Designers and Sponsors

Professor Joseph Opala, the exhibit curator, has been studying Bunce Island for 30 years. He has organized three highly publicized “Gullah Homecomings" to Sierra Leone in 1989, 1997, and 2005. He was the principal consultant for the documentary films "Family Across the Sea," "The Language You Cry In," and “Priscilla’s Homecoming” (in production). Mr. Opala lived in Sierra Leone for 17 years and taught African studies at that country’s Fourah Bay College. He now teaches history at James Madison University in Virginia.

The design team includes Joseph Beatty, Reid Ganther, and Jessica Payne, the co-designers. The design consultants are Gary Chatelain and David Ehrenpreis, art professors at James Madison University, and Kerry Schroppe and Caitlin Fitzpatrick. The exhibit logo was designed by Megan Bové.

The exhibit is sponsored by two Washington-based organizations: the Friends of Sierra Leone (FoSL), a group of former Peace Corps Volunteers and Sierra Leoneans living in the United States, and the Sierra Leone-Gullah Heritage Association (SLGHA), a group of Sierra Leoneans devoted to their country’s historical links to African Americans.


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