As part of her three-day state visit to Ghana, United States Vice President Harris today toured the Cape Coast Castle, an old slave trading post and reflected on the horrors of slavery in emotional remarks.
Standing at a lectern with canons in the background, Harris spoke about the crimes that happened at Cape Coast Castle, a hub for the Atlantic slave trade in the 1600s.
“Being here was immensely powerful and moving,” Harris said in a cracking voice. “When we think about how human beings were treated by the hundreds of thousands in this very place that we now stand, the crimes that happened here, the blood that was shed here. There are dungeons here where human beings were kept.”
She wiped her nose and took several deep breaths as she was shown the female slave dungeons and the “Door of No Return,” where slaves would be forced onto ships for the treacherous journey across the Atlantic Ocean.
“The horror of what happened here must always be remembered. It cannot be denied,” Harris said. “It must be taught. History must be learned. And we must then be guided by what we know also to be the history of those who survived in the Americas, in the Caribbean, those who proudly declare themselves to be the diaspora.”
Harris said she would take from her visit the need to fight for “justice and freedom for all people” and “human rights for all people.”
As the first African-American to serve as vice president, Harris emphasized the need to learn from history and remember the horror of what happened at the site.
She also announced $100 million in funding to support conflict prevention and stabilization efforts in the region.
The visit to the continent is part of the Biden administration's efforts to be more intentional about its outreach to Africa.
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