African Burying Ground Celebration: Q&A With Morey Goodman

Regina Baraban (RB): Why is the African Burying Ground initiative so important to the City of Portsmouth—and beyond?

Morey Goodman (MG):  Although the African Burying Ground project has been a collaboration of people and businesses that are exclusively Portsmouth centered and/or related, it has national and international significance because it serves to transform a less than stellar part of our history into a celebration of all people—regardless of cultural, ethnic,  and religious differences.

The people who are buried at the African Burying Ground site and many others who came here from Africa under extreme conditions, are as much a part of the city’s historical foundation as anyone living in Portsmouth at that time. And they are vital contributors not only to the past, but to what Portsmouth is today.

RB: What are some highlights of the weekend events?

MG: The weekend celebration will include, but not be limited to, an overnight vigil at the New Hope Church, and a procession from the church to the Burying Ground site where there will be an unveiling of the statuary and a re-interment ceremony. The Middle School, (located by the city library), will be open to the public for much of the day, to serve as the repository of information about the site and its transformation from the initial discovery in 2003 until today. Sculptor Jerome Meadows, committee members, and guest speakers will be available to meet the public.

RB: How has your involvement with the African Burying Ground made a difference to you personally?

MG: It is always an honor to work on a project where everyone involved has the opportunity to do the right thing for all the right reasons.

Click here for more information and a detailed calendar of African Burial Ground events.

Please join us at the Historic Theater on Saturday, May 23 at 7pm for the legendary, five-time Grammy-winning gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama, performing in recognition of The African Burying Ground.

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