Connecting the Dots: Sierra Leone – US Shared History

Today is Martin Luther King Day in the U.S. to honor Dr. King.  Soon it will be African American History month in February. When I think of these dates now, I think of the shared history between Sierra Leone and the U.S.

I thought I would repost an article I wrote last year. Click here: “Connecting the Dots: Sierra Leone – US  Shared History.”

Unloading rice to the threshing floor

Unloading rice harvest Bumpeh Chiefdom – Nov 2013

I sometimes ponder the events that would have taken place in Bumpeh Chiefdom where Sherbro Foundation works. It’s a coastal area involved in the slave trade long ago in the 18th century.

But I think about more than just the slave trade. I’m thinking again today about the deep connections between our two countries – connections most people have no knowledge of.  Last year I wrote:

When I now travel down the Bumpeh River and visit traditional rice farms and villages, I remain mindful that there is a special link between Americans and the people of Sierra Leone.  Our people are kin.  Whether black or white, our histories and cultures are inextricably linked.”

A number of African Americans who have tested their DNA have found they’re of Sierra Leone descent. DNA can be matched to various tribal group in Sierra Leone. I keep reading of more people, like Maya Angelou and Colin Powell who found they are DNA – Sierra Leoneans.

I hope when tourism resumes in Sierra Leone, more people will make a trip to Sierra Leone to learn about our shared history. People of all races will find it fascinating to learn about where and how this whole story started.

My own journey changed the way I think of our two countries today, not just in the past. We are connected – and should remember that.

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