Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Middle Passage Committee ceremony; Board of Building Code Appeals vacancies

Yorktown Middle Passage Committee to honor
African Ancestry on Memorial Day

May 13, 2013


     The Yorktown Middle Passage Committee will host a remembrance ceremony and wayside sign dedication on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, at 8 a.m., to honor the 2,000,000 Africans who died in the Middle Passage and the 500,000 enslaved survivors and their descendants who helped build our nation.  The ceremony will last approximately 90 minutes and will include presentations and talks by representatives of the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe, historian Russell B. Hopson, Dr. and Mrs. P.B. Welbeck, local clergy, and the unveiling of the sign by Colonial National Historical Park superintendent Dan Smith.
     Since being contacted in January 2012 by Ann Chinn, executive director, facilitator, and founder of Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project, representatives of York County and the National Park Service at Colonial National Historical Park have been conducting extensive research on a little-known but highly significant part of Yorktown history: the human slave trade. 
     In 1691, the Virginia Assembly established Yorktown as the main port of entry for Williamsburg, Virginia's colonial capital.  From 1698 to 1750, over 80 percent of imported Africans were disembarked on the shores of the York and Rappahannock Rivers with over 31,000 Africans entering the York River District between 1698 and 1771.
     For more than 350 years, approximately 12 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic Ocean.  A staggering two million died during the passage.  Of the 10 million who survived, at least 500,000 arrived between 1619 and 1860 in what is now the United States of America. 
     The Port Markers Project was established to honor the millions of Africans who perished in the transatlantic human trade voyages. The organization plans to hold remembrance ceremonies and place markers at 175 ports in North, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Europe to remember all those who perished during the ocean crossings. Following a February 2012 meeting with Ms. Chinn, leaders of many local historical organizations were contacted to solicit their participation in forming a local committee to work with the Port Markers Project to recognize Yorktown as one of five major ports in Virginia, along with Fredericksburg, Hampton, Jamestown and Richmond, to acknowledge the lives and freedoms lost during that time in history.  As a result, the Yorktown Middle Passage Committee was formed.
     The Committee is co-chaired by Ms. Lois Winter, chairman of the York County Historical Committee, and Mr. William "Chris" Leonard, assistant professor, Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications at Hampton University. Other members of the Committee include:

• Edward Ayres, historian, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation
• Wayne Dawkins, assistant professor, Hampton University SHSJC
• Diane Depew, supervisory park ranger, Colonial National Historical Park
• Edith M. Heard, Lemon Project/JCCT/BHS Alumni
• Russell B. Hopson, Surry Historical Society/AAHGS
• Joseph W. Jenkins, president, Surry African American Heritage Society 
• Louis Malon, director of preservation services, Preservation Virginia
• Sheryl K. Mays, director of public programs and operations, Historic Jamestowne
• David J. Meredith, community programs specialist, York County
• Liz Montgomery, president, Virginia African American Forum
• Amy M. Parker, senior planner, York County
• Cassie Phillips, Shiloh Baptist Church, African American Affairs Ministry
• Winston Phillips, Shiloh Baptist Church, African American Affairs Ministry
• Dan Smith, superintendent, Colonial National Historical Park

     This event is free and open to the public.  Comte de Grasse Street; Water Street between Comte de Grasse and Read Street; and the Yorktown beach between Comte de Grasse and Read Street will be closed to vehicular traffic between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.  The Beach Picnic parking area, below the Yorktown Monument at the east end of Water Street, will be closed for event parking only during this same time and will reopen to the general public immediately after the ceremony.
     For more information about the ceremony, call (757) 898-0782.


County seeks applicants for Board of Building Code Appeals

May 14, 2013


     The York County Board of Supervisors is currently seeking applications from interested and qualified York County citizens to serve on the Board of Building Code Appeals.
     The Board is seeking a Licensed Plumber and a Certified Fire Protection Specialist to fill two vacancies. 
     The Board of Building Code Appeals is responsible for hearing and ruling on appeals from the decision of the Building Official.  The board meets when an appeal has been filed.
     Qualified York County citizens interested in applying can obtain and file an application by using the County web site. Visit www.yorkcounty.gov, click on On-Line Services, and then select Board Bank Application. Applications can also be obtained at the County Administrator's Office at 224 Ballard Street in Yorktown or by calling 890-3320.

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