Monday, March 31, 2008

Slave Fort (Cape Coast, Ghana, 2001)

From the top of the whitewashed fort, I can see the glittering blue waves of the Atlantic, softly swelling, pierced by painted fishing boats lined up on the beach. I stand on flat taken ground, cement.

Up here was where they prayed, the masters who hadn't yet succumbed to malaria or typhoid. Reverent, they looked up to the wide sky, to their maker, and then they looked down, through a square hole cut in the floor, to the dungeon of women below.

Choose a woman, who won't yet go through that door of no return. Turn for one last long look at the jumble of colors on the shore, the graceful palms gently swaying, market women selling fish.

You will leave this hallowed ground for good. In the darkness below, you will be chained together for generations.

They took gold for me, she remembers, as the door shuts behind her.

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