If I had a dime for every time an African American told me that I could be snorkeling in the Seychelles right now. Double that for every time a family member called me crazy for moving to Senegal and I would have enough to visit home twice a year (Spirit though). Unfortunately, There’s been this ongoing rumor that Africans and African Americans don’t get along. I’ve heard different points of views on the subject and it usually goes like this.
African (Black) Americans : Africans sold our ass to the white men, and you think they care about us???
Africans: Don’t get mixed up with those Black Americans, do you see how violent, crass, and uncultured they are?
In my opinion, it would be unfair to deny that there is some truth to both side. It’s true, some African tribal leaders did sell other Africans to Europeans for financial gain. In addition, African Americans have lost some of there culture and poverty-striken areas are known for violence but let’s dig a bit deeper.
Some African tribal leaders did sell other Africans to Europeans for financial gain
Oddly enough, people who that African leaders sold other Africans to Europeans never speak of the thousands of Ethnic Groups/ Tribes who fought against slavery as well! One explorer, Alvise Ca’Damosto, who was attacked by 150 men on the Gambian River wrote about trying to befriend some people there who rejected him due to the belief that he was one of the Europeans out buying slaves so that they could eat them. Abdel Kader Kane, the leader of the Futa Toro region ordered that no Europeans could cross his territory out of fear of kidnapping. Another King of present day Senegal, King of Almammy even passed a law that made it illegal to enter his kingdom with slaves (Slavery is a no-go in Islam..but that’s a conversation for another day). When the French sent bribes, he quickly returned them to let them know he wasn’t playing with dem boys *emoji side eye*. King Ansah of the Fante people in present-day Ghana ordered for his people to watch out for slave trips and didn’t allow them to travel on his land. In 1777, Dahomean King Agadja, captured an Englishman and his slave raiding party who had entered his kingdom looking for more Africans. They were released only after promising to return all the Africans they had captured and gave a message to pass along to their brothers back in Europe: Try this shit again and you will be killed.
Many of the Africans ripped from their homeland where victims of kidnapping from Europeans and paid outlaws. This doesn’t negate that some African leaders did sell other Africans but it’s important to acknowledge that the slavery that existed in many different African regions and empires was completely different than the chattel slavery that existed in the Americas and Europe. While all slaves were forced to work on land that they did not own, African slaves were regarded as humans. Unlike America, where slaves were forever destined to be a piece a property, as were their children and so on. In Empires such as the Akan Empire, slaves were able to eventually work for their freedom and it was seldom that their children would be born into slavery. In fact, slavery usually consisted of someone paying off a debt or a crime. They were still allowed to keep their names and celebrate their culture.