February 29, 2024

CBNC supply chain reporter, daughter pen book on family histories of slaves


A new book published in February and co-written by global supply chain reporter and author Lori Ann LaRocco and her daughter Abby Wallace traces the ancestry of four enslaved Black families and their stories and experiences.

“Embracing Your Past to Empower Your Future” was inspired by a trip the authors took to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington; Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson; and Montpelier, the home of James Madison.

While at Monticello, the mother and daughter learned about those who had been enslaved there from relics they had left behind.

“When the docent showed us the fingerprints of the enslaved that were left in the bricks for the building, it was the intent of leaving those there that drove us to write this book. Children and women had made those fingerprints and once they did that, the enslaved men who built the actual homes purposely put the prints outward and upright for the world to see them and recognize their contribution to history,” LaRocco told FreightWaves.

She said she and Wallace left the tours knowing that they wanted to find these families, “people whose loved ones helped build America, see where they came from and how subsequent generations have built onto it.”

Photo: Lori Ann LaRocco

Working alongside historians, the pair interviewed four families: the Allens, survivors of the slave ship Clotilda and founders of Africatown in Mobile, Alabama; the Madisons, slave descendants of President James Madison; the Quander family, one of the oldest recorded Black American families in the United States; and the Brooks family, the only Black American family with three generals in the immediate family.

Throughout this process, Wallace said on SiriusXM’s FreightWaves radio show “Drive Time” that this was a lesson she would never get from her high school textbooks, even if it’s a hard history pill to swallow.

“It is one of those topics that we don’t really want to take a look back at, but the reason we have history class is so that these things don’t happen again. … I went into this [research] when I was 15 and now I am 17 going on 18 soon learning these stories has completely changed me as a person, knowing all of these details that history books don’t tell you,” the young author said.

Photo: Abby Wallace

From the stories, supply chain readers can even get a better understanding of the history of U.S. infrastructure.

LaRocco explained that while researching Africatown and the story of the Clotilda survivors, she learned more about the urban planning of Mobile.

“The survivors created Africatown in 1868 once they were able to buy their own land. They created it just like they did in Tikar back in Africa. The roads were built into the flow of the land instead of the grid pattern that we more commonly see. The roads are curved and a lot more narrow. … You cannot get a semi-truck in there. The land plots were bigger because it was family-based, so you could get three or four homes on an acre. They built their dwellings like a sharing community,” she said.

However, more recent infrastructure in Mobile has literally paved over part of the history of Africatown.

“When you drive over the big six-lane highway (Interstate 10) that goes over the bridge, you are heading into the business district of Africatown that the city of Mobile bulldozed to build that highway. It destroyed the town. I am now in this big fight to help reinvigorate Africatown with jobs. I am putting on my logistics muster if you will, because it is only 2 miles from the Port of Mobile and it could be a huge opportunity for the people of Africatown.”

Giving back

Helping bring awareness to these families’ history isn’t the only work LaRocco and Wallace are doing to give back.

The two started a nonprofit, Embracing Your Past to Empower Your Future Inc., to create a book stipend for slave descendants called “Each One Teach One.” Royalties from the book will go to funding the project.

LaRocco and Wallace’s new book

“There is an African proverb called, ‘Each one, teach one.’ It goes back to the days of slavery where if you had the opportunity to learn how to read, write or do arithmetic, it was your responsibility to pay that forward and teach somebody else. These families recognized the importance of education and how that would help lift them and liberate them to greater things. We want to create this movement where readers know if they buy the book, they are helping somebody too. I hope the movement can really grow,” said LaRocco.

For Wallace’s part, she hopes readers of her generation look at their elders and their stories in a different light.

“I really want people to realize how important it is to respect and especially take a moment to listen to those who have come before us. We are so wrapped up in social media, the latest TikTok trends and keeping our Snapchat streaks alive that we don’t take a moment to look back at the people who quite literally built America from the ground up.”

25% more containers out of LA/Long Beach ports possible: ITS Logistics

Red Sea crisis and peak season — do you have a container plan?

Tanker transits plunge 20% in Red Sea: Lloyd’s List


Source link

In this article:
Share on social media: