The site for the slave fort at Cape Coast, Ghana, was selected because a reef provides a natural harbor. Large ships can anchor just offshore. I didn’t know this as I walked through the doors to find, not a somber reminder of past atrocities, but a scene bursting with life; scores of Ghanaian fishermen use the same harbor today as a place to launch their boats.
It’s hard to understate the contrasts beyond the Door of No Return. Just outside the door is a dock below which children swim. To the left is the view of the natural harbor used by fishermen. And to the right is an austere and empty stretch of coast beneath the cannons of the fort.