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African-Americans tracing their ancestry [Culture]

African-Americans tracing their ancestry [Culture]

The Morning Call

August 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of slavery, an opportunity for many African Americans to trace their origins after the first ship carrying African slaves, which docked at James Town in Virginia in the United States in 1619.

Many in this process have undertaken to return to the land of their ancestors, as is the case in Ghana, where this anniversary has been called “ the year of return”, and some have gone as far as to undertaken DNA tests to find the the history of their ancestors, or at least the ethnic groups to which they belonged about 4 centuries ago.

This is the case, for example, of the famous actor Samuel L. Jackson who recently received a Gabonese passport after discovering his affiliation with the Benga ethnic group in Gabon in 2013.

Tani Sanchez is one of many African-Americans tracing her roots. She and her daughter Tani Sylvester travelled to Ghana after discovering through DNA tests that they belonged to an Ashanti ethnic group through their great-great-great grandfather Charles Wright, a black soldier in the Maryland Union who married Mary Ann Moss, their great-grandmother of three generations born in slavery in Alabama around 1838.

Tani Sanchez therefore took the opportunity of a welcoming ceremony by some chiefs in the Ashanti Kingdom to do this.

During the ceremony, Tani met Nana Boakye, a chief from this ethnic group, who, as a genetic instinct, gave her a warm welcome.

Sanchez sat down next to chief Nana Boakye and asked him if she should undetake a DNA test for her to find out if they had any genetic ties.

Listening to the drums she collapsed into tears knowing that she was part of the direct lineage of her ancestors.

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The Morning Call

The Morning Call is about you. We want to share your opinions on our programme. If you want to contribute to The Morning Call, here are the best ways to get in touch : For more details on how to contribute, click here.