Lineage societies have long played a role in honoring the history of our nation. We tend to think of them as old (sometimes stodgy) organizations. But new lineage societies are formed all the time. One of the newer ones and one that is long overdue is the Sons and Daughters of the U.S. Middle Passage (SDUSMP). It is a non-denominational, interfaith nonprofit, 501 (c) 3 charitable organization “dedicated to the memory, education, and historic preservation of artifacts and landmarks of slavery in the United States and its economic, psychological, and cultural impact on today’s society.”
The Middle Passage was part of the Atlantic slave trade, the segment of the triangular trade where millions of people were taken from their African homelands and shipped to the New World as slaves. SDUSMP is focused on those who were sent to the British colonies that became the United States, as well as the early years of the country when the slave trade was still active. (You can read and download the Society’s first newsletter for free).
The organization’s objectives are Historical, Education, Memorial, and Patriotic (from the website):
- To promote the connection of descendants of the Forced American Heroes, the American slaves of African descent, to their ancestors through genealogy research;
- To proclaim, through education, the role played by the Africans forcibly brought to United States in creating our great nation, including their patient endurance of the cruelties of American slavery, their resourceful intellect; their extraordinarily strong will and spirit, and their connections to their descendants who have gone on to make our country even greater. We want to especially commemorate the connections to all military soldiers;
- To educate the nation and world about the contribution of the enslaved and their descendants;
- To cherish and to strengthen the family ties among the members of the SDUSMP; and
- To collect, protect, and preserve the materials necessary for a complete history of slavery, and to mark the places of the sacrifice of these men, women, and children; our ancestors. This is including, but not limited to, historically significant sites such as churches, battle sites, freedom trails, grave sites, plantations, and museums.
Membership is open to any person 18 years of age or older who can prove that they are a blood descendant of someone who was an enslaved person in the United States or those colonies that became the United States. Discover more about the organization and becoming a member at www.sdusmp.org.
On May 20, 2017, the society will host a conference in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. The daylong program will run from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., following by an awards banquet starting at 5:30 p.m. The event is open to all, with members receiving a discount. The program includes a variety of topics including, DNA, enslavement, documenting stories with video, forgotten patriots, and more. Find out more on the SDUSMP website.