National Football League free agent Colin Kaepernick questioned the value that U.S. Independence Day holds for Black Americans in a social media post from Ghana on Tuesday.
“How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs? To find my independence I went home” Kaepernick wrote on Twitter along with a video of his trip to the Ghanaian town of Keta.
The minute-long video showed that the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback visited former slave trading sites as well as touring local villages and a municipal hospital.
How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs? To find my independence I went home. pic.twitter.com/hniYGJeLxG— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) July 4, 2017
In an Instagram post, Kaepernick started with a quote from author and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?”
“In a quest to find my personal independence, I had to find out where my ancestors came from. I set out tracing my African ancestral roots, and it lead me to Ghana,” Kaepernick explained in the post. “Upon finding out this information, I wanted to visit the sites responsible for myself (and many other Black folks in the African Diaspora) for being forced into the hells of the middle passage. I wanted to see a fraction of what they saw before reaching the point of no return.”
“I felt their love, and truly I hope that they felt mine in return,” he added.
Kaepernick won both fans and detractors last year when he refused to stand and chose to kneel during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before games, citing continued discrimination and marginalization of Black people in the United States.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said after his first protest.
As part of his pledge to donate US$1 million to help underprivileged communities. Kaepernick has taken up several progressive causes over the past few months and has donated US$700,000 to charities.
In March, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers and became a free agent. He has yet to be signed by another team.
San Francisco 49ers General Manager John Lynch said Kaepernick could resume his football career if he stops his protests.
“I gave that opinion to Colin myself: ‘I think you are having a little bit of an image crisis in terms of, not so much what you did last year, but people are wondering: Is this most important to you?’” Lynch said on KNBR radio in San Francisco.
“I think the way you could best help yourself is not to have someone talk for you, not have statements, but go sit down and give an interview and let people know where you stand because he makes a compelling case as to how bad he wants to be in the league when you talk to him.”