The Independent (Freetown)

9 November 2004

Sierra Leonean 'Slave Descendant' Discovered in USA

Freetown — An American anthropologist Joseph Opala, who spent may years in the coastal West African state of Sierra Leone on research and lectures, is reported to have discovered a "seventh generation" descendant of a slave girl called "Pricilla", who was taken from Sierra Leone to South Carolina in 1756.

During the Slave Trade, a fort and place for storing slaves for sale and transport was reserved at Bunce Island in the Southwest of Sierra Leone.

A release from the US Embassy in the capital Freetown states that Joseph Opala has been conducting researches for the past 30 years on the Bunce Island and its links with the Gullah people in South Carolina and Georgia in the Southeast of the United States.

Mr. Opala is reported to have discovered the records of the ship that took Pricilla to America.

According to the press release, Mr. Opala is making efforts to take the 3I-year-old Gullah woman, who descended from Pricilla, to Sierra Leone next year. Several Gullahs have visited Sierra Leone over the past years and they are expected in Sierra Leone again next year.

Creoles, the descendants of freed slaves who were repatriated to Sierra Leone in the 18-century, who speak Krio, a mixture of British and American English, Spanish and Yoroba language of Nigeria, live in the capital Freetown. They form 5% of the population of Sierra Leone. They were the first to receive western education during the colonial period. Freetown was declared the "province of freedom" for freed slaves from the Americas in the 18 century. It was first discovered in 1462 by a Portuguese navigator, Pedro da Cintra, who gave the country's name "Sierra Lyoa", that was later changed to Sierra Leone

Joseph Opala is an anthropologist at the Yale University in Connecticut, USA. Another American, a journalist with the "Hartford Courant" newspaper in Hartford, Connecticut, Anne Farrow is reported to have claimed that she has discovered the logbook of a slave ship that left Connecticut in 1750 and went to Bunce Island to purchase slaves to be sold in America.

A release from the US Embassy in Freetown states, "Ms. Farrow is now following the journey described in the logbook from Connecticut to Sierra Leone to the Island of St. Kitts in the West Indies where the ship took her African slaves".

Several intellectuals in Sierra Leone have opined that the United States of America needs to pay reparation to Sierra Leone for the "hazards" unleashed on her through the slave trade.

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