Let’s Tell Our Own Stories
400 years after American slavery began, black scuba divers are searching for shipwrecks to unveil the lost stories of African Americans ancestors. Diving with a Purpose (DWP) seeks to piece together the lost stories of African Americans whose ancestors came to the United States on slave ships. According to Tara Roberts, a DWP-trained diver, journalist and National Geographic explorer: “It’s no longer okay for just the people who came in and conquered to tell stories.”
At OneUnited Bank, the largest Black-owned bank in America, we celebrate our ability to research and tell our own stories. We see an increased focus on history, data, financial literacy, generational wealth, homeownership, entrepreneurship and supporting black-owned businesses.
We supported the inaugural conference at MIT for Data for Black Lives, a group of activists, organizers, and mathematicians committed to the mission of using data science to create concrete and measurable change in the lives of Black people.
We have major accomplishments to celebrate, while also recognizing the need to close the wealth gap. Let’s use our $1.2 trillion in annual spending to build wealth. Let’s #BankBlack and #BuyBlack.
Let’s Tell Our Own Stories!
Excerpts from the National Geographic ““Most Slave Shipwrecks Have Been Overlooked Until Now” by Kim M. Williamson.
“No one ever asked the free Africans if they wanted to leave their homeland. They were stolen, shackled, crammed head-to-toe in European slave ships, traded for goods or sold outright.”
“Before I even got to it, I began to sort of get goosebumps getting a sense of the tragedy.” says Kamau Sadiki, a lead instructor for Diving With a Purpose, the maritime archaeology program whose divers search for slave wrecks…”
“Scuba diving to find slave shipwrecks and then piecing together historical truths about the people on board ships like the São José that transported enslaved Africans to the Americas is the lifeblood of Diving With a Purpose (DWP).”
“The organization is in the spotlight as the 400th anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Tradein the U.S. is commemorated.”
“There were over 12,000 ships making over 40,000 voyages over 250 years of slave trade,” Sadiki says. “To date, there are only five [slave] ships in maritime history in the database. Why is that?”
“DWP divers readily volunteer their own time and money to don mask and fins, and snap together the puzzle pieces of the slave trade.”
“DWP is working to piece together the lost stories of African Americans whose ancestors came to the United States on slave ships.”
“It’s no longer okay for just the people who came in and conquered to tell stories.”
“DWP’s core is focused on bringing the memories to present, the cultural and historical perspectives of a people, of African people, to tell globally the horrific history of slavery told through shipwrecks.”
“No one has mourned enough of them, given name to enough of them. We will never know if it’s hundreds, thousands, or millions lost.”
“The work we are doing is like CSI. Look at the incredible crime that was done. How do we recover?” asks Sadiki.”