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For me, slavery – and the African slave trade – steered me on a spiritual journey through the discovery of a sunken slave ship called the Henrietta Marie.

Thirty feet underwater, I touched the wooden hull of the slave ship, ran my hands through the sand, and held bright-colored glass beads that were used by Europeans to trade for African men, women and children in the late 1600s. I was scuba diving into my past.

In 1993, I was part of a group of black scuba divers that placed a one-ton monument on the wreck site of the Henrietta Marie, which sank off Key West, Florida in 1700. We marked the site to commemorate the African people who died aboard the Henrietta Marie and those who were lost during the Middle Passage.

Today, the monument is the only underwater memorial of its kind in the nation.

A bronze plaque is embedded on the concrete monument. The inscription reads: “Henrietta Marie: In memory and recognition of the courage, pain and suffering of enslaved African people. Speak her name and gently touch the souls of our ancestors.”

Carson, perhaps, will never understand – or articulate – this spiritual link to his African ancestors because he can only use slavery as a warped political tool to attack President Obama. Carson’s inflammatory comments comes as Republicans are desperately trying to court black voters and hoping that Carson’s credible pedigree will resonate with African Americans.

I doubt it. Conjuring slavery to take a cheap shot at Obama’s Affordable Care Act is historically distorted and a slap to black heritage.

Carson has truly sunk to a new low.

(Photo: AP)

COMMENTARY: Ben Carson’s Conjuring Slavery is a Slap to Black Heritage  was originally published on

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