Africatown and The Alabama-Benin Trade Forum | AWARE! | WSRE

Africatown and The Alabama-Benin Trade Forum | AWARE! | WSRE


>>THIS ORIGINAL WSRE PRESENTATION IS MADE POSSIBLE BY VIEWERS LIKE YOU. THANK YOU. ♪>>IMAGINE IF YOU WERE A WEALTHY BUSINESS OWNER IN THE 1850s AND YOU HAD NOTHING BETTER TO DO OTHER THAN MAKE A BET WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY THAT YOU COULD ILLEGALLY SHIP SLAVES FROM AFRICA TO MOBILE, THEN BURN AND SINK YOUR SHIP TO HIDE THE EVIDENCE FROM AUTHORITY WHOSE GOT WIND OF YOUR SCHEME. SOUNDS LIKE A SYNOPSIS FROM A MOVIE OR A PLOT FROM A MYSTERY THRILLER? IN ACTUALITY IT’S THE BACKDROP BEHIND A LITTLE KNOWN HISTORICAL EVENT IN MOBILE, ALABAMA. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT AFRICATOWN. THERE ARE SEVERAL WONDERFUL ORGANIZATIONS COMMUNITY GROUPS, AND INDIVIDUALS WORKING TO PRESERVE THE LEGACY OF AFRICATOWN AS WELL AS A NUMBER OF EFFORTS TO REVITALIZE THE COMMUNITY. TONIGHT ON THE AWARE SHOW WE WILL FEATURE ONE OF THOSE GROUPS AS WE HIGHLIGHT THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY ABOUT AFRICATOWN, ITS HISTORY LEGACY AND ITS COURAGEOUS PEOPLE. JOINING ME ON THE PHONE TO DO IT WE HAVE DR. SHARON INGRAM, CEO AND CHAIRMAN OF THE ALABAMA BENIN TRADE FORUM. HERE IN OUR STUDIOS WE’RE JOINED BY HENRY HA SEEM HASEEB ON MY RIGHT. THE ALABAMA BENIN TRADE FORUM AND ON MY LEFT WE HAVE ELDER MAKINDE GBOLAHAN, ALABAMA BENIN TRADE FORUM AS WELL. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.>>THIS IS AN EXCITING AWARE SHOW. GLAD TO HAVE YOU THERE, DR. INGRAM. WE’LL GET TO YOU IN A MOMENT BUT FOR THE VIEWERS A SPECIAL TREAT, A GIFT FROM MAKINDE TO YOU FROM AFRICATOWN.>> ♪ ♪ ♪>>THIS IS A SONG OF THANKS AND PRAISE AND SMOKE AND SUNNING IN THE LANGUAGE OF NIGERIA.>>THIS WAS WRITTEN BY YOU.>>BY ME.>>THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH.>>WE GO BACK A LONGENING, LONG WAY BACK, IN THE DAYS WHEN I WAS NEWS DIRECTOR AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIRECTOR AT HERE IN THE MARKET SO TO SEE YOU AGAIN AFTER ALL THESE YEARS FOR THIS OCCASION TO CELEBRATE AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE AND DO IT BY HIGHLIGHTING AFRICATOWN IS A SPECIAL TREAT. Q. IT’S’S A SPECIAL TREAT TO SEE YOU AGAIN AFTER MANY YEARS. I’M HONORED TO BE ON YOUR SHOW.>>VERY GOOD.>>ALSO WITH YOU, HASEEB, WE’RE SO GLAD TO HAVE YOU JOINING US AS WELL AS DR. INGRAM. WE KNOW Y’ALL HAVE TIRELESSLY WORKING TO PRESERVE THE HISTORY AND LEGACY OF AFRICATOWN, WE WILL GET TO Y’ALL AND WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN DOING WITH THE AFRICAN BENIN AFRICAN TRADE FORUM IN A MOMENT BUT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE HISTORY OF AFRICATOWN, WE STARTED OFF WITH IT AT THE TOP OF OUR SHOW CAPTURING THE AUDIENCE GIVING THEM A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE HISTORICAL BEGINNINGS OF AFRICATOWN. I’M TURNING TO YOU MAKINDE, DIVE IN AND GIVE US THE BACKGROUND.>>YOUR STATEMENT ABOUT THIS SCENARIO YOU LAY OUT, SLAVERY HAD ENDED IN 1859 AND JUST THAT WAS THE CAUSE OF 100 SOUL SOULSG SNATCHED FROM THEIR HOMELAND, CARRIED ACROSS THE OCEAN, MAGAZINE POINT CALLED AFRICATOWN. IT IS A FASCINATING STORY OF PEOPLE SURVIVING PEOPLE REMEMBERING AND I THINK IT’S PRIVILEGE TO BE WORKING WITH DR. INGRAM AND BROTHER HASEEB AND TRYING TO PRESERVE THIS HISTORY AND BECAUSE WHEN PEOPLE SEEK TO DEFINE THEMSELVES, OR GET DIRECTION THEY HAVE TO REIDENTIFY AND RECLAIM HERITAGE AND HISTORY. THAT IS WHAT THIS STORY IS ABOUT. THE COTILDA WAS ABOUT THE FASTEST SCHOONER THEY HAD ON — IN THE GULF AREA AT THAT PARTICULAR PARTICULAR TIME. IT WAS BY FOSTER THE SHIP OWNER SHIPYARD OWNER. AND THE MAYOR BROTHER, VERY WEALTHY FAMILIES IN MOBILE. THE ARGUMENT AND DEBATE LIKE YOU SAID, THEY DECIDED THEY WILL SEEK A DAY STILL TO GO TO AFRICA, ACQUIRE SLAVES AND THE FEDERAL PATROLS WITH LOOKING OUT FOR THEIR KIND OF THING BECAUSE IT WAS STILL TRYING TO BE TAKING PLACE HERE IN THE GULF. THEY MADE A BET THAT THEY COULD STILL GO OVER THERE AND GET SLAVES AND BRING THEM BACK TO AMERICA. SO THAT’S WHAT THIS STORY IS ABOUT, PEOPLE SURVIVING THAT. ABOUT PEOPLE STRIVING AND PEOPLE ABOUT US REMEMBERING THAT SACRIFICE AND SURVIVAL THEY WENT TO.>>THIS THING REALLY HAPPENED. THIS — SOUNDS LIKE I SAID, LIKE A PLOT IN A MOVIE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT BUT THIS REALLY HAPPENED SO WE KNOW THIS IS MOBILE’S HISTORY. WHAT DO WE KNOW HAPPENED AFTER THAT? THERE’S OTHER THINGS THAT CAME INTO PLAY WHERE THESE PEOPLE WERE LEFT ONCE THEY WERE BROUGHT HERE.>>YOU ASK THEY WERE LEFT BECAUSE THE FEDS GOT WIND THAT THIS WAS TAKING PLACE AND SO THEY WAS LEFT I THINK I DON’T KNOW IF IT WAS ONE OF THOSE LITTLE ISLANDS, LEFT THERE A WHILE THEN CARRIED FURTHER UP IN MISSISSIPPI AND MOBILE COUNTY. AND PUT TO ANOTHER PLACE. THEN THEY CAME AND THEY TOOK THE COTILD AND BURNT THE SHIP TO HIDE AND COVER UP WHAT THEY HAD DONE BECAUSE THERE WAS SEVERE PENALTY IF THEY WAS CAUGHT BRINGING SLAVES INTO THIS COUNTRY. THE PEOPLE EVENTUALLY I THINK — IN YOUR INTRODUCTION YOU WERE SAYING ABOUT WHEN THEY CONFEDERATE LEFT THIS AREA HOW HAPPY THEY WAS, THEY WERE ABLE TO START BUILDING A COMMUNITY COMING TOGETHER AND BUILDING A COMMUNITY AND THAT COMMUNITY IS CALLED AFRICATOWN AS TODAY, PLATEAU MAGAZINE POINT AT THAT TIME, AND THEY HAD MANY FAMILY AND THERE WAS BUILDERS, TRADES, THEY OWNED THEIR OWN BUSINESSES. THEY HAD BRICKS THEY MADE THEIR OWN BRICKS, MADE THEIR OWN SHINGLES TO GO ON THE HOUSES. THERE WAS FISHERMANS AND PRACTICE THE ART OF NATURAL PATHIC HERBAL MEDICINE, THEY USED TO STAY HEALTHY. SO THIS WAS A TIME WHEN THEY KEPT A LOT OF TRADITIONS, A LOT OF FOODS THEY REMEMBERED AND THE WORD GUMBO IS AN AFRICAN WORD BUT IT’S MIXTURE OF OCRA AND OTHER KINDS OF THINGS TO MAKE THE GUMBO SOUP SO THEY REMEMBER THE FOODS AND TRADITIONS THEY MAINTAIN AND PRESERVED AND WE AN AFRO SHAVE THAT WE USED TO HAVE, MANY, MANY YEARS AGO WHEN WE FIRST START THE RELATIVES FROM AFRICA WHO HAVE A LOT OF THEIR PEOPLE BURIED HERE IN PLATEAU AREA IN THE AFRICAN CEMETERY. THEY COME OVER OF YEAR AND WE USED TO HAVE A BIG CELEBRATION. AND WHEN THEY FIRST CAME OVER THE AFRICAN WANTED TO APOLOGIZE FOR BEING INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS OF HELP HELP ENSLAVING THEIR PEOPLE. THEY WAS CAUGHT UP IN THE SYSTEM THEMSELVES THAT WAS FORCED UPON THEM TO PARTICIPATE. SO WE GOT TOGETHER AND WE SAID THAT WHAT WE WAS GOING TO DO, WE WAS GOING TO REACH ACROSS THE WATER AND JOIN HANDS TOGETHER AS PEOPLE. AND EVEN THOUGH THIS WAS A TERRIBLE LEGACY WE WERE GOING TO USE THIS LEGACY TO BUILD A COMMUNITY.>>AWESOME. IN THAT A LOT HAS COME ABOUT IN RECENT YEARS WITH AFRICATOWN, THERE ARE DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS AS WE MENTIONED WHO HAVE DONE DIFFERENT THINGS AND TRYING TO PRESERVE THE HERITAGE AND HISTORY AND TO MAKE IT A REALLY BIG DEAL BECAUSE IT REALLY IS A BIG DEAL. SO THAT’S WHERE YOUR ORGANIZATION HAS COME INTO PLAY.>>I WAS REFLECTING ON THE COMMENTS THERE WHICH IS VERY TRUE AND I WAS THINKING ABOUT THE GREAT HISTORIAN, MR. HENRY WILLIAMS THAT GAVE BIRTH TO NEWER GENERATION. YOU WASN’T BORN BACK THEN, HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS STUFF? OUR GREAT HISTORIAN MR. HENRY WILLIAMS INSPIRED THE MAYOR OF PRITCHARD, WAS MAYOR AT THE TIME BUT JOHN SMITH AND JOHN SMITH AT HE BECAME THE MAYOR OF PRITCHARD BEGAN TO WORK WITH OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND OTHER PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY TO GIVE US SOME RECK ANYTHINGS AGAIN OF OUR HERITAGE. AS A MATTER OF FACT HE TRACED HIS HISTORY BACK ALL THE WAY BACK TO BENIN AND TODAY JOHN IS BURIED OVER IN BENIN. SO WE WERE ABLE TO TAKE HIS ASHES AS RESPECTIVE RETURNING HOME. THROUGH THAT EFFORT JOHN LED A DELEGATION IN 2005 OVER TO BENIN, AFRICA AND WE ALL WHEN I WAS ABLE TO GO WITH THAT DELEGATION, AND WE WENT TO AFRICA IN — IT WAS A NEW BEGINNING FOR US BECAUSE WE HAD A WESTERN MIND AND I HAD NEVER BEEN OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES BEFORE AND WHEN I GOT OUT TO AFRICA I WAS KIND OF SHOCKED. NOT ALL THE BAD THINGS THAT YOU SEE THERE ARE PEOPLE IN AFRICA, THERE’S PARTS OF AFRICA, AS MODERN AS AMERICA BUT WE WERE USED TO SEEING PICTURES THAT WAS PORTRAYED ON TV THAT WASN’T NECESSARILY THE TRUTH. SO WHAT WE LEARNED WHEN WE WENT TO AFRICA, THAT THEY SHOWED US WHERE THE SLAVES WOULD LEAVE AND EXIT BENIN AND THERE’S A CITY CALLED WIDA. IN WIDA, THIS IS A CITY THAT JOHN IS BURIED BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE HE TRACED HIS FAMILY BACK AND HE’S STILL GOT FAMILY MEMBERS OVER THERE NOW. HE TRACED BACK TO WIDA. IN WIDA, THERE’S CALLED A GATE AFTER NO RETURN. AND THEY SHOWED US THAT THE AFRICANS WILL TAKE THEIR LAST WASH OFF BEFORE THEY WOULD BE HEADED TO THE SHIP. SO A LOT OF TIME IT IS SLAVES WILL BE PUT UNDER HOUSES AND I HAVE SEEN THOSE HOUSE, AS A MATTER OF FACT WE HAD A HOUSE SORT OF LIKE REMIND ME OF ONE I GREW UP IN AND THEY WERE OFF THE GROUND. BUT THEY ONLY SIT SO HIGH OFF THE GROUND AND ALL SLAVES IN THE HOUSE, IT WAS UNDER THE HOUSE. AFTER A WEEKS DEFECATED AND EVERYTHING ON THE — THEY WASH THEM OFF BEFORE THEY MOVED IN TO THE BIG SHIP TO BRING THEM TO AMERICA. NOW IN CELEBRATION OF THAT IN 2005 JOHN SMITH ASKED A DELEGATION OVER TO DO A RECONCILIATION. IN THE COUNTRY OF BENIN IN THE CITY OF CUTINU THEY HAVE A GATE OF RETURN. SO WE HAD THE GATE OF NO RETURN AND NOW WE GO OVER TO CELEBRATE THE GATE OF RETURN. THIS IS WHAT A LOT OF DESCENDENTS OF THE AMERICAN SLAVE IS NOT AWARE OF, THERE’S PEOPLE IN AFRICA THAT WANT — THEY DON’T HAVE TO GO BACK TO STAY IN AFRICA BUT WANT THEM TO KNOW WELCOME BACK HOME.>>AWESOME. DR. INGRAM WE KNOW YOU’RE JOINING US ON THE LINE, ONCE AGAIN CEO AND CHAIR MAN OF ALABAMA BENIN, TRADE FORUM. TELL US ABOUT MORE ABOUT SOME OF THE INNER WORKINGS RIGHT NOW OF WHAT Y’ALL HAVE DONE TO GO BACK AND GET HISTORY OF AFRICATOWN AND BRING IT TO THE FOREFRONT.>>THANK YOU, DEE DEE. ONE THING I WANT TO BRING TO LIGHT AND ADD TO WHAT MAKINDE HAS SAID, IS TRYING TO PICTURE WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO THE I LIKE TO SAY AFRICA, I LIKE TO USE THE TERM SLAVE TO THE ONES THAT BECAME ENSLAVED. WHEN THEY IMAGINE BEING IN YOUR HOMELAND AND A GROUP OF PEOPLE WILL COME, WITH GUNS AND KNIVES AND ROUNDS LIKE YOU WERE CATTLE. WHAT I WOULD THAT DO IS WHOM EVER THEY CALLED THEY PUT THEM IN LITTLE SHACKS WE CALL THEM TIN SHED AND KEEP THEM THERE FOR 30 DAYS. NOTHING BUT BREAD AND WATER. WHOMEVER SURVIVE THOSE WERE THE ONES THEY BROUGHT — TOOK TO THE SHIP AND BROUGHT TO AMERICA. YOU CAN ONLY IMAGINE THIS WAS CHILDREN AND WOMEN AND MEN BUT PRIOR TO THEM GOING THROUGH THE DOOR OF NO RETURN AS MR. HASEEB ELOQUENTLY POINTED OUT, THERE’S A TREE AND IT’S STILL IN WIDA, THEY WOULD MAKE THEM GO AROUND THREE TIMES AND THE PURPOSE OF THAT TREE WAS THAT THEY WERE TO GET THEIR CULTURE, GET THEIR RELIGION AND THEIR HOMELAND. SO THEY HAD TO DO THIS, THIS RITUAL CAPTORS MADE THEM TO DO AND ONCE THEY CAME TO MOBILE THEY TRIED TO RECREATE THEIR HOMELAND IN ONE OF THE AREAS AS MR. MAKINDE STATED MAGAZINE POINT, THERE’S ANOTHER AREA CALLED PLATEAU. AND I ACTUALLY VISITED PLATEAU IN THE WEST BENIN WHEN I WAS THERE. SO THEY CONTINUED TO SPEAK THEIR NATIVE LANGUAGES, THEY USED A LOT OF AFRICAN AS MR. MAKINDE ALLUDED TO IN THEIR OWN COOKING TECHNIQUES SO THEY TRIED WITHIN THEMSELVES TO TRY TO REMAIN AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE IN TOUCH WITH THEIR HERITAGE AND THEIR CULTURE. AND ONE THING THEY WANT TO KNOW IS THEY TRIED EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO AVOID ANY WHITE PEOPLE. AND THAT WAS BECAUSE THAT WAS THEIR CAPTIVES AND VERY MUCH AFRAID OF THEM. SO WHAT WE HAVE DONE WITH THE ALABAMA BENIN FORUM IS MAKE SURE THAT AMERICA THE WORLD IS EDUCATED ABOUT THE TRUE HISTORY ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN AFRICA AND ULTIMATELY IN MOBILE, ALABAMA. MOST PEOPLE DON’T EVEN KNOW, DEE DEE, THAT ALABAMA IS THE LAST PLACE THAT THE AFRICANS WAS BROUGHT TO BECOME ENSLAVED. SO OUR VISION IS TO MAKE SURE WE EDUCATE OUR PEOPLE AND ALSO TO MAKE SURE WE DON’T RETURN THAT TYPE OF ENVIRONMENT OR THAT TYPE OF MIND SET.>>GOT YOU. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT INPUT, DR. INGRAM. ADDING TO MAKINDE AND WHAT HE SAID EARLIER. AND I WANT TO COME BACK TO YOU BECAUSE MAKINDE, YOU ALSO MENTIONED THERE HAD BEEN THIS — THAT’S WHAT Y’ALL ARE DOING IS THIS RECONCILIATION NOW ON BEHALF OF AFRICA BUT ALSO WANT TO — AS WE TALK ABOUT THAT GOING FORWARD, I WANT TO MAKE SURE WE KIND OF WRAP UP THE STORY, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BROTHERS OF CAPTAIN FOSTER AFTER WHAT THEY DID?>>THERE WAS NO TRIAL, THERE WAS NO PUNISHMENT FOR THAT FAMILY, THAT FAMILY IS STILL VERY WEALTHY IN MOBILE. SO A LOT OF THE EXPLOITATION OF NOT PAYING PEOPLE WAGE, PEOPLE BECOME EXTREMELY WEALTHY. THAT MONEY HAD BEEN PASSED DOWN FROM ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT GENERATION. SO THERE WAS NO PENALTY THAT WAS IMPOSED UPON THEM. FOR THAT PARTICULAR ACT.>>SO GOING FORWARD, SINCE WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM WE KNOW THOSE WHO WERE SURVIVORS OF AFRICATOWN PICKED UP THE PIECES AS BEST THEY COULD AND BEGAN TO PUT THEIR LIVES BACK TOGETHER AGAIN WITH THEIR SKILLS. AND THEIR LABOR AND THE THINGS THEY KNEW FROM AFRICA AND FROM LIFE ITSELF. ONE OF THOSE — YOU GETTING READY TO SAY SOMETHING. I DON’T WANT TO TAKE YOU FROM WHERE YOUR FRAME OF MIND IS. ONE OF THE LAST SURVIVORS OR THE LAST SURVIVOR MOST TALKED ABOUT IN ALL OF THIS HAS BEEN CAJO LEWIS.>>HE WAS A TREMENDOUS MAN OF FORTITUDE AND VISION AND COMPASSION FOR HIS COMMUNITY. HE WAS A LEADER IN HIS COMMUNITY. HE WAS ONE OF THE PILLARS OF THE COMMUNITY THAT HELPED THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER. WE HAD POJO ALLEN, WE HAVE MANY OTHERS WHO WAS ALSO INVOLVED AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME. THERE WAS A VERY UNIQUE GROUP OF PEOPLE AND DR. INGRAM SAID, THEY DESIRE TO HOLD ON TO MUCH OF THEIR CULTURE AS THEY POSSIBLY COULD HOLD ON TO. BECAUSE WHEN YOU LIVE IN A PREDOMINANT CULTURE THAT’S CONTRARY OR DIFFERENT FROM YOURS, YOU — IF YOU DON’T PASS THAT DOWN AND ONE INSTITUTION THEY WERE VERY MUCH INVOLVED IN IS THE CHURCH THAT TROY IN HISTORY AND UNION BAPTIST CHURCH WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1870. AS AS A MATTER OF FACT THE SCHOOL THEY OPENED THE ONE ROOM SCHOOL, ALSO AT ONE TIME WAS BEING TAUGHT IN UNION BAPTIST CHURCH. THEY BELIEVED IN EDUCATION, THEY BELIEVE THEY WAS GOING TO TRY TO MAKE A BETTER WAY FOR THEIR CHILDREN. THEY WAS WILLING TO SACRIFICETOR THAT PURPOSE. — SACRIFICE FOR THAT PURPOSE AND THAT CAUSE.>>THERE’S ALSO MOBILE COUNTY TRAINING CENTER YOU MIGHT MENTION THAT AS WELL AS YOU SPEAK ABOUT EDUCATION.>>YES. THAT WAS A PART OF THE WHOLE EFFORT. BEFORE THEY GOT A BUILDING TO ACCOMMODATE A WHOLE LOT OF CLASSROOMS, THEY WAS OPERATING OUT OF UNION MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH, THE HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH THEY WAS OPERATING OUT OF THAT. WE EVENTUALLY FOUND AND GOT ANOTHER BUILDING, ESTABLISHED THAT SCHOOL. I THINK IT’S ONE OF THE OLDEST SCHOOLS, IN MOBILE COUNTY SO THAT I BELIEVED THAT EDUCATION AND PRESERVING HERITAGE AND HISTORY MAINTAINING THAT COHESIVENESS WAS KEY. TOTO BEING ON ONE ACCORD. THAT’S BIG PROBLEM WE SUFFER TODAY BECAUSE WE DON’T EMBRACE OUR CULTURE, WE DON’T UNDERSTND THEIR IMPORTANCE OF THE LESSONS THAT IT HAS TO TEACH US, THE WISDOM THAT’S IN THAT CULTURE.>>I THINK GROUPS LIKE WHAT WE REPRESENT HERE TONIGHT THROUGH TRYING TO CHANGE THAT. AND SO AS WE ZOOM IN AND FOCUS A LITTLE BIT MORE ON WHAT Y’ALL ARE DOING, TELL US –>>WE ARE TRYING TO DO NOW IS BRING AFRICA IN BENIN IN PARTICULAR THE PRESIDENT OVER THERE WHEN WE MET IN 2005 AND THEN WENT BACK IN 2008 I BELIEVE IT WAS, HE SAID TO US AT THE TIME, THAT BENIN IS THE KEY TO COMING HOME, TO COMING BACK TO AFRICA. AND IF YOU LOOK AT THE HOW THE COUNTRY SHAPED, IT’S SHAPED LIKE A KEY. SO HE SAYS THIS IS YOUR KEY TO COMING HOME. YOU COME IN AFRICA AND AFRICA TO BENIN AND THEN AFRICA WILL OPEN UP TO YOU. AND SO WE HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH THE COUNTRY OF BENIN AND TOGE AND GHANA AND NIGERIA AND ALL THE WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES IN THERE, TO TRY TO BRING ABOUT THIS RECONCILIATION. THERE’S OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE DESCENDENTS THAT CAME FROM AFRICA ECONOMICALLY CULTURALLY, ALL OF THESE THINGS CAN BE ACHIEVED. THE PROBLEM THAT I HAVE SEEN THE EDUCATING THE DESCENDENTS IN AMERICA ABOUT THEIR DESCENDENTS IN AFRICA. WE HOPE TO IN THE FUTURE BE ABLE TO TAKE GROUPS BACK OVER, OUR OVERALL VISION IS TO GET A SHIP BIG ENOUGH TO TAKE TWO, THREE, 4,000, 5,000 PEOPLE AND LET’S SAIL BACK WHERE THE SHIP WAS BROUGHT OVER HERE, WE CAME ON THE SHIP, GO BACK HOME ON THE SHIP.>>OF COURSE, I’M JUST GOING TO BE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, BECAUSE YOU’LL HAVE FACTIONS THAT ARE JUST THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE VIEWS THAT SOME SAY ARE IGNORANT VIEWS. THEY DON’T WANT TO GO THERE BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO GET TOO FAR SIDETRACKED WITH THIS, BUT DON’T WANT TO GO THERE BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT FEAR WHAT WOULD HAPPEN.>>I WAS AFRAID TO — YOU GOT THAT LITTLE FEAR IN YOU BECAUSE YOU HAVE SEEN THE STUFF ON TV AND I HAD NEVER BEEN OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY. ONCE YOU GET TO AFRICA, THAT FEAR WAS SUBSIDE. NOW I WOULD LOVE TO AND I HOPE I’M BLESSED BEFORE I LEAVE HERE BEEN ABLE TO GO TO AFRICA TO STAY OVER THERE SIX MONTHS AND MAKE ME COME BACK TO AMERICA SIX MONTHS AND MAYBE SOMETIME GO STAY A YEAR OR TWO AND THEN COME BACK TO AMERICA. WE’RE NOT SAYING YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO AFRICA LIKE SOME PEOPLE SAY GO BACK TO AFRICA, BUT YOU NEED TO SEE WHERE YOU COME FROM.>>YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND ALSO THE PEOPLE WHO CREATED ASTRONOMY, PEOPLE WHO DID IRRIGATE THE NILE, PEOPLE WHO BUILT PYRAMIDS, THE PEOPLE WHO FIRST ESTABLISHED MEDICINE, DEN TESTRY, ALL THOSE — DENTISTRY, ALL THOSE PEOPLE THOSE TRADES, WE WAS NOT A PEOPLE WHO WAS THE SKILLS OF CIVILIZATION WHEN WE CAME HERE. WE CAME HERE KNOWING THESE THINGS. SO WE DIDN’T HAVE NO NEED TO BE CIVILIZED THOUGH THAT’S THE CONCEPT PEOPLE SAY, IF YOU SEE MOUNT KILAMANJARO, THE MOUNTAINS AN VALLEYS AN BOULEVARDS WITH PALM TREES AND SICK AND SEVEN LANES. WE ONLY SEE AFRICA OUT OF THE EYES OF SOMEONE WHO IS TRYING TO DISTORT BUT WE HAVE MANY PEOPLE WHO VACATION IN AFRICA, BECAUSE IT’S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN THE WORLD.>>IT IS.>>AND TO REDISCOVER THAT PLACE AND RECLAIM THAT RICH HERITAGE, BECAUSE WHEN CIVILIZATION FIRST BEGAN, IT BEGAN ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT. CHRISTIANITY DID NOT COME FROM EUROPE, IT CAME FROM AFRICA. SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE MISSED A LOT OF MISCONCEPTIONS BECAUSE OF WHAT WE HAVE BEEN TOLD AND WHAT WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT. BUT ALL THAT IS JUST PROPAGANDA.>>I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO ADD REMIND OUR VIEWERS THAT SLAVERY OFFICIALLY STARTED IN AUGUST IN 1619. THE FIRST SHIP THAT CAME TO AMERICA DOCKED IN JAMES TOWN, VIRGINIA. SOMETHING WORTH NOTING THAT WAS ONE YEAR PRIOR TO THE PILL GRAM LANDING. WE ALL HEAR ABOUT THANKSGIVING, THE AFRICANS WERE ALREADY HERE WHEN THE PILGRIMS LANDED AND IT OFFICIALLY ENDED DECEMBER 6 IN 1865. THAT’S 246 YEARS WE WERE IN BONDAGE AND THAT WE WERE FORCED INTO SERVITUDE AND SLAVES. SO IT’S VERY, VERY IMPORTANT MAKINDE AND MR. HASEEB POINTED OUT THAT WE EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN FOR THE NEXT GENERATION. AND THE NEXT GENERATION SO THEY WILL KNOW THEY CAME FROM ROYALTY AND MR. ELDER SAID, THEY WERE THE DOCTORS THEY WERE THE MATHEMATICSES. THEY WERE THE SCULPTORS SO THE PROPAGANDA IN THE UNITED STATES VIA THE MEDIA, HAS MOST PEOPLE INCLUDING BLACKS, AFRICAN AMERICANS, TO BELIEVE THAT AFRICA WAS THIS FAMINE, DISEASE, COUNTRY, THAT NIGERIA EXISTS BECAUSE OF OIL. WE NEED TO CHANGE THE NARRATIVE. WE NEED TO CHANGE THE LANDSCAPE ON THAT. SO THAT SO THE UNITED STATES AND WORLD WOULD KNOW AFRICA IS YOUR GUS. IT IS BEAUTIFUL. IT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CONTINENT IN THE WORLD. AS MR. HENRY STATED WHEN YOU GO THERE YOUR HONOR FIRST TRIP THERE, YOU’RE IN AWE. BECAUSE WE IN WESTERN MIND SET HAVE BEEN FED PROPAGANDA OWL OUR LIVES, IT’S LIKE NEW YORK, CALIFORNIA, THEY’RE MORE ADVANCED THAN WE ARE. AS A CONTINENT THEY’RE WAY MORE ADVANCED TECHNOLOGICALLY THAN WE ARE. SO WE WANT TO THIS FORUM, WE WANT THAT PART OF WHAT WE’RE DOING IS TO CHANGE THE MIND SET OF PEOPLE WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO WHAT AFRICA AND AFRICATOWN REALLY REPRESENT AND WHAT THE CULTURE IN REALLY IS ABOUT.>>I’M GLAD YOU WEPT THERE, DR. INGRAM, THAT WAS WHERE I WAS GOING NEXT IS TO TRY TO ZOOM IN AND FOCUS MORE, WE’RE TALKING AFRICATOWN. BUT I WANT TO TALK SPECIFICS AN’T WHAT YOU ALL ARE DOING ON THE GROUND RIGHT NOW TO MAKE EVERYTHING WE’RE TALKING ABOUT COME OFF THE PAGES OF HISTORY AND INTO LEGACY WE CAN LEAF FOR OUR CHILDREN. AND OUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN.>>THANK YOU, JUDY FOR THAT. ONE OF THE TRIPS I RETURNED FROM WEST AFRICA IN BENIN, AND I MET WITH THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS FROM THE NEWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT TO ALL THE CABINET MEMBERS THERE, AND WE HAVE ASSIGNED A PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT WITH THEM THAT WE WILL ACT AS THE CLEARINGHOUSE FOR WEST AFRICA. AND WHAT THAT WOULD DO IS FOR BUSINESSES, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS BUSINESSES IN AFRICA THAT WANT TO DO BUSINESS IN THE UNITED STATES, THEY CAN COME THROUGH US AS A FORM AND WHAT WE WOULD DO IS WE WILL TRY TO — WE PAIR THEM WITH BUSINESSES HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. TO RECEIVE THEIR GOODS AND ALSO BUSINESSES HERE IN THE UNITED STATES WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE THEM ALSO TO DO BUSINESS IN AFRICA. WE WANT THIS TO BE A BILATERAL AGREEMENT AND APPROACH. AND WE’RE SPENDING A LOT OF TIME IN EDUCATING, LOCALLY AND NOW THANKS TO AWARE THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO EDUCATE NATIONALLY ABOUT WHAT AFRICATOWN IS AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WE FACE BECAUSE WE CALL AND FROM LACK OF SUPPORT FROM THE PUBLIC FROM THE DESCENDENTS, OF AFRICA, I’M MEANING ALL DEs DENTS FROM AFRICA — DECEDENTS FROM AFRICA, THAT AFRICA IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. IT’S SOMETHING WE DON’T UNDERSTAND AND WE DON’T TALK ABOUT IS THE FACT THAT AFRICA IS THE RICHEST CONTINENT IN THE — AS IT IS ON — IN THE WORLD. AND ALSO THAT EVERYTHING WE USE IN OUR EVERY DAY LIVE, EVERYTHING, NO 99% OF ALL RECALL MATERIALS COMES OUT OF AFRICA. SO WE’RE WORKING ON TRYING TO GET BUSINESES THAT WILL GO INTO AFRICANS TO HELP BUILD PROCESSING MACHINERY. SO THOSE BENEFITS IN AFRICA WANT — IN AMERICAN PRESENCE IN ALABAMA SPECIFICALLY IN AFRICATOWN TO CREATE JOBS, CREATE OPPORTUNITIES, TO CREATE A CULTURAL UNIVERSITIES BASICALLY, A TECHNOLOGICAL CENTERS. SO WE’RE ON THE GROUND, ON THE GROUND WORKING UP TRYING TO GET OUR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CONNECTION. THAT’S WHERE WE HAVE TO START, WHAT THE CONNECTION IS BETWEEN AFRICA AND ALABAMA AND AFRICA AND AFRICATOWN. THAT’S WHERE WE LOSE — WHERE WE HAVE THE DISCONNECT BECAUSE MOST AFRICAN AMERICANS OR BLACKS DON’T THINK THAT AFRICA IS A PRIORITY.>>I THINK –>>I SEE.>>I TOTALLY AGREE WITH HER, WE ARE TRYING TO MAKE THAT CONNECTION ECONOMICALLY, CULTURALLY AND SPIRITUALLY. THERE IS A WEBSITE YOU CAN GO TO CALLED AFRICAN GROWTH FOR ECONOMIC ACT AND YOU CAN LOOK AT THE DIFFERENT PRODUCTS THAT AFRICANS HAVE THAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO TRY TO CREATE TRADES WITH THESE DIFFERENT PRODUCTS SO THAT’S AN ACT THAT THE UNITED STTES CONGRESS, UNITED STATES GAVE AN EXEMPTION TO THE SOUTH SAHARAN COUNTRIES TO SHIP THEIR DUTIES IN AND PRITCHARD AND TUSKEEGEE WAS FORTUNATE, THEY VOTED TO SET UP TRADE FREE ZONES WHERE YOU CAN SHIP PRODUCTS INTO THESE ZONES WITHOUT DUTY. SO THOSE TWO AREAS WAS VERY, VERY ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF TRYING TO ESTABLISH THIS ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIP. WE INVEST MONEY IN A LOT OF THINGS BUT WE DON’T INVEST O YOU ARE MONEY IN THE THINGS THAT GO — GOING TO BENEFIT NOT ONLY US BUT NEXT GENERATION. IF YOU SPEND YOUR RESOURCES WITH SOMEONE ELSE YOU CAN EXPECT YOUR HOUSE TO BE READY. SO WE HAVE TO LEARN TO INVEST IN THE THINGS THAT HELP BUILD AND MAINTAIN OUR COMMUNITY. A LOT OF SOCIAL ILLS THAT WE ARE STRUGGLING WITH IS BECAUSE OF LACK OF RESOURCES.>>DEE DEE, ALSO LIKE TO ADD REGARDING A GOAL, WHICH IS THE AFRICAN GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES ACT, THAT WAS AN ENACTED IN 2000 INTO LAW UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON. AS OF MARCH OF THIS YEAR, THERE ARE OVER 8,000 PRODUCTS THAT CAN BE BROUGHT INTO THE UNITED STATES DUTY FREE. OUR VIEWERS DUTY FREE IS THE TARIFF ASSOCIATED WHEN YOU SHIP GOODS — SHIP HERE TO UNITED STATES THEY CHARGE YOU A DUTY. THE AFRICA GROWS OPPORTUNITY ACT ALLOWS THEY GET PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT FOR COUNTRIES IN AFRICA. COMING INTO THE UNITED STATES, THE DUTIES WILL BE $30,000, $50,000 FOR A SMALL FARMER OR A VERY SMALL BUSINESS OWNER IN AFRICA, THAT WILL WIPE THEM OUT COMPLETE LE OR THEY WOULDN’T — COMPLETELY OR NOT BE ABLE TO SHIP THEIR GOODS HERE. ONE THING I ALSO WANT TO HIGHLIGHT IS THE WORLD CONFERENCE OF BLACK MAYORS WHOSE PRESIDENT IS MAYOR FORMER MAYOR OF TUSKEEGEE, MAYOR JOHNNY FORD IS ALSO VERY INSTRUMENTAL WITH OUR WORKING WITH US WITH AFRICA, TUSKEEGEE, A FREE TRADE ZONE SO WE HAVE WORKING SIDE BY SIDE HAN IN GLOVE WITH TUSKEEGEE AND ALSO MAKE SURE THAT WE ECONOMICALLY TUSKEEGEE, AFRICATOWN AND MOBILE BENEFIT ECONOMICALLY THROUGH THE ACT. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT BRINGING PRODUCTS IN, WE HAVE THE SUPPORT IN MOBILE, ALABAMA, IT IS THE THIRD LARGEST DEEP WATER PORT IN THE UNITED STATES. SO IT CAN ACCOMMODATE ABOUT 16 BIRTHS SO IT CAN ACCOMMODATE A LOT OF GOODS COMING FROM AFRICA AND YOU ACTUALLY SOME OF THE THINGS WE CAN DO ON THE GROUND. PREVIOUSLY THEY — TO THE UNITED STATES THEY CAN BE SHIPPED OUT TO TRUCKING COMPANIES, THEY CAN BE SHIPPED OUT TO VARIOUS BUSINESS OWNERS IN THE UNITED STATES. SO SO MUCH OPPORTUNITY THERE, SO MUCH OPPORTUNITY FOR BLACK AMERICA, ECONOMICALLY, JUST A CULTURAL AWARENESS OF IT. THERE’S SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES WE ARE MISSING. IT’S VERY IMPORTANT WE CAN CONNECT THE DOTS.>>I SEE. THAT’S WHAT Y’ALL ARE TRYING TO DO. YOU MENTIONED MAJOR FORD TUSKEEGEE. YOU MENTIONED FORMER PRITCHARD MAYOR JOHN SMITH AND ALSO PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT SENATOR MICHAEL FINGERS FORMER REPRESENTATIVE IS VERY INVOLVED.>>IN TRYING TO ESTABLISH.>>HENRY WILLIAMS.>>REPRESENTATIVE OF BEAL PARK. INSTRUMENTAL IN –>>IN TUSKEEGEE MAJOR NEAL WAS INSTRUMENTAL TRYING TO HELP WITH THIS VISION TO BRING IT ABOUT.>>SO IN SOME REGARD SOME OF THIS VISION HAS COME TO PASS THOUGH SOME OF THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT AMONG US TO SEE IT COME TO FRUITION. AND THEN IN OTHER REGARDS THERE’S STILL MUCH MORE AS WE SEE TO DO.>>THERE’S A LOT OF WORK TO DO FOR INSTANCE A LOT OF HISTORICAL SITES NEED TO BE HIGHLIGHTED FOR — AND TOURISTS CAN COME, ONE VISION WAS TO START AN AFRICAN MARKET. WHERE PEOPLE CAN COME IN AND SEE CRAFTS BEING DONE AND THEY CAN COME IN AND SEE A LOT OF THE THINGS, FOODS, RESTAURANTS, HOTELS. SO THE POSSIBILITY IS THERE. THE VISION IS THERE. YES SOURCESES AND ORGANIZATIONS AND STRUCTURE COMMUNITY SUPPORT IS WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO UTILIZE THIS SERVICE — THIS PLATFORM YOU ALLOW US TO SPEAK TO, THOSE PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THIS IS AN AVENUE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FOR CULTURAL AWARENESS AND RECLAIMING SOMETHING THAT WAS ACTUALLY VERY VALUABLE TO US THAT WE LOST.>>ALSO WE ULTIMATELY WANT TO BUILD A AFRICAN MUSEUM. IN AFRICATOWN, WE WANT THIS MUSEUM TO REPRESENT OUR ANCESTORS. WE WANT THIS TO BE ONE THAT PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD WILL BE EXCITED ABOUT COMING, COMING TO SEE THIS MUSEUM, THAT IN ITSELF, WILL CREATE MUCH NEEDED RESOURCES AND ECONOMY BOOST IN AFRICATOWN IN THE MOBILE AREA ALSO. WE SHOULD HAVE — WE HAVE TO AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM IN D.C., WE NEED A MUSEUM OF THAT MAGNITUDE. IN THE MOBILE AREA IN AFRICATOWN SO THAT THE COMMUNITY CAN SHOWCASE THEIR PRIDE AND HERITAGE OF ANCESTORS SO THAT’S SOMETHING WE ARE WORKING ON AND OF COURSE THAT’S GOING TO TAKE FINANCING, A LOT OF PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP AND WE ARE LOOKING FOR ALL OF THAT. WE ARE LOOKING FOR INVESTORS, WE ARE LOOKING FOR WE WANT TO PARTNER WITH SCHOOLS, WE WANT TO PARTNER WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS TO MAKE THIS MUSEUM TO BE — BECOME A REALITY.>>I SEE.>>WHEN WE TALK ABOUT AFRICATOWN, WE MENTIONED PLATEAU IN MAGAZINE POINT AND OTHER — WHAT PARTICULAR AREA ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? THIS IS BIGGER THAN JUST THAT.>>THERE IS A DESIGNATED PARK THAT’S BEEN SET ASIDE AND TO MARKET — MIGHT BE MARKED HISTORICAL DESIGNATED AREA. WE CANNOT JUST KEEP IT IN THAT PART OF THE COUNTY. WE HAVE TO ALSO TAKE IN COMMUNITIES THAT ALSO NEED TO BE A VALUABLE PART OF THIS, BUT THE MUSEUM, WE ALSO LOOK AT A PARK, WE LOOK AT AFRICAN PARK. WHERE THERE WOULD BE BOATS AND ALL KINDS OF THINGS TO BE THERE, A PLACE PEOPLE CAN GO AND RELAX AND ENJOY THEMSELVES, WE WERE LOOKING AT A REPLICA OF THE COTILDA TO BE PART OF MUSEUM ADS WELL. WE HAVE A LOT OF PLANS THAT HAVE BEEN DISCUSSED OVER THE YEARS ABOUT HOW TO BRING THIS ABOUT, THE VISION IS HERE THE COMMITMENT — DR. INGRAM HAVE BEEN VERY LEANING OUT NOW COMMITTED LATELY, PICKED UP THE TORCH TO MOVE THIS IDEA FORWARD AND SHE HAD WENT OVER TO AFRICA AND VISIT LIKE SHE SAID AND MET A LOT OF THE PEOPLE, SO — BUT WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH ORGANIZATION.>>THAT’S WHAT I WANTED TO GET TO. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR CHALLENGE? WE HAVE BEEN OFF AND ON HIPTING ABOUT THEM BUT WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES?>>ONE THING I WANTED TO MENTION, WE DO HAVE A NEW AFRICATOWN BRIDGE, OVER THERE TOO SO YOU CAN ENTER AFRICATOWN THROUGH THE AFRICATOWN BRIDGE.>>THANK YOU FOR PUTTING THAT IN THERE.>>SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WE HAVE, ONE AS WE SAID BEFORE, IS EDUCATION OF THE PEOPLE. TO REALLY KNOW THEIR HISTORY. THAT’S THE BIG ISSUE BECAUSE I THINK ONCE PEOPLE KNOW MORE ABOUT WHERE THEY COME FROM THEN THEY WILL BEGIN TO LOOK AT IT DIFFERENT. ECONOMICS. THERE’S SO MANY ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES FOR US TO INVEST IN AFRICA, AND FOR AFRICA TO BE ABLE TO INVEST IN US OVER HERE. BUT WE’RE NOT CONNECTING THE DOTS. THAT’S WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO DO IS CONNECT THE DOTS, IT’S GOING TO TAKE MONEYS IN ORDER TO BRING THESE THINGS ABOUT. WE ENCOURAGE OUR PEOPLE TO ET>>TOGETHER WITH THE FEW PENNIES AND NICKELS, THEY’RE NOT SUPER RICH, WE CAN’T SIT BACK AND MAKE BETS LIKE THAT BUT WE CAN POOL OUR RESOURCES SO WE CAN INVEST IN AFRICA AND IN RETURN I CAN GUARANTEE WILL BE FAR GREATER THAN THE INVESTMENT.>>YOU DON’T WANT TO MAKE A BET BUT IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME.>>THAT’S RIGHT.>>I WOULD LIKE TO INTERJECT HERE, THIS IS THE LARGER THAN THE FORUM. AND IT’S GOING TO TAKE ALL OF US TO BRING THESE IDEAS AND GOALS TO FRUITION. WE HAVE TO BECOME MORE ORGANIZED IN ORDER TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS IS A REALITY. THAT IS ONE OF OUR CHALLENGES. THIS IS AS — SO MANY THINGS WE TALK ABOUT, THIS IS GREATER THAN ALABAMA BENIN TRADE FORUM, IT WILL TAKE US ALL TO COME TOGETHER IN UNITY AND OPERATE ADS ONE TO PROCEED FURTHER WITH THIS AND IF I MAY, I WOULD LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT NEXT YEAR 2018, 153 YEARS. AND WHAT WE ARE WORKING ON IS FOR THE CELEBRATION WHICH IS NOT EMBRACED IN MOBILE HOW IT SHOULD BE. WE HAVE CELEBRATIONINGS IN PRITCHARD BUT WE WANT THIS TO BE A CELEBRATION ALL OVER ALABAMA, WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE IT AS A NATIONAL HOLIDAY TO CELEBRATE OUR HISTORY. IT WAS A DARK TIME IN AMERICA’S HISTORY BUT THIS IS STILL OUR HISTORY. AND IT’S SOMETHING WE DON’T WANT OUR PEOPLE TO BE ASHAMED OF. THIS IS OUR HISTORY. SO THE ENTIRE DIASPER IS MORE THAN THE UNITED STATES, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT CARIBBEAN, LIVERPOOL, ASIA. EVERYWHERE — EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD HAS PART OF THE DIASPRA SO WE WANT 2018 TO BE THE LARGEST GATHERING OF THE AFRICAN DIASPR A IN THE CITY OF MOBILE, ALABAMA.>>THAT’S HUGE.>>WE’RE INVITING THE WORLD TO SEE WHAT MOBILE HAS TO OFFER IN TERMS OF AFRICATOWN, COME EXPERIENCE THE HERITAGE>>EXPERIENCE THE CULTURE, EXPERIENCE THE POSSIBILITIES, EXPIERCE FLAVOR OF WHAT AFRICATOWN IS MADE OF, AND WHERE WE COME FROM, WHERE WE’RE GOING. I HAVE TO KEEP GOING BACK TO GENERATIONS OF CHILDREN, IF WE DON’T TEACH THEM NOW, IF WE DON’T PRESERVE HISTORY NOW, SOONER OR LATER IT WILL BE FORGOTTEN. WE DON’T WANT THIS TO HAPPEN.>>WE NEED TO LOOK AT PEOPLE WHO SURVIVE ALL WITH — PEOPLE WHO SURVIVE ALL THAT. SO WE ARE CELEBRATING THAT IR SURVIVAL. AND THAT CHARACTERISTICS OF BEING WILLING TO SACRIFICE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION THAT UNSELFISHNESS, THAT COMMITMENT TO A VISION AND FUTURE AND HAVING HOPE IN SPITE OF WHAT THEY WERE GOING THROUGH THEY STILL SUNG SONGS. IN SPITE OF WHAT THEY ARE GOING THROUGH THEY STILL ANYTHING ROB THEM OF THEIR JOY. SO WE WASN’T CELEBRATING BECAUSE WE WAS IN TROUBLE, WE ARE CELEBRATING IN SPITE OF TROUBLE WE WAS IN SO THAT’S THE TENACITY OF A PEOPLE AND WHAT WE WANT TO CAPTURE IN OUR YOUNG PEOPLE IN SPITE OF CHALLENGES YOU HAVE YOU SET GOALS, YOU STRIVE FOR THOSE GOALS STRIVE TO REACH THEM BUT MAKING PEOPLE AWARE OF THE BEAUTY OF THE HERITAGE HAVE BEEN SO DISTORTED IS ONE OF THE KEY CHALLENGES WE HAVE. AND WHEN IT COMES TO CULTURE EXCHANGE, USED TO HAVE TWO AND THREE BLOCKS OF AFRICAN ART AND AFRO SHAVES, FOOD AND CELEBRATION WAS. I WAS DOWN IN SOUTH CAROLINA AND THEY USED TO HAVE A GROUP OF AFRICAN DANCERS COME OVER. EVERY TIME THE AFRICAN DANCERS COME OVER, THE VINE YARDS THEY WENT WAS PACKED BECAUSE THOSE BROTHERS HAD ALL KINDS OF COSTUMES ON, AND DRUMS WAS KICKING AND BEAUTIFUL WOMEN, DANCING. AND THERE WAS A LOT OF CELEBRATION, THERE WAS ON STILTS, THERE WAS DANCING ON STILTS. SO THERE’S SO MUCH CREATIVITY WHEN WE COME TOGETHER AND CELEBRATE OUTSIDERS. AND WE ARE NOT HOLDING ANY BITTERNESS, THIS IS NOT AGAINST ANYBODY. WE STRUGGLING TO MAKE THINGS BETTER FOR THOSE WHO ARE HERE. ‘S NOT A STRUGGLE AGAINST ANYBODY, IT’S A STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE.>>I SEE WHAT YOU’RE SAYING.>>I WAS THINKING AS YOU SAID THAT, WE HAD SOME PRESIDENTS, I REMEMBER PRESIDENT BUSH BEING ONE, TO HIGHLIGHT HIM YOU CAN UNDERSTAND NOW HOW HE GOT INTO THE SPIRIT. A MAN THAT PROBABLY COULDN’T DANCE AS WE SAW DURING HIS INAUGURATION BUT WHEN HE WAS IN AFRICA HE WAS IN IT BECAUSE HE WAS ABLE TO GET TO SPIRIT. WHEN YOU GO AND EXPERIENCE THAT SPIRIT, YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.>>WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT GOING TO AFRICA IN THE DANCING AND SINGING?>>I WAS SAYING THERE WAS A SAYING THEY SAIL SOMETIMES TO MAKE US UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH WE HAVE LOST. WHEN THINK CATCH THE PLANE AND GO TO AFRICA, SOME OF THE BROTHERS BE ON THE TARMAC AND THEY’RE PLAYING THE AFRICAN DRUMS. WHEN YOU PASS BY, AND YOU DIDN’T GET — THAT WAS NO RESPONSE FROM YOU, THEY SAY HE HAVE LOST HIS SOUL IN AMERICA.>>WE WILL DO SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR VIEWERS IN A MOMENT SPEAKING OF LOST SOULS BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, SOULS IN THE GRAVE SITES, IN AFRICATOWN. CAN WE MENTION THEM A LITTLE BIT AS WE TALK ABOUT WHAT IS THERE AND WHAT IS LEFT IN TERMS OF HAVING ACTUAL NOT JUST PROOF THEY ARE THERE AND STILL THERE, BUT THAT THESE PEOPLE THEIR LIVES LEGACY LIVES ON THOUGH THEY’RE THERE RESTING.>>IT DOES. WHEN AFRICAN FAMILY CAME OVER THEY VISIT THEIR LOVED ONES IN THE CEMETERY. THE CEMETERY IS BEING KEPT UP SO THAT WE CAN VISIT. SOME OF IT IS BEING RESTORED, SOME HAS AT ONE TIME GOING TO SOME RUINS. SO A LOT OF FOCUS IS ON MAKING SURE THAT WE RESPECT THOSE WHO HAVE WENT BEFORE US AND THE LEGACY THEY HAVE LEFT.>>AND THE OLD CEMETERY OF AFRICATOWN GRAVEYARD. WE ALSO PULLED UP IMAGES OF CAJO LEWIS’S MONUMENT AND HIS SITE THAT WE HAD AS WELL IN REMEMBERING HIM, THE LAST SURVIVOR OF THE COTILDON AS WELL. YOU BROUGHT MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS HERE. THAT’S THE PHOTO WE HAD OF HIM AND HIS WIFE. BUT HERE ON AWARE WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE SOME INSTRUMENTS HERE, THEY WILL INTRODUCE US TO AND — MAKINDE WILL INTRODUCE US AND PERHAPS PLAY.>>THIS IS CALLED THE CARUMBA. WE CALL IT A XYLOPHONE HERE IN AMERICA BUT WE HAVE BEEN PLAYING MUSIC, NOW MUSIC THEY SAY THE KIND OF MUSIC WE PLAY DETERMINE THE HEALTH OF A COMMUNITY. IF YOU GOT SICK MUSIC THAT SING SICK THINGS YOU GOT A SICK COMMUNITY, BUT IF YOU TALK ABOUT MUSIC TALKING HEALTHY THINGS, THAT REFLECTS A HEALTHY COMMUNITY. THIS IS CALLED A XYLOPHONE. ♪>>HOW DOES THAT SOUND?>>I LOVE IT.>>THIS IS CALLED AN AFRICAN MUSIC BOX.>>HOW DOES THAT SOUND?>>I LOVE IT.>>I WOULD SAY THIS MUCH, MY SOUL IS NOT DEAD.>>>>NEITHER IS MINE. I’M ABOUT TO GET UP TO THE TUNE. THIS WONDERFUL MUSIC IS UNIVERSAL. IT’S A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE.>>PEOPLE CELEBRATE. AND THEY SAY TO COMMUNICATE, THE NEXT TO EACH OVER — CONNECTS US TO ETCH OTHER AND CONNECTS US TO OUR CREATOR. MUSIC IS A VERY INSTRUMENTAL PART OF LULL BUYS WHEN BORN AND FUNERAL PROCESSIONS WHEN WE DIE SO MUSIC IS SOMETHING THAT ACCOMPLISH US ALL THROUGH LIFE. WHEN WE CELEBRATE WHEN WE DO THINGS SO MUSIC IS INTRICATE PART OF WHO WE ARE.>>SINCE WE’RE CELEBRATING TALKING AFRICATOWN AND ALL THAT STUFF, I MEANIATE YOU BRINGING IN MUSIC AND HIGHLIGHT IT. A WONDERFUL WAY TO WORK THAT IN. I LOVE IT A LOT.>>YOU BROUGHT SOMETHING AS WELL?>>THIS WAS A T-SHIRT WE SOLD DURING THE AFRICATOWN EVENT HERE, THIS HAS A PICTURE OF COJO LEWIS AND HIS WIFE AND A REPLICA OF THE SHIP THAT BROUGHT US OVER HERE. ON THE BACK IT HAS ANCESTRIES OF HOW IT WENT DOWN IN SOME OF THESE PEOPLE WE DID GET A CHANCE TO MEET COJO LEWIS AND MOST PEOPLE — A LOT OF THEM WE GOT A YOUNGER GENERATION BUT A LOT OF THEM NOW DECEASED THAT KNEW THE HISTORY. WE HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO PRESERVE OUR HISTORY.>>GOT YOU. AND DR. INGRAM, AS WE GET READY TO CLOSE HERE, DO YOU HAVE ANY CLOSING COMMENTS ON THE VISION YOU HAVE FOR AFRICATOWN IN THE FORUM?>>YES, THANK YOU, AGAIN, DEE DEE. I WAS THINKING ABOUT WHAT MR. HENRY WAS TALKING ABOUT, OUR HISTORY AND WHAT WE HAVE. I THOUGHT MAYBE HE WAS GOING TO BRING THAT OUT BUT WE HAVE AN ALABAMA — WE HAVE A BENIN MUSEUM WITHIN OUR OFFICE.>>OH, NICE.>>I’LL LET HENRY DISCUSS THAT MORE BECAUSE HE AND HIS WIFE PAINSTAKINGLY PUT THAT TOGETHER.>>WE DO AND IT DETAILS SOME OF THE HISTORY OF OUR PEOPLE IN AFRICA. WE WENT OVER THERE TO SOME O THE FESTIVALS, IT ALSO SHOWS THE PROGRESS MADE IN AMERICA. TO SHOW WE — BECAUSE WE EVEN GIVEN BAD LIGHT IN AMERICA SO SOME OF THE GREAT INVENTIONS, WE HIGHLIGHT THOSE THINGS. BUT EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO COME AND SEE, WE HAVE A ONE ROOM, IT WILL TAKE YOU AN HOUR TO GET THROUGH IT.>>REALLY.>>THAT’S AWESOME.>>GREAT LOT OF GOOD INFORMATION.>>WHERE WILL WE SEE Y’ALL IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?>>I ENVISION US TRYING TO MAKE THIS CONNECTION, IF WE DON’T TAKE THE SHIP IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS WE DEFINITELY GOING TO TAKE PLANE. WE CAN’T GET A SHIP THERE’S A PLANE THOUGH.>>OR A TRAIN.>>JUST TO BE ABLE TO SEE BECAUSE THE MORE PEOPLE THAT WE ARE ABLE O AND WE’RE TALKING ABOUT ANISES STORES, OTHERS — ANCESTORS. THEY VISIT AND WHEN THEY DO THEY GO BACK. ALL RACES OF PEOPLE OVER THERE, THEY COME EVERY YEAR, THEY COME BACK, PAY THEIR OWN MONEY TO GO BACK TO AFRICA BECAUSE OF THE EXPERIENCE THEY GET. SO IF THEY CAN GET IT WE CAN GET IT TOO.>>I HAVE NOT BEEN THERE. BUT IT’S ON MY BUCKET LIST.>>GO AHEAD.>>MENTION HERE YOU TALKING ABOUT OUR VISION. THE ALABAMA BENIN TRADE FORUM, WHAT OUR VISION OF THE AFRICAN ECONOMICS INITIATIVE AND AFRICATOWN IS REALLY TO WORK TO PROMOTE INNOVATIVE IMMIGRATION SOLUTIONS, WHEN I SAY THAT I’M TALKING ABOUT TO HAVE OUR AFRICAN BROTHERS AN SISTERS COME TO THE UNITED STATES AND THOSE OF US TO GO TO AFRICA, AND JUST THEN TO WORK FOR POLICY FOR AFRICAN PARTICIPATION IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY BECAUSE THAT’S VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. SOME OF OUR INITIATIVES INCLUDE COLLABORATIVE, ALLIANCE WITH ALL GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS, WHETHER IT BE AFRICA, HERE IN THE UNITED STATES, OBVIOUSLY WITH BUSINESSES AND CORPORATE LEADERS, WE DEFINITELY NEED PRIVATE INVESTORS AND TRADE PARTNERS IN AMERICA AND ALSO IN AFRICA. SO THAT WE CAN CONTINUE TO HAVE A DIALOGUE AND CREATE A GREAT GLOBAL ECONOMIC POLICY DEBATE BASICALLY ON AFRICA’S ROLE IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND ONCE WE DO THAT, IT IS IN TURNS US HELPING AFRICATOWN TO GROW. BECAUSE AFRICATOWN IS AFRICA AND AFRICA IS AFRICATOWN.>>ALL RIGHT. WE’LL BRING UP A BULLETIN BOARD IN CASE SOMEONE WANTS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT AFRICATOWN AND OF COURSE, THIS ORGANIZATION MAKING SOME BIG STRIDES IN PLANNING TO DO SOME EVEN BIGGER STRIDES IN THE FUTURE WITH THE ALABAMA BENIN TRADE FORUM, AS SHE SAID, BRINGING AFRICA TO US AND US GOING TO AFRICA. IN MANY WAYS. SO THAT’S AWESOME. CLOSING REMARKS?>>MY LAST REMARK WOULD BE, IT’S A SONG. ♪ ♪ (SINGING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) ♪ BYE-BYE. PEACE.>>THAT’S WHAT THAT MEANT. BLESS YOU. BLESS YOU.>>I LIKE TO JUST SAY WITH THE ECONOMIC PIECE AND ALL WE’RE WORKING ON, PUTTING YOUR PLANS TO VISIT AFRICA.>>AND THERE OF IT.>>>>YOU WILL BE A CHANGED PERSON.>>I LOVE IT AND YOU, DR. INGRAM, LAST REMARK.>>DEE DEE, IT IS A PLEASURE, IT IS BEEN A PLEASURE TO BE ON THE AWARE SHOW AND WE JUST THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR INVITING US.>>SO GLAD YOU COULD BE HERE. SORRY YOU COULDN’T BE ON THE SET, MAYBE NEXT TIME. WE THANK YOU FOR JOINING US BY TELEPHONE. THANK YOU, HENRY, MAKINDE, AS ALWAYS. THANK YOU ALL AND HOPE TO SEE SOME OF YOUR PLANS AND UNEARTHING OF OUR RICH HISTORY AND CULTURE AND THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY TO COME IN THE FUTURE.>>LIKE MANY OTHER STORIES IN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY, OFTENTIMES THE HISTORY HAS BEEN EITHER LOST, STOLEN, DESTROYED, ALTERED ERASED OR IGNORED. THE STRENGTH OF THE COURAGEOUS SURVIVORS OF THE CO THETILDA LIVE ON IN ALL THOSE WORKING TO PRESERVE THE HISTORY, HERITAGE AND CULTURE IN MOBILE AND WITH OUR SISTER NATION, BENIN, AFRICA. THE LAST KNOWN SURVIVOR OF THE COTILDA CUJO LEWIS DESCRIBED A JOYOUS MOMENT WHEN THE CONFEDERATES FLED MOBILE IN APRIL OF 1865, IN HIS OWN WORDS SAID THIS. AFTER THEY FREE US, YOU UNDERSTAND ME, WE SO GLAD, WE MADE THE DRUM BEAT LIKE WE WERE ON OUR AFRICAN SOIL. THE UNITED NATIONS USED THIS ACCOUNT IN 2009 TO COMMEMORATE THE VICTIMS OF THE SLAVERY TO ILLUSTRATE THE MOMENT OF AFRICANS CLAIMING THEIR FREEDOM. AWARE IS USING THOSE WORDS OF LEWIS TO PAY TRIBUTE TO THE HISTORY AND LEGACY THEY LEFT BEHIND. FOR ALL OF US HERE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU CAN ALSO JOIN US AT WSRE.ORG/AWARE. WE’RE ALSO ON YOUTUBE. UNTIL NEXT TIME, I’M DEE DEE SHARP SAYING STAY INFORMED AND THEY AWARE. — STAY AWARE ♪ ♪

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