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N’COBRA Northeast Region and historical society establishes a collaboration for racial healing

N’COBRA Northeast Region and historical society establishes a collaboration for racial healing

by Ari Merrretazon

If you missed the N'COBRA's November 20th REOS (Reparations Education and Organizational Spotlight) at the Cliveden Museum House in Philadelphia , believe me someone you know was there. It was a day of recognition, education, and the official signing of the memorandum of understanding between the national Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America , known as N'COBRA, and the Cliveden Trust.

Before the showing of the documentary, the full house of N’COBRA supporters and Board members of the Cliveden Trust witnessed the formal signing of the memorandum of collaboration between the Cliveden Trust and N’COBRA “to promote racial healing, lessen the impact and vestiges of the Chew Family of Philadelphia’s enslavement of Africans and African Americans, acknowledge the injustice and un-just enrichment deriving there from, and to seek ways and means to repair this damage through various forms of reparations.”

David Young, Director of the Cliveden Trust, and Minister Ari Merretazon, N’COBRA board member, and Director of the Northeast Region Working Group were the respective signatories.

“The collaboration between N'COBRA and Cliveden is a paradigm marker to move our legacy of chattel enslavement into the public square to the light of day and reason for the reparations accord for Blacks in America that will repair the damage done, and spiral America 's economic down-turn upward to restorative justice,” Merretazon told the crowd.

“This collaboration will help retrieve our history from America 's historical societies so that the whole truth can be told with the addition of an African-centered perspective. We will reframe America 's narrative and re-educate our children to help fill their vacant esteem and build their self-respect.”

The international acclaimed documentary "The Durban 400" was shown with N'COBRA's Queen Mother Dorothy Lewis-Benton, Co-chair, International Commission of N'COBRA, lecturing and answering questions afterwards. "Reparations are closer than they appear," it's like the election of President Barack Obama election, people didn't believe it would happen... so it is with reparations, "so we must be prepared, get ourselves ready for it, because it is a going to happen," she emphasized.

Dr. Raymond Winbush, Morgan State University, author of Should America Pay Reparations, and more recently, Belinda's Petition, attended because he will be the lead psychologist and historian to work directly with Cliveden’s curator to put an African-centered interpretation to the Benjamin Chew Papers kept by former Chief Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Chew who held captive and enslaved thousands of Africans and African descendants in states outside of Pennsylvania to evade the states Gradual Abolition of Slavery Law in the 1800s. Rev. Richard Allen, the founder of the AME Church , and his entire family, were amongst the thousands enslaved in Dover , Delaware , on the Whitehall plantation owned by Benjamin Chew.

According to Dr. Winbush, the memorandum of collaboration will start the process of re-framing Cliveden’s tour guides to include African-centered perspectives in all materials and displays; and more importantly, “consulting and participating in the development of Cliveden educational programs, particularly an African-Centered Education curricula for youth and adults from the findings of the Chew Family Papers.” He told crowd, “Minister Merretazon, you is doing powerful things for our people.”

The terms racial healing and reparations were specifically defined in the MOC as:

Racial Healing: group efforts to acknowledge the wrongs and group sufferings of the past while trying to address the cumulative current vestiges and consequences of the past injustices.

Reparations: a process of repairing, healing and restoring a people injured because of their group identity and in violation of their fundamental human rights by governments or corporations.

Amongst the collaborative projects that will be initiated and worked on under the MOC are:

· supporting the proposal of joint tours of all the plantation sites of record once owned by the Chew Family;

· providing full access to research materials held or collected by Cliveden; participating in any documentaries initiated by N’COBRA designed to promote racial healing and reparations;

· helping Cliveden conduct race-relations and reparations education, including outreach programs to foster social change through racial healing and reparations;

· participating in the development of a documentary that records the work and findings of the N’COBRA Northeast Region Working Group;

· providing research and interpretive assistance with the Chew Family Papers; participating in public meetings and public educational forums to promote racial healing and reparations; and

· helping Cliveden conduct race-relations and reparations education, including outreach programs to foster social change through racial healing and reparations;

Merretazon said he anticipates similar collaboration from historical societies under the auspices of the National Trust for Historical Preservation based in Washington , DC . “Recently, I met with Tanya Bowers, Director of Diversity, Office of the President, for the National Trust, and we agreed on developing several initiatives such as marketing N’COBRA gift items in the Cliveden gift shop and a blog by Merretazon on their website called Let the Healing begin.”

-30-

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