I stepped out of the flat, gray day and into the black depths of the tunnel that led to the Female Dungeon beneath the Cape Coast Castle. Sensing my way along the stone floor, I followed the footsteps of other visitors ahead as my eyes gradually adjusted to the darkness. Cool air in the tunnel provided no lasting respite from the thick humidity outside; any sense of relief was overshadowed by the heavy weight of souls in this place. We fell silent, immediately sensing the terrible truths housed within.
The castle guide led us down, down underground to the dungeon used to hold female slaves before they were taken from Africa’s Gold Coast (now Ghana) to be sold in the Americas at the height of the slave trade in the 1800’s. He ushered our small group into a stone chamber and closed the heavy door behind us. A single bare light bulb illuminated the room for just a moment before he flipped the switch, pitching us into blackness. No one spoke.