A Sacred Libation Ceremony in Remembrance on March 30

By Iya Marilyn Kai Jewett

Flyer for the March 30, 2014 Sacred Libation Ceremony conducted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 6th & Walnut Streets.

Last week while reading articles on a Black news website, I noticed a link to an article about Black women who were lynched. Being a student of history, I followed the link which led to another Black website and read the story which detailed the history of 150 documented cases of Black women in the U.S. who had been lynched between 1870 and 1957. These “women,” many of whom were mere girls were not just lynched — they were raped and tortured before being hung, shot or burned by mobs of white men. The first three women on the list–Mrs. John Simes lynched in 1870 in Henry County, Kentucky and Mrs. Hawkins and her daughter, lynched in 1872 in Fayette County, Kentucky, were all murdered for being republicans!

I have been a student of history (American, Black/African and ancient history) since I was a child. I knew that thousands of African people in America have been lynched. Thanks to my god sister, Dr. Katrina Hazzard-Donald, director of Rutgers University’s Africana Program, I read “The Lynching Calendar” that lists 2,400 of the 5,000 documented lynchings of African people in the U.S., but I didn’t realize there were this many women lynched!  The website with The Lynching Calendar” has since mysteriously disappeared.

A post on another Black website provided documented information on these women–their names, the dates, places, the reason they were lynched and with whom they were lynched. Reading this made me angry and brought tears to my eyes. I sent it to my email list and told the brothers and sisters to send it to every person of African descent they know. This is part of our history — Amerikkkan history that we must pass to our children and grandchildren. They will not learn this in school. It’s up to us to teach them.

After reading the accounts of the lynchings, the Egun (ancestors) spoke to me and directed me to do something so they will be remembered. I broke down and cried like a baby because I could feel the horror and pain that these women endured. I am crying as I write this article. Olódùmarè help me!  Egun directed me to conduct a sacred libation ceremony to remember them and bring some peace to their souls.

I’m sure most people don’t know about these women, but we must never forget women like pregnant Mary Turner who was lynched May 17, 1918 in Brooks County, Georgia to teach her a lesson. After her husband was lynched, Mary threatened to have those who lynched her husband arrested. She fled, but the mob pursued her and found her the next morning. She was eight months pregnant when the mob of several hundred took her to a stream, tied her ankles together and hung her from a tree with her head down. She was doused with gasoline and set on fire. One of the mob took a knife and split her stomach open so that her unborn baby fell to the ground. The baby’s head was crushed under the heels of the mob. But, that wasn’t enough for the demonic mob. They finished Mary off by riddling her body with bullets. 

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Nnamdi Azikiwe






-Proclamation recognizes cultural icon-

Washington, DC –The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation announced today that DC Mayor Adrian Fenty has proclaimed August 25, 2008 ‘Henrietta Vinton Davis Day.’ The designation comes on the day the Foundation plans to unveil a marker at Miss Davis’ grave in National Harmony Park located in Landover, Maryland. The Foundation plans to host a memorial service at the grave site that day at 10:00 A.M.

The decree acknowledges Davis as the first African American to work at the DC Recorder of Deeds office beginning in 1878 before Frederick Douglas. The proclamation also recognizes Miss Davis’ significance as a cultural icon. She made her debut in her career as an actor, elocutionist, dramatic reader and impressionist in Washington, DC on April 25, 1883 where she was introduced by the then Recorder of Deeds, Frederick Douglas.

Furthermore, the proclamation acknowledges the success of Miss Davis as a public speaker. During 1919, a year remembered for its “Red Summer,” she joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League headed by Marcus Garvey.

About Henrietta Vinton Davis

For thirty-five years after her debut performing “Shakespearean delineations”, original plays and dramatic readings with her own performing company, and local troupes throughout the United States, South America and the Caribbean, Henrietta Vinton Davis broke new ground as a successful theatrical artisan in the United States. Her dedication to her craft gained her recognition as the first African American “woman of the stage.”

As a leader of the African Redemption Movement beginning in 1919, Davis made use of her acting skills to promote the aims and objectives of the UNIA. Her ability to “transport her listeners” to another place with her oratorical skills played a key role in both attracting members to the organization and promoting the Black Star Line Shipping Company. As such, she was elected to numerous positions including International Organizer, and Third Assistant President General of the UNIA, as well as, Vice President of the Black Star Line. On the maiden voyage of the Black Star Line’s flagship vessel with a cargo worth upwards of $5.000.000 to the Caribbean, Davis was the ranking member of both the UNIA and the Black Star Line.

About The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation

Initially organized to raise funds merely to place a marker at the grave and to the legacy of Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis in 2005, the mission of The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation has evolved to include educating the general public on her life by producing plays, publishing books, producing documentary videos and conducting symposiums educating the general public about her life and the times in which she lived.

Proclamation for Henrietta Vinton Davis Day

Proclamation for Henrietta Vinton Dav

L.A. Scruggs, 1893.)