The Curse of the Door of No Return

by Dr. Molefi Kete Asante

Published 5/6/2009

Through you, and a thousand doors like you, doors of no return, millions of Africans passed. Captured, held here in bondage, men, women and children , few older than twenty, suffered in intolerable conditions..

In this place, women, 200 strong, would be kept here in this dungeon, sometimes for six months before a ship would come. Given two containers , one for easing themselves and one for food.. Many became so sick and weak that they eased themselves where they slept. On the floor of this dungeon the blood of menses combined with urine and feces to make this one hell-hole of evil.

You, the door of no return, was a silent witness to human brutality. You saw the faces of evil in those who whipped our backs as we passed through.You thought we would never return . You stood by as we slipped through your portals to the Americas. You made history and became history as we wept, as we cried, where is God! Where is God! With shackles and leg irons we left here uncertain about our destiny.

They called you the door of no return. We vowed as we left through this door, as we saw this beautiful land for the last time that our children would return.There are thing that you did not see: on the thousands of ships that took sixty days to find the Americas, we tasted agony often and gloried when someone died saying, gone she to her mother's country or gone he to his friends home.

You cannot see from this beautiful coast the cotton fields of Georgia or the sugar cane fields of Jamaica. You do not see the banana plantations of Costa Rica or Brazil. Listen! Listen to the silence of the dead! Listen to the presence of the living!Have we not returned! Are we not Africa's children? Is this not our ancestors' land? The disfiguring of our cultures, religions, and traditions brought pain and agony.. Left us broken and broken-hearted.

Tortured, beaten, lynched, raped, and worked to death in the Americas we have dreamed pre-enslavement dreams and walked the nights of this land with our memories, asking what evil befell us?Now who have you seen here? Have we not returned? Have I not brought here the pebbles from the beaches of the lands to which we were scattered? And you are no more the door of no return!

African symbol