Yellen visits former slave trading post called “Door of No Return”

Yellen visits former slave trading post called “Door of No Return”

Yellen visits former slave trading post called “Door of No Return”

GOREE ISLAND, Senegal (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Saturday paid a celebratory visit to the salmon-colored house on an island off Senegal, which is one of the best-known symbols of the horrors of the Atlantic slave trade that held tens of millions of Africans captive in bondage for generations.

Yellen stood in the Gorée Island building known as the House of Slaves in Senegal as part of a 10-day trip to rebuild economic ties between the US and Africa, peering out the “door of no return” from which enslaved people were being made shipped across the Atlantic.

“Goree and the transatlantic slave trade are not just a part of African history. They’re also a part of American history,” Yellen said in brief remarks during her visit.

“We know the tragedy didn’t end with the generation of people that were taken from here. Even after the abolition of slavery, black Americans — many of whom can trace their lineage through ports like these across Africa — have been denied the rights and freedoms promised them in our Constitution.”

The economic benefits that major slave-trading nations, including the United States, reaped on the back of hundreds of years of unpaid labor could amount to tens of trillions of dollars, according to trade research.

And in the US, African slaves and their children helped build the nation’s most famous institutions, including the White House and Capitol, according to the White House Historical Association.

Yellen acknowledged the lingering impact of that brutal past.

“In both Africa and the United States, despite tremendous progress, we are still living with the brutal consequences of the transatlantic slave trade,” she said.

“What I take away from this place is how important it is to redouble 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 said you. “We still have more work to do.”

Janet Yellen is standing at the
Janet Yellen stands at the “Door of No Return” on Saturday, January 21st.

Stefan Kleinowitz via Associated Press

Yellen’s trip to the island is one that many dignitaries have made, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and South African Nelson Mandela. Today, the island of Gorée is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Yellen’s stay there during a trip designed to revitalize American-African economic ties was a reminder of the enormous costs of the slave trade. There has been renewed interest in determining the true cost of slavery to affected generations.

The House Financial Services Committee spent years studying how US banks and insurance companies benefited from the practice of slavery before it was outlawed in 1865. There were also hearings to study and develop reparations proposals in the United States.

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