Applause from Tourists …

B.A. | Educator
Waterloo Village, Byram NJ

Akwaaba is a gem here in the Rochester area. I am grateful that you took time to accommodate me and share your knowledge with me.

Applause from Partners …

John Curran | Member
Plymouth-Exchange Neighborhood Association

Hello David and Ruth,

Thank you for producing a scholarly presentation on the effects of the “Call to Arms” to the members of the Frederick Douglass family and the link to J. Horace “Hod” McGuire. I am indebted to you for introducing me to Hod McGuire years ago. I am grateful that we were able to link the two stories together. Please extend my appreciation to the members of AKWAABA for their dedication to bringing Rochester’s African American heritage alive. It was good to see old friends. Share these photos with them. For additional photos, please check the Plymouth-Exchange Neighborhood Association website.

Grant Holcomb | The Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester

Your performance at the Memorial Art Gallery yesterday was powerful and poignant. It was a most moving experience and I want to thank you on behalf of everyone here at the Gallery. Here’s hoping we can do it again in the not too distant future. My and our many thanks.


Praise from Teachers …

Mary Kay Bellwood & Spero Michaildis
Thank you so much for the incredible learning experience you provided for our 4th-grade students (and adults) – we absolutely loved it! We couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful way to expose our students to the Underground Railroad, and to the inspiring historical figures who helped so many reach freedom … we can’t wait to return with a new group of students next time. … It was great – the leaders, the reenactors, the tour – EVERYTHING!


Time in the life …

[Excerpted, with permission, from the writings of Dr. David A. Anderson/Sankofa]

In October of 1859, FREDERICK DOUGLASS has just read a telegram intended for the U.S. Marshal. The intercepted telegram implicates Douglass in John Brown’s raid on the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He is anguished over the fate of Brown, and of the young African American, Shields Green. Green’s image is evoked to recount his escape from South Carolina. Speaking his own epitaph, Green justifies his participation in the raid.


Born around 1834, SHIELDS GREEN is about 23-years-old in our favorite reenactment. He has had far fewer opportunities than Frederick Douglass. This has fueled his struggle to get free from South Carolina enslavement, and to make sense out of a world that marginalizes him. For a time Green was free in Canada, but he risked that freedom to return to the United States, ultimately, to the fate that awaited him in Virginia.


Testimonials to “Time in the life” …

We are completely in awe of how well young people absorb complex subject matter. For example, a group of 4th-graders produced a newspaper at the end of their study session. In their own words, young people react to the tours:

Jenna Morales
… we were very impressed by the quality of the presentations and the interest generated by the speakers and performers. The performers were very talented and the amount of information given was impressive!

E. Marshall
Thank you and the others for a wonderful learning experience.

E. Quitter
We went expecting a lot of information on the Underground Railroad but we got much more than that. … My favorite part of the tour is that you had actors stationed at different intervals along the trip.