Mr. Valenzuela


Mr. V - what are you going to be doing this summer?

Great question! I will be traveling to Ghana for 3 weeks in August, after some well-deserved down time in July.

Ghana!? Why are you going to Ghana? And where is that anyway?

Mr. V will travel to Ghana to research, explore, and document the history of enslavement and the slave trade in West Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ghana is an English-speaking country in West Africa (between Ivory Coast, Togo, and Burkina Faso). It was one of the sites where the Transatlantic slave trade was most vigorously pursued, and at one point had been dubbed the "Slave Coast" during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is here where many African-Americans can trace ancestors that traveled through the slave castles (like the one pictured above at Cape Coast, Ghana) that dot the coastlines of many West African nations today.

What is this website page for?

You should check back at to follow him as he plans the trip, creates new contacts in Ghana, and travels throughout the country to understand how the slave trade impacted this region of the world. I will also post pictures and video here!

Will there be a blog while you are staying in Ghana?

I will try my best to update you all on my travels as much as possible while in Ghana (internet-access permitting). If you want to read an archive of blog posts, simply hover over the Ghana button on the menu, and click "Journal" or click here.

That sounds great, but I still don't fully understand your project. What are your goals for the trip?

To get an understanding of the project, see the Ghana Proposal that was submitted to Fund for Teachers, which is fully funding the project.

What are you going to do to get ready for this trip?

First of all, I'm going to be reading A LOT! See below for a list of what Mr. V will be reading to prepare for his trip:

Curtin, Philip D. The Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Hartman, Saidiya, Lose your Mother: A Journey along the Atlantic Slave Route (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007).

Holsey, Bayo, Routes of Remembrance: Refashioning of the Slave Trade in Ghana (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008).

Perbi, Akosua Adoma, A History of Indigenous Slavery in Ghana, from the 15th to the 19th Century (Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2004)

Stephanie E. Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007)

 What parts of Ghana will you be visiting?

Check out the Google Map below to see where Mr. V is planning on traveling! You can click on the blue pins to see more information about each site.

View Ghana Research Trip August 2011 in a larger map