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An Ancestral Experience: My Visit to the Slave Castles on the Cape Coast

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My visit to the slave castles was December 29 and 30 2019. It was a busy at the castles with visitors from America to participate in the Year of Return and local adults and school age children visiting while on holiday. It was a bit loud and distracting for very serious places and moments. Despite that, I still felt and understood what the castles and the stories of the people who were brought here mean to me and the fellow members of the African diaspora. On reflection, it is comforting to know that so many people will come and hear and experience the history that is often times not told or told incompletely and share it with others.

The realization that I am standing in the same place with my family where my ancestors were brought against their will and then raped, beaten, shackled, tortured, left in their own pee and feces and either died or were sent through the door of no return and sold into slavery with no expectation that they ever would return is almost unbelievable. The slave castles are on the beautiful cape coast surrounded by beaches and have churches on the premises where the members professed love but executed atrocities. The beautiful ocean that surrounds the castles is also the burial place of millions of our ancestors that died at the castle or during the trans- Atlantic slave trade journey. The same man, John Newton that wrote Amazing Grace participated in the slave trade at the slave castles on the cape coast. These realities are true testimony that beautiful places and loving people can still commit painful and evil acts. The bustling fishing villages, markets and kids joyfully playing in the ocean that surround the castles today remind you that there is life after death. The realization that my family and  I are standing here with the blood of our ancestors running through our veins is a testimony to the strength, perseverance and hope of our ancestors despite the harm done to them and intended for their descendants. It is a testimony that despite the atrocities to our ancestors, we are the descendants of our ancestors and their 400 years of strength, perseverance and hope runs through me, my family and the fellow members of the African diaspora‚Äôs spirit and blood. We were not expected to return but we have. We were not expected to survive but we have. We were not expected to prosper but we have. We are living proof of our ancestors strength, perseverance, hopes and prayers. We honor them by standing on this ground, remembering them and by living a life of purpose and joy. A plaque at the Elmira castles compels us to honor them by never forgetting and never letting such an injustice against humanity ever happen again.