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The Asaba Memorial Project is a collaboration between USF researchers in Anthropology and History, together with the people of Asaba, led by the Asaba Development Union and our Community Advisory Board, chaired by Dr. Ify Uraih. We are documenting and memorializing a mass killing of civilians that took place in 1967, during the Nigerian Civil War. The goal of this initiative is to “reclaim” the history of the event, in a spirit of reconciliation, allowing previously-unheard stories to be told and valued.

In December 2009, Dr. Elizabeth Bird (Anthropology) and Dr. Fraser Ottanelli (History) visited Lagos and Asaba, met with community members and leaders, and recorded videotaped testimony from more than 20 survivors. They returned in 2010 and 2011, and have now recorded over 50 interviews. An article about the massacre will appear in African Studies Review in December, 2011. The current goal is to develop a museum exhibit about the event, to be installed in Asaba. 

Research shows that communities in which there is formal commemoration of atrocities appear more resilient than those in which silence prevails. The Asaba Memorial Project seeks to provide a scholarly assessment of this historical event, to break the silence, and acknowledge and honor the dead and their descendents.

For more about the project, visit www.asabamemorial.org

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