Senegal: An American Journey

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Doorway of No Return in the Maison des Esclaves (House of Slaves) on the island of Goree, in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa.

In 1983, the Prince George’s County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference began sponsoring tours to Senegal, West Africa. One of the goals of the chapter was to establish an African and American connection and awareness among those who participated. The first tour group flew via Air Afrique to Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

With the support of the History Division Coordinator, the Black History Project Manager arranged to photograph as much of historic Senegal as possible. Of particular interest was the slave house on the island of Goree. The photographs taken on the tour enabled the Division to develop a color-slide show entitled, “From Slavery to Freedom.” This show featured information on the slave trading process, incorporating photographs taken on Goree Island.

In 1986, S.C.L.C. sponsored a second tour to Senegal. A second series of photographs for the History Division was planned, this time focusing on the people and culture. Additionally,  the purchase of artifacts and other memorabilia became part of the quest to capture a little bit of Africa for the Division’s archives.

“Senegal! An American Perspective” attempts to share, from American eyes, the culture and beauty of Senegal, West Africa. In addition, the photographs and artifacts from Senegal, there are contributions from Nigeria and Ghana included in this exhibit.