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.
Since its announcement, the Year of Return campaign has gained the interest of several diasporas ready to make the trip back home. In January, it was also officially endorsed by the government of Jamaica through its Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, who was present at the Caribbean launch of the Year of Return in Kingston.
More recently, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has announced the Jamestown to Jamestown Memorial Trip to Ghana as part of the Year of Return activities.
Announced by Diallo Sumbry, Ghana’s first Black American Tourism Ambassador at the 50th NAACP Image Awards in Hollywood, California, the James Town to James Town memorial trip to Ghana is expected to be patronized by willing diasporans and members of the NAACP.
The historical tour will begin in James Town, Virginia to mark 400 years since the arrival of the first enslaved Africans at the landing site and will end in James Town, Accra, a former port and slave market with significant monuments and sites in relation to slavery and colonisation.
The tour is expected to start on August 18 from Washington, DC by bus to Jamestown, Virginia for a prayer vigil and candle lighting ceremony marking the African “Maafa,” a term describing the horrific suffering embedded in the past four centuries related to the enslavement process. A return trip back to DC for a special gathering at the National Museum of African American History and Culture designed by Ghanaian architect Sir David Adjaye will be followed by the departure to Ghana.
In Ghana, there will be 7 to 10 days of rich cultural, spiritual and cathartic experiences which include a Business, Investment & Development Summit, Black Tie Gala, AfricanAncestry.com DNA Reveal Ceremony, Cape Coast and Elmina Castle Visit, Assin Manso Last Bath Slave River and a trip to Kumasi for the Akwasidae Festival at Manhyia Palace of the great Ashanti Kingdom.
Speaking on the tour at the 50th NAACP Image Awards which was attended by several stars including Tracey Ellis Ross, Erika Alexander, Beyonce, Jay Z, and Taraji P. Henson, Ambassador Diallo Sumbry said: “I am honoured to manifest partnerships with organizations such as the NAACP to be able to help push how Africa is represented and promoted to the Black diaspora and contribute to this movement in the milestone Year of Return. Jamestown to Jamestown is an effort to connect the Black Diaspora’s present to our African past in ways to empower and invigorate the continued struggle for full liberation and justice worldwide.”
The event is in partnership with several huge businesses in Africa and the U.S. and the Adinkra Group which Diallo Sumbry is the founder.