With news of African American abolitionist Harriet Tubman gracing the new $20 bill, the nation’s shameful history steeped in slavery is being duly acknowledged. Slavery was not only an issue in America, however, but a worldwide scourge (still going on today in some places). Today there are some excellent museums dedicated to this topic, such as the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, the Ancient Africa, Enslavement and Civil War Museum in Selma, Alabama and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Most of what remains to commemorate this era are simple monuments, humble historical markers and modest memorials to slavery scattered across the globe. It is said that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, so if you happen to be in these locations, stop by and pay homage to the past, however uncomfortable it may be.
1. Gateway of No Return – Ouidah, Benin
This 50 foot arched gateway stands on the edge of a pristine West African beach, on the shores of the Atlantic. It’s a bleak reminder that this launching point once sent many Africans to the Americas for slavery. Across the top of the gateway is an etching of two lines of chained men disappearing into the ocean.