Barack Obama appears on campaign billboards with John Atta MillsPresident Barack Obama is arriving today in Accra, the capital of the West African nation of Ghana.

Obama will meet with Ghana’s new president, John Atta Mills, and will deliver a policy address to parliament before leaving after just one day. He has said that he chose Ghana for his African stopover in order to highlight Ghana’s success as a democracy, and his policy speech is expected to focus on the importance of good governance and spending western aid, such as the $20 billion commitment to new food aid which arose of the G-8 summit in Italy, wisely and appropriately.

However, President Obama and his wife, Michelle, are also scheduled to take time during their 24-hour stay to leave Accra on Saturday and visit Cape Coast Castle, the historic slave fort featured in Traces of the Trade.

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Boubacar Joseph NdiayeThis is a tip of the hat to Boubacar Joseph Ndiaye, the long-time curator of the Maison des Esclaves (House of Slaves) in Senegal, who has passed away in Dakar at the age of 86.

Ndiaye, who as a French colonial fought for France in WWII, devoted the last forty years of his life to preserving the memory of the slave trade on Gorée Island.

Hamady Bocoum, director of cultural heritage in Senegal’s culture ministry, said of Ndiaye:

He was the main architect of the defence of the memory of the Atlantic slave trade, the man most fervent and unrelenting against any revisionism.

According to Agence France-Presse, Ndiaye would often say that he intended to speak about the history of the slave trade “all my life.”

His visitors included Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II, and Bill Clinton, who famously expressed regret for American participation in the slave trade while visiting Gorée Island.

Badagry Historical ResortIn a truly bizarre development, the BBC is reporting that a planned $3.4 billion  “slavery memorial and luxury resort” is scheduled to be built in the former slave port of Badagry, on the Gulf of Guinea in what is now Nigeria.

Evidently the developers want to tap into the multi-billion dollar business of catering to Americans interested in exploring their African heritage.

Currently, these tourists travel primarily to such destinations as Ghana’s historic slave forts, but investors hope to lure millions of tourists with the Badagry Historical Resort’s winning combination of luxury accommodations, a theme park dedicated to the history of the transatlantic slave trade, and a museum dedicated to the music of the  Jackson Five.

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Tomorrow, the Boston Globe offers a review of Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, entitled “Facing up to a family’s past as slave traders.”

The review is occasioned by the screening of the film tomorrow night at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, as part of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. The film will be screened at 8:00pm, and afterward, Katrina Browne and I will participate in a question-and-answer period, along with editor Alla Kovgan and co-producer Elizabeth Delude-Dix.

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Tom DeWolf, the author of Inheriting the Trade, was interviewed this afternoon on the Cliff Kelley Show on WVON-AM radio (“The Talk of Chicago”).

This turned into a lengthy and well-received interview, with Tom being asked to stay well into the show’s second hour to continue the conversation and being asked to return another time.

I have several comments after the jump, but the full interview with Tom can be heard here.

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As some of you know, there is a documentary film coming out about several of my ancestors and their role in the slave trade.

Traces of the Trade tells the story of the D’Wolf family of Bristol, R.I. and follows ten of our family today, as we retrace the route of the triangle trade and discuss the implications of this family legacy for U.S. race relations today.

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