re-enactors telling stories of Mississippi Valley Union black women nurses.

The Black and Blue Civil War Living History Event will happen rain or shine and is sponsored by Friends of Forks of the Roads Society, Inc. and materially supported by Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Admission is free!


Ser Seshsh Ab Heter-Clifford M. Boxley is the president of the Friends of the Forks of the Road.