29
Jun
13

6.29.13 … Door of No Return: “What interest me primarily is probing the Door of No Return as consciousness. The door casts a haunting spell on personal and collective consciousness in the Diaspora. Black experience in any modern city or town in the Americas is a haunting.”

President Obama, Goree Island Senegal, Door of No Return,  memorials, history, slave trade:  Great photo …

President Barack Obama looks out of the "door of no return" during a tour of Goree Island. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

When President Obama visited Senegal’s Goree Island on Thursday, pausing for a moment to gaze West across the Atlantic Ocean from the “Door of No Return,” a famous symbol of the slave trade, you could almost hear the echoes of a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. that he often cites: The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.Obama, speaking to reporters after the rare moment of solemnity, said it had been “very powerful” for him to see the world-famous site, which helped him “fully appreciate the magnitude of the slave trade” and “get a sense in an intimate way” of the hardships slaves faced. He called the trip a reminder that “we have to remain vigilant when it comes to the defense of human rights.”

Dionne Brand, a Canadian poet and novelist who often writes about race, explored the symbolic power of Goree’s sites at length in a 2002 book on identity and history, “A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging.” She wrote that the door, whatever its role in past centuries, is today “a place to return to, a way of being” for people, like her, struggling to confront the role of slavery in her family’s past. Dionne writes, in a passage that might have resonated with Obama as he looked through the door and over the Atlantic:

The door signifies the historical moment which colours all moments in the Diaspora. It accounts for the ways we observe and are observed as people, whether it’s through the lens of social injustice or the lens of human accomplishments. The doors exists as an absence. A thing in fact which we do not know about, a place we do not know. Yet it exists as the ground we walk. Every gesture our bodies make somehow gestures toward this door. What interest me primarily is probing the Door of No Return as consciousness. The door casts a haunting spell on personal and collective consciousness in the Diaspora. Black experience in any modern city or town in the Americas is a haunting. One enters a room and history follows; one enters a room and history precedes. History is already seated in the chair in the empty room when one arrives. Where one stands in a society seems always related to this historical experience. Where one can be observed is relative to that history. All human efforts seem to emanate from this door.

via What Obama really saw at the ‘Door of No Return,’ a disputed memorial to the slave trade.


0 Responses to “6.29.13 … Door of No Return: “What interest me primarily is probing the Door of No Return as consciousness. The door casts a haunting spell on personal and collective consciousness in the Diaspora. Black experience in any modern city or town in the Americas is a haunting.””



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