The Magnitude of Slavery


Yesterday, the Obamas toured Goree Island, 3 kilometers off the coast of Senegal.

Built around 1776 as the home of a wealthy slave trader, the island served as a slave-trading outpost in West Africa during the 16th and 17th centuries. Men, women and children collected from the region were herded from holding pens on the island to waiting slave ships destined for the Americas.

There is some disagreement about how many of the 12 million African slaves actually came through the island but since it was restored in the 1970s, the Door of No Return remains as a memorial connection to an African homeland and a people’s right to a free and self-determined life.

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