Speaker Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House of Representatives

Pelosi, Congressional Delegation Conclude Historic Trip to Ghana to Mark ‘The Year of Return’

August 1, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Speaker Pelosi delivered an address to the Ghanaian Parliament with a message of respect, reaffirming America’s commitment to security, freedom and justice for all.  The speech marked the first time in history that a Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives has addressed Ghanaian Parliament.

Led by Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairwoman Karen Bass, Speaker Pelosi and 13 Members of the CBC concluded the historic trip to Ghana with a high-level meeting with Speaker Aaron Mike Oquaye and bipartisan leaders of the Ghanaian Parliament.

"It was an honor to return to Ghana with the Congressional Black Caucus as we mark ‘The Year of Return’ and the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown Virginia,” said Speaker Pelosi.  "The sites we’ve seen in Ghana are an inextricable part of America’s heritage and will forever be seared in our hearts and minds.  Our discussions and engagements with Ghanaian government officials and civil society leaders were key to advancing our shared interests and cooperative efforts to alleviate poverty, eradicate disease, address the urgency of the climate crisis and ensure economic prosperity and security for future generations.  We look forward to building on the progress we have made together and strengthening our friendship to the benefit of both our nations."

In the meeting with Speaker Oquaye, the Members of Parliament and the congressional delegation discussed the importance of our bilateral relationship in ensuring mutual security and prosperity.  The Members agreed to increase engagement between the two legislative bodies and that strong, diverse representation in our respective legislative bodies is essential to addressing the needs of the people of the United States and Ghana.

"Visiting Ghana as we observe the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans landing in the New World, I felt the power of the sacrifice made by our ancestors," said Majority Whip Clyburn.  "America was plagued by the scourge of slavery for over 250 years and the injustice of Jim Crow for another century.  This commemoration provided the opportunity to rededicate ourselves to learning the lessons of history and renewing our efforts to building ‘a more perfect Union.'"

"This was a profoundly significant trip for the Congressional Black Caucus,” said Chairwoman Bass.  "This year marks 400 years since the first African arrived on the shores of America and we know that after the treacherous journey they began a period of 250 years of enslavement.  To travel to Ghana with Members of the Congressional Black Caucus led by the Speaker of the House, the most powerful woman in America, says a great deal about the historical ties between our countries and reaffirms our commitment to Ghana and to the continent of Africa."

"I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for her leadership and this historic visit to Ghana,” said Co-Chair of the Steering and Policy Committee Barbara Lee.  "It reaffirmed our commitment to strengthen the ties and partnership between Ghana and the United States.  While it was a reminder of the cruelty and inhumanity of the slave trade, it is also a profound statement of the strength and determination of Africans and African-Americans to not only survive such horrors as a people of African descent but to thrive and build a better future for the next generation.  Moving forward, we must repair the damaged caused by these crimes against humanity by advancing legislation such as H.R. 40."

"Over the years I’ve traveled many places around the world, and this was one of the most moving trips of my life,” said Congressman John Lewis.  "To see and behold the inhumanity during another period of our history, it tells each and every one of us to never let this evil happen again."

At the conclusion of the trip, the delegation visited the W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan- African Culture to pay respects to the African-American civil rights leader and scholar by laying a wreath on his mausoleum.  As the delegation reflected on the past, they also engaged with tomorrow’s leaders from NASA Globe, a STEM-based program sponsored by USAID and NASA that connects students with scientists from around the world.