Indian Hair Report

Ex-Detroit activist, 75, and her sister slain in Ghana

Inspired by the social movements at the time, Jeannette Salters of Detroit got involved in the early 1970s with African-American and feminist causes, helping lead a black women’s group.

That led her to discover her roots in west Africa, where she eventually settled in Ghana, changing her name to Mamelena Diop. Her journey to Africa was part of a movement of Detroiters who sought to reclaim their ancestral roots during a revival of black nationalist movements.

Diop loved it there, say friends and family. But this week, her body, along with that of her sister, Nzinga Janna, was found near their home in Ghana in what may been killings in a dispute over land. She was 75 and her sister was 60 at the time of death, according to reports in a Ghanian online news site and family members. Two men have been arrested, according to the Ghanian news report and family members.

“I feel terrible about what happened,” said her son, Greg Salters of Detroit. “It’s a tragedy. Words can’t even explain how I feel about my mom being taken away from her home, murdered and put in a shallow grave 300 feet from her home.”

Salters said his mother and aunt were killed by people who wanted land she had legally acquired from the government in Ghana.

“Some locals decided they wanted to take the land from them,” he said. “My mom went to court over that” and won.

“I guess the locals decided they were going to take matters into their own hands,” he said. “And they decided to abduct and murder them.”

A report on MyJoyOnline.Com said the sisters “had gone missing and a search in their room Tuesday afternoon revealed blood on the floor and a bloodstained cudgel, believed to have been used to hit them.”

Her dogs had been poisoned several weeks ago, said family members and the media report.

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