Through research I was unable to prepare for what I was intended to encounter at the Cape Coast Castle, and it did not properly prepare me for the emotions and thoughts that were about to overwhelm my mind and body. Throughout my lifetime I have studied and been educated on the slave trade and hardships Africans have encountered throughout the centuries, but without physically being in the location of the brutality, I could only comprehend from a distance. Recognizing the effects of the Atlantic slave trade allows for someone of my background to distinguish the impact it has had, not only on Africans but on the world and populations as a whole.
The castle was created for the use of trading and selling clothing, spices, sugar, milk and cloths. When the British realized the value and desire of Africans, the castle became the central location for capturing, holding and selling slaves. The castle received drastic changes in order to compensate the placement and holding of all the captured slaves. Underground dungeons were created to hold the slaves before they were exported. Hundreds of slaves were placed in the dungeons for weeks at a time and rarely given food or water. The dungeon consisted of one source of ventilation and one window that allowed light during the day. They were forced to sleep, eat and use the bathroom in the same location. While standing in the dungeon, I felt the pain of millions of slaves and genuinely realized how blessed and fortunate I am.
Realizing the hardships and pain my ancestors encountered in order for me to stand there a free man was truly humbling. From slavery to racism and segregation, Africans have constantly been second class citizens and treated differently due to the color of their skin. The racial inequality that constantly occurs began with the capturing of Africans and continues today due to unjust levels of power and systematic injustices.
This by far has been the best experience of the trip, and during the castle tour so many emotions and thoughts were running through my mind. In order to continue the progression of the African and African American community, society must be educated on the history and hardships we endured to get where we are today.