Year of Return: Over 250 to visit Ghana for historic Jamestown to Jamestown Homecoming

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Since President Nana Akufo Addo declared 2019 the ‘Year of Return’ inviting all people from the diaspora to visit Ghana, thousands have already come with lots planning return visits.

The Year of Return Secretariat and the Adinkra Group are preparing to receive another over 250 people for this year’s ‘Jamestown to Jamestown’ event. The group will begin their tour on August 18, 2019, in Washington DC with a bus ride to Jamestown Virginia (Colonial National Park) for a prayer vigil and candle lighting ceremony marking the 400 year anniversary of the first enslaved Africans arrival and honouring the memory of all those stolen from Africa over 400 years ago.

They would then continue to tour the National Museum of African American History and Culture designed by Ghanian architect Sir David Adjaye on the National Mall before departing for Ghana.

The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019”is a major landmark spiritual and birth-right journey inviting the Global African family, home and abroad, to mark this anniversary. As an official event of the Year of Return, Jamestown to Jamestownis a spiritual, historical and reconciliatory journey in commemoration of the 400 year anniversary. Some highlights of the journey for the participants include:

  • Ancestral Healing Ceremony at Jamestown, Accra

  • Business, Investment & Development Summit

  • Black Tie Gala

  • DNA Reveal Ceremony

  • Cape Coast and Elmina Castle Visit

  • Assin Manso Last Bath Slave River

  • Akwasidae Festival @ Manhyia Palace in Kumasi

The Jamestown to Jamestown event is one of the certified ‘Year of Return’ events set as a spiritual, historical, and reconciliatory journey from August 18 – 28, 2019 from Jamestown, Virginia to Jamestown, Accra to commemorate the 400 year anniversary with a week-long series of events during the Year of Return, Ghana 2019.

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2019 Ghana World Music Festival with Deborah Cox slated for August 2-4 at Fantasy Dome

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The year 2019 marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown Virginia. Taking this as a milestone to celebrate African resilience and also call African in the diaspora home, the Year of Return Steering committee supported by Joy Prime and Hitz 103.9 FM, brings to you the Ghana World Music Festival.

This event, expected to take place on August 3rd and 4th at the Fantasy Dome in La, Accra will treat patrons to a weekend of incredible global music from 7pm each day.

The first annual Ghana World Music Festival is a celebration of the power of the Ghanaian music and the sounds of the diaspora. Music is more than entertainment, its empowerment and unifier of people, helped birth Ghana World Music Festival.

The festival will feature music and artistes from Ghana, across the African Continent, the Caribbean and the US.

A rich myriad of genres will be on display from Jazz, R&B, Reggae, Highlife and Afrobeat. The festival will serve as an anchor event to Panafest 2019 while continuing to support the mission of the Year of Return Initiative.

On the bill to perform is Ghanaian reggae and dancehall artiste, Samini; Jamaican reggae band, Third World; Canadian Grammy award-winning RnB songstress, Deborah Cox; Jamaican Jazz and reggae artiste, Ernie Smith; Jazz artiste, Irvin Mayfield and many more.

Grab your early bird ticket for GH₵ 50 now till Thursday, August 1.

Regular GH₵ 80, VIP GH₵ 150 and VVIP GH₵ 450.

Ticket outlets:

PINKBURRY ……….Labone, Spintex,  East Legon

NYONYO ESSENTIALS…..American house, East Legon


NALLEM CLOTHING……Accra Mall, West Hills Mall, Osu Mall, Junction Mall, Achimota Retail Centre.


Log onto for more details.



2019 Ghana World Music Festival Is A Celebration Of The Music Of Our Diaspora

The first annual Ghana World Music Festival 2019 is a celebration of the power of the Ghanaian music and the sounds of the diaspora. Music is more than entertainment, its empowerment and unifier of people and with this spirit, the Ghana World Music Festival was conceived.

The festival will feature music and artists from Ghana, across the African Continent, the Caribbean and the US. A rich myriad of genres will be on display from Jazz, R&B, Reggae, Highlife and Afrobeat. The festival will serve as an anchor event to Panafest 2019 while continuing to support the mission of the Year of Return Initiative.

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Year Of Return: Ghana’s Ambassador To The US Visits Speaker Pelosi Ahead of Historical Trip

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Ahead of the historic trip to Ghana, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, met with Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, at her office in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 25, 2019.

The speaker extended an invitation to Ghana’s Ambassador to review key matters regarding the upcoming trip.


In his remarks, Ambassador Adjei-Barwuah touched on Ghana’s existing relationship with the United States, and the need to enhance the friendship between the two countries. “Ghana is very excited about this trip, and for us, it’s a call to open a new page to ensure a better relationship.”

On her part, Speaker Pelosi expressed her deepest gratitude to the President and the people of Ghana for commemorating 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia. “We go on many trips, but nothing compares to this one. We feel a special connection because of our history. The historical nature of commemorating 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans makes this trip special. Truly, this trip strikes to the heart” the Speaker said.


The visit will include a tour of some of Ghana’s historic slave-trading ports including Elmina and Cape Coast Dungeons, the Slave Heritage site at Assin Manso which houses the remains of slave ancestors brought down from the United States including a former U.S. Naval officer, Samuel Carson among others. A forty-member delegation will accompany the Speaker on this trip including members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The Ambassador was accompanied by Joseph Ngminebayihi, Head of Consular Department, Kofi Tonto, Head of Information & Public Affairs and Bernard Acquah, First Secretary/Political Affairs.

Source: Embassy of Ghana, USA

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Nkrumah, Padmore and Du Bois, Honoured in PANAFEST Wreath-Laying Ceremony

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PANAFEST & Emancipation officially opened with a wreath-laying ceremony remembering three important pioneers in the Pan African movement; George Padmore, W.E.B. DuBois and Kwame Nkrumah. All three were passionate about uniting the global African family and were responsible for laying a foundation that made a positive change for people of African descent.

PANAFEST & Emancipation are deeply rooted in celebrating the African family and teaching the knowledge and heritage of our people. The events are taking place from 24th July – 2nd August at locations in Accra and Cape Coast. This year’s theme is ‘Beyond 400 Years: Reaching Across Continents into the Future.’ The first day’s events began at the W.E.B DuBois Centre for Pan-African Culture in Cantonments, Accra with a ceremony that included the laying of wreaths on his grave. Everyone then moved to the George Padmore Library where Padmore’s remains have been laid to rest to also perform a ceremony laying wreaths in his honour. At this location, an eternal flame was lit. “May our commitment to the cause of Africa and to the upliftment of its people everywhere on the continent and the Americas wherever the black race should find himself never die by the lighting of this flame,” said Ben Anane-Nsiah, Product Development Manager at Ghana Tourism Authority.

The final part of the program was at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Accra Central. Dignitaries and notable people from the diaspora were in attendance including Stephanie S. Sullivan, the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Akwasi Ababio, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Claudia Turbay Quintero, Ambassador, Embassy of Columbia, and Dr. Thomas Mensah, Chemical Engineer and Inventor, and H.E. Dr. Erieka Bennett, Head of Mission Diaspora African Forum, are just a few of the key attendees at the event.

A.J. Johnson, an Actress and Motivational Coach from the U.S. participated in the events with laying a wreath in honour of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president. She said she couldn’t believe that she only came to Ghana for the first time just over 6 months ago and now here she was participating in a significant event. She was honoured to be asked to lay a wreath in memoriam of Nkrumah.

Steven Golding, President of UNIA Jamaica, delivered a compelling speech at Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. He spoke of how Jamaicans positively received President Nana Akufo-Addo on his recent trip to Jamaica, “We look forward to the day when all African nations will welcome home with open arms the sons and daughters of those who were ripped from this continent hundreds of years ago, because as Peter Tosh said no matter where we come from as long as we are black we are Africans.”

Dr. Thomas Mensah, Chemical Engineer, Inventor and holder of 14 U.S. patents gave his keynote address just before the crowd moved towards the wreath-laying at Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. His passion for uplifting Black people globally resonated in all he said. His motto, “The Right Stuff Comes in Black Too” is meant to inspire us to believe in the possibility of success when we believe in ourselves and learn to work together. It’s about breaking the negative stereotypes about Africa and black people worldwide.

This is just the beginning of many events scheduled over the coming week for PANAFEST & Emancipation. For more information on upcoming activities, visit the website

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Year Of Return: Ghana Navy Partners GTA, Year of Return and PANAFEST for historic “Return Journey”

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The Ghana Navy is collaborating with the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Panafest Foundation to organize a symbolic boat ride from Cape Coast to Elimina Castle for diaspora returnees as part of the Panafest Akwaaba ceremony on Friday 26th July 2019.

The Cape Coast and Elmina Castle/dungeons together with the many forts that dot the Ghanaian coastline played major roles as holding points for millions of the captives who were transported to the Americas as slaves.

The boat ride is a symbolic reversal of that infamous voyage of ‘No Return’ and a statement of Ghana’s willingness and readiness to welcome all sons of Africa back home in this ‘Year of Return’ and thereafter.

The Ghana Navy plans to deploy a Snake Class Patrol boat and smaller Defender class boats for the historic journey.

The collaboration with the Navy highlights the growing interest of the Year of Return Project which was officially launched by the President of Ghana in September 2018.

Boat rides will start at 8:00 am at the Cape Coast Castle ‘Door of No Return’ to the Elmina Castle ‘Door of Return’.

This historic trip has also been tied to activities marking the Ghana Navy’s 60th Anniversary celebrations.

There would however be canoe rides alongside.

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Connecting Jamaican and Ghanaian Identities Through the ‘Joseph, A Quest for Identity’ Film

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With so many stories being told about the history, heritage and culture of both Africa and the  Caribbean, we’re continually learning more about the personal stories of connection between African and Caribbean people.  It’s only fitting that during this, the Year of Return, a movie is being filmed in Ghana and Jamaica that explores this reality.


‘Joseph, A Quest for Identity’ is a movie that explores the life of a Jamaican man who has Ghanaian roots through his grandfather.  He has spent his life in Jamaica with no real connection to his roots in Ghana. He never really considered exploring his roots because after all, he sees himself as Jamaican and not an African.  However, through a series of life twists and turns, he ends up making the life-changing trip across the Atlantic to Ghana. Where he finds himself on a journey of self-discovery.

The movie has already filmed scenes in Jamaica and is currently in production with the scenes in Ghana.  The production crew has filmed in both the Central Region, Greater Accra and Kumasi to capture the arrival of Joseph in Ghana and all his experiences learning about his history and the importance of developing a real connection to his long lost family.


A team from Ghana Tourism Authority and Year of Return visited the cast and crew on set while they were filming in the Haatso area of Greater Accra.  Many were already acquainted with Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority after his recent trip to Jamaica with President Nana Akufo-Addo on his tour of the Caribbean islands. The trip was an effort to re-establish relationships with the people in the global African diaspora communities.  This is a concerted effort by the president as part of Ghana’s Year of Return initiative, inviting people to return to Ghana.



The Year of Return commemorates the 400 years since the first documented ship of enslaved Africans arrived in the United States at Jamestown, Virginia.  But it’s also known that enslaved Africans made arrivals in the Caribbean islands. There are still communities today in countries like Jamaica that have practices, cuisine and even dialects used that are the reminders of West African heritage.

Marietta Carter-Narcisse, is the Producer of the film and she said this film is so important. “We have so many stories to tell and we have to tell them through our own mind’s eye.”  Often times African and Caribbean people have had their stories told by outsiders and it’s important that we start creating more films, theatre productions and television shows that speak from our perspective. Films like, ‘Joseph, A Quest for Identity’ also draw attention to the fact that many of us don’t even know each other.  “I think it’s so important [the film] because this is our motherland and we don’t know each other…It’s so important for us to really understand why we do what we do. And so Joseph [the movie] was an opportunity for us to really bridge that gap of identity for all of us. Especially now with the ‘Year of Return here in Ghana 2019 and 2020 in Barbados.  I think it’s critical that we understand [each other].”


There are many misconceptions by Ghanaians about people from Jamaica.  The same holds true about Ghanaians, many of them don’t know much about Jamaicans or people from other Caribbean Islands. “I’ve met people in Ghana who think Barbados is in Jamaica! But it’s an island on itself.  In fact, it’s the closest to Ghana geographically and many enslaved Africans also ended up there…It’s as though our history has been erased, there needs for education to teach Ghanaians more about Caribbeans,” Carter-Narcisse said.


The movie has a diverse mixture of actors and crew from all over the globe and it contributes to a story being told that truly represents the global community.  Ghana’s own Harold Amenyah is one of the actors in the film along with Jamaican born Stogie Kenyatta and Alison Hinds, one of Barbados’ best known Soca Artists. Amenyah plays the character of Nii, a friend of Joseph’s from Ghana.  As Joseph’s friend, he takes him around Ghana showing him the culture and traditions of the country.

Amenyah said the film is going to give Jamaicans and people in the Caribbean a sense of belonging.  He explained that his character shows Joseph the things that give Ghanaians an identity and he soon sees things in Ghana that connect his forefathers with things he can also identify with as a Jamaican. “People who are going to watch this movie in the diaspora are going to realize how much of similarity and how connected we are because all they see and hear is what the media tells them. Now because of this film, they are going to get a chance and the opportunity to see for real…some of these things that they have just heard about,”  Amenyah said.



Award-winning Director Marcia Weekes who is the director of this movie said the idea for the film was inspired by the story of a woman in Jamaica who had the bones of her ancestors exhumed and brought to Ghana for burial.  The connection between Ghana and Jamaica continues to be strong and often discussed. ‘The Year of Return, Ghana 2019’ has played a significant role in bringing together people from the African diaspora.  It also recognizes the resilience people of African descent and embraces all who have the desire to connect with their African roots.


The crew has filmed in different cities in Ghana, including Cape Coast, Accra and Kumasi

during the Akwasidae Festival. Amenyah believes this movie is going to make an impact.  “The footage that we are getting [while filming] will rack their brains and make them feel that, yeah, there is definitely a place called home for them somewhere here in Ghana.  It’s going to give Jamaicans a sense of identity and make them know that indeed they are connected to Ghana, not just by hearsay, and that is going to be evidenced through the film.”

Written by Ivy Prosper


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Year of Return: Minister of Tourism unveils Ghana, Centre of the World monument

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A monument has being unveiled at a site in Tema, Ghana, where the Greenwich Meridian runs southwards through the ocean to meet the equator at the centre of the earth making the country the closest to the centre.

The Greenwich meridian (longitude zero degrees) meets with latitude zero degrees at the south of Ghana. That point of intersection is the geographic centre which is 611km from Ghana. According to Lieutenant Commander Stephen Manu of the Ghana Navy who was onsite to explain the phenomenon, although the figure might seem big in real terms, it places Ghana as the most proximate country to the centre of the earth.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi


“You may think 611km is too high, but however, that’s the smallest distance from any country with reference to the centre of the earth, he stressed”

The site is located at Hole Seven of the Tema Country Golf Club where the unveiling was done last Saturday as part of the Year of Return edition of the annual Ghana-Centre of the World Golf Tournament organised by the Ghana Tourism Development Company (GTDC) who are spearheading Ghana as the Centre of the Earth project.

Speaking to the Press on the sidelines of the event, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi said government is desirous of developing a project around it to sell Ghana as the centre of the earth.


“This project comprises supporting the Tema Golf Club to develop the golf course into an international standard one which can host international golf tournaments here in Ghana. We are also going to develop a religious aspect to the project which is the Presbyterian Church, located in Community One which will be a religious pilgrimage site for tourists coming to Ghana.

“We are also going to build an iconic tower just like any tower that you can identify in other countries; for instance, the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We are also going to develop a Port for passenger cruise ships to dock in Ghana to come and see the positioning of Ghana as the Centre of the Earth”, the Minister said.

Stressing the importance of the passenger terminal for instance, CEO, GTDC, Kwadwo Antwi said it will be a great way of boosting the country’s tourism receipts.

“We are working with the authorities at Ghana Ports to be able to develop a passenger terminal for cruise ships. We have been told from their manifest that there are cruise ships passing upwards of 15,000 and 30,000 people. So we’ve asked ourselves what it would look like if we are able to discharge all these people for the purposes of holiday and for reveling.

“If they came here to our country it means our hotels are full, our restaurants are full, it means transportation services will be patronized, it means there will be people buying our arts and craft. So that is what is driving us to be able to create this ecosystem that not just create opportunity for people to have pleasure but to do business and to develop the country’s GDP as well,” averred Antwi

Mrs. Oteng-Gyasi said with consultants at the final stages of designs and estimates, the project will take off soon.

“Currently we have engaged consultants who are working very hard to finalise the designs and estimates for the projects. Once that is done, GTDC who is the agency in the forefront of the project will seek investors to collaborate with in order to realize the project.

Barbara Oteng-Gyasi teed off the Year of Return edition of the Ghana-Centre of the World Golf Tournament


We hope that by the end of next year we will have something on the ground to show for the Centre of the World project,” the Minister assured.

Source: Voyages Afriq

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Year of Return: Miss Heritage Global Pageant launched as part of preparation to host the World

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The Miss Heritage Global pageant is not like any other beauty pageant.  According to Mudzithe Phiri, Business Development Manager of Miss Heritage Global, it’s an international event that is bringing together culture ambassadors from around the world.  This pageant is an opportunity for the contestants to share the culture of their home country while learning about others and to experience the culture of other beauty queens through interacting with them.


Miss Heritage Global was previously held in Zimbabwe and South Africa.  When asked why the move to Ghana Phiri said, “Because Ghana is one of the countries on the continent that has managed to keep its culture intact. When you come to Ghana you immediately see that the local culture has been brought into the new century with all the modern cultures that have been brought from the rest of the world, but Ghana’s culture still stands through. You see the pride in the people,” she said.  “We wanted a country that would really give the contestants an African experience…and with this year being the ‘Year of Return’ in Ghana, it was a great time to make the move.

The official launch took place at the Ghana Tourism Authority Headquarters on 10thJuly 2019, and the MC for the event was Nana Amperibea Boadu, from the Year of Return Secretariat, which is located at the Accra Tourist Information Centre.  Present for the media launch were key partners in supporting the upcoming event in Ghana.  Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator for Year of Return, Mr. Akwasi Ababio, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President and Chairman for Year of Return, Mr. Kwadwo Antwi, CEO of Ghana Tourist Development Company, and Diallo Sumbry, Founder The Adinkra Group and Member of the Year of Return Steering Committee were all at the high table to lend their voices to the exciting event and what it means for Ghana and Year of Return.


There will be 55 contestants representing different countries from around the world.  They arrive in Ghana on 10thof August and the main event takes place on 20thAugust at the Accra International Conference Centre.  This gives the ladies a 10-day experience in Ghana and puts pressure on our own Eugenia Abotsi, Miss Heritage Global Ghana 2019, to be the perfect host of her home country.  “I’m excited because I get to share the culture of Ghana with the entire world,” she said. “I’m excited because if I’m able to sell Ghana well to the other contestants it means that when they go back to their various countries, they can continue to sell Ghana to others.”

When Agyeman gave his closing remarks he spoke of how having the pageant in Ghana during this year of return was the perfect time. “Our arms are wide open to everybody to return to Ghana,” he said. “Ghana is the centre of the world and so the centre represents the coming together of different people of different races and different tribes as one people. That is what we are about.”  He thanked the media and bloggers for being there to share the event with the masses. JoyPrime will be airing the competition on its channel. Nana Yaa Sarpong, Channel Manager was there and pledged the commitment they will make to promote the pageant on their TV station along with some of their partner radio stations with Multimedia.

Miss Heritage Global was founded in 2013 for the purpose of promoting the preservation of our global heritage and to create an environment of culture sharing to inspire tolerance as more communities are becoming diverse around the world.  This year’s event is in partnership with Ghana Tourism Authority and The Ministry of Tourism Art & Culture.  The main event takes place on 20thAugust and will also feature performances from some of Africa’s biggest entertainers.  For more information and the full list of participants visit www.missheritage.organd follow all their social media platforms @missheritageglobal.

Written by Ivy Prosper

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Ghana reduces visa fees on arrival for ‘The Year of Return’

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The government of Ghana has reduced visa fees on arrival for “The Year of Return, Ghana 2019”. The fee is reduced to $75 from the initial $150. The move is to allow for many people living in the Diaspora to participate in the various activities for the programme.


The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Charles Owiredu, made the revelation while speaking to the Diplomatic Corps on the programme in Accra.

He said, “Our Missions’ abroad are liaising with Ghanaians associations, airlines, etc to work and make it relatively easy and convenient for those travelling to Ghana to participate in the programmes of “The Year of Return, Ghana 2019.”

“The Government of Ghana is also in the process of working to have visa agreements with some countries such as those in the Caribbean where the Diaspora total number is quite significant. This year, for instance, the government of Ghana and Jamaica established a visa-free agreement where nationals of each of the two countries do not need a visa to travel to the countries,” he stressed.

The deputy minister further noted that in line with President Akufo-Addo’s vision of a “Ghana Beyond Aid”, the engagement of the Diaspora remained a major development programme of the government.

“With its democratic credentials, rule of law and the stability of the country, Ghana intended to serve as a pacesetter for welcoming their own back to their roots and to provide for assimilating them into the Ghanaian society in particular and African societies in general,” he said.


The year-long event which commenced at the beginning of this year is a major landmark spiritual and birth-right journey inviting the Global African family, home and abroad, to mark 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia.


The program also aims at celebrating the cumulative resilience of all the victims of the Trans-Atlantic slave Trade who were scattered and displaced through the world in North America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.

Source: myjoyonline

#yearofreturn #ghana #letsgoghana #brafie #ghana2019 #visitghana #diaspora #Africa #yearofreturn2019 #travel #accra #african #travelnoire #culture #theyearofreturn

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Year of Return: Virgin-islands Senators Open the Floor to Culture

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Friday, V.I. senators celebrated the Year of Return, Ghana 2019; the International Decade of People of African Descent; and V. I. Emancipation and Freedom Week.

Bills the Senate had passed recognizing the importance of the culture and heritage of the Virgin Islands were read, but it was song, dance and poetry that brought Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall on St. Thomas alive during the morning celebration that ran into the afternoon. Viewers of the performances on its live broadcast on Facebook said the performances brought tears to their eyes.

The Ulla F. Muller Elementary School Bamboula Dancers accompanied by drummers danced in the Senate Chamber and brought comments on Facebook about how beautiful the performance was. So did the dance performance by Earth Mamas Pan African Dance Company. The third dance performance was by Empresses Addaliah and Atiyah Potter.

The program was tied together with a sober theme. It commemorated the men, the women and the children who were yanked from their West African homes and sold into slavery so a profit-crazed minority could make larger profits. A PBS video was played, “Why Did Europeans Enslave Africans?

The video illustrated how slavery was about making a profit for slave owners and how slavery evolved into racism.

Assata Afua, director Black Power Theater, relates her experience of Ghana. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, Legislature of the Virgin Islands)Assata Afua, director Black Power Theater, relates her experience of Ghana. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, Legislature of the Virgin Islands)
Assata Afua, director Black Power Theater, relates her experience of Ghana. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, Legislature of the Virgin Islands)

Jackson told some of the story of Virgin Islander’s ancestors.

“They fought, they were thrown overboard, they were eaten by sharks, they gave birth, they died,” he said. Most Virgin Islanders have the blood of the survivors “running in our veins,” he said.

The connection between Ghana and the Virgin Islands’ past and present families was emphasized

Empresses Addaliah and Atiyah Potter made up the third dance performance. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, Legislature of the Virgin Islands)
Empresses Addaliah and Atiyah Potter made up the third dance performance. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, Legislature of the Virgin Islands)

From Ghana, Alex Quaison-Sackey spoke about the connection. He is related to the first black African to serve as president of the United Nations General Assembly. Virgin Islander Myron Allick, representing the Sackey Family, spoke of that family’s connection to Ghana. He proposed an exchange program between Ghana and the Virgin Islands – 25 Virgin Islanders going to Ghana and 25 students from Ghana coming to the Virgin Islands. He suggested Carlsberg Brewery, which brews Elephant, a popular beer for Virgin Islanders, as a sponsor for the exchange.

Assata Afua, director of Black Power Theater, recounted her visit to Ghana and said when she returned, “I came back to St. Thomas my shoulders back a little further and my head a little higher.”

The first slave ship arrived in Jamestown in 1619. Jackson said that the settlers of Jamestown had stopped in the Virgin Islands on their way to settle Jamestown in 1607. He said. “The Virgin Islands are linked to this story, a world story.”

A Dutch ship named Desire delivered the 20 enslaved Africans to Jamestown. Some historians estimated that more than 7 million slaves were taken from Africa in the following century.

Jahwed David read a poem recalling the words of Maya Angelo “I am the hope and dream of slaves.”

Behind the speakers in the Senate Chambers was a large portrait of Edward Wilmot Blyden, widely known as the father of Pan-Africanism. He was born on Saint Thomas in 1832. He migrated back to Africa where he became a political figure.

Emancipation Day – July 3 – commemorates the day in 1848 when 9,000 enslaved Africans on St. Croix demanded their freedom, forcing Gov. Peter von Scholten to declare, “All unfree in the Danish West Indies are from today emancipated.”

Source: St. John Virgin Islands

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