A Memorial for the Ancestors

Over the coming months, La’Sheia Oubré and Joanna Gilmore will be working to engage community members in the process of creating the memorial. They will identify individuals in the African American community who match the demographic profiles of the thirty-six Ancestors to provide models for the hands of the Ancestors. The hands of the selected individuals will be moulded in alginate (a natural substance) and later cast in bronze and then attached to the basin. The Ancestors included infants, children, teenagers, and adult women and men.

How can I get involved?

We are looking for people to volunteer who match the demographic profiles of the Ancestors to have their hands cast. Volunteers will be asked to meet with Stephen Hayes for the molding of their hands between February 16 and 18, 2023.

Oubré and Gilmore will also work with individuals, churches and organizations to collect soil from African descendant burial grounds in Charleston. The collected soil will be used in the fabrication of the basin to symbolize the many enslaved and free Africans who lived, toiled and were buried in the earth upon which our city is built.

If you know of a particular burial ground or your church or family members are connected to a sacred burial ground and you would like to collect soil to be used in the memorial design please contact us.

To register your interest in serving as a hand model or to volunteer to collect soil from a burial ground that is meaningful for you or your community, please click the link below

Find out more

Tribute to Liz Alston by Donald West

Liz Alston, educator, historian and Emanuel AME church historiographer passed away on Saturday, February 19, 2022 . She was also once chair of the Charleston County School board. Liz was one of the early advocates for teaching black history in the school system. As an adjunct instructor at Trident Technical College, she was the first to teach black history classes at the college. I had my many experiences and memories of Liz, including our trip to Senegal and The Gambia in 2018. RIP Liz, your pioneering efforts and legacy are well established.

Tribute written by and photos provided by Donald West, CHS Area Branch of ASALH Co-Historian