On Saturday, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited the salmon-colored home on an island in Senegal that is one of the most well-known symbols of the horrors of the Atlantic slave trade, which plunged tens of millions of Africans into slavery for generations.
Yellen, who is in Senegal on a 10-day trip to rebuild economic relations between Washington and Africa, stood in the Guria Island building known as the House of Slaves and launched into the door of no return, from which the slaves were launched. .
“Guria and the transatlantic slave trade are not just part of African history,” Yellen said in a brief statement during the visit.
We know that the tragedy did not end with the generation taken from here. Even after slavery was abolished, black Americans—many of whom trace their descent through ports like this one across Africa—were denied the rights and freedoms promised to them by our Constitution.”
According to research, the economic benefits reaped by slave-trading countries, including the United States, over hundreds of years of unpaid labor could reach tens of trillions of dollars.
And in the United States, African slaves and their children helped build the country’s most important institutions, such as the White House and Capitol Building, according to the White House Historical Association.
The Chancellor of the Treasury acknowledged the current repercussions of that brutal past.
“Both in Africa and in the United States, despite the tremendous strides we have made, we continue to suffer the disastrous consequences of the transatlantic slave trade,” he said.
“What I take out of this place is the importance of redoubling our commitment to fight for our shared values and principles wherever they are threatened: in the United States, in Africa, and around the world,” he added. “We have more work to do.”
Before Yellen, other leaders visited the island, such as former US Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and South African Nelson Mandela. Guria Island is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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