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This Month in History: Igbo Landing in Georgia

And now we begin the Igbo story in the Americas, enjoy!

Igbo Landing is a historic site at Dunbar Creek on St. Simons Island, Glynn County, Georgia. It is where the Igbo people who had taken control of their slave ship refused to become captives of slavery in the United States. They took their lives in order to accomplish this resistance. This event marks a very important time in African American history as a strong symbol of resistance to slavery by Igbo people.

In May 1803 a ship arrived in the middle passage holding Africans that had been stolen from Igbo land; they were to be auctioned off at one of the slave markets in Savannah, Georgia. The ship included around 75 Igbo people from the bight of Biafra in West Africa. The Igbo were known for being fiercely independent and resistant to slavery.

During the journey, the Igbo slaves rose up in strength and took control of the ship, drowning their captors in the process causing the Monrovia ship to be grounded in Dunbar Creek at the site now known as Igbo Landing.

Floyd White, an elderly African-American interviewed in the 1930’s is recorded as saying:

“Heard about the Ibo’s Landing? That’s the place where they bring the Ibos
over in a slave ship and when they get here, they ain’t like it and so they all
start singing and they march right down in the river to march back to Africa,
but they ain’t able to get there. They gets drown”
.

The Gullah people, a people said to be descendants of Igbo’s, with many claiming their Igbo ancestry, live and dwell in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. They speak an Afro-Creole language and continue some Igbo customs as seen in their food and cultural traditions such as the Masquerade that I told you all about last week, deriving from Igbo culture and found in Caribbean cultures. I will talk more bout the Gullah Geechee next week, I just wanted to introduce the Igbo culture in the Americas, and not overfeed you! Here is an excerpt I found from a white woman describing the Gullah description of the Igbo experience. I mention white woman because as always, when they translate something, it may not always be the best, but I did like the excerpt enough to add it in my blog post…

“The West Africans upon their situation resolved to risk their
lives by walking home over the water rather than submit to the living death
that awaited them in American slavery. As the tale has it, the tribes people
disembark from the ship, and as a group, turned around and walked along the
water, traveling in the opposite direction from the arrival port. As they took
this march together, the West Africans joined in song. They are reported to
have sung a hymn in which the lyrics assert that the water spirits will take
them home. While versions of this story vary in nuance, all attest to the
courage in rebellion displayed by the enslaved Igbo.”

It’s important to know that, Igbo slaves, were most prone to be runaways. Why is it important? Because it shows strength, to resist evil and not succumb to the west and their divide and conquer tactics!

I find so much courage in this story. I thank my ancestors for their resistance….

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Igbo People of Awka, Anambra State: #TeachMeTuesdays

Hello All!

I wanted to revisit a blog post that I wrote about the Igbo people of Awka, in Anambra state, Nigeria.  I am a descendant of Awka people, my dad is from Umubuele in Awka. Although Anambra is the english name, the original name is Oma Mbala. According to oral tradition, “Oma Mbala was the name of the ancient goddess whose river runs from the Uzo-uwa-ani underworld to Anam and Onicha axis, where it connects with Nkisi & Niger-kwora/Mgbakili Rivers in their journey to the Atlantic Ocean.” Oma Mbala region extends to parts of  these states in Nigeria – Edo, Delta, Imo, Rivers, Abia, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau, Akwa Ibom, and Cross Rivers States, as well as the countries Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Mali, and Central African Republic. According to oral tradition, it is said that the father of the Igbo’s, Eri – a sky God, settled in Anambra after being sent to the earth by Chukwu – Supreme God, after having traveled by water from what is now known as the middle east. He is said to have had 2 wives and founded Nri and Aguleri, two cities currently in Anambra state. Anambra state is part of 5 main states in Igboland – Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo – and other states comprise of high numbers of Igbo people, such as Delta and Rivers states. It is said that Anambra is the wealthiest state in the southeast region of Nigeria. Anyway, I spoke about the Masquerades and Ekpe secret societies in Haiti and Cuba last week, and I just wanted to bring it back to the continent to regroup around Igbo culture in Nigeria, before continuing to America tomorrow. After we get to America, the Igbo revelations go continue o! I want you all to get ready for a complete story. Enjoy this blog post on the Igbo people of Awka, Anambra state! (All these pictures are pictures I took, and are of me and my family).

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CULTURAL AND ETHNIC GROUPS

Awka is the capital city in Anambra State in southeastern Nigeria, home of Igbo people. Before the 20th
century, the people of Awka were most famous for metal working and
their blacksmith skills throughout the region for making farming
implements, guns and tools. The Awka area in earlier times was the site
of the Nri Civilization that produced the earliest documented bronze
works in Sub-Saharan Africa around 800 AD.

Awka was governed by titled men known as Ozo and Ndichie who
were accomplished individuals in the community. Today, the tradition of
being a titled man still holds much importance. In typical Igbo
communities, people are not called or greeted by their names but rather
by their titles. Each title holds an important meaning. In Igbo land,
titles can be given through elaborate feasting and fulfilment of other
conditions. Historically, they held general meetings or “Izu Awka”
either at the residence of the oldest man (Otochal Awka) or at a place
designated by him. He was the Nne Uzu or master blacksmith, whether he
knew the trade or not, for the only master known to Awka people was the
master craftsman, the Nne Uzu. Overall, the average Igbo man by
tradition is expected to have a title, either given to him by his father
or one that he assumes and takes up himself.

Awka is currently divided into two local government areas; Awka
North and Awka South, with local representatives. However, it still
maintains traditional systems of governance with Ozo titled men often
consulted for village and community issues and a paramount cultural
ruler, the Eze Uzu who is elected by all Ozo titled men by rotation
amongst different villages to represent the city at state functions.

Awka comprises seven Igbo groups sharing common blood lineage
divided into two sections. Ifite Section, the senior section, comprises
four groups, Ayom-na-Okpala, Nkwelle, Amachalla, and Ifite-Oka followed
by Ezinator Section, which consists of three groups, Amikwo, Ezi-Oka and
Agulu. Each of these groups has a number of villages. All together,
Awka comprises 33 villages.

Awka people have always been and still are well travelled. In
earlier centuries, times demand for their skills as blacksmiths had Awka
people travelling throughout Nigeria making farming implements,
household tools, and guns. Each village had clearly defined trade
routes. For example, people from Umuogbu village plied their trade in
Benin and in the Urhobo and Itsekiri areas, people from Umubele (my
fathers land!) were stationed in the Igala areas in modern day Kogi
state, Umuike and Umuonaga in present day Abia and Rivers State,
Umuenechi in the Kwale and Isoko area of Delta state, and Umudiana,
Okperi, Ugwuogige stationed in Calabar area of today’s Cross Rivers
state.

The Imo-Oka festival is a week long festival of masquerades and
dances held in May at the beginning of the farming season in honor of a
female deity who it is hoped will make the land fertile and yield
boutiful crops. The festival starts with Awka natives visiting the
community of Umuokpu with masquerades and it ends with the visit of the
Imo-Oka stream on the final day which is heralded by a heavy rain that
falls in the late afternoon. There are four major events performed
during this festival.

Today, Awka people can be found all across the globe many
working as highly educated and skilled professionals in a wide range of
fields. As a result, there is a large Awka diaspora located primarily in
the U.K. and the U.S. There, they have formed social clubs like Awka
Union USA and Canada, Awka Town Social Community UK and Ireland, and
other community associations. These associations have been a positive
way for people to enjoy their culture as well as to engage in community
self-help projects.

Over the years Awka Town has attracted people from other states
in Nigeria and has a significant number of immigrants from northern
Nigeria, Delta and Enugu states, Cameroon and Ghana now comprising more
than 60% of residents in the town (http://naijasky.com/awka-south/114/people-of-awka/6416/).

World renown author, Chinua Achebe (author of ‘Things Fall
Apart’) says “Awka has a certain kind of aura about it, because it was
the place of the blacksmiths that created implements which made
agriculture possible.”

I’ve had fun educating you all on my people!

Remain Blessed loves ❤️.

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This is for the Extroverts: #ThrowbackThursday… What Was I Thinking?!

Hello All! Welcome to the 2nd edition of Throwback Thursday on the new blogging schedule. This is the 1st Thursday of the month where I share a throwback post and explain what I was thinking during that time. This is for the Extroverts was written at a time of extreme peace in my life, and I am still experiencing that peace, not a nagging feeling that someone is plotting against me like Judas. At the time I had eliminated so many people, places, and things, and refocused. I began a period of solitude that was necessary to refocus on my purpose. That solitude as I’ve talked about many times was revealed through the stories of Joseph, Ruth, Moses, and Jesus 40 days fast in the bible, also greats like Nelson Mandela and Marcus Garvey. The conclusion of these was that people with callings must find themselves by themselves for a period of time to test their actual faith and sharpen their gifts. I am grateful for that time, as I was sharpened and I depended on faith alone, that is why I don’t care what anyone calls their faith, I call my faith the faith of the ancestors. Faith brought me to the point of no worry, til’ this day, and even when the pandemic started I had no worry, it is a time I had waited for, and had been prepared for through the period of solitude; a shift in the history of the world. If I had skipped all that is mentioned below, I would have been shaken up, I wasn’t, I just continued in my purpose. I teach my fellow Melanated Gems how to do the same through my Dear Black People Webinar Series that starts again at the end of this month, it also looks different for everyone, I talk about that too. However, this is for the extroverts with a gift that need to set boundaries. People will be drawn to our gifts, but they may not have the capacity to give back. It’s the story of Black people, so giving, but we haven’t gotten back a slither of the love, gifts, inventions, wealth, resources, and everything else that we’ve given the world. We have to as a people find ourselves in solitude until we can properly set up boundaries and interact normally with others again, just as it happened in my life, AMEN! Enjoy below!


1. Define your Gift

2. Conserve energy & pour that energy into the gift

3. Identify people that align with your gift

4. Create boundaries & build solid friendships with those who meet those boundaries, in alignment with the gift.

I put a lot into myself this year and last year more than ever and the results have been extremely beneficial. The reason is because as an extrovert, I spent a lot of time pouring into people, praying for people, motivating people, and being an extremely good friend; people start depending on that, to the point where I’d be drained and didn’t have enough time to pour all that into myself. By the time it was my turn to be filled up people would be nowhere to be found. I spent hours consoling people, motivating them, and praying for them with them not being able to do the same. Now trust me, I’ve had extremely good friends, about three in my entire life. When I say good friends, I mean people who would do for me just as I would do for them and we didn’t offend each other in a way that was intentional; we barely even made each other mad, in fact – never. Everything that we didn’t understand about each other we just talked out. But as an extrovert, getting older, more involved and active in various communities and causes, I found myself being surrounded by people who were drawn to my abilities but not concerned about me. & this is not something I’m making up; elders, professors, church leaders, & bosses in the workplace have always told me that I am a visionary with great ambition; always having a plan, ready to get things done, but people don’t have the same motivation as me, so I need to be careful. One church elder specifically said “people will use you because of your gift so you have to be careful.”

I am saying all of this for a reason, we have to know ourselves, and we have to know who’s around us. 2018 was my last year being social; I went to a few weddings but for the most part I poured so much into myself. This year, 2019, I have been rarely social; my phone has been so dry, & I’ve been at peace. I decided to cut off all energy from all sources and let things naturally gravitate. I haven’t been quick to contact anyone, except for when I am strongly led to open up communication. Other than that most communication that I’ve had has been incoming. I deleted 90% of my numbers just to see which people would stay in contact and which ones would not, because nobody can ever say that I lack communication, so at that point I was deleting numbers I knew I did my part. I take my life extremely seriously because I can’t afford to not be in alignment with my life goals all due to being connected with the wrong people. & as I always say, just because they’re not meant for me doesn’t mean they’re bad people.

I’m not afraid to be by myself, because I asked God to teach me what to do with my time. As an extrovert at times I get bored, but I have enjoyed this rest and just pouring back into myself in a way like never before. I’m telling this story because it is highly important for us to get serious about the people in our lives; we seek peace, & we have so much energy coming in that we never know what is distracting our peace. Understand that in a world where the majority are followers & few are leaders, strong boundaries have to be set to protect our peace & not be led astray. Understand this is context: all that praying, all that motivating, all that consoling I did for others I really needed to do for myself, & the lack of peace I experienced was because I had too many ppl extracting from my gift. Lack of peace is not fun, it’s draining. I decided that if I’m going to counsel I’m going to get paid to do it as a job and not just for anyone who thinks I have all the time in the world to give them. I said all that to say, as an extrovert, as a leader, as a visionary; conserve your energy. Be kind to everyone, be social when need be, but pour that energy into yourself, your gift & the mutually beneficial relationships that feed you.

🖤💛🖤💛

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Jumping the Broom, no, Crossing the Sticks? Or Both! #Throwback Black History Month Post

Hello All! This blog post featured below is probably the shortest blog post I’ve ever written, but not much explanation was needed. I’ve often had to challenge myself when it comes to Black history. Something that seems so small usually means something so big, but the narrative having been watered down doesn’t always allow us to fully appreciate it. Just as any other culture who has customs, when it is told in it’s original form, not downplayed by outsiders, it can be authentically passed down to generations. Well, considering the great value Africans held for nature, I am pretty sure this crossing sticks custom held much more meaning outside of slavery, but when that communication was cut off, we had to reinvent many traditions, however, we’ve always found a way to remain African. That is why for us specifically, who have had our cultures robbed and forced to replace with others, being African is in spirit! I remember once meeting a woman who had love for basketweaving, and she told me that once she did her ancestry test, she found out that the tribe she is a descendant of from in Ghana was famous for basketweaving. I mention this because, melanated gems, we may have love for something that may mean so little to those around us, but it tells a greater story of our ancestry than we ever knew. Wow! This excerpt is longer than the original blog post, enjoy below!

CULTURE TUESDAYS

We’ve all heard of the wedding tradition of jumping the broom, but what about crossing sticks? Crossing sticks is a tradition that dates back to the slavery era where African-American couples demonstrated their commitment by crossing tall wooden sticks. Crossing the sticks, represented the power and life force within trees which, for the couple, symbolized a strong and grounded beginning.

❤️