Congressman Rush Joins Congressional Delegation to Ghana to Observe 400th Anniversary of First Enslaved Africans Landing in America

Aug 2, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Last week, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and several members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) together traveled to Ghana to observe the 400th Anniversary of the First Enslaved Africans Landing in America.

“400 years ago, African slaves were packed like sardines — head to foot, foot to head — into the bottoms of slave ships and forced to make the treacherous journey across the Atlantic Ocean in what was to become known as the Middle Passage.  Millions would not live to see the eastern shores of America, and those who did would be sentenced to a life of hard labor and abject cruelty,” said Rush.  “As a part of the Congressional delegation to Ghana, we visited the Elmina and Cape Coast Castles. But these were no castles — they were dungeons. Dungeons where our African ancestors were often forced to lie in their own excrement before they were sent across the ocean to be condemned to a life of seemingly unbearable bondage. 

“Despite the solemnness of the occasion, I am grateful that my fellow members of Congress and I were able to bear witness to this historical horror, and I pray we never forget the brutality and inhumanity suffered by African slaves,” Congressman Rush continued.  “I am also deeply grateful to Speaker Pelosi for leading the delegation and for being the first woman speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives to address the Ghanaian parliament.”

The Congressional Delegation also held high-level meetings and discussions with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, Speaker Aaron Mike Oquaye, and other senior government officials.  During the trip the delegation also visited U.S. Army Africa Headquarters in Vicenza, Italy.

In addition to Congressman Rush and Speaker Pelosi, the delegation included the following CBC members:

  • House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.)
  • Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.)
  • Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas)
  • Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)
  • Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.)
  • Congressman Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-Ga.)
  • Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio)
  • Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.)
  • Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.)
  • Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.)
  • Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio)
  • Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)