Skip to main content


What is Maafa?

The MAAFA, which means “great tragedy” in Kiswahili, refers to the period of the Transatlantic Slave Trade where historians estimate that close to 12 million Africans were captured and brought to the Americas. Travelling across the Atlantic Ocean, a journey known as the Middle Passage, more than 54,000 voyages were made over the course of 300 years. Nearly 2 million Africans died during the journey and, according to Digital History, “for every 100 slaves who reached the New World, another 40 had died in Africa or during the Middle Passage.” 

The MAAFA Commemoration offers an opportunity for the local community to reflect on the domestic and international impact of slavery. The Commemoration also creates a collaborative space to eradicate the presence of racism and all forms of injustice from our personal lives and broader community.

Maafa at UD

The Inaugural Maafa Commemoration was held on the campus of the University of Dayton in February of 2019.  

Annually, students and community members are invited to journey through the MAAFA by engaging with cultural artifacts and stories. The Commemoration will also highlight a ceremony of reflection and healing, which will include musical performances, spoken word, communion and a ritual of libations.


2021 Virtual Events

Sunday, February 21, 2021 
Maafa Worship at 4:00 pm

Join us for a Sunday service dedicated to the remembrance of the Maafa. Join us for music, fellowship, and a sacred time of remembrance and celebration. Event will be livestreamed on the Campus Ministry Youtube channel.


Monday, February 22, 2021 at 6:00 pm 
What is the Maafa? A Dialogue on the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its continued impact on the Black Community. 

Join us for an introductory conversation on what the Maafa is and its importance to the African diaspora. We will also focus on the lasting impacts of American Chattel slavery during this conversation, emphasizing the local Dayton community. PATH eligible. Register on Aviate prior to the event to receive PATH credit. 


Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Abayomi Doll Workshop | 6:00 pm
Locations: Torch Lounge and Zoom

As part of the Maafa Commemoration Series, join the Multicultural Programming Council in learning about Abayomi Dolls and even create one yourself! The Abayomi doll is a symbol of resistance with the word 'Abayomi,' a term meaning 'precious meeting' in Yoruba. 

Abayomi Doll-Making kits are available for pick-up from the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center, Monday, February 22 - Tuesday, February 23. For more information, please contact Sam Ortiz at


Thursday, February 25, 2021 
Virtual Commemoration | 6:00 pm
Location: Zoom

The 2021 Maafa Commemoration Series will conclude with a virtual, dramatized event, including various artistic performances and rituals. This year's theme, "Home," ventures to highlight and bring to life the stories of enslaved Africans during the middle passage while also highlighting the experiences of chattel slavery in the Dayton, Ohio, region. As a highlight to this year's commemoration, we will explore Margaret Garner's life, an enslaved woman whose family escaped from a Kentucky plantation to Cincinnati, OH. 

Join us for powerful virtual performances from students, local and national artists, and more.

Thursday, February 25, 2021
Maafa Virtual Lounge: Holding Space for Community  at 7:30 pm
Location: Zoom

Join Dayton Poet and Creative Arts Producer, Sierra Leone in our Maafa Virtual Lounge for a time of creative expression focused on joy and healing through story-telling, writing, and art.