Eutaw City Council votes to use $200,000 in ‘earmarked account’ to pay necessary city expenses

At the end of a long and raucous meeting, filled with arguments and motions to table issues, the Eutaw City Council voted 4 to 2 to take $200,000 from an account earmarked for Branch Heights Roads to pay necessary and accumulated bills for the city. Councilmembers: Latasha Johnson, Benny Abrams, Joe Lee Powell and Mayor Steele voted in favor while Councilmembers: Sheila Smith and LaJeffrey Carpenter voted against.
The City of Eutaw utilized $500,000 earlier this year from its gas tax accounts to resurface the roads in Branch Heights and place speed-bumps where needed. The Mayor said these funds were now needed to pay accumulated bills for needed items, like chemicals to treat the city water, repair costs for city equipment, and other expenses where vendors are threatening to cut the city off for non-payment of past bills.
City Attorney, Zane Willingham, said that he could find nothing in the Greene County Constitutional Amendment 743 authorizing bingo that restricts or earmarks the use of funds. The Sheriff’s bingo rules and the City Council’s decision to place funds in ‘earmarked accounts’ was a policy decision that could be changed by the Eutaw City Council that initially placed restrictions on the funds but now needs them for other purposes.
Mayor Steele said the city’s problems with finances are because the city tax base has not expanded over the past thirty years. “The opening of the Love’s Truck and Travel Center in October 2019, will help to employ more people and expand our sales and fuel tax revenues. But we will need more economic expansion to fully cover the costs of city services and operations.”
The City Council also agreed to purchase a new truck (estimated cost -$35,000) and a new tractor (estimated cost $20,000) for the city street department, from the gasoline tax funds.
The Council received a report from Rob Pearson, with Mason and Gardner Accountants, who presented a draft report of budgets for the City General Fund and Water Department. He said that both budgets showed a deficit with expenses exceeding revenues. After many questions from Councilmembers it was agreed to hold a more detailed discussion of the budgets at a work session to be held on the third Tuesday in September.
Mayor Steele reported that the Alabama Rural Water Services had visited and reviewed the city’s water system including the new meters, softwear and billing systems. They found 294 problems and have corrected 200 of them. “They plan to be back soon to correct the remaining accounts and get the system operating properly,” said Steele.
The Council tabled a number of controversial issues that come up regularly at meetings, such as the policy not to accept cash, undercover tags on city vehicles, use of city facilities for meetings and activities of non-city agencies and organizations, drainage repairs on private property, salary increases for staff, disposition of the Assistant Police Chief and others.

Newswire : Leader in women’s issues to head U. N. AIDS program

Winnie Karagwa Byanyima

Aug. 26, 2019 (GIN) – The U.N’s office on AIDS has named a longtime activist on women’s issues to head the global health agency.

Ugandan humanitarian Winnie Karagwa Byanyima’s career began as a member of parliament in the National Assembly of Uganda. She became the Director of Women and Development at the African Union Commission and worked on the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.

“I am honored to be joining UNAIDS as the Executive Director at such a critical time in the response to HIV,” said Ms Byanyima. “The end of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 is a goal that is within the world’s reach, but I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead. Working with all its partners, UNAIDS must continue to speak up for the people left behind and champion human rights as the only way to end the epidemic.”

Ms Byanyima, who also headed the development group Oxfam International, is the first woman Executive Director to lead the agency since its launch in 1996..

She succeeds Michel Sidibйwho was appointed Minister of Health and Social Affairs of Mali.

Dr. Penninah Iutung, Africa Bureau Chief of the AIDS Health Foundation, said: “With young women and girls being disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, particularly in Africa, a strong UNAIDS leader can inspire them to pursue their dreams and stay healthy. We are excited and look forward to working with a new and transforming UNAIDS.”

Ms. Byanyima is married to Kizza Besigye, a Ugandan opposition leader for many years.

Newswire: The U.N. could save the Amazon with one simple move

By: Marjorie Cohn, Truthdig

Amazon Rainforest Burning


The Amazon is burning. Nearly 75,000 fires have started in the iconic Brazilian rainforest this year to date, an 84 percent increase from the year before. Since August 10, a spate of intentionally set fires have been raging in the Amazon. But Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in January, let them burn for two weeks before sending firefighters to put them out following an international outcry.
Fires ravaging the Amazon pose imminent peril to the 34 million people and 3 million species of animals and plants that live in the world’s largest rainforest, which covers 2 million square miles.

Damage from the raging fires will change the face of the planet. The rainforest is home to 10 percent of the species on Earth, including many types of plants and animals that cannot be found anywhere else.
“The loss of the Amazon’s biodiversity will be beyond devastating for the planet,” Dahr Jamail wrote in Truthout, noting that many scientists consider the Amazon to be the Earth’s most important site of biodiversity.
‘An International Crisis’

French president Emmanuel Macron tweeted, “Our house is burning. Literally,” and exhorted, “Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days!” Bristling at Macron’s exhortation, Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter, “The French president’s suggestion that Amazon issues be discussed at the G-7 without participation by the countries in the region evokes a colonialist mentality that is out of place in the 21st century.”
In light of Bolsonaro’s refusal to provide resources to extinguish the fires, Macron threatened to block the Mercosur-European Union trade deal. Bolsonaro capitulated. He allocated $7 million and sent 44,000 troops and military aircraft to the burning areas.
But that falls short of what is needed to put out the fires and save the Amazon. “We’re talking about battling what will be hundreds of fires burning simultaneously, beyond any road network, distributed across thousands of miles,” according to Douglas Morton, head of the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “It’s quite a challenge to mobilize resources for one of these fires, but to simultaneously track down and put out a number of these sorts of fires … demands essentially a full press,” adding, “You really do need thousands of people.”
The countries in the G-7 – the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada – donated $20 million to help fight the fires, but Bolsonaro refused to accept the money unless Macron apologizes. Bolsonaro is playing games while the Amazon burns.
Donald Trump, who skipped the climate meeting at the G-7 summit, later said he hadn’t agreed to contribute to the $20 million because of lack of coordination with Bolsonaro.
Moreover, even if accepted, this money would not be sufficient. Rick Swan, of the International Association of Fire Fighters, told The Washington Post that, by comparison, to extinguish the 2017 Tubbs Fire in Northern California, “the costs alone were $100 million.”
In other words, a massive international effort is needed to end the Amazon fires.
Bolsonaro’s Appeal to Anti-Colonial Politics Is Deeply Cynical

Those who are critical of ongoing colonial and neocolonial dynamics but who are not entirely familiar with the context of the fires in Brazil may at first be skittish about backing international efforts to pressure Bolsonaro to end the fires. In truth, however, Bolsonaro’s appeal to anti-colonial politics is deeply cynical and should not deter progressives with anti-colonial commitments from backing international endeavors to end the fires.
The cynicism of Bolsonaro’s anti-colonial appeal is evident in the context of widespread popular protests in which Brazilians have marched holding signs with messages, such as “The Amazon belongs to the world, and we need the world’s help right now” and “SOS.” Protesters took part in some 30 demonstrations across Brazil last weekend, and thousands of demonstrators marching in Rio chanted, “The Amazon stays, out with Bolsonaro.”
Indigenous peoples in Brazil have also made clear that they hold Bolsonaro’s government responsible for the destruction of the Amazon. The Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB) issued a statement expressing “extreme concern about the rapid destruction of the Amazon rainforest, home to our families and to all the resources we need to live.” COIAB stated, “The related record rates of deforestation and outbreaks of fire are a consequence of the anti-indigenous and anti-environmental genocidal speeches of this government.”
A group of Indigenous Huni Kuin leaders recently called for a stop to the fires, saying: “Nature is crying and we are crying. If we don’t stop this destruction of Mother Nature, future generations will live in a completely different world to the one we live in today. This is Mother Nature’s cry, asking us to help her. And we are working today so that humanity has a future. But if we don’t stop this destruction, we will be the ones that will be extinguished, burned and the sky will descend upon us, which has already begun to happen.”
The U.N. Security Council Should Order International Firefighters and Economic Boycott

As empowered by the United Nations Charter, the Security Council should find that the fires in the Amazon pose a “threat to the peace” and order measures to restore and maintain international peace and security. Those measures “may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations.”
The Council should require that member states refrain from entering into trade agreements with Brazil unless and until it agrees to allow international economic and physical firefighting assistance. As Moira Birss, Amazon Watch’s finance campaign director said in a release issued by the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA), “Now that the world is finally paying attention, it’s important to also understand that governments and companies around the world are emboldening Bolsonaro’s toxic policies when they enter trade agreements with his government or invest in agribusiness companies operating in the Amazon.”
In addition, the Council should order member states to contribute money and personnel to fight the fires raging in the Amazon.
There is precedent for this type of resolution. In 1985, the Council passed Resolution 569, which condemned the South African government’s policy of apartheid. It urged UN members to adopt measures including suspension of all new investment in South Africa, prohibition of the sale of South African currency and coins, restrictions on cultural relations and sports, suspension of guaranteed export loans, prohibition of new nuclear contracts, and prohibition of sales of computer equipment that could be used by the South African police and army. The international boycott of South Africa led to the end of the apartheid regime.
All UN member countries are bound by the resolutions of the Security Council. Article 25 of the Charter says, “The members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council.” And Article 49 states that the UN members “shall join in affording mutual assistance in carrying out the measures” upon which the Council decides.
“Bolsonaro must take immediate, comprehensive steps to not only extinguish these fires but also address the root causes of this environmental catastrophe: the roll-back of environmental and indigenous rights protections and the recklessness of the profit-seeking agribusiness industry,” Christian Poirier, program director at Amazon Watch, said on the IPA release. But, he added, “This burden isn’t on the Brazilian government alone. We are all global citizens of our shared planet and must take shared responsibility for its preservation.”
We must act internationally to save the precious Amazon rainforest. Citizens of the 15 member countries on the Security Council should pressure their governments to vote in favor of a resolution calling for an economic boycott of Brazil and the provision of resources to quell the forest fires. The future of our planet is at stake.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild.

Newswire: IN MEMORIAM: Baxter Leach, 1968 Memphis Sanitation worker

By Dr. Sybil C. Mitchell, Special to The New Tri-State Defender


Baxter Leach and ‘I am a Man’signs


Baxter Richard Leach used his voice to cry out for the respect and dignity of sanitation workers oppressed by unsanitary and unsafe working conditions and racist attitudes. It all came to a head on Feb. 1, 1968 when two friends and colleagues were crushed to death in a malfunctioning compactor on their truck.
Mr. Leach and fellow sanitation workers rose up and in unison shouted to the world, “I AM A MAN.” They marched against the powers that be, earning a hard-won victory in a fight that brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis, where he was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
On Tuesday (Aug. 27), Mr. Leach died after what longtime friend Calvin Taylor said was a bout with cancer. He was 79. Funeral arrangements were incomplete at The New Tri-State Defender’s press time Wednesday night.
“Mr. Leach was very devoted to his local and to AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), to his community, and to his family,” said Gail Tyree, director of Local 1733.
“We are going to miss him tremendously. He was an honorable man, a good man who shared his story with young people every opportunity he got. Mr. Leach knew that it was important for them to understand the great history of our 1733 and this city. And so he continued to reach out over the years, across the generations.”
Henry Leach, his youngest brother, recalled the night the National Civil Rights Museum honored the sanitation workers with its prestigious Freedom Award. “We were all there that night,” Leach said. “It was like being on television or being on Broadway somewhere. Everybody who lives out of town came in for the presentation. My brother was so proud of receiving the award, and we were so proud of him. I am so happy he was still here to experience that night. That was a highlight of all our lives.”
Baxter Leach was born Sept. 21, 1939 in Schlater, Miss. He often repeated a line he learned from his father: “Son, work hard and always keep at least a dollar in your pocket.” In 1960, he moved to Memphis, where he worked several jobs until he found employment in 1961 with the City of Memphis Sanitation Department.
After the strike was settled, Mr. Leach and the other sanitation workers continued to be honored for their courage and history-making stand. He has been featured and interviewed by many newspapers, magazines and television and radio stations. His leadership and good citizenship netted numerous awards and honors.
The documentary, “I AM A MAN: A LESSON IN LIFE,” features Mr. Leach and he’s a noteworthy figure in the National Civil Rights Museum.
Mr. Leach would often share with friends and family that his most memorable event was being welcomed to the White House and inducted into the White House Hall of Fame by Barack Obama, the first African American elected President of the United States.
After 44 years of service, Mr. Leach retired from the City of Memphis. He continued to be an avid speaker at many schools, universities and churches until his five-year battle with cancer prevented him, according to his brother, Henry.
Among the many expressions of sympathy from across the country was this online message that the national office of AFSCME posted to the Local 1733 Facebook page:“The AFSCME family extends our condolences to the Leach family, and the entire Memphis Community. Baxter Leach was a soldier for labor, and he will be missed.”

Newswire: 400 Years in Virginia. 500 Years in Slavery.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia


In August 2018, the National Newspaper Publishers Association began a series on the transatlantic slave trade.

The series started in conjunction with the annual United Nations International Day of Remembrance. With the observance of the first African landing in America, some question whether it’s the 400th or 500th anniversary.

Historians point out that the 400th anniversary is the 400th year of the Anglo-centric history of Africans in the Americas.
“Dating the history of Africans in North America to 400 years ago reinforces this narrative of English superiority,” Greg Carr, the Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, told Time.com.“Remembering the Spanish and indigenous sides of the history is more important now than ever as the people are closing the borders to those who are descendants from people who were here when you came,” Carr said.

In his 2013 PBS documentary, “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross,”Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., said slavery was always an essential ingredient of the American experiment. Gates called slavery, “The supreme hypocrisy,” and “capitalism gone berserk.”

The first African to come to North America was a free man who accompanied Spanish explorers to Florida in 1513 – or 106 years before the 20 Africans who were kidnapped and brought to Point Comfort, Va., in 1619, Gates said.
“The father of our country was one of its largest slave owners,” Gates said in the documentary.
“Because of the profound disconnect between principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the simultaneous practice of slavery, we’ve had historical amnesia about slavery,” he said.
Indeed, the slave trade began in the 15th century, said Boniface Chidyausiku of Zimbabwe. It was driven by colonial expansion, emerging capitalist economies and the insatiable demand for commodities – with racism and discrimination serving to legitimize the trade, Chidyausiku said.
Chidyausiku, then the acting president of the United Nations General Assembly, made the remarks in 2007 during the UN’s observance of the 200th anniversary of the end of the transatlantic slave trade.
“Fortunes were made, and financial institutions flourished on the back of human bondage…[so] today’s commemoration must encourage everyone to live up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and to redouble efforts to stop human trafficking and all forms of modern slavery,’” said Chidyausiku, who is now 69.
Michael Guasco, a historian at Davidson College and author of “Slaves and Englishmen: Human Bondage in the Early Modern Atlantic World,” suggests it’s the 500th anniversary.
“There’s a Hispanic heritage that predates the U.S., and there’s a tendency for people to willingly forget or omit the early history of Florida, Texas, and California, particularly as the politics of today want to push back against Spanish language and immigration from Latin America,” Guasco told Time.

The fact that slavery was underway for a century in South America before introduction in North America is not widely taught nor commonly understood, Felicia Davis of the HBCU Green Fund told NNPA Newswire.
“It is a powerful historical fact missing from our understanding of slavery, its magnitude, and global impact. The knowledge that slavery was underway for a century provides deep insight into how enslaved Africans adapted,” Davis said.
Far beyond the horrific “seasoning” description, clearly generations had been born into slavery long before introduction in North America, Davis said.
“This fact deepens the understanding of how vast majorities could be oppressed in such an extreme manner for such a long period. It is also a testament to the strength and drives among people of African descent to live free,” she said.
Prior to 1619, “America had a system of discrimination and prejudice against all groups who were not identified as White Anglo-Saxon native,” said Walter D. Palmer, who started a Community Freedom School for children and adult learners in Philadelphia that would become the platform on which he built his social legacy.
“By the mid-1600s, America created the slave codes,” Palmer told NNPA Newswire.
During the country’s founding, many settlers learned from and lived close to Native Americans on the east coast, said author Cassie Premo Steele.
For example, it wasn’t until resources like silver were found on what was Cherokee land that Andrew Jackson ordered the removal that became known as the “Trail of Tears,” Steele told NNPA Newswire.
“Further genocides and removals took place in the West when similar resources and land were desired by white Americans,” Steele said.
“Similarly, slavery was primarily an economic system that was based upon the dehumanization of Africans. Dehumanization is in some ways even worse than hate since it is a denial of the humanity of a people,” she said.
The observance of the 400th anniversary of the first African landing at Point Comfort, Va., did bring about changes, according to Time. It was the type of race-based chattel slavery system that solidified in the centuries that followed was its unique American tragedy.

“To ignore what had been happening with relative frequency in the broader Atlantic world over the preceding 100 years or so understates the real brutality of the ongoing slave trade, of which the 1619 group were undoubtedly a part, and minimizes the significant African presence in the Atlantic world to that point,” Guasco said in a History.com interview earlier this month.
“People of African descent have been ‘here’ longer than the English colonies,” he said.

Annual festival celebration continues through 44 years

Glory To Glory gospel singers render soul grasping spirituals at annual festival.
Mrs. Claretha Gaines shares her gift of gospel singing at
Sunday’s festival
program
Artist Mynecia Steele applies face design to youth as mother Akira Spencer looks on.
Erica Hudson
Mynecia Steele presents award at arts drawing to
Erica Hudson for her daughter DeAngela Rogers.
Beverly Vester, center, showcases her hand made jewelry with Dorris Robinson and Allen Turner, Sr.

The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival, produced by the Society of Folk Arts & Culture, completed its 44th year of community celebration Saturday and Sunday, August 24-25, 2019. The basic purpose of the festival is to showcase the traditions and culture of Greene County and the West Alabama region through music, crafts, foodways, reunion gatherings and fellowship.
Mr. Clarence Davis is one of few continuing blues musicians who are founders of the festival’s Ole Timey Blues Stage. He is shown in photo with Debra Eatman, festival Mistress of Order, and blues musicians Jock Webb on harmonica and Nigel Speights on guitar. This year the festival also featured a Kid’s Tent with various arts activities for the youth to engage in. Artist Mynecia Steele organized and directed the arts activities for the youth.
Shown in photo at right is Rita Sands Mahoney and husband continuing her mother’s legacy (Geraldine Sands) of preparing soul food dinners at the festival.

BBCF Greene County Associates collect 3,400 pairs of shoes with Funds2Orgs

The Greene County Associates of the Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF) completed a two-month drive seeking new and slightly used shoes for distribution to small-scale entrepreneurs in Africa, Haiti and other nations.
The Greene County Associates shown in photo, L. to R: Darlene Robinson, Mildred Gill, Carol Zippert, Dean Williams, Nancy and Eddie Cole loaded a truck last week with 136 bags of shoes, with 25 matched pairs in each bag, destined for Funds2Orgs. Others who also assisted in loading the truck included Joe Thomas, Albert Hunter, Melvin Robinson and Kent Daniels. The Greene County Associates want to thank all the people who contributed shoes to this project.
Funds2Orgs works with micro-entrepreneurs in helping them create, maintain and grow small businesses in developing countries where economic opportunity and jobs are limited. Proceeds from the sales of the shoes collected in shoe drive fundraisers are used to feed, clothe and house their families. One budding entrepreneur in Haiti even earned enough to send to her son to law school.
Funds2Orgs will also pay the Greene County Associates, $10 per bag of shoes collected, which goes into our local fundraising efforts for the foundation. The BBCF matches what the local associates raise and grants these funds back to eligible Greene County non-profits serving the community.
“The shoe drive is a win-win for everybody involved. People got to clean out their closets of slightly worn shoes. Funds2Orgs international entrepreneurs received new inventory to sell. The Greene County Associates grew our local fund will be matched and redistributed in community grants,” said Miriam Leftwich, Chairperson of the Greene County BBCF Associates.

FREE Alabama Photo Voter ID Card available on September 4

Do you need a free Alabma photo Voter Id Card? Join us at the following location on September 4, 2019 at Greene County High School 14221 US-11 South Eutaw, AL 35462 from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Voter registration forms will be available to register to vote an update voter information.
To qualify for a free photo voter ID:
*Must be a registered voter in Alabama at current address
*Must NOT already possess valid photo idenficaiton acceptable for voting
*Must provide identication such as:
*Non valid Photo ID (expired license, students or emplyoyee ID, etc.
The following must contain full legal name and date of birth

  • Birth Certificate
  • Medicare or Mediciad document.
    *Marriage Record
    *Millitary Recond,
     *Offical School Record or Transcript.
  • Social Security Adminstration Document.
    *State or Federal Census record
    *Hospital or Nursing Home record
    *Certificate of Citizenship.
    Sponorsed by the of office of the Secretary of State, John H. Merrill.
    For information contact 800-274-8683 or visit www.alabamavoters.gov

Newswire: Fires engulfing west Africa exceed those of Brazil

Map of the World showing fire zones

Aug. 26, 2019 (GIN) – While all eyes are on the fast-moving flames in the Brazilian Amazon, satellite data is showing a record 6,902 blazes in Angola in the past 48 hours.

Brazil is actually third in the world in wildfires over the last 48 hours, according to satellite data analyzed by Weather Source.

Angola’s fires compare to 3,395 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 2,127 in Brazil. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon for Central Africa.

According to NASA, which operates the Aqua satellite, over 67,000 fires were reported in a one-week period in June last year, as farmers employed slash and burn agriculture to clear land for crops.

Zambia placed fourth on the list in the last 48 hours, while Brazil’s neighbor in the Amazon, Bolivia, placed sixth.

On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the leaders of the G7 – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US – would release $22 million to help fight fires in the Amazon rainforest.

“The forest is also burning in sub-Saharan Africa” he tweeted and added that he was “considering the possibility of launching a similar initiative” in sub-Saharan African.

The Congo Basin forest is commonly referred to as the “second green lung” of the planet after the Amazon.

The forests cover an area of 3.3 million square kilometers in several countries, including about a third in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the rest in Gabon, Congo, Cameroon and Central Africa.

Just like the Amazon, the forests of the Congo Basin absorb tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in trees and peat marshes – seen by experts as a key way to combat climate change. They are also sanctuaries for endangered species.

But these fires may not compare with those of Brazil, some experts say. “Fire is quite a regular thing in Africa. It’s part of a cycle, people in the dry season set fire to bush rather than to dense, moist rainforest,” said Philippe Verbelen, a Greenpeace forest campaigner working on the Congo Basin,

Guillaume Lescuyer, a central African expert at the French agricultural research and development centre CIRAD, also said the fires seen in NASA images were mostly burning outside the rainforest.

Newswire: Reframing the history of slavery in Angola and the US

Slavery museum in Angola

Aug. 26, 2019 (GIN) – If the U.S. has 35,000 museums, a writer asked in 2014, why is only one about slavery? And if the wealth of this country was built on the backs of enslaved people from Africa, why has that story been vastly under-reported in our media, in our schools and in our political discourse?

The first question was asked by John J. Cummings III, a retired lawyer who redeveloped the Whitney Plantation in New Orleans as a memorial. The second question is being examined today by writers, artists, and citizens from perspectives running right to left.

More than half a dozen museums in the U.S. today are devoted to the story of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, slavery and the complicity of the North. Since the emergence this month of a New York Times feature – the 1619 project – articles, essays, and performance pieces are also exploring and debating the subject.

“The 1619 Project is a major initiative observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are,” the piece begins.

Similarly, in the southwest African nation of Angola, an exhibition about the slavers who sent hundreds of thousands of Africans to a bitter life of hard labor is drawing visitors by the hundreds.

The slavery museum is in Morro da Cruz, far from the hustle and bustle of Luanda, the capital city. Its quiet presence belies its dark past. Founded in 1977 by the National Institute of Cultural Patrimony, its objective was to depict the history of slavery in Angola.

The building is located in the former property of Бlvaro de Carvalho Matoso, one of the largest slave-traders on the African coast in the first half of the 18th Century. Matoso died in 1798, and his family and heirs continued in the slave-trade until 1836, when a decree by Maria II of Portugal prohibited the export of slaves from the Portuguese empire.

The structure adjoins the 17th century Capela da Casa Grande where slaves were baptized and given Christian names before being put on slave ships for transport to the Americas.

Most of the city’s African population was enslaved. Although Portugal abolished slavery in Angola in 1878, forced labor within Angola continued well into the twentieth century.

“We learned our history from books written by the Portuguese,” acknowledged writer Mayra de Lassalette, “and these books never hinted at the difficulties, the resistance, the frustrated efforts to rebel against slavery or the impact it had on the country.”

“Angola’s past depended on oral tradition – very common in Africa. But the tradition comes with a risk, because history belongs to the one who tells it.”

“Slavery was a bad thing,” a young girl told me, said Mayra. “We Africans don’t like to remember bad things.”

“And we Angolans suffer many of them,” added the writer, “from slavery to colonization and civil war.”

Another initiative by UNESCO is the online Slave Route Project whose aim is to “remedy the general ignorance on the history of Africa by reconstructing it – and re-reading the history through purely African perspectives or more objective views of scientists or researchers.”