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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Tawana Belinda Wilson-Allen, May 11, 2006. Interview U-0098. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Visit to Charlotte's sister city in Africa awakens black consciousness

Wilson-Allen explains how the trip to Charlotte's sister city in Kumasei, Africa, allowed her to tap into a transatlantic black consciousness. The trip offered a fuller portrait of black history and to her African ancestors.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Tawana Belinda Wilson-Allen, May 11, 2006. Interview U-0098. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

ELIZABETH GRITTER:
So there is one follow up question with that. What was the significance of that to you? Why did that, of all the things you've done, why did this in particular seem to hold a really special meaning?
TAWANA BELINDA WILSON-ALLEN:
Because for so many African Americans, we don't have a full connected history that we know of, and that did it for us. I used to stand on the shores of Myrtle Beach and look as far as I could possibly see and wonder what it was like on the other side. When I got over there and I got to go and we went to the slave castles, and there was the door of no return and how our forefathers were forced out into these waters. I'll show you some of the pictures in the hallway when we go out. It was just amazing. So I stood on the shores there and looked back here, and that completed the picture for me. They do a reenactment there at the slave castles at Cape Coast. They do a reenactment. It meant, it provided a lot of healing that we didn't even know we needed going through that experience and trying to understand . We still don't really understand, but we know how it happened and all that. So there were pieces of a story, of the puzzle that were being put together for us.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
So this was what was being felt by other African Americans on the trip.
TAWANA BELINDA WILSON-ALLEN:
And I think that, I mean, to know that you have such a full history is just, it's amazing. Just like okay, I was saying here in North Carolina we're textiles. We do textile manufacturing. Over there in one of the communities out from Kumasei, they have just like we do. In one of the, in one of the communities where they originally made the Kente cloth, where it came from. So they're like, they do textiles too.