I was puzzling over a scrapbook challenge class at BPC taught by Elizabeth Dillow. One challenge was to use symbols on a page to tell our story. I thought of the Adinkra symbols I was introduced to in Ghana. So, I went to my computer and began to review my photos of Ghana. While doing that, I saw this other symbol – the skull and crossbones over a door. This photo said ”Tell this story.” Adinkra symbols are for another day, another page.
There were actually a lot of stories that were very meaningful from my visit to Ghana. The stories about the slave trade were the most heart wrenching. Ghana’s history includes the nations that were the early explorers of the seas coming for the gold. Later, powerful countries came to use Ghana as a base for the slave trade.
Many of the early Europeans built beautiful castle-like fortresses. It’s strange the emotions one has when you see these buildings. They exist in a setting of sea, sand, palm trees, colorful houses and fishing boats. This sharply contrasts with the towering walls, barred and grated windows and doors, and prison cells. Some of these places have, even in the not so distant past, been used as prisons for political prisoners. In slave trade days, dozens of human beings were crammed together in the cells before being loaded in chains into ships. You hear stories of the atrocities committed against these people and tears well up.
The terror these hundreds of thousands of enslaved individuals must have felt as they passed through this “door of no return” at Elmina Castle (now a museum) is beyond my imagining. Going through this door meant they’d never see their homes or their family again and would spend what remained of their lives in miserable subjugation.