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the 18th century, slavery was at an all-time high, and the slave trade meant big business to the point where some people of the same descent as the slaves worked with slavers in order to gain some profit, not carrying at all that they were writing the fate of their own kind. Such a story is the tale of William Ansah Sessarakoo. The story starts with John Corrantee of Annamaboe, who was a sort of middleman that used his diplomatic skills to gain an advantage in the slave trade over competing Europeans.

John also has a child by the name of William Sessarakoo, who he decided to send over to Europe to receive a better education in order to improve relations with European partners. William was brought up in Cape Coast Castle, where he spent his youth admiring the British culture and learning how to read and write in English.

An unfortunate journey

In 1747, William bordered a slave ship by the name of Lady Carolina that had the destination to France, from where he would be transported to England and taken care of as well as educated. During the long journey, the ship made some stops for various businesses; one-stop was in Barbados, where the captain of Lady Carolina died, the same captain that was supposed to take care of William upon reaching France.

The coat of arms of the Royal African Company (Source: Public Domain)

Without anyone that could verify the legal status of the boy, William was enslaved in Barbados. John Corrantee thought that his son had been kidnapped as it was quite the common practice in the 18th century for European slavers to kidnap the sons of African leaders and use them as hostages. John demanded that European officials would investigate what happened to his son and return him immediately. Therefore a ship was sent to Barbados, which managed to successfully retrieve William and take him to England.

After a few years, William returned to Annamaboe, where he was welcomed by his father and asked to follow in his footsteps. William neglected the offer as he knew that this wasn’t right, especially after his terrifying experience in Barbados. William was more interested in writing, especially to portray the harsh life of a slave and the cruel reality of slavers, such as his father that would help to sell his own kind. Until 1761, William dedicated his life to writing until he was beaten by the governor of Cape Coast Castle and dismissed.

A lesson to learn

The lesson that we all need to learn here is that racism does not have a specific color. Hate protests and violence will never bring us closer as humans but will separate us even more, making those who have been offended to be the offenders. As we have learned in this story, it is only through the combination of harsh life experiences and education that we can truly see the solution beyond the problem.

Most of us are focusing on the problem and the consequences that it has brought rather than thinking of a solution that can stop future problems of the same nature. The lesson that will have the most effect in stopping racism is humility which comes with a lot of forgiveness and understanding. Let’s all learn from such tragic events from history in other to avoid them in the future.

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