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Donald George

Donald B. Eardley George is an educational speaker, teaching African American history aboard the Amistad ship. George was born on May 31, 1966, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in West Africa. His mother was Marie George, descended from the Mende slaves and his father was Emmanuel George. George is a descendant of one of the leading founders of Sierra Leone. In addition, George has seven siblings: Emmanuel, Ellen, and Onikeh, Avril, Deanie, Leslie, and Olayamatu.

In 1991, George graduated from Transworld College in the United Kingdom with an Associate's degree in office administration. Following his education, George began working with the Council of Churches as a program assistant. The United Church of Christ brought George to Amistad America, Inc. in 2004 where he became the International Multicultural Education Coordinator. George lectured on the Amistad Incident of 1839 while aboard the Freedom Schooner Amistad. He was also heavily involved in the Atlantic Freedom Tour in 2007 where the Amistad sailed to England, West Africa, and the Caribbean. George has acted as liaison for Amistad America Inc. with the Caricom and African Union ambassadors at the United Nations on a permanent memorial, student video conference, and the International Slavery Remembrance Day Project.

Since 2004, George has been an affiliate of Friends of Amistad, a history and humanitarian organization. In 2005, George was presented an award by the African American Telecommunication Professionals of SBC. Two years later, George received the Golden Star Achievement award from the Peace and Love Group of Sierra Leoneans and in 2008, he was given the Irma Kingsley Johnson Distinguished Service award by the Chicago Friends of the Amistad Research Center. In 2010 George received the diamond award from the University of Mass African Students Union.

George has two children, Desmond and Juliet who were born and live in Sierra Leone.

Donald George was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 30, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.007

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/30/2010

Last Name

George

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

E.

Schools

Trans World Education College

Prince of Wales School

Speakers Bureau

Organizations

Archival Photo 2
Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

Freetown

HM ID

GEO01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, adults, seniors.

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - 0 - $500

Favorite Season

Summer

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Youth, adults, seniors.

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tallahassee, Florida

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/31/1966

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Haven

Country

Sierra Leone

Favorite Food

Cassava Leaves

Short Description

Cultural heritage educator Donald George (1966 - ) was a cultural heritage educator for AMISTAD America Incorporated. He traveled the world aboard the Freedom Schooner Amistad to share the story of the Amistad slave revolt of 1839.

Employment

Amistad America

Favorite Color

Black, White

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald George's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donald George lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald George describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald George describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donald George describes his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donald George describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donald George talks about his ancestor's role in the founding of Freetown, Sierra Leone

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald George describes the history of Sierra Leone, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald George describes the history of Sierra Leone, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donald George describes his family's role in the history of Freetown, Sierra Leone

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald George talks about the colonial history of Sierra Leone

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald George talks about his grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald George talks about his parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald George describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donald George talks about Freemasonry in West Africa

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donald George talks about his abandonment by his father

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donald George describes his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Donald George remembers his household in Sierra Leone

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald George describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald George describes his early education in Sierra Leone

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald George recalls his early activities at the Regent Road Baptist Church in Freetown, Sierra Leone

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald George recalls studying at the Trans World Education College in England

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donald George remembers the Sierra Leone Civil War

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donald George talks about the film portrayal of the Sierra Leone Civil War

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donald George remembers Sierra Leone's Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald George reflects upon the aftermath of the Sierra Leone Civil War

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donald George recalls the nationalization of the Sierra Leonean mining industry

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donald George describes how he came to work for AMISTAD America Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donald George talks about his desire to improve the image of Sierra Leone

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donald George describes the aims of AMISTAD America Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donald George describes the history of the Amistad slave revolt, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donald George describes the history of the Amistad slave revolt, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donald George describes the case of United States v. Schooner Amistad

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donald George talks about the life of Sengbe Pieh

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donald George talks about Sarah Margru Kinson

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donald George shares lessons from the life of Sengbe Pieh

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donald George talks about the legacy of La Amistad

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donald George remembers sailing on the Freedom Schooner Amistad

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donald George remembers the famous passengers of the Freedom Schooner Amistad

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Donald George reflects upon his experiences aboard the Freedom Schooner Amistad

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Donald George remembers sailing to Sierra Leone on the Freedom Schooner Amistad

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Donald George reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Donald George reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Donald George describes his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Donald George talks about his children

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Donald George describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Donald George narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$9

DATitle
Donald George remembers Sierra Leone's Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Donald George remembers sailing to Sierra Leone on the Freedom Schooner Amistad
Transcript
How did people and I think the same thing is true of Rwanda and a lot of places--$$It's the same, many of these African countries.$$The victims are--it's horrible what happens to the victims but the people that actually committed the crimes. How did they--how are they accepted back into their communities?$$Oh that's one of the best questions you've asked me. Back in Sierra Leone, I'm speaking now about Sierra Leone, we set up the same structure as in South Africa. The one Archbishop Desmond Tutu introduced, the peace reconciliation committee [Truth and Reconciliation Commission]. The council of churches that I was working for and from the entire religious council and so the religious council comprises of Muslims, sheikhs, and iman and pastors in churches. They set up these bodies to address national issues and they are also the (unclear) of our peace accord that was signed. The entire religious council--they pressured of the government kind of to set up a truth and reconciliation committee whereby people who commit atrocities and were brought forth to testify in front of a panel and right there after listening to both parties, the one who it was perpetrated to and the one who perpetrated. They both testify and we have the same one whereby we bring them together, the one who perpetrated the atrocity to apologize publicly. One thing that I do in terms of helping to spread the message in my country was to set up a youth band through the funding of the Bread for the World Germany, the council of churches through the leadership of the general secretary, Alimamy P. Koroma, who is today a minister of the now government, worked with me to purchase instruments for these young people from all over the country. I bring them together, screen them, audition them, picked the ones that I want, train them and I used that band, for an entertainment component; I transform it to a sensitization component. I use it, we compose songs, peace and reconciliation messages. We compose it in our various dialects, in our various languages, our various dialects. I take this band all over the country to sing songs of hope, songs of togetherness, songs of HIV [human immunodeficiency virus] and AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome], songs of democracy, songs of human rights. That strategy helped a lot because it lessen down the heavy odds of most people because we sing so emotionally to them because music I always tell people music and grammar is a very key component. If you want to transmit a message especially to communities that are not that literate you use the medium that these people can hear you.$You were telling me I think before we started that the Amistad [Freedom Schooner Amistad] was taken to Sierra Leone actually (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes, 2007.$$How did people react?$$Oh it was so emotional to see how coming into the harbor and thinking about the same place where our people, not so much were taking from because that's not a hidden location, that's a location you can be fired at. But this is where when they bring them back; this is where they were all floated. They call it the Portuguese steps, it's named the government wharf and that's where the Amistad [La Amistad] historically entered and tied up. We plan to be in Freetown [Sierra Leone] just for a week, we ended up staying in Freetown for two months because the welcome, the hospitality given to us by the government and the people was so overwhelming. For me being a Sierra Leonean, I was so proud because Sierra Leone has one of the greatest attentions when the ship was over there because you know international media follow Amistad. We have one of the greatest international attentions since the war. So for me it was profound, that's the word I would use, it was profound, it was historical and it brings a lot of hope to the people that they have not been forgotten, they have not been forgotten.$$Now is Christopher Cloud [HistoryMaker Christopher R. Cloud]--is he still the--$$No, he's the ex-president and CEO [of AMISTAD America Incorporated], the now president and CEO is Gregory Belanger, yeah, Gregory Belanger, who was a board member and took over from Chris.