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Drag this area to browse our archive of ancestors. Learn more about the significance of a suggested ancestral altar item by clicking on it. You can also rearrange the altar items by moving them around, or refresh the page for new suggestions.

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To 294 named ancestors, and to all of those ancestors whose names we do not know but whose blood courses through our veins.


About this Space
During the summer of 2019, the Black Girl Magik collective embarked on a tour across the United States (New York Washington, D.C. Atlanta New Orleans Los Angeles) to facilitate healing spaces rooted in communal care, ancestral practice, generational healing and critical consciousness. As part of the programming in each location, we built an ancestral altar where the community provided the names of their ancestors. We honored those who came before us during the tour and we continue to honor them in this space.

Call Them By Their Names is an ancestral archive and generative shrine toolkit for people from the African diaspora who seek to reconnect with their ancestors. Referencing found object assemblage as an anti-art practice for Black communities and paying homage to traditions of ancestral veneration across pan-African spiritualities, this community participatory space increases accessibility to ancestral knowledge by amplifying altar building as an emancipatory tool and figurative pathway for imagining alternate legacies and otherworldly possibilities for healing our collective consciousness.

Designed, Built and Creative Directed by
Zainab Aliyu
"Building an Ancestral Altar" Workshop by
Shydeia Caldwell
Community Participation from
Participants of the Black Girl Magik Homecoming Tour 2019 and larger community
Researched & Produced by
The Black Girl Magik Collective
(Brittany Spell, Zainab Aliyu, Shydeia Caldwell, Sierra King)


Try making an ancestral altar using the following objects: [OBJECT LIST]. The [OBJECT 1], which comes from [ORIGIN] is [ADJECTIVE] for its [____] .
We honor those who came before us.

To [NAME]
... and all of those whose names I do not know but whose blood courses through my veins

Albennie Johnson Graham
Allahja Aliyu
Amanda Stevens
Andrea Glivens
Annet Battle
Annie Barabine
Antonia Tiñeo
Araba Taakiwa
Arnetha Galloway
Asiedu
Asleah Rocqumore
Audre Lorde
Audrey Sims
Aunt Allene
Aunt Edwina
Aunt Josie Fleming
Aunt Kitty
Aunt Maggie Owens
Aunt Norma Sue Jones
Aunt Rose
Aunt Sally
Auntie Elizabeth
Auntie Loretta
Auntie Rosebud
Barbara Edgerson
Beatrice Scott
Benjamin
Bernetha Boyd (Aunt Bert)
Bernice Cullor
Big mama Glenda Ann Jones
Blanche Marie
Bolaji
Bortha
Brittany Shaw
Bryce Givens
Candice Tucker
Catherine Jackson
Cecelia D White
Charles
Charles Anthony F. Sr
Charles Prejean III
Charlotte Shaw-Reese
Chris High
Chriss Scott
Christine Cox
Christopher Oyenuga
Clayton Mitchem
Collins
Columbus David Mcailin
Cynthia Harris
Daisy Knott
Daniel Ganes
Danny Harush
Darthey Parfaite
Dave Silas
Delman Jones
Delta
Denise
Desean
Diane Green
Dollie C. Griffin
Dolores
Donald Robinson
Dovie Wilson-Anderson
Easter Rab
Edith Lovell
Edna Scaffer
Ehulu Ndlora Ben
Ehulu Nyatgu Saloman
Elizabeth Brimage
Elizabeth Burdette
Ella Bell Caldwell
Ella K Hags
Ella Roberts
Elsie Graham
Emma “Papa” Lawton
Emmit Battle
Erenestina
Esther Maranda
Ethel Mason
Eunice
Fana Secka
Fernando
Frances
Frederick Bass
Gary B. King Sr.
Gleason Roy
Gloria
Gloria Hall
Grace Elaine Abduh
Granddad William
Grandma + Grandpa Gilchrist
Grandma Bernice
Grandma Josephine Fleming
Grandma Juanita Jones
Grandma Pearl Davis
Grandma Ruth Foster
Grandma Salaam
Grandma Theresa Annie Lomotey
Grandma Velma
Grandma Vonzant
Grandpa Nelson Williams
Granny Gather
Great granddad Billy
Great Granddaddy Suggs
Great grandma Lillie Mae
Great Grandma Milli
Great Grandmother Fannie Mae
Great Grandmother Joe
Great great grandma
Great Uncle Carl
Great-Great-Great Grandma Bessie
Hamid Abduh
Hariett Smith
Heather Barnabas
Helen J Sim
Herbert Brimage
Herbert E Mcgill
Herman Caldwell
Howard Jhnson
Inez White
Irene Galle
Isabell Slaten
Isiah Goodwin
****** Bentley
Iya Isale-Eko
James Caldwell
James Degrafenread
James Hatchett
James Hill
Jamillah
Jasper
Jeane
Jerome
Jimmy Lou
John Henry
John Joseph White
John Stambuli
John Taylor
Johnnie Mae
Johny Schafer
Jonah Dimgba
Joseph Boye Lomotey
Joseph Wade
Joshua Reed
Julia “Mama” Alston
Kat
Kebba Farmor
Kenneth Leon Jones
Kevin Graham
Kevin Nelson
Kindred Hall
King Phelps
King Tijani Adebari
Korbin King
Lacy Dillard
Lars Manfred
Laura Benefield
Laura M
Laura Turner
Leslie Gene Cobb I
Lige
Lila
Lilly Forsman
Lily M
Lock Bunn
Lothe Mae Houston
Loudelia Triggs
Lovie Sanders
Lubertha Mae Johnson
Lucy Fields
Lula Jackson
Ma Francis
Maame Nkefia
Mable Bass
Mable Suggs
Malumes
Mama
Mama Dee
Mama Joefa
Mama Louise
Mama Pura
Mami
Mamie Harpe
Margaret Gallet
Margaret Viel
Margo Elaine
Maria Hippolito
Marjorie Dauphin
Mark Jones
Mary
Mary Brimage
Mary J. Bentley
Maxine Ingersoll
McGamaky Luaye
Mercedes Carrasquillo
Merlean Washington Holt
Michael Hart
Michael Lomotey
Michelle Jones
Mildred Wormley
Mother of Frances Caraway
Ms. Gloria E. Jackson
Muriel Sister
Musa Gaye
My nieces & nephews transitioned in the womb
My unborn children
Nanny
Nanny
Nathaneil Scipio
Nina Simona
Nola
Nunu
Nyangoma
Obalamolu Adeltelu
Ocala Hesbett
Octavia Butler
Odessa Plummer
Ollie Leavel
Ora “Doll”
Ostin Salmeron Jr.
Ostin Salmeron Sr.
Otis
Oyatamana
Pam Faunteloroy
Papa Felipe
Papa Moreno
Papa Stewart
Paris Leeper
Patrick Graham
Paul Dans
Paulette
Pearl Johnson
Percy
Randall “Rance” Graham
Raymond George
Raymond Stansberry
Raymond Stransberry Jr.
Richard Bass
Richard Jay
Richard Knott Jr.
Richard Knott Sr.
Robert Johnson
Robert Thomas Jr.
Rodney Caldwell
Rose
Rose Stansberry
Rosebud Leeper
Rosemary Grandad
Ruby Joe
Rubye Baxter
Rufus Willing
Ruth
Ruth Rallino
Sago Nyathi
Same
Samuel Jones
Samuel Lovell
Selena
Shayla Jacobs
Shirley
Sofia Marin
Stanley Adams
Stanley Leeper
Stella Caraway
Stuva
Tamara Callbero
Thelma Major
Thelma Sill
Theresa Carrasquillo
Therese Basley
Thomas Harris
Tia Sanchez
Tina Stewart
Titi Dean Cleo
Transtio Ruiz
Trina
Tyese
Tyon Johnson
U’ha
Unborn Brother
Uncle Boof
Uncle JJ
Uncle Steve Vann
Utoma Frd Aniyam
Veronica Carrasquillo
Walter Leeper
Welzanna Hodges
Wilbert Porche
William Dauphin
William Griffin
******
****** Toui
Winston Anderson – Shucky Ducky