Black history exhibit on display now

Published 12:42 am Sunday, February 10, 2008

The exhibition titled “The African/European Roots of The Underground Railroad” is just back from a successful six months stay in Texarkana, Ark.

For the entire month of February, the exhibit is the featured African “Black” History Month exhibition of the Mississippi Welcome Center in Natchez, for the second year in a row.

This exhibition is a 366 days a year world history educational exhibit, not a Black History Month celebration exhibit. It is an educational paradigm teaching and challenging viewers to look beyond the conventional history taught in the three institutions of shaping human behavior; church, school and government.

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The key to understanding the Underground Railroad exhibit’s story is its precedent-setting message.

Our exhibit’s story is designed to show that the underlying reasons for African peoples’ resistance to and relentless freedom struggles against forced captivity, enslavement, colonization, cultural genocide, apartheid and racial discrimination in the Diaspora and the Americas is rooted in their traditional human freedom and independence before outsiders invaded Africa. Viewers will understand that human rights and freedom were traditional ways of life in Africa before European and Arab invasions. African people always had the means to be independent and self-sufficient within Africa itself. Only when strangers invaded Africa from ancient to modern times did African people loose their independence, freedom, material and human resources, which is still the situation today.

The African/European Roots of the Underground Railroad Traveling Exhibit helps people comprehend how African humans were forcefully brought from Africa in captivity, enslaved in the United States, and always resisted enslavement in pursuit of freedom. This resistance was imported to the Americas with the first African forced brought in captivity. And the struggle continues. The Underground Railroad story tells one of the most dramatic expressions of African people’s struggle for freedom.

Developed from a National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program Lower Mississippi Delta grant, the exhibit has shown in the following venues across the United States:

Louisiana African American Museum St. Augustine Catholic Church Hall second floor, New Orleans, National Park Service, New Orleans Louisiana, Odella Williams Now and Then African American Museum, Baton Rouge, Bound For Glory on Bayou Gathering Baton Rouge, Regions Bank Natchez, Association for the Study of African American History and Life 91st Annual Convention, Atlanta, River Road African American Museum’s Juneteenth, Donaldsonville, La., Higgins Middle School, McComb, Apex Museum Atlanta, Banneker Douglass Museum Annapolis Md., Silas H. Hunt Community Development Corporation, Inc, Texarkana, Ark., Mississippi Welcome Center Natchez Visitors Center Natchez, Interfaith Metaphysical Fellowship, New York, Co-Lin Community College, Natchez.

Ser Seshs Ab Heter-CM Boxley is Coordinator Friends of Forks of the Roads Society Inc.