Monrovia – Registration is finally underway for the much-anticipated, first-of-its-kind SANKOFA Pilgrimage to Barbados schedule for May 6-13, 2024.
The pilgrimage, under the umbrella of The SANKOFA PILGRIMAGE TO BARBADOS, is being organized by Ambassador Llewellyn Witherspoon in collaboration with the Barbados government, 159 years after the forebears departed Barbados for Liberia.
The pilgrimage is also a product of dreams of Barbadian Liberians in Crozierville and Prime Minister Mia Mottley to “revitalize the deep historical ties between Barbados and Africa.”
The pilgrimage for next year comes nearly 160 years after hundreds of Barbadians travelled and settled in Liberia, a group of diaspora and home-based Liberians are preparing for a historic pilgrimage to the Caribbean Island bearing significant historical ties to Liberia.
The organizing committee has been busy working out the modalities and planning for the pilgrimage and is encouraging pilgrims to register as quickly as possible as interest in the event has grown exponentially. “We may have to put a cap on the number of participants because of the interests,” Ambassador Witherspoon says.
Plans are also being made to assess the interest from expected participants based in West Africa to enable negotiations with regional airlines for a direct charter to and from Barbados.
The goal is to find cheaper travel costs, reduced travel time and ease visa-less travel for citizens of ECOWAS countries.
The Barbados government is in the final stages of negotiations with three hotels for preferential rates for Pilgrimage participants, and these would be uploaded to the website soon. However, participants are free to explore their respective search of hotels, Air BnB and Apartment hotels. Rates for all accommodation types should be reasonable as May is considered Low-Season in Barbados.
Liberia has produced two presidents of Barbadian ancestry, including President Arthur Barclay, who, as a boy, spent the first 11 years of his life in Barbados, and his cousin, Edwin Barclay, who was born in Liberia. John Prince Porte emigrated from Barbados to Liberia in the mid-1860s.
The lineage is well documented in the 2021 Report, “Portes Find a New Home in Liberia: Story of the Post-emancipation Emigration of the John Prince Porte Family from Barbados, West Indies, to Liberia, West Africa, in 1865 and The Family’s Quest for Ancestral Citizenship” published by Ambassador Witherspoon. The Report is complimented by the Passenger Manifest of the Brig CORA, the vessel that brought 346 emigrants from Barbados to Liberia on April 6, 1865, arriving on May 10, 1865.
The document includes A History of Crozierville, the first-ever Porte Family Tree, a Porte Family Photo Gallery, and two separate documents portraying the Prominent Roles played in Liberia and internationally by Direct Descendants of John Prince Porte and Prominent Positions held in Liberia and internationally by other 1865 emigrant families from Barbados and their descendants who settled in Crozierville. It also included references to several important research work on the Barbados – Liberia bilateral agreement conducted over the years, which enabled the 1865 emigration.