The Slave Coast, watercolor, 7" x 10"
Roadworks slowed us. The iron-rich earth was a brilliant red.
The red was apt. On these lands people had warred and sold people to people.
the long narrow track to the beach we passed a field of
decapitated palms, the stumps in serried ranks. A sadness fell.
To travel is to look and fail to understand what one is looking at.
We went to the Door of No Return.
I'm deeply moved by Teju Cole's unfolding series of tweets and photographs, in real time, of the journey he is taking today from Lagos to Ouidah along the Slave Coast.
More than anything I have read in this sad week, these restrained, short sentences, each word carefully chosen, speak powerfully to me about the origins of racism in America. Can we -- so many of us white and privileged -- stop and try to put ourselves in the place of our African brothers and sisters, sold into slavery, held in chains in coastal slave forts, and eventually packed into ships bound for the western hemisphere? Can we allow ourselves to consider our parallel but enormously different subsequent histories, as well as the many ways in which we continue to deny and turn away from the truths of persistent, endemic injustice and inequality?