African countries

Delegates from African countries visit the KCK and apologize for their role in slavery

On Wednesday, a ceremony was held at the Quindaro Township site in Kansas City, Kansas — a stop on the Underground Railroad.

“It’s a full circle, or at least a continuation of a circle for those from Ghana and those from other nations who may be here to come to this ocean site to talk to us,” said Gayle Townsend, a Wyandotte County Commissioner. “And reaching across oceans is really a big thing.”

The united nations for education and the Scientific Cultural Organization, alongside delegates from African countries, read letters of apology from chiefs and tribal chiefs for their ancestors’ hand in enslaving and trading other Africans around the world.

“This is the healing that I crave as a black woman in America,” said Anita Dixon, executive director of UNESCO.

Local and state leaders from Kansas and Missouri were joined by the Wyandotte Tribe at Wednesday’s ceremony.

The apology letters looked at the dark past and the role played by some African leaders in the slave trade.

“(It’s) the excuse of the realization that there is a broad culture that has contributed to this travesty of slavery,” said David Haley, a senator from Kansas.

Dixon said it was important to invite delegates from African countries to the Quindaro site for the ceremony.

“This apology is not specifically for people of color, but for black people, African people, who have been scattered in all parts of the world,” Dixon said.

Charles Nzally was a ceremonial delegate from Gambia, West Africa.

“(I am) very saddened by the fact that some African leaders have violated their duty to protect the interests of the people, as well as those who are not yet born,” Nzally said. “(They) would kidnap, sell, trade and otherwise negotiate the transfer of their own people to outsiders.”

Chiluba Mosunda was another ceremonial delegate from Zambia who issued an apology.

“Today’s opportunity gives us the chance to have the most important conversation that needs to take place between our peoples to combat the transatlantic slave trade that has forever changed people of African descent from a continent to continent,” Mosunda said.

According to Dixon, the letters were meant to help people reflect on past decisions made by African tribal leaders.

“When you look at a black person and you can’t tell where they’re from, it’s heartbreaking to be a black American,” she said.

However, the letters were also meant to open a new chapter of love, life, and healing.

“When we face the things that they were separated from and understand why it happened, once we’ve done that we can take it to the next level,” said Paul Ceesay of The Gambia.