Folks light the way on first Africatown Historical Lantern Walk
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Folks braving the dreary weather-- to honor the legacy of Africatown.
People came from all across the state for the Africatown Historical Lantern Walk to learn about the history of Africatown and remember its ancestors.
It’s more than just a stroll. It’s a walk with purpose.
It might be this first Africatown Historic Lantern Walk- but the idea is nothing new.
“This is actually a re-enactment of something we’re going to do on an annual basis of something the community did years ago called the “Lantern Walk.” It’s implemented by bringing people out of the dark and into the light,” said Joe Womack. “It was participated in by the entire community and kids in school- where they would walk and stop at all the churches and carry a lantern. Then, they would honor the people that came before them.”
Africatown is continuing to build its legacy across the Port City and the world.
“We need to re-establish those rituals so that our ancestors and descendants understand how connected we are, and how rich our history is. We need to get them to experience it,” said Anderson Flen.
Folks ventured out in the chilly, wet weather to honor Africatown’s founders-- slaves arriving on the last slave ship, the Clotilda, over 150 years ago.
“Today’s turnout was excellent,” added Flen. “People came from many different places. The weather was a little bad but the spirit was high.”
Isaiah Pinkeney, a walker, grew up attending the lantern walks as a child. His last walk was in 1952.
Today- he’s back- and it’s a gift he says he doesn’t take for granted.
“It’s great that it’s the re-innovation of things that took place earlier and the significance of the present age,” said Pinkeney.
Walkers made stops at historic Black churches to honor names of deceased church members.
They concluded their journey by ending it at Africatown Cemetery as Clotilda descendants shared their stories.
“We have a responsibility to shine the brightest light on what we are as a people,” stated Flen.
Womack says plans are already in the works for the 2nd annual lantern walk- something, he hopes, will grow in the future.
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