July 23rd, 2008
09:24 AM ET

Ghanian slave castles: Where beauty and brutality co-exist

Program Note: In the next installment of CNN's Black in America series, Soledad O'Brien examines the successes, struggles and complex issues faced by black men, women and families, 40 years after the death of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch encore presentation Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m. ET

We devote several days on the blog to smart insight and commentary related to the special.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/22/art.doorofnoreturn.jpg]
Roland S. Martin
CNN Political Analyst, AC360° Contributor

It is truly stunning to look out into the Atlantic Ocean and see the beauty of the beach and waves along the coastline of this Ghanian fishing town, and then listening to them crash onto the shores below the Elmina Slave Castle.

But if you close your eyes, you can also hear the banging of chains and the rustling of the feet of slaves – bunched in groups of 400 women and 600 men – as they are held in dark, small, cramped and poorly ventilated spaces, not knowing whether they will survive this horrible ordeal and return to their tribes in this West African nation.

It's hard to fathom how such unbelievable brutality, and breathtaking beauty, could co-exist.

After venturing out from Accra early this morning on a three-hour ride, we arrived in Elmina to tour the Elmina Slave Castle, initially built by the Portugese. Our knowledgeable guide, Phillip, provided riveting, and often sad, testimony to the horrors of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, showing us the places where women were separated from men; a spot where a woman who refused to be raped by her captors was held in a ball and chain with no food until she submitted; and the holding cell where male slaves were sent to be broken of their will.

And of course, nothing signifies the finality of the slaves the “Door of No Return,” the sliver in a stone wall or an actual door where African slaves had to crouch low to the ground as they were ushered through one by one, checked off on a sheet of paper like cattle, never to see the Motherland again.

As a descendant of Africans – I’ve traced my DNA on my mom’s side to individuals in Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone – it was difficult to walk through these dark and dank dungeons, imagining hundreds of men and women packed in these rooms, forced to urinate in corners of a room; having to lay beside a weak or dead comrade; forced to endure unspeakable brutality.

This was no video or history book lesson, which allows us to learn in theory, all in the relative comfort of a classroom or home. Standing here, I could still smell the stench that is locked in the rocks, and stand on the same spot where men, women and children died.

Did I get emotional and weep? No. I spent most of the time taking pictures and shooting video, which always allows me to remove myself emotionally from any situation. My focus was to record as much as I can so I can take the images back and show my nine nieces, four nephews, family and friends, so they could witness via my trip the reality of the most devious and diabolical act committed against mankind.

But what I witnessed with my own eyes will not be forgotten as long as I remain on this earth.

Phillip said estimates suggest that a total of 60 million African came through such castles, with 40 million dying in the castles or on ships, their lifeless bodies thrown into the sea without the dignity of a proper burial.

One of the more stunning things we witness at Elmina and Cape Coast Castle was the fact that churches were built right above the slave dungeons, allowing the Portugese, British and Dutch – it all depended on who had taken over the castle at that time – to praise and worship Jesus Christ. The Portugese started off with the mission introducing Christ to the Ghanaians. Instead, all they really got was evil incarnate.

People of every race, creed, religion and sex should not assign these world landmarks to just old dilapidated buildings that don’t require our time or attention. This is OUR history – not just African American or African, but Caribbean, European and Asian.

It must be recognized that the world benefited from the horrible slave trade. African who sold their own received gun powder, liquor and other bartered items; nations like the United States were built into the superpower it is today; fortunes were made all over in European capitals; and its after effects – colonialism and Jim Crow in Africa and the United States, respectively – continued what was started more than 600 years ago.

I’ll end this with a statement inscribed in stone on the walls of both castles, which aptly describes what we all should do: “In everlasting memory of the anguish of our ancestors. May those who died rest in peace. May those who return find their roots. May humanity never again perpetrate such injustice against humanity.

“We the living vow to uphold this.”

Below are some photos from Roland Martin's trip:

Door of No Return
The "Door of No Return".

Dungeon in Elmina Castle
Roland's guide, Phillip, inside one of the male dungeons at the Elmina Castle.

Canons from the Cape Coast Castle
Canons point out to the Atlantic Ocean from the Cape Coast Castle

Actual chains used on slaves as presented in the Cape Coast Castle Museum

Filed under: 360° Radar • Black in America • Roland S. Martin
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Ilhana, Bosnia

    peter wrote:

    "that’s the way of man. in all lands, at all times. going back in time: Darfur, Rwanda, Uganda, Srebrenica, Khmer Rouge, Nazi Holocaust. And this is just barely half a century."

    well, unfortunately, yes. However, this wonderful report by Rolan S. Martin stands as a modern-day virtual monument itself, in order to educate people and point them to learn more and more about the history of mankind. Some informations in this article I did not know of before, and let us hope humanity is truly going somewhere, instead of just whirling down a spiral of ultimative self-destruction. Learning in order to avoid fear of the unknown, of the diferent.

    July 24, 2008 at 3:29 am |
  2. James Scott

    I've been listening to the "oh, woes is me" from blacks my entire 51 years of life. The slavery thing is over...get over it. If we could fix it we would, but we can't so let's move on. The segregation thing looks over as well. I am tired of the belly-aching; blacks are blacks, and whites are whites. Spare me the African-American crap too...I don't go around calling myself a Dutch American. The only racism I see day in and day out is from blacks. If Obama wins, that still won't shut them up; they find something else to complain about. I could care less what the color of your skin is...what matters is do you have any common sense, and have you tried using it today?

    July 24, 2008 at 12:27 am |
  3. Craig in Dallas

    Mike in NYC-

    What about the rest of Kim K.'s post? You were noticeably silent on that.....Or Malcolm in Baltimore's post? Are those comments also "too easy" for you to respond to?

    July 23, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  4. beck ny

    now my last story was just to say there are two sides to every coin , my children are going to be educated at the best schools becuase they are black, and i could not and i am white i am still paying student loans and my son will have dept free coming out the door with a phd

    July 23, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  5. beck

    well i am white ,well French my husband is black and my children are mixed 18 and 14 so iv seen different things both sides of it. My children have benefited by there color and i mean big like my son is going to a top five collage for engineering with all paid for just because he is black , let me tell you he was an average student they said they needed more African Americans and women and Asians . my thought was after i felt like i am white what about the whites were do they land . this was with every school he applied too and when i mean average i am going high he was like 79 and these schools required 85 to 89 to get in. i have a lot more things like this that has happen. so there to me is no excuse.
    Now i have lost a job 10 minutes after they met my husband for the first time , a small company owned by itialian women told me after they met him sorry we are down sizing and the manager position we will do , yet two weeks later they had a manager there.

    July 23, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  6. Karlton

    I too have visited the last stop prior to the middle passage and have heard the chains. I have looked back while standing at the surf, only to realize that this was perhaps the last time one of my ancestors saw their (our) homeland. I don't share my emotions with many people outside my family (wife, children, ect.), but I wept. As did the many mothers and father who would never see their families again. I am a active duty military man and was stationed in Spain for 3 years. I have been to Africa 3 times (twice on vacation, once unfortunately for business) and plan to take my entire family one day. I have seen the influence of the Moors on "Europe" and the influence that we have had around the world. Thank you Roland for reminding me of my heritage, thank you.

    July 23, 2008 at 10:46 pm |
  7. Osei

    No all Black people came from Africa. Many of us were indigenous to this country.
    To say that all Black people came here through slavery and ignore the evidence("They came before columbus" Ivan Van Serima, Africa and the discovery of America" Leo Wiener") is part of the world wide lies perpetuated by European "scholarship". Too long we have been beleiveing the "Lie" that Europeans "brought "us over here against our will. Many of us came here on our on free will and were slaveholders!
    It is way past time for us to wake up and stop letting others write our history. As Malcolm said, "What makes you think a people who won't treat you right, teach you right?".

    July 23, 2008 at 10:18 pm |
  8. scott

    To move forward, is to let go, and to let go, you must forgive, and to forgive, you must look at one self.
    After I posted my first blog and reading other blogs, I went outside and asked a few of my black friends a question. I asked them why they care about the slave days that happened 100 years ago. Some of them answered by saying because they have love for their people and because of the pain and struggle that they went through and because of what the white man is doing to them how they are holding them down. I said you have love for your people?! I f you have love for your people then why is it then your outside all day selling crack to your people, causing your people to go into poverty, killing your people, and killing many of your people dreams? Some responding saying we don’t know them. I responded by saying you didn’t know those slaves either. They said to me dam fam, you working for the man now? You’re Mexican, you know how it is. Yes, I do know how it is, and that’s why I am going to school and not out here with all. The next thing they said was we got love for you fam, but you need to go on with this b.s. . I was once told when you are pointing your finger and blaming someone, there are 3 fingers pointing at you.

    July 23, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  9. Derik

    Powerful and Moving.

    I'm Navajo from AZ. This story being read through my teary eyes is heart wrenching. I was shooken, mentally assaulted and demoralized when I read 40 MILLION HUMANS were killed for no other good reason than to selfishly prosper in the name of Country, God and self. It is still happening and all we can do is talk and watch while Sudan, Somolia and S. Africa are being raped from the inside out. I'm done saying this is not my problem. My white friends all say this is Africa's problem. My Mexican friends say they are doing it to themselves and should take responsibility. My Black friends don't really care as they feel de-humanized and institutionalized by pop culture. As anyone with reading skills knows, we, as Natives, are no exception. Europeans came to America with a Gun in one hand and the Bible in the other...such a sad choice to make. One option less and it would've been a life of cotton planting. I'm tired of this same old race card mentality...I don't care who you are or where you are from. Come to a reservation and you will not ever be ashamed to be from a ghetto ever again. Is this an excuse to hate? Hell no, I just got my BA in computer science...quit talking and start doing. If not for yourself, for the sake of our misguided children.

    July 23, 2008 at 9:26 pm |
  10. Robert

    Melissa from LA....you hit the nail on the head. As long as people want to differentiate themselves, no one is coming together. It is amazing, everyone talks about coming together, yet, everyday you see a group of people (ethnic, religious, etc...) wanting to be treated differently. I wish people would clear something up for me, does everyone wanted to be treated fairly or do they want to be treated the same as everyone else? That is not the same thing if you think about it.

    Instead of African, Mexican, Asian, European Americans....why not just American? Also people need to stop blaming everything on the "white man". Most people realize only a select few owned slaves. Not everyone in the US was a plantation owner with the resources to own slaves. Most of the country-think of the countries that fought in the North-were slave free for the most part.

    Until a black american, white american, brown american, red american and yellow american call each other "AMERICAN" or "sir", "maam"...this hostility and separation will continue.

    Remember...if we are divided...the coffers of Sharpton, Jackson, David Duke and others will only get bigger. Let us not forget that those who divide profit.

    God Bless to my fellow human beings or as Jesus asked me to think of you as - my brothers and sisters.....and yes....even though I'm white....black, red, yellow, and brown skinned people are my brothers and sisters through Christ. Nothing is ever going to change that.

    July 23, 2008 at 8:22 pm |
  11. Kristoff in CA

    Some clerification should be made here with regards to the use of the term "African slaves" It makes it look like these people chose to make themselves slaves. These are people who in good faith thought that they were going to provide their services and come back to their communities. Their resistance which has been greatly documented in places like the Elmina and on ships when they realized what the Europeans had in stock for them, does not show that these are people who want to be slaves. The term "Enslaved Africans" should be more appropriate.

    July 23, 2008 at 7:24 pm |
  12. Jay

    No matter how one slices and dices this topic, enslaving another human being is wrong, unjust. Apartheid is a blot on human dignity. Untouchabllity is a sin. Decimating an entire race (the Indians who lived in the North American continent and elsewhere) is even more egregious.


    blacks have benefited too. Blacks in the USA may be humiliated once in a while, no question, but they (as a group) are probably better educated, schooled, have more options and earn more (look at black athletes) than their poor cousins in Africa. So, why not ALSO talk about the politics ? Black men marry white girls though the opposite is rare..........and the society is becoming more tolerant, so, what is the real story here ?

    July 23, 2008 at 7:13 pm |
  13. Mike in NYC

    Roland S. Martin wrote:

    "It doesn’t matter the number. The brutality was so atrocious that if it happened to one person, that was one too many."

    There's a difference between history and propaganda. The former reveals facts to illuminate the past, the latter uses and distorts facts for a political agenda. The ridiculously exaggerated numbers presented above were a small part of the non-stop campaign to convince whites that they are uniquely evil, and to forget their role as creators of virtually everything that defines the "modern world."

    July 23, 2008 at 7:00 pm |
  14. Jolene

    Roland: I appreciate you sharing your experience with us. Reading your thoughts and then looking at the pictures really touched me. I hope you consider sharing some of your video with us too. Thanks.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    July 23, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  15. Roland S. Martin

    According to the exhibits at the Cape Coast Castle, one-third of the surviving slaves – 20 million – went to Brazil, the Caribbean and America. The US received the smallest number of slaves, with some estimates at 1.5 million.

    It doesn't matter the number. The brutality was so atrocious that if it happened to one person, that was one too many.

    July 23, 2008 at 6:02 pm |
  16. Melissa, Los Angeles

    Scott wrote:

    “When will there be a “Mexican in America “? What about “Life of a Mexican in America’?”

    Oh please am I suppose to start demanding "Chinese in America" or "Asian in America" now? We will always be divided if we continue with this separtist ideology and God forbid should someone demand "White European in America" because they would be called racist but to have black, Mexican, or Chinese etc. day/month is not. There is much in history to be learned but let's not perpetuate the segregation even further by having all these different day/month celebrations because it will only further divide than unite.

    July 23, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  17. Kristoff in CA

    One thing that need to be made clear here was that in those days there were a lot of migrant labor activities going on and these Africans who were supposedly sold to slavery were actually hired labors( though, some were forced by the local chiefs who were paid for their services) who were expected to come home at the end of their service. These local chiefs, little did they know, that the Europeans were lying to them and had no intention of bringing these people back to their community. With virtually no means of communication at that time the communities they left behind had no way of knowing what they are going through at various port of depature like Elmina. A lot of communities in Africa are still wrestling with the guilt of what they unknowingly did to some members of their communities.

    July 23, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  18. Mike in NYC

    Kim K. wrote:

    "Not all African slaves came to the “Americas.” Some stayed in the carribean, some went to mexico and other latin countries."

    Hugh Thomas, in his book, also estimates that 300,000 slaves went to other countries. That's 800,000 total.

    Come on, Kim, you're making this too easy for me.

    July 23, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  19. Kofi

    In response to Scott's post, I say we are all waiting for the time when there is a series about "Life of a Mexican in America" and hopefully someone, preferably, Mexican, who knows the issues and understand them, will take on this study so we all have a fuller deeper understanding! Till then, that is whoever comes up to take up this study, I say leave all the journalists (i.e. Soledad O'Brien) who are undertaking studies on their other race (she is half black half white) to breath. They are doing what they do best on what they know best.

    Secondly, this is to Roland. I am originally from Ghana and I have been to the castles you went to. I think my only gripe with this entire article is that you spelt GHANAIAN wrongly. Its easy to write GHANIAN as thats how its mostly pronounced, but GHANAIAN is the correct spelling. Other than that, good job!!!

    July 23, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  20. Akwasi Nimako

    Thank you, Roland for telling this story. I come from Ghana and I know what you are talking about. I cry like a baby any time I visit the Elmina and Cape Coast castles. They say "the same ships that brought Bibles and food to Ghana (Africa) were the same ships that brought guns, chains, wine to Africa". They were the same ships that carried precious human beings as cargo and/or as sardines packed in a can from the coasts of Ghana to America and other places. It is very unfortunate in these civilized world to see people still seriously practicing racism and discrimination. My little children recently encountered a rare experience that I believe they will never forget in their lives. The children (youth) of our Mexican neighbors started calling my children as 'Black Monkeys'. When my wife brought that to their (parents) attention they showed no remorse and seemed to support their kids on that. Oh what a world!

    July 23, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  21. Parthos Clinton

    Roland I am Ghanaian and i say for a fact that it's never f-ing fine in Ghana. This is frawned upon in Ghana. Dr. Kingsley Fletcher now a stool chief, a sub chief for that matter and never a paramount chief like you want to put it, needs to re learn his manners after haven lived a greater part of his life outside Ghana. He's a "development" sub chief and can't speak to manners and culture very well in Ghana. I say this for a fact! We are not loose in our talk and I want to emphasise that "caution in speech is revered in Ghana". It is unfortunate the migration of culture from the US is corrupting our good Ghanaian and African culture!

    July 23, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  22. Malcolm from Baltimore

    I love how White people want to erase the burden of slavery from their conscious. Whites have not nor will they ever want to deal with the burden of slavery. Yes, Blacks gave other Blacks up to Whites during the Middle Passage, but those Africans had no idea where their captives were going or what kind of treatment they would receive. In all wars, they are traitors. During the Holocaust, many Jews were Nazi sympathizers, do you say that the Jews are responsible for their own deaths? Right now, their are many Iraqi citizens sided with the coalition forces, are they traitors to Iraqi people? Whites have and always will rape, murder, maim and exploit any group of peole who are non-White and lie about it to hide the truth. If their were no people of color in the world Whites would go to war with themselves just like they did before the age of exploitation, I mean exploration. Deal with that.

    July 23, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  23. Kim K.

    To Mike in NYC

    Your ignorance is showing....again. Not all African slaves came to the "Americas." Some stayed in the carribean, some went to mexico and other latin countries.

    As for Roland "admitting" that Africans sold their own into slavery, what's to admit? It's fact. There were also Jews who turned other Jews over to the Nazis. That fact does not relieve Europeans of their role in the brutality and perpetuation of the slave trade any more than Nazis can be relieved of their role in the Holocaust.

    July 23, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  24. Andrea in Houston

    Thank you Roland. I wish I could see more pictures from your trip. The "door of no return" really hits hard. I can only imagine myself being horrified and uncertain of what was going to happen next, especially being stripped away from my homeland and possibly (likely) my family.

    I am hurt that i do not know where in Africa my family is from, but my father has traced the family back to the first known African. He was a witch doctor they called Pettigrew (his master's name). I wish we could find out more...

    July 23, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  25. Vernadette

    Thx! for sharing Roland....people tend to forget the slave dungeons of Africa but they were just as horrific as the slave ship especially for women.

    July 23, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  26. Jim

    Thanks for the pics-reminders of the good old days!!

    July 23, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  27. Lisa, Missouri

    Thanks Roland for sharing.

    July 23, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  28. Ja9

    I normally don't write in but I had to this time. In the early 80s my great Aunt Edith visit those very "castles" and told me how the"scratches" of the slaves are still imprinted on the walls...evidence of them trying to escape. I have not been to Africa (on my bucket list) but she would tell us stories and that's what drives me to be a better person. To be a better AFRICAN American.

    If you didn't know that Africans sold their own its because you weren't taught or didn't read ... those of us who are REALLY interested in the African/African American history already know that. Just like we know how the white man sold his own (Germans/Jews). It was a race/religion thing ... either way IT IS WRONG!

    What can we learn from all of this and that is why we should continue to have Black history day, month and lessons???? We can learn to remove hate and replace with love, self-esteem, respect of others regardless of color, race and religion.

    Scott...to you my Hispanic Friend...what is stopping YOU to march for your equality....why do we have a day, month, MLK Day???? Because as a group (regardless of race because MANY white folks stood up for us) we stood up for our rights. We MARCHED, GOT LYNCHED, GOT RAPED, GOT HOSED, GOT SPIT ON, etc...to get the little we have now. So date hate on us...get with your fellow Mexicans/Latinos/Hipanics and fight for YOUR right.

    To everyone else thank you for making this blog positive.

    July 23, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  29. Relle Boston

    IT IS SAD to see the comments that are posted here. Racism is real and some of the people who are blogging such negative ideas when this program is meant to educate. For far to long Blacks have been demorilized and made to feel less then. YES the "W" man inslaved us and some of our brothers sold us, but to say that it makes being inslaved a good thing or even make it ok because some of our brothers sold us is crazy. What haapend to us when we got to America? We were 3/5 Human so that gave the slave masters the right to hurt and kill us.
    These reports are hear to help you understand Black America. We all bleed red and we are trying to come together.

    July 23, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  30. Yuseff

    Mike in NYC,

    Whats the point of doing actual research when you're trying to sell a book?

    July 23, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  31. Sarah

    I spent time living in Ghana last year and I visited the castle in Cape Coast. As a white American, I was unprepared for just how much guilt I was going to feel in visiting. I was comforted, however, by a plaque outside the male dungeon that read, "In everlasting memory of the anguish of our ancestors. May those who died rest in peace. May those who return find their roots. May humanity never again perpetrate such injustice against humanity. We, the living, vow to uphold this". It reminded me that no matter what our color, we can benefit from the horrors of slavery and work to make the world a more compassionate and just place.

    July 23, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  32. emmarcee

    As it is heart wrenching to go through this, some people are realizing the role of African tribal relationships in the slave trade. Europeans could not have done it alone. I wanted to shed light into the role of Arabs in this trade. It is funny how Islamist try to convert American Blacks today pointing to the atrocities of white Christians. The Muslim Arabs were not that behind in treating people of color as less than animals.

    July 23, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  33. peter

    that's the way of man. in all lands, at all times. going back in time: Darfur, Rwanda, Uganda, Srebrenica, Khmer Rouge, Nazi Holocaust. And this is just barely half a century.

    As for the dumb "it's always the white man holding me down"... Way before the white man ever set foot in Africa, South of the sources of the White Nile the local chiefs were selling their own into slavery to merchants coming from the East coast. And then it got worse...

    Finding guilties is easy. Often though we meet the enemy and it is us. And beside and beyond this, today and here one could get beyond the past. But as Scott says, many AA refuse to and hide behind excuses. And there is no parent to say anything, and there is no village or hood to have a say that learn and work you must. Self indulgence and cheap "revolutionary" excuses rule.

    July 23, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  34. Mike in NYC

    Scott wrote:

    “When will there be a “Mexican in America “? What about “Life of a Mexican in America’?”

    Don’t worry, that’ll be next. In case you hadn’t noticed, Hispanics are in the process of replacing AA’s as the favored minority.

    July 23, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  35. scott

    I understand the concerns for African-Americans and their struggles, not saying all African-Americans come from the ghetto, but for me I am from the ghetto and yes it is a struggle to live in poverty, and yes it is hard to do right when there are so many mountains, but if you have a will you can level any mountain that you face. I am Mexican American and it upsets me that my people are not recognized as having a hard time getting jobs, schooling, and government assistant. Being from the hood I am safe to say that a lot of the younger African Americans don’t want to better themselves, I have asked a lot of my black friends why don’t they try to become something, their answer is always the white man is keeping me down. I could say the something, cause I to have the same problems as they do, but I enrolled myself into collage and yes it is a struggle, but like I said, if you have the will you can get pass the mountains. My next question is when will we have a “Martin Lutheran Day”? When will we have a Mexican heritage month? MY people also were used as slaves, and I don’t see anything recognizing that. When will there be a “Mexican in America “? What about “Life of a Mexican in America’?

    July 23, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  36. Larry

    Roland. Thank you for sharing. I cannot begin to understand the road your people travelled. All I can say is that it is incredible that so many events had to occur for you and I to exist today; I do mean that in genealogical terms.

    July 23, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  37. Melissa, Los Angeles

    I had no idea that Africans sold their own into the slave trade. Maybe now we can all heal and move forward and quit blaming the white man for enslaving blacks when their own was a part of this problem too.

    July 23, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
  38. Wanda

    Give Thanks Roland for the photos and the story... My sister traveled to Ghana last summer and she went to Elmina also and she was emotional... How can people be so cruel to hurt another being (s) in that fashion I DON'T KNOW! What is more sad that in these days and times we as people have a difficult time getting along and staying united. Hopefully, one day a lot more can wake up and love and respect each other righteously.

    Peace & Blessings


    July 23, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  39. Annie Kate


    Thank you for sharing this with us – your words and pictures are remarkable. Its almost unimaginable to a lot of us to conceive of people torn from their homes and families, never to see them again, and taken in rank squalor and claustrophobic quarters on a ship across the ocean to a land they had never heard of to do someone else's bidding for the rest of their lives with the danger of being "sold down the river' an ever constant reminder of their powerlessness in America. I hope that this never becomes someone else's stark reality.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 23, 2008 at 10:50 am |
  40. Mike in NYC

    At least Martin admitted that Africans sold their own people into slavery. That's progress.

    “…total of 60 million African [sic] came through such castles, with 40 million dying…”

    Which leaves 20 million coming to the Americas. However, Hugh Thomas, in “The Slave Trade - The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870,” estimates the number of slaves brought to the Americas at 500,000. But, hey, what’s a few extra zeroes when there’s a valuable moral lesson to be made?

    July 23, 2008 at 10:24 am |
  41. Teresa, OH

    We owe much to the courageous souls who fought the evils of slavery.
    Those are the folks that I am totally in awe of for their efforts. I often wonder what I would have done if I were alive during slavery years in this country... if I was a slave or a white man?

    Man is the cruelest of all of God's creatures.

    @Cindy: love your comments.

    July 23, 2008 at 10:24 am |
  42. Sandra, Wadley Ga

    Good morning Roland:

    What mankind has suffered is truly heartbreaking to say the least. This slave trade did break African's hearts, minds, and bodies, but not their spirits. You will always remember the injustice and suffering of your people; it becomes a part of you and you live with it, just as I have lived with the memory of the suffering of my Armenian people. May God Bless and keep us all.

    July 23, 2008 at 10:05 am |
  43. deborah, OH

    I always like your postings, Roland, & this is no exception.
    I have read much about the 'Door of No Return'. And, I have tried to comprehend a little of its 'true meaning' & impact. Thank you for adding to this understanding.

    Like all mass 'exterminations' throughout history, I cannot fathom the brutality of what 'man can do to man'. So very horrific & heartbreaking.

    July 23, 2008 at 10:02 am |
  44. Cindy

    What can be said? Men can be cruel and thoughtless human beings to their other fellow man. Unfortunately it doesn't seem that this part of our history taught us anything seeing as though there are still major atrocities going on all over the world and no one is trying to stop it but allowing it to continue.

    Slavery of anyone is sickening and shouldn't have been done. But we can't change the past we can only look upon it and hope that we learn from it and never go back there.

    Thanks for the pics Roland and for your insight.


    July 23, 2008 at 9:54 am |
  45. Claire


    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It's hard to comprehend that anyone every thought they had the right to enslave another human being. We all need to be reminded of this and teacher others so this will never happen again.

    July 23, 2008 at 9:39 am |