Reprinted from www.DR1.com
A group of Dominican-Americans traveled to Samana this week to honor and pay tribute to the descendants of the African-American community living in Samana, on the country's northeastern coast.
In 1824, at least 6,000 African-Americans who were freed from slavery migrated from the United States to Samana, Dominican Republic. Today, it is estimated that 80% of the population in Samana is of African-American descent.
The event took place on Wednesday, 22 February in the city of Samana. Hostos Community College of the City University of New York, the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo and the Association of Dominican American Supervisors and Administrators (ADASA) organized the visit. The trip was organized as a result of the US documentary film "Dominican Identity & Migration To Hispaniola," produced by Nestor Montilla, associate director of international programs for Hostos Community College and a board member of the Dominican American National Roundtable. Ana Garcia-Reyes, vice president of Hostos Community College, commissioned the film. Both attended the ceremony.
Also attending were Hugo Morales, CUNY trustee; Wilson Forshue, governor of Samana; Irma Nicasio, sociology professor from UASD; Adriano Espaillat, New York State Assemblyman from Washington Heights section of Manhattan; Jose Peralta, New York State assemblyman from Queens, NY; Cid Wilson, president of the Dominican-American National Roundtable (DANR) in Washington, D.C., Jeanne Mulgrave, Commissioner for the City of New York's Department of Youth & Family Services; Robert Mercedes, president of ADASA, Carlos Sierra of the CUNY student senate; Fred Price, dean of public relations for Medgar Evers College.
The delegation honored Martha Willmore Kelly, Reverend Benito Jones of the AME Episcopal Church, Reverend Nemiah Willmore, and Franklyn Willmore for their leadership in preserving the culture of the African American community in Samana. An estimated 200 guests took part in the recognition ceremony. The timing of the event was significant as February is Black History Month as well as Dominican Heritage Month in the United States.