Peter Strickland, First U.S. Consul to Senegal
On September 19, 2012, in the Council Room of the Gorée Island Town Hall, Mr. Stephen H. Grant gave a talk on his recent book, Peter Strickland: New London Shipmaster, Boston Merchant, First Consul to Senegal, in the presence of the Mayor of Gorée, Mr. Augustin Senghor; his Cabinet Director, Mr. Camara; the Imam of Gorée, Mr. Dia; the Town Hall staff and members of the communities of Gorée and Dakar. The Mayor introduced the talk with some of his thoughts on the relevance of this type of work, which highlights links, both known and unknown, between Senegal and the U.S. Mr. Senghor spoke of the importance of bringing to light Gorée’s historical facts, noting that if this is not done properly, people will and do invent false histories, adding and subtracting details that completely alter what future generations will know of Gorée, the colonial period and the relationship between the two countries and their people.
Indeed, Grant’s presentation – accompanied by fascinating slides from images and documents from both Senegal’s and the United States’ National Archives – brought out significant new information for the audience, whom Mr. Grant kept captivated in his presentation with images dating back over 100 years.
After his presentation, Mr. Grant himself was presented with an honorary diploma by Mr. Xavier Ritou, representing the Friends Association of the Senegalese Historical Museum on Gorée. The honorary diploma notes that from this point forward, Mr. Grant is an honorary member of their association and an honorary citizen of Gorée Island.
Former Peace Corps volunteer in Ivory Coast and retired USAID Education Specialist (Ivory Coast, Egypt, El Salvador, Guinea and Indonesia), Mr. Grant was also Desk Officer for Senegal at USAID headquarters in Washington, D.C., prior to his retirement. He is the author of three books, with a fourth due out in 2013.