Yates Community Archaeology Project (YCAP)
Bridges to both past and present continue to be built through historical archaeological research on RBHY properties. Under the direction of the Yates Community Archaeology Program (YCAP), a collaborative, diverse, community centered project, anthropology students from UH and HCC, community residents, and others are continuing to work together to learn about the past in the National Historic District of Freedmen’s Town.
YCAP activities include all phases of historical archaeological research (archival research, excavation, artifact analysis, and public education/outreach). Student and participants attend lectures and films, interview members of the community (both leaders and elders), learn from local church historians, and do archival research at local libraries. YCAP is grateful to many generous donors who continue to make the archaeology field schools and student internships a valuable educational experience.
YCAP is a collaborative, community centered project with participants from all ethnicities and classes. It seeks to understand the impact of the African Diaspora on both sides of the Atlantic, and on all of our fellow citizens, and to do so through an African-centered lens of history, culture and understanding. By working collaboratively, the participants in the YCAP are attempting to build bridges between people of different race and class – bridges which, over time, may be able to destroy the barriers built by our shared and bloodstained histories. The following are some of the ideas that guide this effort:
- That racism is the common, everyday experience of many, many people in our society. It has roots in a painful history which must be understood in order for it to be conquered.
- That the victims of oppression should play a fundamental role in the analysis of that oppression. Therefore, diverse scholarly, community and descendant involvement in all phases of the research is imperative.
- That we must continually explore links between academic knowledge and everyday social life, in order to use that knowledge to promote greater democracy and freedom for all citizens. Therefore, academics, community members, and descendants must be seen as partners in the process of learning and exploration.
- That we cannot wait to talk about these painful issues any longer – that these issues are urgent and compelling for people of all races and classes. We must seek dialogues with each other to learn from each other, now and in the future.