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Next, we stopped for drinks at Next Door, a seaside restaurant/bar, where we listened

to and watched the waves beating against the rocks while we lounged around

under palm trees. I had a taste for rum, so indulged in a Cuba Libre.

(I was nostalgic cause so much about Ghana reminds me of Cuba.)

 

 

Books by Miriam DeCosta-Willis

Daughters of the Diaspora: Afra-Hispanic Writers (2003  / Singular Like a Bird: The Art of Nancy Morejon (1999)

  The Memphis Diary of Ida B. Wells (1995) / Erotique Noire/Black Erotica  (1992) / Homespun Images ( 1989) 

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Miriam in Ghana

Notes from a Scholar's Journal

By Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

 

Ghana III

Hi All,

Another couple of great days in the neighborhood. Wednesday was completely devoted to Kwame Nkrumah, with lots of readings in our collection of essays, lectures in the morning, a visit to Independence Square, and then a tour of Nkrumah's mausoleum, where both he and his wife are buried. The mausoleum reminds me a lot of that of Antonio Maceo in Cuba, because it consists of four massive curved pillars that open on the top and sides to the elements. Behind that is the museum, which contains lots of his personal effects (bed, desk, tables), the books that he wrote, and numerous photos of him with world leaders such as Castro, Nehru, Mao Tse Tung, Lumumba, and J.F.K.

There are a few photos of him with his Egyptian wife, three sons, and two (I think) daughters. One of his daughters is in the Parliament here, but we haven't met her because the focus of the trip is on scholars rather than political figures. (Nkrumah attended Lincoln Univ., an HBCU in PA, from 1935 to 1939. He was persuaded to attend by Azikiwi, the former premier of Nigeria, who was at Lincoln when my father was there.

Nkrumah was, thus, in that first wave of African students who were educated and, in many cases, radicalized in the U. S. He had a very, very hard time financially and worked very hard to obtain an education.)

Yesterday, we had a very stimulating lecture on marriage and the family; as you can imagine, I asked lots of questions, as I've been doing in all of the sessions. The lecturer has written many books on the different patterns of marriage: matrilineal and patrilineal, questions of inheritance, the role of women & men, etc. He noted that it's customary in traditional families for the wife to address her husband as "My Lord," so I don't think I'd last long in a marriage here.

The next speaker, a woman scholar, discussed traditional African religions, and she gave a fascinating talk on the common beliefs that prevail in many African religions in spite of the wide differences. That afternoon, we went to a casket shop, where we saw caskets made in the shapes of eagles, boats, rifles, and bananas. If I weren't being cremated, I'd get myself measured for one while I'm here (smile).

Next, we stopped for drinks at Next Door, a seaside restaurant/bar, where we listened to and watched the waves beating against the rocks while we lounged around under palm trees. I had a taste for rum, so indulged in a Cuba Libre. (I was nostalgic cause so much about Ghana reminds me of Cuba.) On to a fantastic, three-story high art gallery where the art—really good works by talented painters and sculptors—was to-die-for, with high price tags.

Today, we had a tremendous lecture on gender by a scholar from the Institute of African Studies, who received her doctorate from Vanderbilt, of all places. Of course I asked about statistics on rape, incest, HIV-AIDS, and family planning initiatives, after her very informative talk on the politics and economics of women's status in the country. She had just flown in the night before from a conference in China, but was definitely at the top of her game.

Tomorrow, we'll have a lecture on music/dance and something else, and then spend the afternoon at the beach again. Sunday, we leave for a tour of the country, traveling to Ho and the Volta Region, Kumasi and the kingdom of the Asantes (Akan), and then down to the southern coast, where we'll spend a couple of days in a hotel on the beach, visit Cape Coast and Elmina—forts from which our ancestors were taken.  Well, that's about all from here.—Miriam

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Miriam, I am glad you arrived in Ghana safely and that you are fully engaged. I'd like to publish a whole series of these reports. Send them when you can. I thought you all would be without internet access for the whole trip. I look forward to other reports—Rudy
 

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Rudy, I thought so too, so that's why I told folk to hold the e-mails. The first day we were here, we went to an internet cafe (they proliferate here), but I couldn't get access to comcast. Then, we discovered that the Institute of African Studies' office here at the chalets has three fast computers, which they don't mind us using. We're heading for a tour of the country early tomorrow morning, moving every day or so, so I won't have access to a computer or won't have time to write much if I find an internet cafe. I do plan to write a long account on my return. We visited the DuBois house/museum and tomb a couple of days ago, and this morning we had a great lecture on Pan-Africanism. I'm keeping a daily journal that will be a good source of info, given my poor memory. Take care. I'll be back in touch. Love, Miriam

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Ghana IV

Hi there,

I'm sending this from the internet cafe at our hotel; I have to pay to use the internet and Comcast is slow as molasses.

We left Accra very early yesterday morning (Sun.) and traveled through small villages such as Madina and Adenta, which were amazingly quiet and liveless because everyone was at church or the mosque. Last weekend, when we passed through those same villages on our way to Aburi Botannical Gardens, the place was teeming with life: taxis and Tro Tros everywhere, vendors selling bananas and dried fish, homemade furniture and cement blocks piled on the sides of the roads, and tiny stalls next to grills of roasted corn.

This Sunday we were traveling through the Eastern Region, where the Krobo language is spoken. More than 40 languages are spoken in Ghana, and they are as different as Japanese and French, Greek and Swahili. We passed through villages such as Dodowa, Ado Meta, and Somanya, a large town, where the women are reputed to be fantastic lovemakers and are often accused of stealing other women's husbands. The countryside is completely different in the Eastern Regions—green and verdant, with banana and cassava trees stretching into the distance, widely spaced mud huts with thatched roofs, and lines of green hills on both sides.

In one of the towns we passed a huge outdoor funeral. Funerals are very important occasions in Ghana, because the people are very religious—whether they practice traditional religions, Christianity, Islam, or mixtures of them—and very family-oriented. The women wear black with bits of red here and there, but if the deceased is over 90, they wear white with strips of black running through it. All along the road, we could see small casket shops behind wire, because that area of the country is big on casket manufacturing. Of course, they are handmade.

Finally, we arrived at the Volta Lake, the largest man-made lake in the world when it was completed under Nkrumah, which is located in the Volta Region, near the border of Togo. There, we boarded the Dodi Princess for a 5-hour cruise on the lake. We were served a lunch of roast chicken or grilled fish, spaghetti, and the inevitable rice. Soon after we took off, we were treated to reggae and contemporary highlife by King's Anchor Band, led by A. J. Asamoah, with his combo of singers, guitar players, drummers, etc. The Dodi had three decks, and on the lower deck there was a small swimming pool for the kids. Ben, whom the students have dubbed "Prof," and I took to the dance floor. Half way through the cruise, we docked at a small island, where children came out to greet the passengers, escort them up the hill, and beg for coins.

We stopped on our return to have drinks at the Volta Hotel, a lovely facility on a hill, with tables on the balcony overlooking the river. At 6:00, we arrived at the Chances Hotel in Ho, where we'll spend three nights. Today, the group has a long day.  They'll journey for 1 1/2 hrs. to the Tafi Monkey Sanctuary to feed the monkeys, then go another hour to the Wi Waterfalls, where they'll walk for 45 minutes over slippery rocks to the falls and then face a 3-hour drive back to the hotel. This morning I pretended to have a queasy stomach because I was not in the mood for the long drive, difficult conditions, lack of sanitary food, and no toilet facilities.

I guess I'm not much of an "adventure" traveler.  Instead, I had a leisurely, late breakfast (by myself! privacy at last!), will spend the day swimming and then reading and writing in my journal around the pool. This afternoon, I'll go into Ho and look for Jane, the sister of Mother's caregiver Evelyn, at the SSNIT Canteen. Tomorrow, though, I'll be up and running with the gang again. Love and peace, Miriam

posted 27 July 2009

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Ghana—Samia Nkrumah

hGhana became African's first country to gain freedom in 1957 and has since grown tremendously both politically and economically. Kwame Nkrumah is known as the country's founding father and we meet his daughter Samia Nkrumah in our next story -- who is determined to follow in her fathers footsteps.

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 Relations Between Africans and African Americans: Misconceptions, Myths and Realities

By  Godfrey Mwakikagile

 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: National Academic Press, 2005) 302 pages

 

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Chiefs in Cape Coast, Ghana  /  Grand Durbar Parade

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Dentist Dr. Robert Lee

Championed African-American Community in Ghana

In the mid-1950s, Dr. Robert Lee, a dentist from South Carolina, moved to Ghana to escape racism in the south. Over the next half century, Lee became a fixture in the African-American community in the West African country. Dr. Lee died on Monday, July 5th at the age of 90. But few here in his home state, or in the States at all, knew of his work. But in Ghana, he made a name for himself. Dr. Robert Lee, trained as a dentist, moved to Accra in the mid-1950s. Over the past half century, Lee became a fixture in the black American ex-patriot community in Ghana. NPR

Host Michel Martin talks to NPR West African correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about his life and legacy. Dr. Robert Lee NPR Interview

Dr. Robert Lee in 2009 with Kwame Zulu Shabazz

Dentist Championed African-American Community In Ghana  / Dr Robert Lee passes on

 

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Submission of King Prempeh—Lord Baden Powell of the boyscouts (who was said to love young boys a BIT too much)— who was buried in Kenya and killed many Africans, was the leader of the expedition to overthrow King Prempeh the First of Ghana. He made the deposed king kneel in front of him, as he sat on a throne made of boxes of biscuits.— Binyavanga Wainaina

The Downfall—Then came the demand for payment of the indemnity for the war. Due notice had been previously given, and the Ashantis had promised to pay it; but unless the amount, or a fair proportion of it, could now be produced, the king and his chiefs must be taken as guarantee for its payment. The king could produce about a twentieth part of what had been promised. Accordingly, he was informed that he, together with his mother and chiefs, would now be held as prisoners, and deported to the Gold Coast.

The sentence moved the Ashantis very visibly.

Usually it is etiquette with them to receive all news, of whatever description, in the gravest and most unmoved indifference; but here was Prempeh bowing himself to the earth for mercy, as doubtless many and many a victim to his lust for blood had bowed in vain to him, and around him were his ministers on their feet, clamouring for delay and reconsideration of the case. The only "man" among them was the queen. In vain. Each chief found two stalwart British non-commissioned officers at his elbow, Prempeh being undercharge of Inspector Donovan. Their arrest was complete.—PineTreeWeb

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

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#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

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#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

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#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

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#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Cape Coast Castle. A Collection of Poems By Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang / Forts and Castles of Ghana by Albert van Dantzig

Chiefs in Cape Coast, Ghana  /  Grand Durbar Parade

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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Notable Black Memphians

By Miriam DeCosta-Willis

This biographical and historical study by Miriam DeCosta-Willis (PhD, Johns Hopkins University and the first African American faculty member of Memphis State University) traces the evolution of a major Southern city through the lives of men and women who overcame social and economic barriers to create artistic works, found institutions, and obtain leadership positions that enabled them to shape their community. Documenting the accomplishments of Memphians who were born between 1795 and 1972, it contains photographs and biographical sketches of 223 individuals (as well as brief notes on 122 others), such as musicians Isaac Hayes and Aretha Franklin, activists Ida B. Wells and Benjamin L. Hooks, politicians Harold Ford Sr. and Jr., writers Sutton Griggs and Jerome Eric Dickey, and Bishop Charles Mason and Archbishop James Lyke—all of whom were born in Memphis or lived in the city for over a decade. . .  .

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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Enjoy!

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 7 May 2012

 

 

 

Home   Kalamu ya Salaam Table  The African World  Transitional Writings on Africa    Miriam DeCosta-Willis Table

Related files:  Haile Gerima in Ghana   Criticisms of the Disapora  The Whole of Ourselves   The Forts and Castles of Ghana   What's Your Name?  Once You've Been There 

Foreign Exchange   Myths About Black History   Miriam in Ghana  Pilgrimage  to Ghana      Randolph Visits Ghana  Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa (S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z)