A Stranger in Africa

Surrounded By Faces Like Mine, I Connected Not with My Long-Ago Ancestors But with My American Home

Janice Littlejohn on Ghana

As I stood in the humid, dank cell, I found myself hesitating a bit, peering down into the cavernous doorways of the male slave dungeon of Ghana’s Cape Coast Castle. It was April 2001, more than a decade before President Obama would visit there. The worn brick-lined corridors told eerie tales of thousands of African captives held in cramped spaces, sometimes for months, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in their own excrement. That excrement, after 200 years, had hardened and raised the floor level some 2 feet—and made up the floor I was …

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