AFRICATOWN, Ala. (WKRG) — Several organizations in Africatown took part in bringing back the annual Lantern Walk, as the walk was once a part of Africatown’s history. The last Lantern Walk was held in 1952.
President of the Mobile County Training School, Anderson Flen said one of the goals of re-establishing the walk is to educate the youth of the community.
“We wanted to bring it back as a part of the rituals for this community by which we share with people how the community came together to produce outstanding students and citizens for the country,” said Flen.
Several dozen people took part in The Lantern Walk of 2022. The walk began at the Mobile County Training School and ended at the Aftricatown Cemetery.
A ritual was held at the last destination of the walk, giving honor to the ancestors of Africatown.
“There are so many of our rituals that have been erased in the African American community that really brought us together as a community,” said Flen. “We recognized that we’ve got to begin to re-establish those rituals, so our ancestors and descendants understand how connected we are.”
Isaiah Pinkney attended the last Lantern Walk in 1952. Pinkney said he’s just happy to be able to participate once again and turn an old tradition over to a newer generation.
“I feel great to just be alive and to experience both activities,” said Pinkney. “Initially, this was an activity for commencement week graduation at Mobile County Training School. The idea was to despair the darkness of ignorance.”
Then there were others who traveled across the country, including Delbert Richardson, to pay respects as the people of Africatown continue to do their part to re-establish this ritual in this community.
“My wife and I flew down from Seattle Washington,” said Richardson. “We knew that there was going to be a ceremony returning to our roots. It’s really commemorating those ancestors that have been enslaved, and now it’s time to raise their voices and shine a light on a dark part of American history.”