Ghana: Cape Coast Slave Castles

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Used for branding Africans

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Shackles worn by Africans

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How Africans were transported across the Ocean

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Male Slave Dungeons

How was visiting one of the oldest and largest slave castles in all of Africa? In one word – emotional. Hearing the harrowing 3rd person account of the Africans that were captured, imprisoned and sent as human cargo to the West was unsettling to say the least. The African slave trade began in the 15th century and continued well into the 19th century. Ghana, known then as the Gold Coast was a major hub for trade, at one point primarily human beings that were carted around the world like cattle. We visited the holding cells that shackled thousands of African men and women who would wait for weeks and months, sitting in their own human waste, for a ship to take them as cargo to a foreign land. It was haunting to know that millions of people had passed through the halls. Many dying before even making the voyage. As I’ve grown older, the question of identity has always been difficult for me. So many aspects of my heritage are a mystery to me as is the case with¬† so many other African-Americans. In addition, having spent 18 years living abroad – no IMG_7451where has really felt like home. Coming to Ghana gave me a chance to understand some of my heritage. Though I will never IMG_7448know if my ancestors passed through the dungeons of Cape Coast, I am humbled by the stories of millions who were torn from everything they ever knew, surviving the torture and torment of captivity, sent across the ocean packed like sardines, and beginning a life of enslavement in a new world. While the days of formal legalized slavery are over, we still live in a society where institutionalized racism exist. We are far from the days of a color-blind society. As we become more politically correct, we ignore the realities of the systematic disenfranchising of blacks and legal ramifications of the very institutions and people who are meant to be protecting us. Now is the time to have the conversation.

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