Steve Harvey was spotted touring a former slave trade site in Ghana, Africa on Friday, and it seemed to hit him pretty hard. Harvey was visiting the Elmina Castle with his family, and photos published by TMZ show him sitting outside with his head bowed, apparently distressed.
The Elmina Castle is an infamous place for the African slave trade. Located on the Cape Coast, it was built by the Portuguese in the 15th century as an outpost for capturing slaves and preparing them for transport. This included inhumane treatment and savage torture, so it made a harrowing spot for the Harvey family to visit on vacation.
Harvey was seen by other visitors at the castle on Friday. They told TMZ that the historical site seemed to have a profound effect on Harvey, whose gaze lingered on the shackles, whips and other torture devices still in the castle. They also snapped a few pictures of his intense reactions. In one picture, he appears to be crying quietly.
Harvey and the other visitors reportedly toured some enclosed spaces, feeling the same claustrophobia that kidnapped slaves felt for years. The castle's holding chambers have no windows, and therefore little fresh air, adding to the crushing experience for visitors such as the Harvey family.
As upset as he was, witnesses said Harvey did not shy away from the terror of the visit. There to learn about the history of the slave trade, Harvey reportedly tried on the shackles for himself, putting himself in the shoes of the African people who were eventually loaded into boats and taken to the Caribbean, South America and the U.S.
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This was real pain I felt going back to Ghana’s slave castles...I could feel my ancestors on me... Powerful beyond words that I can explain. I encourage as many of you as possible to go HOME for your ancestors. Their strength is in each of us and we must honor their ultimate sacrifice in all that we do. #TheYearofTheReturn 🎥: @madebycourtney
Harvey posted two videos from his visit to Elmina Castle, including one montage of well-produced material featuring himself and his family. In the caption, he contemplated how the site affected him so much.
"This was real pain I felt going back to Ghana’s slave castles... I could feel my ancestors on me... Powerful beyond words that I can explain," he wrote. "I encourage as many of you as possible to go HOME for your ancestors. Their strength is in each of us and we must honor their ultimate sacrifice in all that we do."0comments
Tours of Elmina Castle range in price from around $105 to $275 depending on the package, according to Trip Advisor. Harvey is not the first African-American to make the pilgrimage. Back in 2009, the Obama family notably took the trip as well, and shared Harvey's intense reaction.