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General News
U S Congressional Black 3/5/2007
Elmina, March 4, GNA-A Twenty-two-member delegation from the United States of America (USA) comprising Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and their families on Sunday visited the Cape Coast and Elmina Castles to learn, at first-hand the ordeal slaves went through and how the Slave trade was carried out.

The US Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), which was in the country to grace the 50th Jubilee anniversary of Ghana''s Independence was lead by Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, from Michigan, who is also the chairperson of the US CBC.

Ms Kilpatrick, after the tour at the Elmina Castle said America''s study and support of Africa was critical to the future of the US and the region.

She pointed out; "we are one big family, and we must, for that matter explore the connections that exist between us, and that by establishing partnerships designed to further our collective economic and social development, we can continue making progress toward building on our promise and realizing our full potentials".

According to her, the CBC delegation would be meeting government leaders, including Presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and Olusegun Obasanjo to discuss strategies for promoting and sustaining stability, democracy and economic development in Africa.

Congresswoman Kilpatrick said the delegation would review the progress of the American Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Project, a five-year 547 million dollars anti-poverty initiative aimed at improving the lives of the rural poor in Ghana, by raising farmer incomes through private sector-led and agro-business development. She stated that, the delegation would also interact with community leaders and residents and discuss issues concerning infrastructure, healthcare, education and security, among others, with the view to providing assistance in those areas.

On the tour of the slave dungeons, the leader of the delegation said they were indeed emotional, considering the torture and hardships that their ancestors went through during the slave trade, and stressed that, "this is a day we will remember till the end of our lives".

Congresswoman Kilpatrick said they felt remorse at what they saw and were told and stated that the slave trade was the greatest injustice meted out to man by man, adding that it was delightful that steps had already been taken to ensure that this atrocity never happened again.

Congresswoman Lee Barbara from California also said in spite of the difficulties and hardships Africans encountered in the past, Africa has continued to remain a strong force to reckon with in the world. Other members of the Caucus, who spoke to the press, including Butterfield George Kenneth Jr., Davis Danny and Meeks Gregory stressed the need for Africans in the Diaspora to make sure to be always in close contact with the their roots, with the view to contributing their quota towards its socio-economic development.

They expressed gratitude to the leader of the delegation for organizing the tour, which they said, had exposed them to the realities of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Mr. Charles Adu-Arhin, a tour guide at the Elmina Castle, who took the delegation round, informed the delegation that the history being told was not designed to open old wounds but to serve as a lesson to mankind, in order to avoid a recurrence in future.

The Elmina Castle, which was built in 1482 by the Portuguese for the purpose of trade in barter was later converted into slave dungeons for the Slave trade, which began in 1500 and this continued even after its capture in 1637 by the Dutch till 1807, when the Slave trade was abolished by the British, who bought the Castle from the Dutch in 1872.

The Congressional delegation, which had earlier visited the Cape Coast Castle, is one of the 68 international delegations visiting the country for the Golden Jubilee Celebration arrived on Saturday.

Source:
GNA

 
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