To mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America, the government of Ghana launched the “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” in a quest to encourage African Americans and the black diaspora to return to the country where their ancestors were kidnapped and enslaved.
It is in observance of this mammoth program and occasion that a Congressional delegation led by the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is currently in the West African nation.
According to a statement from the office of the Speaker of the House, the delegation, which includes Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Majority Whip James Clyburn, Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Karen Bass, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congressman John Lewis, among others, will tour the Cape Coast and Elmina Castles and the “Door of No Return” as well as meet President Nana Akufo-Addo. Pelosi is also set to address the parliament of Ghana.
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“In Ghana, our delegation looks forward to high-level discussions on key issues such as regional security, sustainable and inclusive development and the challenges of tomorrow including the climate crisis,” Pelosi said in the statement. “It is a special honor to be the first U.S. Speaker of the House to address the illustrious Parliament of Ghana, as we build on the partnership between our nations.”
On Sunday, Pelosi also shared a group photo of the delegation with some government officials and also voiced support for Rep Elijah E. Cummings who was recently attacked by Trump.
“To @RepCummings with love from Ghana, where we’re solemnly observing 400 yrs since the first enslaved Africans arrived in America. Thank you Elijah for fearlessly speaking truth,” she Tweeted.
The Year of Return, which was launched in September last year by Ghana’s president in the United States with members of the Congressional Black Caucus is the only centrally organized public-private partnership with an African nation to commemorate the arrival of Africans in the U.S.
“As the founding chair of the International African American Museum, which is being built on Gadsden Wharf in Charleston, South Carolina where approximately 50 percent of enslaved Africans arrived in this country, it is particularly meaningful to me to join the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and many of my African American colleagues in visiting Ghana’s Door of No Return,” Clyburn said about the visit.
“I consider this to be a fitting and proper way to commemorate the 400th year since the enslaved people were forced to leave their homeland and sent in bondage to the New World. I seek to pay homage to the sacrifices of our African ancestors and honor the contributions they made to building the United States of America.”
Take a look at some photos of their arrival below: