Slave Castle

So far being in Ghana has been so amazing and eye opening for me. From mastering haggling with market merchants and crossing busy streets with no traffic lights. To spending a weekend at a homestay with a family whose children act like normal six to sixteen year old growing kids when mom’s not home but instantly become capable, polite, non-back talking little workers the moment mom pulls in the driveway. With all this, the experience I’m most effected by was our visit to the Cape Cost’s Slave Castle. Being one of two African American students on this trip I knew I would be a little more sensitive to our visit to the Slave Castle than others but I didn’t expect to feel some of the emotions I’m feeling now. Walking into the Castle I felt very anxious and uncomfortable. Even now I’m having a hard time continuing my blog because my emotions are overwhelmingly strong. Just the thought of standing in the same dark, cold, putrid dungeons that thousands of Africans were thrown into is emotionally draining. I believe the moment that really left me consumed with sorrow was the moment I walked through the Door of No Return. I found myself trying to imagine what these people, my ancestors, were feeling as they were torn away from their homes, lives and families and led through that door to a fate worse than the Castle dungeons. I began feeling nauseous, scared, sadness, anger, and then relief. Relief that it was over, relief that unlike the people I share the same kinky hair and dark skin color with, I could turn around and walk back through that Door of No Return and return; return back to my nice little tour of the Castle; a piece of history that forever changed the way Africans and African Americans view themselves and the world around them.

By Nicole Smith


5 thoughts on “Slave Castle

  1. Nicole, you experienced only a tiny part of the emotions that must have been felt my the victims of the Holocaust called slavery. The same Holocaust that is still part of the African American Experience in America today. We experience the legacy of that Holocaust today through discrimination in the forms of racial profiling, police brutality, poorly funded schools, redistricting our neighborhoods and a host of other examples that are too numerous and painful to mention; because they would leave me feeling enraged, depressed and unmotivated. I have a lot of things to do today, and like most African Americans I push the truth of the injustices to the side so I can function. Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve told you before this is the best that it has ever been for African Americans in this country( and that is a poor commentary). Maybe in time we too will experience the freedoms and equality that European American take for granted. But until then we have to hold our heads high, push the truth to the side, and go on with our daily lives still trying to live that American Dream.

    You have a good day Nicole, mommy loves you!

  2. Nicole…Thank you for sharing this beautifully written entry. I can only imagine the depth of emotion that this visit brings you to. Being on the ground where such atrocities took place is haunting — I know that’s how I felt visiting some of the concentration camps in Germany when I was your age. It seems to me the best memorial we can create is the commitment to work towards a future where oppression is replaced by compassion and equality. Unfortunately, it looks like there will be plenty of work in this department for the foreseeable future.

  3. Thanks for this post, Nicole. You do so well in relating the powerful experience of a heavy heart in visiting this place.

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