SankofaNow USA is an 8 to 12 sessions racial healing and unity program designed for churches and Christian institutions, including , but not limited to colleges and universities, that culminates in a 4-day journey through the Southern United States. We explore the historical, scientific, theological, psychological, sociological and artistic dimensions of racial reconciliation and human wholeness and flourishing through films, lectures, dialogue and discussion. The trip includes visits to significant historical sites and relevant educational institutions, and meetings with local educators, among others. The sites include Selma, AL the site of Bloody Sunday and the National Voting Rights Museum; Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN where the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Jacob Burkle’s home part of the Underground Railroad Network, The National Museum of Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL, etc. Each trip is uniquely designed to suit the needs of the individual groups.
Friday | 16th St. Baptist Church
Historic Baptist Church, located in the Commercial District of Birmingham was the site of what Dr. King would later describe as “”one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity”–a bombing that killed 4 African American girls–14-year-olds Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and 11-year-old Cynthia Wesley–and permantly blinded Addie’s sister Susan who survived.
Friday | Tuskegee University
The school was founded on July 4, 1881, as the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers. Now Tuskegee University, it has a storied history with famous Black educators such as Booker T. Washington, and George Washington Carver. It remains a model of Black uplift and ingenuity.
Friday| National Memorial for Peace & Justice
Built on the very site of Dr. King’s assassination, The National Civil Rights Museum, ” is steadfast in its mission to share the culture and lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement and explore how this significant era continues to shape equality and freedom globally.” It is a source of inspiration for those who desire to make this country a better place for all.
Saturday| Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum
Saturday & Sunday| Beale Street & Church Service
Memphis, TN & Ferguson, MO
No trip is complete without a stop at historic Beale Street for a chance to savor some real Southern Cuisine and entertainment. Beale Street has the distinction of being once the only place where People of Color could shop and eat in Memphis, but is now an integrated hotspot in Memphis. Wee conclude the trip with a brief tour of Ferguson and attend a church service in the area before we head back!
An immersion trip that uses inter-group dialogue strategies facilitated by experienced leaders. It is designed to affect the whole person—mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical.
- Multidimensional—It seeks to affect the whole person—mind, heart and body. The first two—mind and heart—are easily understood. History, and the telling of it, impacts how we think and feel(1). What has been neglected until recently is the physical impact of enduring racism, injustice, and trauma and re-traumatization. We know emotional trauma has physical impact. (2)
- Multidisciplinary—The history of race, racism and of Africans in the New World is tainted by so many mixed motivations that to unravel it requires serious engagement with all the various arguments that shaped the existing narratives. Those arguments have at times been theological, scientific, historical, sociological, psychological, etc. The readings and discussions will cover history, science, theology, sociology, psychology among other disciplines.
- Immersion— The trip is designed to put participants in contact with the daily realities of life in the country. Whenever possible, we will interact with local professionals, artisans, educators, etc.. This is not intended for tourists, who would like to stay in fancy hotels and sip their Piña Colada. This is first and foremost an educational opportunity constructed to stimulate the whole person. It is meant to be a transformational experience. We will visit many places, perhaps even more places than the average tour, but our framework and the motivation for these visits are different. We seek to educate and transform.
(1)L Comas-Díaz and F M Jacobsen, “Ethnocultural Allodynia,” The Journal Of Psychotherapy Practice And Research 10, no. 4 (2001 Fall 2001): 246–52.
(2)Allison Crawford, “If ‘The Body Keeps the Score’: Mapping the Dissociated Body in Trauma Narrative, Intervention, and Theory,” no. 2 (2010): 702, https://doi.org/10.1353/utq.2010.0231.