A Beacon for Insight and Understanding
The National Slave Ship Museum will reconnect people of African descent and others to their rich ancestral history and heritage. It will provide a research-grounded space for global citizens to examine the development and distribution of resources vital to the sustenance and prosperity of civilizations. The National Slave Ship Museum will also help visitors understand how slavery provided enormous socio-economic benefits to a few at the expense of the millions of men, women and children who were robbed of their freedom and humanity.
Many of the stories usually told of enslaved African people who found themselves on distant shores are solely focused on the tragic aspects of these histories. However, the Africans captured and sold into slavery included leaders, warriors, artisans, musicians, educators, entrepreneurs, and intellectuals. Their legacy is evident in the accomplishments of their descendants, who, despite overwhelming odds, have excelled and continue to excel as scientists and inventors, statesmen and stateswomen, activists, artists, scholars, soldiers and creators. These stories, too, will be proudly told by the National Slave Ship Museum.
FOREVER REMEMBERING THE STORY
The multifaceted story of human enslavement is central to the history of the entire modern world. Over the past 600 years, slavery has served not only as the key engine for the development of a complex global economy but also as the impetus for huge advances in science, technology, philosophy, government, art and culture.
Slavery was also the cause of some of the greatest atrocities ever committed by human beings against each other. This must never be forgotten.
Equally important, the battle against slavery - and the resistance to it anywhere and everywhere it was imposed - led to some of the most heroic and inspiring deeds humans have ever attempted. This, too, must always be recalled and retold. From 1441 to 1888, more than 12 million Africans - men, women, and children - were captured in their native lands and forcibly transported to such foreign destinations as Europe, the Middle East and throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Each of these 12 million individuals had a life story. Each of these individuals had their own unique talents, dreams, and aspirations before being abducted from their homeland. And each individual was part of a larger family, community and culture.
Despite the fact that their lives were severely and permanently disrupted once they were enslaved; despite the fact that unceasing attempts were made to reduce them from the status of human being to merely a piece of property; despite the numerous hardships and atrocities they were forced to endure, their humanity continued to shine through all manner of dehumanizing circumstances and conditions.
Though we'll never have the opportunity to hear from most of these enslaved ancestors directly, their legacy continues - at the National Slave Ship Museum in New Orleans. The National Slave Ship Museum will become a central repository and birthing vessel for a wide range of art, culture, and discourse relating to events influenced by or the result of the global traffic in enslaved African people.