West Virginia University’s Africana Studies Program expects an interesting presentation and a lively discussion led by Fulbright Fellow Wilhelmina Donkoh, Ph.D. She will discuss the ways in which the legacy of the Atlantic Slave Trade and slavery has shaped connections between African and African-American populations.
Donkoh will be presenting her lecture, “Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade: A Shared History or a Shared Heritage?” on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 5:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair Gold Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.
Her talk will focus on the complicated legacy of African participation in the Transatlantic slave trade in Fort El Mina in Ghana. Established by the Portuguese to extract and trade gold, it soon became a warehouse for storing humans as the slave trade became a more profitable venture.
Krystal Frazier, assistant professor of history and organizer of the event, says that while Africans participated in the sale of other Africans, scholars know little about the African side of the trade and the complicated relationships that existed between the various ethnic groups and polities involved. Donkoh explores the legacy of the slave trade on the African side and how the impact of the trade on individuals whose family members were taken captive helps complicate our portrait of African complicity in the trade. This line of inquiry also adds to our understanding of American slave experiences.
“It is important for us to hear and examine these stories because we need to understand the international context of history; how our nation was formed and how it grew within the context of the wider Atlantic world,” Frazier said. “As in our personal lives, exploring the most painful aspects of our collective history can also be very useful for building accountability, healing and effecting positive change today.”
Donkoh is Head of the Department of History and Political Studies and professor of West African History at Kwame Nkrumah University, Kumasi, Ghana, specializing in Ashanti history. She is the co-author of “The Just King: The Story of Osei Tutu Kwame Asibe Bonsu.” She is currently a Fulbright Fellow at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Donkoh has chronicled the importance of traditional governance structures in dealing with modern challenges like HIV-AIDS in Africa.
This lecture is sponsored in part by the Africana Studies Program, which aims to help the University and wider community gain more understanding about the role of Africans and African Americans in U.S. history and culture. The program invites at least one speaker a year to help advance its goals and to teach more about the African Diaspora.
For more information, contact Krystal Frazier, assistant professor of history and interim director of the Africana Studies Program, at (304) 293-2421 Krystal.Frazier@mail.wvu.edu
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