Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and City of Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley today announced the designation of the City of Annapolis as a Middle Passage “Site of Memory” during a remembrance and celebration ceremony. The designation was endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Middle Passage Ceremonies, and Port Markers Project.
We’re not done telling the history of our county, and we’re not done making our county the Best Place For All,” said County Executive Pittman.“I want to thank Ann Chinn and the Port Marker Committee for their work on the project and for ensuring this vital part of history gets the recognition it deserves.”
The Annapolis Port Marker Committee spearheaded the project with guidance from the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Marker’s Project Founder Ann Chinn. The purpose of the site is to educate residents and visitors about Annapolis’ connection and relevance to national and global history.
“It is important for Annapolis residents and visitors to be reminded of history,” said Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley. “We are known as a historic destination, but we haven’t always been telling a complete and inclusive story. I want to thank and acknowledge the contributions of Ann Chinn, Janice Hayes-Williams, and the Annapolis Port Markers committee for being courageous champions of truth.”
The effort to secure the designation and erect a port marker in The City of Annapolis dates back a decade to when the first petition was submitted. In 2019, County Executive Pittman and Mayor Buckley penned a joint letter to the UNESCO Slave Trade Route Project requesting its endorsement. UNESCO approved the designation request and under the leadership of historian and activist Janice Hayes-Williams, the Port Marker Committee worked with local officials and community members to plan the Port Marker Celebration.
“Today is a celebration of the ancestors,” said Janice Hayes-Williams. “As Annapolis becomes a site of memory for education, science, and for the descendants, they bring honor and dignity.”
The Port Marker Celebration engages community members, schools, businesses, and local leaders in an effort to acknowledge and honor the vital role that Africans and their descendants played in developing local areas and nations. During the remembrance ceremony, held in concurrence with Maryland’s Emancipation Day, committee members and community leaders performed bold reenactments of historical figures, shared the history of Annapolis’ role in the transatlantic human trade, and unveiled a mock-up of the Port Marker to be installed at City Dock.
Courtesy of The City of Annapolis' Communications Department-Text and Image