Elmina Castle sits along Ghana’s coast, one of the few structures that has survived for centuries to tell a tale of greed, violence, and racism. It was one of the final stops for enslaved Africans before they were shipped off to the Americas.
But there’s a more modern story about Elmina – one that involves Americans, blatant disrespect, powerful action, and ultimately, Black power.
In the 1990s, Elmina was beginning to crumble like other castles along Ghana’s coast. Black Americans, knowing the castle was the oldest and one of the most essential castles to the Atlantic slave trade, formed the Save Elmina Association and decided to move to Ghana to help preserve it – and our history. But then came the most disrespectful moment ever!
Entrepreneurs tried to build coffee shops right on the grounds where our ancestors suffered and died! The Americans could not let this disrespect happen – and acted in defiance.
They staged sit-ins, protecting the sacred space of our ancestors until the Ghanian government removed the entrepreneurs. Our ancestors would NOT be dishonored by having their graves desecrated like this!
Elmina is evidence of the atrocities of enslavement and colonialism. Like those who refused to allow the memory of our ancestors to be trampled upon, we must remember that honoring our ancestors keeps us grounded and motivated to fight for a better future.