It is a painful part of our past that often goes unspoken. When exploring the trans-Atlantic slave trade, it is rare to discuss the role of Africans in the selling and trading of other Africans. Recently, Kpoto-Zounme Hakpon III, the king of Porto-Novo, a province of the West African country of Benin visited Hobson City, AL. Hakpon was the guest of a local family, the Cunninghams, of whom he is distantly related.While
there,Hakpon offered his apologies to his American brothers and sisters. According to the Anniston Star:
“I want to apologize for the role my ancestors played in the slave trade,” Hakpon said through his translator. “I knew one day I wanted to come to this land and ask forgiveness of my black brothers and sisters. I wanted to cross the ocean to see the land where my ancestors suffered.”
To a loud applause, Hakpon told the Hobson City residents he was the first king of his nation to ever visit the United States. He hopes to maintain a relationship between Porto-Novo and Hobson City.
After his speech, the king exchanged gifts with the mayor of Hobson City. The king answered a few questions from residents after his speech, gave a blessing to the town and said he felt a spiritual connection with Hobson City.
Many of the residents were impressed by his visit. “For him to come all this way and to be interested in us here in little Hobson City, that means a lot,” said Dennis McKinney, the pastor at New Hope Ministry Baptist Church
Is it time to have an open dialogue about the role of Africans in the slave trade?
Originally posted: African King Apologizes for Africa’s Role in Slavery