Goree, Senegal’s Notorious Slave Island (Video) (President Obama’s Itinerary)

Here is a UNESCO documentary on Gorée, the Slave Island off Senegal,: which President Obama and his family are visiting during their visit to that country. Although the island was itself a relatively minor point of departure for slaves, who were more often sent off from St. Louis to the north, it stands as a symbol of the enslavement, transport and genocide of millions (large numbers died during the Atlantic Passage, chained below decks in an unsanitary environment).

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4 Responses

  1. I read an article maybe 15-20 years ago and I cannot remember the title nor the author(s). The thesis was that the large number of slaves who died on the Atlantic crossing did so because of dehydration. The reason for their relatively high death rate was (the authors posited) because West Africa has virtually no salt deposits. In fact the major item traded by Arabs from the Mediterranean to West Africa was salt, so rare that it was traded for West African gold.

  2. I hope that you have some words to say about the overturning of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, making it damn near impossible to tell if a state is passing laws secretly calculated to reduce the black vote to irrelevance.

    That is exactly how Jim Crow began.

    And I have discovered recently that this is the THIRD time that the South has declared war on African-Americans’ right to vote. I did not know that in the early Virginia colony, African indentured servants did have the right to vote. This was taken away from them when they were converted to slaves, so as to drive a wedge between them and disgruntled Caucasian indentured servants, thereby creating America’s tripartite caste system. Jim Crow itself grew from the oligarchy’s fear of black and white farmers uniting to demand fairer legal conditions.

    It’s sick that conservatives claim that anti-Jim Crow laws are no longer necessary because things have changed in 50 years when the entire impetus of the conservative movement is not just to go back 50 years, but 200. But not 350 years – then blacks would be able to vote and their enslavement would only be temporary.

  3. I have been to two slave trading castles in Ghana, Cape Coast Castle & El-Mina castle, with Doors of no Return of their own. Very depressing places. People still cry at these places.

    One expects to see the dungeons where slave masters used to keep slaves & very small rooms for disobeying slaves to lock in to die.

    I saw something very unusual in the courtyard of Elmina Castle, that still I cannot take out of my mind.

    What a shocking & unusual thing I saw was a Church inside the courtyard, hardly ten steps from a dungeon where they used to lock a slave to die. On the top of the church door, still written in big capital letters “DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH”.

    I am still puzzled what slave masters used to pray in this church. I have asked some clergy friends, but still have not heard a satisfactory answer to this day.

    I wonder what first lady Michele Obama was thinking at Goree Island Castle.

    • The Dutch Reformed Church is Calvinist. Calvin believed that wealth was a sign that you were one of the Elect, favored by God because you were already designated for Heaven. Not surprisingly, ur-capitalist greedbags took this and ran with it, to the far corners of a defenseless world. Thus the Protestant Work Ethic and much of the reason why America is the way it is.

      Calvinism is not dead by a long shot in America.

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