I grew up in DC, a daughter, niece, and cousin of generations of Howard University graduates. So, I am aware of the history and pride that are inherent in our historically black colleges and universities. They continue to play a very important role in the development of our community.
You can imagine how excited we were to be at the historic Jubilee Hall on the campus of Fisk University. You can feel the history in that place. There is a lot of pressure to deliver the message of our movement clearly and respectfully within those walls. The Nashville community made it easy! We had a great mix of people in attendance, from the Queen Mothers of the community to the Village Church to an engaged group of excited young people.
We were honored to reveal the ancestries of several people in Nashville. Ken West and Porcha Wofford were surprised by their Yoruba and Fulani roots in Nigeria. In fact, Ken guessed that his ancestry would be Nigerian. Rep. Brenda Gilmore and Dr. Jeff Menzise appreciated learning of their Grain Coast African roots. One of the ancestries that they share is Mende from Sierra Leone. Rep. Gilmore was pleased to learn from where she inherited her fighting spirit. Queen Mother shares ancestry with our photographer, Kea Taylor, and the Bamileke people in Cameroon.
The highlight of the reveals was Rev. Stephens’ reaction to his Mandinka warrior roots!
I’d like to publicly thank Dr. Jeff Menzise, a descendant of the Mende of Sierra Leone, for hosting us at Fisk. He provided an important perspective on the history of Fisk and its current challenges. Jeff is committed to the psychological development of young African American minds. Fisk is quite fortunate to have him as a leader within the institution.
Do you know where you’re from? Be sure to check out our schedule and join us at an event near you.
I’m a city girl. Through and through. The only cotton I’ve ever seen has been in a bag at the drugstore or dried in a floral arrangement. The creative spirits in the Road Crew wanted to capture some cotton plants along the way. The only problem was, noone was really sure of what the cotton plant looks like. No worries. We have our iPad to answer all of our Road Tour questions. We found a cotton field and I turned the camera on Kea. I tried to capture what I saw as she meditated on her feelings standing on the land in the heat.
I don’t know how people do it. It has been so hard to blog while on the Road! We get into our hotels very late and T-mobile wireless reception has been very spotty. We’re driving through the Chattahoochee National Forest now heading from Knoxville to Charlotte. We broke up the trip from Charlotte. Seven hours was a bit much at midnight! When we got to Knoxville, we pulled up into the Ramada Limited. Thanks to Hotwire.com, we got a great rate for a truck stop hotel! The adventures continue…
The Opening Blessing for the We Are Africa Road Tour 2010
Rev. Martha Arvey is So Excited to Find Her Roots!
Drexel Brooks Shares His Baton Rouge – Yoruba Connection
The Big Easy was amazing! First, we need to thank the Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center. They are an extraordinary organization that celebrates the life and cultural traditions of the community. Viola Johnson and her team hosted a fantastic kickoff for the We Are Africa Road Tour 2010. Please stop by and visit Ashe’ when you are in town.
The Silhoutte Dance Ensemble opened the event with a powerful dance led by Kai Knight. Their performance added to the wonderful energy in the space.
After the African Ancestry presentation, African Ancestry Family Member Antoinette Harrell presented a brief video of her journey to Niger upon finding her Tuareg roots. The resemblance between her immediate family members and Tuareg women were uncanny.
Among the countless highlights of the event was meeting long time African Ancestry Family Member Mtumishi St. Julien and our newest member, Chaela.
We revealed the roots of our special guests which was almost as exciting as the reactions of the two winners of an African Ancestry Test Kit!
Click here to see more images from Day One in New Orleans. The Road Crew and I are looking forward to bringing the movement to 13 more cities!!! See you on the Road!
After weeks of planning and preparation, we were off to New Orleans. Our flight down to MSY Airport was my second of the day, having just flown home that morning from the NABJ conference in San Diego. Whew! How was I going to get all of this done?
Somehow things worked themselves out and I met Kea and Victoria at the airport. (Ralston and Dr. Gene Sankofa missed the flight!)
When we arrived in New Orleans, we were welcomed what felt like 100 degrees and the most humidity I’ve ever felt in my life! But we were hyped and ready to take on New Orleans. It seemed to make more sense to rent a car for one day rather than deal with taxis from the airport. So I pulled out my Blackberry to look for a deal. That was too slow, so we pulled out the iPad. Success!
We had to convince Chantell at Avis, that we really only needed a economy car, despite all of our bags and boxes.
We were right! We managed to fit three suitcases, two African Ancestry cases, two boxes, three carryons, and a camera bag into that little Hyundai and still have room for Kea and Victoria.
We capped the day off with a visit to the French Quarter. It reminded me of Vegas with all of the lights and people and action. Good food. Good drinks. Good night!