Founder & Visionary - Eric A. Sheppard
Eric started family genealogy research in 1996 when he discovered a slave narrative about a former slave named Moses Grandy from Camden, NC, who is part of his Grandy family ancestry and his ancestor. In 1843, the British & Foreign Anti-Slavery Society of London, England published Narrative of the Life of Moses Grandy; Late a Slave in the United States of America. The genealogy research has led to his passion for reconnecting with his ancestral roots in Africa, and in 2019 was granted 300 acres of land in Zambia to develop his signature projects, Restoration Center and the Wall of Return. Both projects are meant to enhance United States and Africa cultural exchanges and explore mutually beneficial trade opportunities.
Eric’s newest program is called Economic Unity Force (EUF). EUF initiatives combat poverty and establish new options and opportunities in the USA and our four Homecoming countries (The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, and Zambia) to encourage economic empowerment in various industry sectors that create employment, business, and investment opportunities. Maximum use of emerging technologies and organization are paramount to the overall effectiveness of our EUF concept. Eric also facilitates interactive conversations with groups interested in participating in homecomings in Virginia, North Carolina and Africa to reconnect families and communities separated previously by the institutions of slavery in the United States and Africa for social-economic restoration. Special emphasis is given to the history of the Underground Railroad, Slave Narratives, historical documents and scriptures that provide relevant strategies for current day challenges in the African American communities. Eric's mission and vision are to provide short and long-term solutions that bring hope and restoration for our society since the 400-year milestone of African Americans arrival in Virginia under British rule in the year 1619.
In September 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader, Congressman John Boehner, appointed Eric to serve on the Commission on the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (H.R. 3432). This federal commission formed to coordinate activities across the United States to observe the 200th anniversary of the abolishment of the transatlantic slave trade. In addition, he served on the Maryland Slavery Commission in 2006 before relocating to Virginia.
Eric was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. His combined civilian and contractor career working with the various Department of Defense (DoD) agencies for over 25 years, including logistics and technical management. One of the highlights of his DoD career was working on the top secret Advanced Technology Bomber (B-2 Stealth) Program during its developmental, test, evaluation and initial production phases. Eric has also held a Professional Designation of Contract Management during his DoD career.
Eric earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) and holds Associate degrees from the Community College of the Air Force and Catonsville Community College (Baltimore County). Eric is the proud father of four adult children and currently resides with his wife, Lisa, in Williamsburg, Virginia.