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Open Access The slippery paths of commemoration and Heritage tourism: the Netherlands, Ghana, and the rediscovery of Atlantic slavery

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The slippery paths of commemoration and Heritage tourism: the Netherlands, Ghana, and the rediscovery of Atlantic slavery

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image of New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids

Reflects upon the commemoration of the Atlantic slave trade and American slavery. Author describes how the slave trade and slavery was recently "rediscovered", as a part of Dutch history, and he compares this to the attention to this history in other European countries once engaging in slavery. He argues that despite the fact that the history of the slave trade and slavery is worthy of attention in itself, contemporary political and social factors mainly influence attention to the slave trade and slavery, noting that in countries with larger Afro-Caribbean minority groups the attention to this past is greater than in other once slave-trading countries. He further deplores the lack of academic accuracy on the slave trade and slavery in slavery commemorations and in the connected search for African roots among descendants of slaves, and illustrates this by focusing on the role of Ghana, and the slave fortress Elmina there, as this fortress also has become a much visited tourist site by Afro-Americans. According to him, this made for some that Ghana represents the whole of Africa, while African slaves in the Caribbean, also in the Dutch colonies, came from various parts of Africa. Author attributes this selectivity in part to the relatively large Ghanaian community in the Netherlands.

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