Cape Coast Castle dungeons where slaves were housed before the middle passage journey to America
By Babatunde Harrison
Part I—My mother
If it were not for the British Navy, my father told me, our family would have ended up on an American slave plantation.
My great grandfather, Labia Harrison, was kidnapped in Nigeria early in the 1800s by Fulani slave raiders and sold over to Portuguese slave ships bound for the America.
On March 25, 1807, with the long title “An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade” Britain’s Parliament abolished their country’s participation in the slave trade.
Britain’s Navy began to patrol the Atlantic coastlines along West Africa.
On the way out to the Atlantic, the ship carrying African captives, including my great grandfather, was intercepted by the British, and the human cargo was diverted to Freetown, capital of what is now known as Sierra Leone. Freetown at that time had was a British settlement run by English missionaries and colonialists, where named and Christianized African captives were trained to become Black missionaries who later returned to Nigeria and settled in Abeokuta, Badagry and Lagos.
The Nigeria returnees later became leading nationalists in