It’s ironic how beautiful these places could be even though ugly, horrifying acts were committed there.
After West Africans were forcibly captured by European colonizers, they were taken to the Slave River in Ghana to have their “last bath” before being branded and taken to castles along the coast to await their departure. In those castles, enslaved Africans were held in dungeons and were piled one on top of the other for 1-2 months before being forced on an even worse ship to be taken to the Americas. While at these castles, enslaved Africans were fed very little, stayed in overcrowded and dark underground rooms with little ventilation, and used the bathroom in the same room they slept. All while their colonizers enjoyed a luxurious life right above them.
While walking through these spaces, I reflected on how many people thought of slavery as a distant thing. I thought about how African Americans didn’t have the privilege of knowing where exactly their ancestors were from. I thought about how slavery of our Black brothers and sisters still existed today. It was evident in other forms such as mass incarceration, institutionalized racism, and the continued power that European colonizers have over African countries.
So, today and every day, I mourn. I mourn for lost people, lost cultures, and for the continued mistreatment of Africans and African Americans in our society.