Harris makes emotional visit to former slave trade outpost in Ghana

Harris makes emotional visit to former slave trade outpost in Ghana | The Hill

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is welcomed by Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo in Accra, Ghana, Monday March 27, 2023. Harris is on a seven-day African visit that will also take her to Tanzania and Zambia. (AP Photo/Misper Apawu)

Vice President Harris on Tuesday reflected on the horrors of slavery and the need to learn from history in emotional remarks after touring an old slave trading post on the coast of Ghana as part of her weeklong visit to Africa.

“Being here was immensely powerful and moving,” Harris said as her voice cracked. “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.”

The vice president stood at a lectern along the coast with canons in the background shortly after she and the second gentleman toured Cape Coast Castle, which was built in the 1600s and became a hub for the Atlantic slave trade. 

Harris, who is the first African-American to serve as vice president, stopped at the site as part of a three-day trip to Ghana.

She was seen wiping her nose and taking several deep breaths as a tour guide showed her 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.”

The trip to the former slave trading outpost came as part of a weeklong trip to Africa for Harris, who is the highest ranking Biden administration official to travel to the continent to date. She met with Ghanaian leaders and community members on Monday and will travel this week to Tanzania and Zambia. 

The visit to the continent comes as the Biden administration has sought to be more intentional about its outreach to Africa.

The vice president on Monday announced $100 million in funding to support conflict prevention and stabilization efforts in the region, which is aimed at combating violent extremism and other forms of instability that threaten key Democratic allies in Coastal West Africa.

Tags Cape Coast Castle Ghana Kamala Harris Slavery

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