If you’re so sorry, where’s my 40 acres? (not you, Ghana)

As Ghana approaches it’s jubilee-it’s 50th anniversary of Independence-peoples of African descent have been invited to return to the motherland, to “trace their history… and reconnect with the land of their ancestors.” This is all part of a tourism campaign called Project Joseph-and it comes with a sincere gesture; an apology for slavery. Emmanuel Hagan, director of research and statistics at Ghana’s Ministry of Tourism and Diasporean Relations explains,

The reason why we wanted to do some formal thing is that we want — even if it’s just for the surface of it, for the cosmetic of it — to be seen to be saying ‘sorry’ to those who feel very strongly and who we believe have distorted history, because they get the impression that it was people here who just took them and sold them… It’s something we have to look straight in the face and try to address, because it exists. So we will want to say something went wrong. People made mistakes, but we are sorry for whatever happened.

Read the entire article here.
I see this as a huge step in the healing process for Black people whose ancestors were violently up-rooted and displaced. And who better to initiate the process than Ghana, who has historically been a leader in promoting unity between peoples of African descent throughout the Diaspora. But does a simple apology do us any good? John Hope Franklin thinks so,

“…This country (the United States) has never yet faced up to the awful insanity and sinfulness of slavery… (The) whole culture was shaped around that… This takes a long time and it takes a willingness on the part of them (and) they’re not willing-in 2006 to confess up and say this was terrible. Terrible. And so we got to stumble along, that’s why we’re not there (in a state of racial equality).”

This is an excerpt from the August interview with historian John Hope Franklin. Is a confession and a sincere apology all we need to obtain equality in America? If it’s that simple why doesn’t the United States government follow Ghana’s lead? Or will it take more than that? How bout 40 acres more than that?

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Published on September 30, 2006 at 5:23 am. 13 Comments.
Filed under black culture,diaspora,news/politics.