African Alice Arthur “The Ancestress”

Alice Ewurafua Baoye Arthur (center) lived for 99 years before she passed away peacefully at her family house in Cape Coast to join her ancestors. She had lived for three years in Hayward with her children, Babatunde Harrison and Dr. Folarinde Christiana Harrison. Photo by Frances Youman.
Emmanuel Jenkins Harrison, Alice Arthur’s father-in-law.

Cape Coast Castle dungeons where slaves were housed before the middle passage journey to America

Editor’s note : The writer is his family’s Griot (historian and family genealogist). He is the first-born and only male of his father’s branch of the Harrison family As an Abadzenana of Cape Coast and a trained journalist, he views the African in the Diaspora as kith and kin.
In an exclusive series of articles for the Post’s Africans in America section, he will chronicle his dispersed family in the Diaspora – in England and America.
Cape Coast Asafo Flag.

By Babatunde Harrison
Part I—My mother
“The Ancestress”

If it were not for the British Navy, my father told me, our family would have ended up on an American slave plantation.
My great grandfather, Labia Harrison, was kidnapped in Nigeria early in the 1800s by Fulani slave raiders and sold over to Portuguese slave ships bound for the America.
On March 25, 1807, with the long title “An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade” Britain’s Parliament abolished their country’s participation in the slave trade.
Britain’s Navy began to patrol  the Atlantic coastlines along West Africa.
On the way out to the Atlantic, the ship carrying African captives, including my great grandfather, was intercepted by the British, and the human cargo was diverted to Freetown, capital of what is now known as Sierra Leone. Freetown at that time had was a British settlement run by English missionaries and colonialists,  where named  and Christianized  African captives were  trained to become Black missionaries who later returned to Nigeria and settled in Abeokuta, Badagry and Lagos.
The Nigeria returnees later became leading nationalists in