CRL researchers Mariam Mohammed and Adetomiwa Victor Owoseni launch Back-bones to Life Series of Children’s Books on the New York African Burial Ground Individuals

By Adetomiwa Victor Owoseni

Skeletons from the New York African Burial Ground are being breathed to life through children’s books, coming from the W. Montague Cobb Research Lab and accompanying students. The "Backbones to Life" series, a collection of books designed for young-er elementary school children, will unfold the stories of Africans in New York City during the 18th century.

Named after "The Backbone," official journal of the Cobb Research Lab, the series aims to educate children through narrated accounts about the history of slavery in America and how effects of that period were recorded into the very bones of Africans re-mains. However, the stories highlight the resiliency of African peoples and ways in which they constructed solutions to problems for their own communities, using knowledge from their traditional backgrounds.

STEM and history also play a role in creation of the stories. Written to be factually accurate, the se-ries will be the product of in-depth research done on the remains of the NYABG and lives of Africans in colonial New York. In addition to being used in its for-mation, science and history will spring from the pages as well. A time warping from present scientific re-search on remains and incorporation of actual histori-cal content will educate the reader while entertaining them and also promote an interest in STEM fields.

In all, the "Backbones to Life" series is de-signed to fill a need of our younger generation to un-derstand the history of African presence in America and learn to utilize the past as a source of wisdom. The books are being written and developed by two current Howard University students, Adetomiwa Victor Owoseni and Mariam Mohammed, under the direction of Dr. Fatimah Jackson, head of the Cobb Research Lab. "These books are bringing to life the stories of our ancestors," said Dr. Jackson, "and hopefully they can uplift our children as well."****

Cobb Lab