Afro Americans Relive Slave Trade at Badagry

Nearly all of Nigerian newspapers carried banner headlines reporting the first Black Heritage Festival that began in the ancient town of Badagry, Lagos State, on May 24, 2001. The festival, according to the organisers, have three objectives. One is to showcase Africa's rich cultural heritage. The second is to link blacks in Diaspora with their kinsmen on the African continent. Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of Lagos State, who opened the festival puts this objective more succinctly when he said that the festival was "to link our root, our common dreams, our common source of sovereignty, common discovery and hopes and aspirations to our tomorrow." The third objective was to attract foreign investment to the continent.

The highlight of the festival was a drama performance titled THE SLAVE STORY. The drama was about the infamous slave trade that carried away African men, women and children into slavery on American tobacco, cotton and sugar plantations in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. The play also depicted the inhuman treatment and indignities suffered by slaves in the hands of slave merchants and slave owners. Many newspapers reported that some of the Afro American visitors at the festival shed tears of joy and sorrow as they watched the drama. Sorrow that such sufferings were meted out to their forebears and joy that the African continent and Africans in the Diaspora were free at last. The drama was staged at the Gberufu Beach; the infamous Badagry slave port - a perfect setting indeed for such an historical drama.

The issue of slavery led to the bloody American Civil War and its total abolishment by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. But what is the cultural and economic effects of Black Slavery in the USA? We can't do better than to present this acknowledged excerpt:

Black Slavery in the United States (As excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopaedia Copyright 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved).

"Black slaves played a major, though unwilling and generally unheralded, role in laying the economic foundations of the United States--especially in the South. Blacks also played a leading role in the development of Southern speech, folklore, music, dancing, and food, blending the cultural traits of their African homelands with those of Europe. During the 17th and 18th centuries, African slaves worked mainly on the tobacco, rice, and indigo plantations of the Southern seaboard. Eventually, slavery became rooted in the South's huge cotton and sugar plantations. Although Northern businessmen made great fortunes from the slave trade and from investments in Southern plantations, slavery was never widespread in the North."

We will welcome African American folklore, and Recipes for the appropriate sections of this website. All contributions will be fully acknowledged.

Sanya Oloruntoba: Family Webmaster, 2001 - 2005