Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick ventured to his ancestral homeland of Ghana during the Fourth of July weekend. The vocal activist shared his journey on social media, stating that he spent the U.S. holiday reflecting on the legacy of slavery (video below).
On July 4, Kaepernick took to Twitter to share a video of him touring Ghana, explaining that he'd taken the trip as a way of connecting with his heritage.
"How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs?" Kaepernick tweeted out. "To find my independence I went home."
The quarterback further elaborated on his tweet with an Instagram post that used a quote from 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
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"What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?" Kaepernick wrote.
"In a quest to find my personal independence, I had to find out where my ancestors came from," Kaepernick continued. "I set out tracing my African ancestral roots, and it lead me to Ghana. 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."
The quarterback wrote affectionately of his time spent in his ancestral homeland.
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"I spent time with the/my Ghanaian people, from visiting the local hospital in Keta and the village of Atito, to eating banku in the homes of local friends, and paying my respects to Kwame Nkrumah's Memorial Park," Kaepernick wrote. "I felt their love, and truly I hope that they felt mine in return."
Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, sparked fierce controversy when he refused to stand for the national anthem throughout the 2016 season to protest police brutality against African Americans.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL.com. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
On March 1, Kaepernick opted out of his contracted final season with the 49ers to work as a free agent. He has yet to sign with a new team, prompting supporters to accuse the NFL of effectively shutting him out because of his activism, according to ESPN.
On June 27, 49ers General Manager John Lynch dispelled suggestions that Kaepernick was not fully committed to returning to the NFL during a radio interview.
"He is fully committed to wanting to be in this league... I won't communicate too much of what we've talked about, but I will communicate that 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, at a position where the guys that succeed at that position are the guys that live it, breathe it, the CEOs that play that position,'" Lynch told KNBR. "And I think there is a perception that football's not on the top of his list."