Purchased Lives: New Orleans *flashback to FALL forward 2016*

nzoCALIFA_Califa-at-CongoSquareThis post was inspired through current re-dedication efforts to Blog more about my Ancestors and research findings along the way. There is a plethora of field research findings, testimony and historical capers that transcend lifetimes for which I’ve been exposed. Yet Elders say, “bit-by-bit” as ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER and so I press forward into this Harvest Season, bearing the fruits of my genealogical research, findings and illuminating historical facts and stories of African Ancestored folk. #RiteOn

Below is a post update to my #Dancestory2015 project, its theme: Whose Do You Belong to?!  I share a glimpse about my unforgettable visit to the incomparable “Purchased Lives” Exhibit at the Historic New Orleans Collection March. 7th – July 18th, 2015, documenting the United States Domestic Slave Trade. It took me about 3-4 days to digest the enormity of information, tangible artifacts on view and rare testimonies of African-Ancestored Ancestral voices on display.  Couldn’t help but think about the gross void of information concerning African American contributions in my High school’s American History class – yet my blessing and deepest gratitude is for the  Berkeley High School African American Studies Department, the only of its kind in California of its time — where a cadre of professorship serving as our Mentors and Teachers fostered the daily nourishment of OURstory, giving us wings to catapult through the ignorance of systematic racism, bred through American Public Education. Thus the historical component of my genealogical field research is vital to conceptualizing the wholistic story of African Ancestored people.

A Special thank you to Berkeley High School Teachers then, Mr. McKnight, Professor Austin, my Dancestor, Paula Mc Cullum  of African/Jazz/Dunham Dance, and Communal Ancestor, Mr Richard Navies, a conscious raising warrior of brilliant leadership.

~R. Calloway, Berkely Highschool, Class of ’83


[edited for brevity] 

Ago Ire’o Monday – Giving thanks to Olodumare for Ori, a grand salute to the owner of the crossroads and give praise to the Life of my Ancestors. ~Ashe’o

#Dancestory2015, staying on the #Rite track, encouraging fellow sojourners of interest, as I’ve forged ahead braving new frontier Genealogy geeked-out, destined to bring to light those Ancestors who’ve touched these shores first.  Most recently, I attended the phenomenal “Purchased Lives” Exhibit chronicling the New Orleans and the Domestic Slave Trade, 1808–1865, featuring actual accounts, artifacts, databases and countless documents detailing the industrious economic fare of the United States Domestic Slave Trade. It took me 2-3 visits to fathom the enormity of this information and I’m still transcribing notes.  Suffice it to say, some New Orleanian Ancestral lines may have endured “forced migration” by direct exportation sold and shipped as “surplus labor” with origins from the “Upper South” like Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Washington D.C. along with with destinations to Southern states alike, with New Orleans cited as “the largest slave market in antebellum America.” The photo below is right up the street from the The Historic New Orleans Collection housing these holdings.


        Erected in 1788 as one of the French Quarter’s oldest building and renown dining experience, Pierre Maspero’s. Today, known for their hearty sandwiches was once a popular slave-auction-exchange house, while serving café au lait. According to sites identified by the exhibit, there’d be a many celebrated tourist haunts in the Quarter laced with “antebellumisms” of slave economy, and the prime commodity of the day — African Ancestored people.  I haven’t even scratched the surface as you can imagine, bit-by-bit folks.

What I LOVE most about New Orleans as well as the culture, is the Spirit of the People and their resilient, brilliant quality to thrive; It brings to light the fact that it is an integral Ancestral portal in the United States tied to the world; right across its Mississippi is the historic Algiers Point aka Kings landing – there exists a commemorative installation wall, a vibrantly painted fence, bearing the names of African nations who set foot upon the land before their fate of being sold across the river — Bambara, Mande, Ibo, Fulbe, Yoruba, Wangara, Tchamba, Congo, to name a few.  On this trek, I’ve enjoyed the conversations amongst you that are Soul deep, becoming invocations to heal and an invitation to unearth another Family name – an Ancestor. I thank you for the exchange and enlightenment.

I’ll share more about my experience of the exhibit to my blog and if you have any questions about pursuing your Genealogy Sojourn, I’d love to hear it.

Thank you ALL ahead for your continued support
to #Dancestory2015 campaign.

red beans and ricely yours,

Regina Califa, #Dancestory2015
blog: www.workingmylines.org/


Today, these works continue to transcend  into #Dancestory2017 is “…a proactive sojourn of empowerment invoking Communal Dance and Drum agencies to unearth, shake trees and build Family branches in kinship.” while #workingmylines along the way, honoring every breath. #RiteOn

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