Meet Our Panelists: The Atlantic Slave Trade

Donnamarie Barnes: Panel Chair

Donnamarie Barnes began working at Sylvester Manor Educational Farm in 2016 as Curator/ Archivist after working for over thirty years in photojournalism as a photo editor. Her ongoing work of conserving the various collections at the Manor, researching and uncovering the lives and identities of the enslaved and indigenous people of Sylvester Manor is an integral part of the organization’s mission to Preserve, Cultivate and Share the stories of all the people of Sylvester Manor. She has curated the exhibitions, “Women of the Manor”, “A Place in Pictures” and “All That Has Been: Our Roots Revealed”. Her work at Sylvester Manor also includes ongoing photography projects relating to the memory of slavery felt in the landscape.

Aurélie Vialette: Panelist

Aurélie Vialette is an Associate Professor at Stony Brook University in the department of Hispanic Languages and Literature and affiliated faculty in the department of History. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and specializes in working-class culture, social movements, gender studies, prison reform, slavery networks, and disability studies. Her first book Intellectual Philanthropy: The Seduction of the Masses (Purdue UP, 2018) is the recipient of the 2019 North American Catalan Society book award. Her co-edited volume on Dissonances of Modernity: Music, Text, and Performance in Modern Spain (North Carolina Studies in Romance Languages and Literatures) was published in March 2021. She has a book under contract with SUNY Press titled The Legacies of Slavery in Modern Iberia (19th-21st centuries) co-edited with Akiko Tsuchiya. Her new book manuscript analyses penal colonies in the Philippines and is titled The Colonial Laboratory: Race, Gender and Penal Colony in the Philippines in the 19th century.

Shanna Sabio: Panelist

A proud mother of 3, Shanna Sabio was born in Brownsville, and raised in Bushwick and Bedford Stuyvesant.  She’s an anti-disciplinary artist, curator, cultural strategist, public historian, and educator whose practice uses the intersections of art and technology, travel and urban planning to create healing, anti-racist, equitable, and inclusive spaces. 

As co-founder and co-director of GrowHouse NYC, her most recent work empowers young Black creatives to collectively own and develop their communities resources, including property, cultural institutions, and artistic production.  

She has designed project-based, travel-focused curricula and experiences that connect Black people across ages, disciplines and locations such as the United States, Latin America, Europe, and West Africa. Her most recent work, the Sankofa Walking Tour for the Flatbush African Burial Ground, has been experienced by over 500 people thus far.

Shanna has over 15 years education and instructional design experience working for large corporations and small businesses alike, and is a Laundromat Project 2023 Create Change Artist-in-Residence.  She has also graduated from LIFT Economy’s Next Economy MBA program, Creative Reaction Lab’s inaugural REFRESH Cohort, Weeksville Heritage Society’s Freedom Fellowship, and the NEW Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

Ramin Ganeshram: Panelist

Ramin Ganeshram, is an award-winning journalist and
historian who is currently the Executive Director of the
Westport Museum for History & Culture (formerly
Westport Historical Society) in Westport, Connecticut.
Ganeshram’s area of study is colonial-era  American
history, particularly focused on enslaved African-
Americans and mixed-race people. She spent ten years
researching and writing The General’s Cook, a process
that even continued after the novel was published,
leading Ganeshram to discover the real life fate of
Hercules Posey, the chef enslaved by George Washington, and solving a 218 year old historical mystery.  Ganeshram has been widely recognized for evolving the 133 year old Westport Museum toward an inclusive interpretation of local history as part of the larger American story by focusing on race,
ethnicity and gender. In recognition for her work as curator of Westport Museum’s 2018-19 exhibit, Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport, Ganeshram received the prestigious award for Leadership in the Museum Field from the New England Museum Association (NEMA). Remembered won awards of merit from the Connecticut League of History Associations (CLHO) and the coveted
Award of Excellence from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH). In 2019, Ganeshram was also awarded the Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship for the For the Study of Minorities in American Maritime History.  She is 2022/23 Fellow at the Fred W. Smith Library for
the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon. Ganeshram is currently working on a books about how the Caribbean influenced North American cuisine as part of the Atlantic Trade and how culinary work among enslaved people helped create networks of communication toward emancipation and entrepreneurship.