Eric Anthony Sheppard is President and founder of Diversity Restoration Solutions, Inc., (DRS) a business tourism and international project development firm located in Hampton, Virginia. In addition, Eric is the visionary leader for the Africa Homecoming Pilgrimage™ and Homecoming Network™, featuring the Wall of Return and Restoration Center projects in Africa. The Homecoming Network™ is a subscription program for restoring relationships of families and communities separated by the institutions of enslavement in the United States and West Africa by implementing solutions for economic empowerment through annual Homecoming initiatives in Virginia/North Carolina and The Gambia, Ghana, Zambia, Liberia and Malawi.
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, where he develops his company's business concept of “Acknowledge Our Past and Embrace Our Future” to enhance United States and Africa cultural exchanges and explore mutually beneficial trade opportunities.
Eric’s newest program is called Africa Homecoming Pilgrimage Orientation Workshops. He 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 Special emphases in the workshops are given to the history of the Underground Railroad, Slave Narratives, historical documents and scriptures that provide relevant strategies for current day challenges in the African American communities.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 as we plan anniversary Homecomings for 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 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. 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 earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Technical Management from the University of Maryland, University College and holds Associate degrees from the Community College of the Air Force and Catonsville Community College (Baltimore County). He has four children currently resides with his wife Lisa in Hampton Roads, Virginia.
Past Speaking Engagements
The Gambia Trade and Economic Forum – U.S. Embassy Banjul (Banjul, The Gambia 2009)
Ghana Business Forum – Diversity Restoration Solutions (Accra, Ghana 2011)
The Gambia Orientation Visit – Diversity Restoration Solutions (Banjul, The Gambia 2013)
Africa Homecoming Pilgrimage - 400th Anniversary Commemoration (Barotseland, Western Province, Zambia 2019)
National Export Initiative Conference for Small Businesses (Baltimore, Maryland)
Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Virginia)
North Carolina Central University (Durham, North Carolina)
Southside Virginia Community College (Lawrenceville, Virginia)
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Catonsville, Maryland)
U.S. Coast Guard (Baltimore, Maryland)
National Naval Medical Center (Bethesda, Maryland)
Howard County (Maryland) Recreation and Parks
Howard County (Maryland) Public School System
Isle of Wight County (Virginia) Parks and Recreation
New York Exchange of Virginia (Chesapeake, VA)
Anne Arundel (Maryland) County Govt. Senior Centers
Suffolk (Virginia) Visitors Center
National Association of African Americans in Human Resources/National Association of Black