Akbar Muhammad Reflects onObama in Ghana
Akbar Muhammad | 4/12/2011, 4:35 p.m.
The speech was absolutely a great speech heard by millions across the African continent and millions more around the world. But in my opinion the greatest aspect of the 24-hour trip to Ghana was his trip to the Cape Coast slave dungeons.
In my 12-years of living in Ghana, I have been blessed to take thousands of Africans from the Diaspora to Ghana and personally walk them through the dungeons, and watch the tears flow from their eyes as they walked through the history of what took place in these terrible dungeons before our fore parents were shipped to America.
I could picture the Honorable Fritz Bafour giving President Barack Hussein Obama and his family a history of the slave dungeons in his deep, clear baritone voice. Fritz was with me when we took Dionne Warwick and the late great Isaac Hayes through the slave dungeons. When Isaac Hayes emerged from the dungeons, he sat with tears in his eyes and he said these words: "Now I feel complete". Dionne Warwick sat next to him with her head bowed. These words and the picture of the two of them I will carry to my grave.
I was not in the slave dungeon with President Barack Hussein Obama, Michele and the children however, I do know what I saw and experienced with the thousands of people that I was blessed to take through these dungeons. I can picture Mr. Bafour showing and explaining the male dungeons - and how the European overseers of these facilities built their church over the male dungeons.
I could hear and see Mr. Bafour explaining the condemned cell - for the rebellious would-be-slaves. I could again picture him explaining to Michele and her daughters the separate cells for the female slaves. How has and will this trip affect a very smart and well read President? As I sat in Accra during a live radio show with scholars, lawyers and businessmen we received a report that President Barrack Hussein Obama and his family spent nearly two hours in the slave dungeons.
You can read about the history of the slave dungeons, you can see pictures of them; however, there is nothing like walking through them and hear your guide take you through what he knows of the history. In my lectures and talks around the country and outside of the country, I used the reference of the late director of the CIA William Casey and Bob Woodford's book "Veil" published in 1987. In the book, Bob Woodford quotes William Casey who loved American History as saying - that he likes to walk through the spots where history took place. It says you get a different feel and sense of history.
The trip to Ghana by President Barack Hussein Obama is one of the greatest blessings for Ghana after 52-years of independence from their colonial master - Now the world wants to see these slave dungeons. This may allow the world to have a different view on those of us whose fore-parents went through this horrific experience, and ask the question; - from being captured; taken to the dungeons; shipped in the holes of ships to the West; put on plantations as slaves for nearly 300 years, and another 100 years of mistreatment because we were ex-slaves and the color of our skin; are many of us carrying the remnants of this in our behavior and actions toward each other and the world today?
Thank you, President Barack Hussein Obama, for making this most important trip to Africa and choosing Ghana as your first stop in Black Africa.
Akbar Muhammad is a Commentator, Analyst, and writer of the column "Africa and the World".
For comments and questions you can write to Akbar Muhammad at Youth4africa@att.net