An Unforgettable Day at Cape Coast Castle

Programs for this blog post

Leadership & Service in Children's Education

Authored By:

Brooke Kearney

Ghana's Cape Coast is very beautiful place but has a dark history. What was once known as the Gold Coast Castle, was one of forty castles on the coast of West Africa that held and sold enslaved people on their way across the Atlantic Ocean during the transatlatic slave trade. As we entered the castle, we could hear the waves and see the fishing boats just below. Students commented on how eerie it felt to be in such a beautiful place where unspeakable horrific events occurred. Our tour began with a brief history about the castle, it was originally constructed in the 16th century by the Portuguese however it changed ownership several times finally ending up in the hands of the British. For hundreds of years, thousands of enslaved Africans were brought to the castle to be sold into slavery and taken to the Americas. As we entered the "slave holes"  or the rooms where enslaved people were imprisoned our guide turned the lights off so we could bear witness to the conditions they were forced to endure. There are only three tiny windows at the top of the dungeon, their only source of air or light. While it felt tight for 28 of us to stand in the room, we imagined hundred of people being forced in the space. As we concluded our tour, we walked through "The Door of No Return" or the doorway enslaved people walked out as they were forced to leave their home for the last time before boarding the ships. However, there is now a sign on the other side of the door that reads "Door of Return '', where the Ghanaian government has invited descendents of the African diaspora to return home. While it was a heavy experience, it is a history we must never forget so we as humans continue to strive for more freedom and justice in the world and never repeat history. The students, as future leaders, will take this knowledge and experience back with them to make a difference in their own communities.