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THE FLORA NWAPA CLUB NEWSLETTER JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF
THE FLORA NWAPA CLUB NEWSLETTER
JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE
THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK
AFRICAN LITERATURE ASSOCIATION, USA
RECOGNIZING EXCELLENCE IN AFRICANA LITERATURE
Volume 2, No.3
2009-2010
PRESIDENT
BonJean Boucka
John Jay College, CUNY
THE FLORA NWAPA CLUB
bonjean.boucka@jjay.cuny.edu
Congratulates the
WINNER OF THE 2009 FLORA NWAPA SOCIETY AWARD
VICE-PRESIDENT
Fanieda Jabo
John Jay College, CUNY
fjabo718@aim.com
SECRETARY
Katharina Rollins
John Jay College, CUNY
quebonita24@mac.com
TREASURER
Tyler Garvey
John Jay College, CUNY
tyler.garvey@jjay.cuny.edu
FACULTY ADVISOR/EDITOR
Dr. Marie A. Umeh
Department of English
John Jay College, CUNY
Msumeh@aol.com
FACULTY EDITOR
Professor Marvie Brooks
Lloyd George Sealy Library
John Jay College, CUNY
mbrooks@jjay.cuny.edu
DESKTOP PUBLISHER
Zenobia Petersen
zenobiap53103@yahoo.com
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Rev. (Dr.) Peter Igwilo
pinalexint@yahoo.com
PHOTOGRAPHER
Piyanuch Panichpisal
nan_piyanuch@hotmail.com

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INTRODUCING THE 2009 RECIPIENT OF THE FLORA NWAPA LITERARY AWARD: PROFESSOR CATHERINE ACHOLONU-OLUMBA

by Dr. Marie Umeh

Welcome to the 2009 Harlem Book Fair‘s Literary Awards Gala Celebrating Africana Authors and Publishers. Introducing Professor Catherine Acholonu-Olumba—Nigeria‘s Culture Am- bassador of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertifica- tion and former Special Advisor to the Nigerian President, from 1999-2002, whom I met for the first time in Nigeria at the famous Ife Book Fair at the University of Ife in Ile-Ife, Oyo State, in the eighties, is definitely not an easy task. Professor Catherine Acholonu‘s gifts vary. For instance, I would like to tell you that she is a poet, but she is not just a poet; she is also a playwright. But that‘s not all, she is foremost a literary critic and essayist whose brilliant theories have been quoted in many books across the globe. And

that‘s not all—for she is an avid researcher into African cultural sciences. Catherine Acholonu-Olumba, like Flora Nwapa, is one of Africa‘s first few women publishers. She has added yet another feather to her cap in the pantheon of pioneers in becoming the first Nigerian woman to have a research center named after her. The Catherine Acholonu Re- search Center, based in Abuja, Nigeria, is a lodestar in African cultural research and information technology. In the 1980s, Catherine Acholonu - Olumba conducted a two year field research that led to the discovery of the native Igbo roots of the American slave and later abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, aka Gustava Vassa, who is the first Afri- can-American published autobiographer, essayist and fiction writer. The success of that research earned her a Fulbright Scholarship and a sponsored lecture tour of American universities, as an International Visitor. In 1990/91, as a Fulbright Scholar/Writer-in-Residence at the Westchester Consortium for International Studies, Catherine Acholonu was a Visiting Professor at Manhattanville College, Iona College, Marymount College and the College of New Rochelle, in New York State. It is on record that Professor Acholonu was the first faculty member ever to be given a reception party by the entire Black student community at the Col- leges.

At Manhattanville College, in Purchase, New York, she initiated the Af- rican-American Studies Program and began another pioneering research project

which resulted in the seminal work They Lived Before Adam : pre - historic ori- gins of the Igbothe never beenruled (Ndi Igbo since 1.6 million B. C.) a work that today is earning her global rec-

ognition and the Flora Nwapa Literary Award at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Professor Cath- erine AcholonuOlumba has pioneered great movements in literature and scholarship, one of them, her second ground-

breaking work after The Igbo Roots of Olaudah Equiano : an anthropological researchis a book on African Gender

Studies, entitled Motherism: The Afro-centric Alternative to Feminism, published in 1995. This book can be defined as Africa‘s first fully articulated Theory of Feminist Consciousness. They Lived Before Adam is her 16 th book and the second full-length book in a new series in which she and her team of researchers are rediscovering and transcribing the ancient stone inscriptions of Pre-Historic Africans and their buried contributions to world civilizations. Ladies and gentlemen Professor Catherine Acholonu - Olumba. Let‘s stand and give her a big welcome!

- Olumba. Let‘s stand and give her a big welcome! Dr. Marie Umeh presents the Flora

Dr. Marie Umeh presents the Flora Nwapa Literary Award to Professor Catherine Acholonu-Olumba on July 17, 2009.

to Professor Catherine Acholonu-Olumba on July 17, 2009. Max Rodriguez, Founder, The Phillis Wheatley Awards and

Max Rodriguez, Founder, The Phillis Wheatley Awards and The Harlem Book Fair.

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The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Page 3 Volume 4, No. 1 UNITED NATIONS FORUM OF ARTS
The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Page 3 Volume 4, No. 1 UNITED NATIONS FORUM OF ARTS
The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Page 3 Volume 4, No. 1 UNITED NATIONS FORUM OF ARTS

UNITED NATIONS FORUM OF ARTS AND CULTURE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION

THE FLORA NWAPA LITERARY AWARD ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY PROFESSOR CATHERINE ACHOLONU-OLUMBA LEAD-RESEARCHER AND LEAD-AUTHOR OF THEY LIVED BEFORE ADAM.

I remember my mother, Chief Mrs. Josephine Olumba, who chose to pass into the next world on the last day of September, 2009, in the very same moments when They Lived Before Adam was making its entry into the world. In a way the book is the reincarnation of my mother, a woman who never missed an opportunity to make a grand entrance. It is just as well, because They Lived Before Adam, the book that has earned me Schomburg Center‘s coveted Flora Nwapa

Literary Award is a book inspired by the Eternal Mother of all life. The book seeks to bring humanity back to the basics,

to recapture the true essence of things, the truth that has been lost, the knowledge that has been subverted.

The inspiration for this work was provided by the world celebration of the 50 th Anniversary of Chinua Achebe‘s Things Fall Apart – one of the greatest novels ever written. Achebe‘s Things Fall Apart is an apt representation of the authentic African novel vis-à-vis the farce that is Joseph Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness. It is a living testimony of the state

of identity oblivion that befell all colonized nations of the Southern Hemisphere as a direct outfall of religious and socio-

political imperialism. Things fell apart all over the African continent, and the center could no longer hold, but as we all know, what one sows, one also reaps. The Chaos Theory of New Physics says that what happens in one half of a circle must be replicated on the other half of the circle, for force moves in cycles and all motion is cyclical. Accordingly, things have also fallen apart in the house of the identity terminators our erstwhile colonial masters.

In a paper I delivered in 2002 to the Association of Nigerian Authors, titled ―Africa: the New Frontier: Towards

A Truly Global Literary Theory for the 21 st Century,‖ I made the point that the Western World has perfected the use of

noise as a metaphor of power, and that its news media uses a cacophony of ear-rending noises to drown out the truth by keeping the so-called Third World that is us silent; that as far as we, Africans are concerned there is no such thing as dialogue among nations, more like a monologue where the super powers talk and the rest just listen and say nothing.

For centuries, the nations and peoples of the South, the Third World have been treated as the silent, female ‗partners‘ of the West in international relations, to be seen but never to be heard. Their ageless philosophies and the best practices that created the classical civilizations of yester-years, have along with their art, cultures and traditions, been bottled up in museums in the West. Their indigenous sciences, have together with their new scientific endeavors, their emerging literatures, their old and new knowledge been cut off from the global information traffic by those who make it their business to decide who gets heard and who does not.

Africa is thus of interest to no one unless we are dancing or showcasing our handicrafts and body-adornments. For example, CNN refused to attend our book launchings in Abuja (Nigeria) in March, Washington, D.C. in April and Enugu in June, with the excuse that our book launch was an ‗Igbo event.‘ This is a classical example of silencing a conti- nent. Imagine if every other international news medium had said the same thing.

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The returning impact of the Machiavellian ideologies that were invoked to justify the systematic exploitation of our ancestral lands continues to take its toll upon our world in the form of mounting economic crises, environmental and natural disasters, mounting human suffering, hunger and global poverty from which no country has been spared.

They Lived Before Adam speaks to this situation. We demonstrate that by silencing the voices of scholars, writ- ers, scientists, native philosophies of an entire continent, the world has deprived itself of the most ancient wisdom of its ancestors, and is now paying dearly for its arrogance. Indeed, things have fallen apart even in God‘s house, the center holds nowhere, the world is tethering to the brink because of the falsehoods that have replaced age-long wisdoms that created golden Ages in places like India, Egypt, the Himalayas and of course, Eden which being the original home of mankind, was without doubt, an African location.

They Lived Before Adam takes us back to the beginnings, peel- ing off layers upon layers of the Great Lie of the Ages that has birthed modern civilization, re-introducing the age-old maxims that guided our earliest ancestors to live in harmony with nature and other species. It shines the torch upon the earliest ancestors of our common humanity the first World Travelers who left Africa to populate the globe, bringing with them what we have come to know as culture.

Through 18 long years of painstaking field work and library re- search, pulling together works by Anthropologists, Archaeologists, Pale- ontologists, Geneticists, Linguists as well as Oral Traditions of diverse

peoples and written records of the ancients from various continents, in- cluding stone writings and ancient symbols left behind by ‗primitive‘ Africans of yesteryears, our international research team came to the conclusion that:

Homo Erectus or Early Man who left Africa to populate the world was not primitive at all; that he left Africa with a high degree of wisdom and natural intelligence and with a culture already intact.

That the ‗Out of Africa‘ phenomenon was an ‗Out of Nigeria‘ phenomenon because the oldest stone implements of Homo Erectus so far found anywhere in the world, are located in South-Eastern Nigeria and were dated 1.6 mil- lion B. C. by a team of British and Nigerian archaeologists of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

The fact that Nigerian Homo Erectus was a direct descendant of Australopeticus belonging to the time range of 7 million B.C. (preceding Lucy and her peers by 4 million to 2 million years), whose remains were discovered in 2001 in the Nigeria-Chad border by a team of French paleontologists, shatters the Out of East Africa hypothe- sis.

The location of the ancient habitat of Nigerian Homo Erectus was Okigwe in Igbo land and coincides with Igbo oral traditions of the Age of Innocence when man lived in close proximity with the God/Goddess and enjoyed na- ture‘s bounty.

Professor Catherine Acholonu-Olumba happily dis- plays her Award on July 18, 2009 at the Schomburg
Professor Catherine Acholonu-Olumba happily dis-
plays her Award on July 18, 2009 at the Schomburg
dis- plays her Award on July 18, 2009 at the Schomburg Igbo claims to being autochthonous

Igbo claims to being autochthonous and sprung from the earth (which means ‗evolved, not created‘), and their remembrance of a time when there were no metal imple- ments and man used stone sharpened for them by the god-men, all go to prove Dar- win‘s Law of Evolution.

Ancient Sumerian cuneiform records of the true story of the creation of Adam (Homo Sapiens) from an already existing human stock of Homo Erectus roaming the wilds of Sub-Saharan Africa, and the process that turned him into a Fallen (which means degenerate) human, equally find their counterpart in Igbo oral traditional records, and confirm what Geneticists have long proved, that Homo Sapiens or Modern Man (Adam) was a product of a genetic manipulation of the evolutionary process.

Demonstrable evidence abounds in literally every language spoken today all over the world, including Native American languages, Eskimo tribal languages, Chinese, Hebrew, English, ancient Egyptian, Akkadian and an-

The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Page 5 Volume 4, No. 1 cient Sumerian as well
The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter
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cient Sumerian as well as Canaanite – the mother of Akkadian, Sumerian and Hebrew, that the world‘s first
global Lingua Franca was Igbo language.
More than that, Igbo culture did not only birth Hebrew culture and language, but also and more importantly it
birthed Christianity, for all the fundamentals, symbols and Sacraments of Christianity are rooted in Igbo cul-
tural practice. These include the confession of sin (which is called onuebo in Igbo); observance of personal Holi-
ness (what the Igbo call iji ofo na ogu, idi nso); Death and Resurrection of the god-man or Christ (as in the initia-
tion ceremony of the Eze Nri the Igbo Priest King of the World); the Eucharist as the food of life and the body and
blood of the deity (is a direct replication of Igbo kola-nut ritual/emume oji ); the cross, the fish and the city four
square are all derived from Igbo traditional symbol-representations of their cosmos which is built upon four
quadrants. Even the names of God in the Hebrew Cabbalah and the Chinese I-Ching are mostly derived from
Igbo native theology.
These are just the tips of the iceberg, we invite you to read They Lived Before Adam and see how we consistently ex-
humed buried information of the contributions of ancient Black Africans to world civilizations like a detective enter-
prise.
Our finding is that not only was it the Igbo and their brethren scattered across the African continent, who gave
the world its pristine culture, religion, language and symbol writing, but it was also they who guided and guarded hu-
manity against excesses. Known throughout history as the Sea Peoples, it was an Igbo speaking tribe who sacked monar-
chy in Greece and installed the first Democracy, which was Greece‘s greatest gift to Europe. Undeniable elements of
Igbo culture are still found in the frescoes and written traditions of Mycenae to this day.
The ancient stone inscriptions/monoliths of Southern Nigeria bear some of the oldest letters known to man
which include letters found in Original Sumerian and samples of some of the earliest Egyptian hieroglyphics, as well as
letters from a Dravidian Indian language known as Malayalam. The inscriptions on these monoliths of Cross River State,
Nigeria confirm oral traditions of the natives that the first mother of humanity (an entity known to modern man as Eve)
lived in Southern Nigeria, and that the birth of her first son brought disease, evil and death into the world. This, coupled
with the presence of Homo Erectus in the same area, confirms Nigeria as the location of Biblical Eden.
Indeed, things fell apart first in God‘s house when Adam was taken away from the heaven state of mind and be-
ing, and was transformed into a being who was no more centered and whole. His right brain was separated from his left
brain, and he no longer saw things from a holistic perspective. Using only one/tenth of his brain, he became spiritually
blind and a predator to the environment and to the rest of the species, befouling the natural
environment he was meant to shepherd. In that state he turned everything upside down
and inside out, especially the guiding principles and wisdoms of his Igbo/African ances-
tors. For example, instead of saying ―right is might,‖ as the Igbo still maintain (ogu bu ike),
Adam‘s children say, ‗Might is right‘ and ‗the end justifies the means.‘
We are here to announce to you, ladies and gentlemen, that the world, now tether-
ing at the brink of collapse of this dominant Western civilization needs to return to the wis-
doms of its African ancestors. The fact that our common human destiny has forced a politi-
cal axis-shift upon the world is all too clear even to the blind. At the center of this axis shift
is Barack Obama‘s presidency of the most powerful country in the world. The wisdom that
threw up a Barack Obama and forced him onto world-political center-stage is the same
force that ensures that buried civilizations like buried seeds and ideas ultimately sprout,
once their incubation period is complete.
Ladies and gentlemen, what we are saying is that it is time for the ‗opening of the
mouth‘ of the Great Mother of humankind. Mother Africa will now speak to her children
Professor Catherine Acholonu-
Olumba
through the Igbo voice of the ancestors of Adam. They Lived Before Adam is the commun-
ion kola nut for the putting together that which has fallen apart by default. They Lived Before Adam could, therefore, be
called a significant step in that longed-for process of unification of the split soul-center of Adam, which the Hebrew
Cabbalah calls Tikkun and the Igbo call Itiko onu.

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Therefore, when next you read Things Fall Apart, pay particular attention to the great wisdoms of the Ozo and Ndi ichie god-men which the British colonialists demeaned, for in them abides healing, wholeness, growth and the true hope of the human race. You might ask, ―If Africa is home to such great wisdoms, why is she suffering from poverty and corruption? The answer is that dysfunction was programmed into their systems by the colonial masters through the poli- tics of divide and rule. For instance, in Things Fall Apart, the missionaries empowered the outcasts to pull down the sov- ereign institutions in Africa; and as Achebe reminds us, when your detractors have taken from you the belief in your- selves, they need do no more because then you have been made to become your own and your country‘s worst enemy.

We, my co-authors and myself, are grateful to Chief Dr. Howard Dodson, Director of the Schomburg Center, Mr. Max Rodriquez, Director of Harlem Book Fair and Professor Marie Umeh and all the organizers of The Flora Nwapa Lit- erary Award for considering us worthy to get this award, but more especially for giving this honor to Professor Flora Nwapagreat matriarch who was a powerful inspiration to many of us women writers.

We are grateful to Professor Sabine Jell-Bahlsen, the international Mother of Igbo Studies and a unique inspira- tion to Igbo Studies worldwide, for her support to They Lived Before Adam.

The significance of today‘s event is to initiate, perhaps for the first time since the colonization of Africa, a true dialogue between Africa and the rest of the world - her children - in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Let it be that the Flora Nwapa Award has (re-)instituted the return of Mother Africa and of the Eternal Goddess of the Homo Erectus Ig- bos once more into human affairs, whose banishment by the Christian missionaries made mankind motherless and bereft of wisdom.

Thank you.

Professor Catherine Acholonu-Olumba

(Country Ambassador UNCCD Forum of Arts and Culture and Former Special Advisor to the Nigerian President).

and Former Special Advisor to the Nigerian President). ―The Flow‖ Professor Acholonu-Olumba with her colleagues
and Former Special Advisor to the Nigerian President). ―The Flow‖ Professor Acholonu-Olumba with her colleagues

―The Flow‖

Professor Acholonu-Olumba with her colleagues at the 2009 HBF.

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THEY LIVED BEFORE ADAM: PRE-HISTORIC ORIGINS OF THE IGBO, THE NEVER-BEEN-RULED [THE IGBO SINCE 1.6 MILLION B.C.]

A C-SPAN TELEVISION LIVE BROADCAST LECTURE by PROFESSOR CATHERINE ACHOLONU-OLUMBA THE HARLEM BOOK FAIR, SCHOMBURG CENTER FOR RESEARCH IN BLACK CULTURE, NEW YORK, USA, 18 TH JULY, 2009.

Before I begin my talk, let me first of all acknowledge the following:

Her Excellency Hajia Turai Umaru Musa Yar‘Adua, First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for the support and encouragement she continues to give to projects such as our own in today‘s Nigeria.

Their Excellencies Chief Ikedi Ohakim Governor of Imo State, whom we the citizens of Imo State fondly call ―Ochinanwata‖ (The Boy King), and his amiable wife, Barrister. Chioma Ohakim, for their unalloyed support for this project and for creating an atmosphere in Imo State, my home state, where intellectuals like me can function unper- turbed and where academics and new ideas can thrive.

The new leadership of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, the apex Igbo organization, for powering the World Presentation of my book, and putting their stamp of approval on our new publication, They Lived Before Adam.

I stand here today not as myself alone, but as head of a research team set up in 2004 under the auspices of the United Nations Forum of Arts and Culture, Nigeria. The United Nations Forum of Arts and Culture is a program of the global Secretariat of the UNCCD of which I happen to be the Nigerian representative and goodwill ambassador.

This research team has in it personalities, such as Dr. Ajay Prabhakar - an Indian Software Technology Engineer and Specialist of the United Nations Forum of Arts and Culture, Ms. Nneka Egbuna a senior Culture Officer at UNESCO Nigeria, Hon. Eddy Olumba, an Applied Arts Specialist and a distinguished Alumnus of the Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York, who is also the Art and Culture Consultant of the United Nations Forum of Arts and Cul- ture, Nigeria.

I, myself, am a Professor of Linguistics and African Cultural Studies, a former Fulbright Scholar at the Westchester Con- sortium for International Studies and Visiting Professor at Manhattanville College, Marymount College, Iona College and College of New Rochelle, all in New York State.

They Lived Before Adam is my 16 th published book and the second in a series which are the result of this re- search project that originally began in 1990, 19 years ago here in the state of New York and precisely on the campus of Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York.

Therefore, on behalf of my family and myself, we express our gratitude to the US State Department, to the Fulbright or- ganization and to the Westchester Consortium for International Studies for the support I received between 1989, when I discovered and published the Igbo and African roots of American slave author Olaudah Equiano (or Gustavus Vassa) and 1991 when these institutions I have mentioned granted me the honour of enjoying their hospitality and support as USA International Visitor and Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence.

They Lived Before Adam is a sequel to another work titled The Gram Code of African Adam, Stone Books and Cave Libraries, Reconstructing 450,000 Years of Africa‘s Lost Civilizations, published in 2005. Together, these two

books make up a total of about one thousand and one hundred pages. To underscore its importance, The Gram Code of African Adam, when it was published, was presented to the world on 25 th of September 2005 by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, represented by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Am- bassador Frank Ogbuewu.

I am here on the invitation of Harlem Book Fair, the largest Black Book Fair in the World, to present our new

book, They Lived Before Adam, Prehistoric Origins of the Igbo The Never-Been-Ruled (alternative title: The Igbo Since 1.6 Million B.C.).

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Two things mark our work as a new, and as some say, ‗groundbreaking‘ addition to scholarship. The first is our discovery and transcription of lost stone writings of Pre-Historic Africans. These inscribed stones located in the South- Eastern region of Nigeria in a very rural place called Ikom in Cross River State which have been attracting international researchers since they were first found by colonial anthropologists over four decades ago, but we were the first to see their inscriptions as a form of writing and to actually isolate and transcribe some of its letters.

Another series of stone inscriptions called Ogam found in Ireland, Scotland, and even here in West Virginia, USA, which many linguists have been struggling with for decades, were also transcribed by our team into an African language still spoken today in Nigeria. What we found in the case of the inscribed monoliths of Cross River State, Nige- ria is that they include two letters that were the foundation of Proto-Cuneiform, a writing system used in Mesopotamia (Sumer) before 4,000 B.C. the letters in question are those representing the sounds ki and shi the first and last letters of the Old Sumerian orthography.

Also we found some basic letters of early Egyptian hieroglyphics, such as the letters representing the sounds r and n on the stones of Ikom. But the majority of the letters on the monoliths of Ikom belong to a Dravidian language called Malayalam, as well as symbols now recognized as universal due to the fact that they now form the basic symbols of most cultures, religions, and sciences. These include the cross, the crescent, the spiral, the circle, the triangle, the con- centric circle and every other known geometric shape.

The antiquity of the stones and the fact they were found in virgin forests of rural Ikom where many were buried underground, shows that they were indigenous and that they belong to the twilight days of human Pre-history. Oral tra- ditions of the natives say that the inscriptions were executed by the Stone Age people, the first humans; and that they were invented by the first mother of mankind. Ikom villagers call this first mother Shishe and insist that she was the first woman to ever bear a child by pregnancy; that her first child was a boy through whom sin and death came into the world. The monolith dedicated to her bear her Ikom name Shishe, written in a combination of Proto-Sumerian, Proto- Canaanite and Dravidian Malayalam. Her Ikom name Shishe is the same name which Adam called Eve in Hebrew lan- guage at the moment of creation in the Biblical Genesis story. Her eyes and mouth form the Canaanite/Hebrew letter Ayin, which is the first and the highest Sephirah in the Hebrew Cabbalah. It represents the No-Thing, the Infinite, inef- fable God. There are over 300 of these inscribed stones at Ikom, Nigeria.

Another thing that marked a turning point in our research was the discovery by a team of archaeologists of the

University of Nigeria, Nsukka, of Early Stone Age hand axes and other stone implements belonging to the time zone of

1.6 million B.C.

The archaeologists, Dr. F. N. Anozie, Dr. V. E. Chikwendu and Dr. A. C. Umeji and others, working with

some British archaeologists, such as Dr. N. David et. al., Faculty members of the Archaeology Department, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, excavated several lorry loads of non-polished, as well as polished stone implements: hand axes, stone knives, picks, cleavers in a place called Ugwuele in Okigwe in Igbo land, South-Eastern Nigeria. Their conclusion, pub-

lished in a number of local journals at the time, was that the Okigwe Early Stone Age habitat of Homo Erectus (Early Man) was the one stop shop or factory/ware house that supplied survival tools to pockets of Homo Erectus habitations worldwide.

For us, this means that it was from Okigwe in Pre-historic Nigeria that the ‗Out of Africa‘ migrations of Early Man kicked off to populate the five continents of the globe. Our comparative linguistic analysis of words from a number of languages spoken in all the five continents of the globe confirm what linguists have long suspected that mankind, as the Hebrew Bible indicated, spoke one language at the beginning.

Our comparative linguistic analysis of words from many languages across the globe show that Igbo, the lan- guage group that includes Okigwe, the Nigeria Habitat of Homo Erectus, was in fact spoken by the earliest inhabitants of countries as far-flung as Nigeria, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Turkey, China, Bosnia, Greece, United Kingdom, North and South America, including even the Greenland Eskimos. In fact, the two vernacular words from that survived the sinking of Atlantis, according to Plato‘s record in his book Timaeus and Critias, were found to have derived in sound and in meaning from the Igbo language environment; so too were about ninety percent of the words used by Adam and his im- mediate family, especially names of people and places.

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Our research extended into the origins and meanings of the earliest symbols used by ancient Africans. These are the same symbols used in every religion and sa- cred literature all over the world. In doing this, we found the Hebrew Bible, the Cab- balahs of the Hebrew and the Chinese, the Hindu Vedas and Ramayana, and the re- cently unearthed Egyptian Christian Bible The Nag Hammadi Scripture, of immense importance in revealing lost knowledge.

Wherever we looked and no matter how far back in time, we found evidence confirming the claims by Geneticists who have been conducting mitochondrial DNA

analysis in four leading universities here in USA, that all mankind came from Sub- Saharan Africa; that Eve and Adam were Black Africans (and that the earliest language of man was Igbo).

However, whereas it had been previously believed that Adam and Eve were de- scended from an East African Homo Habilis named Lucy, our findings reveal that it was not an East African Lucy, but more like a West African/Nigerian Chioma (the name of the First Lady of my State, who is actually from Okigwe the home of Homo Erectus) who could have been the Homo Habilis ancestor of Eve and Adam. We say this because research con- ducted by French Paleontologists led by Professor Michael Brunet revealed that Austra- lopeticus, the direct ancestor of Homo Erectus, the ancestor of Homo Sapiens (Adam and Eve) lived at the Nigeria Chad Basin by 7 million B. C., predating Lucy and her new-found ancestors by a whooping 2-4 million years! This again confirms what Igbo Oral Traditions tell us: that we did not come from anywhere; that we are autochthons; that we are children of Evolution the uncreated (begotten, not made), the never-been-ruled, the kings and queens of the earth and its peoples.

the kings and queens of the earth and its peoples. Helena D. Lewis, Host of The

Helena D. Lewis, Host of The Phillis Wheatley Awards

Helena D. Lewis, Host of The Phillis Wheatley Awards Haki Madhabuti, Host of The Phillis Wheatley

Haki Madhabuti, Host of The Phillis Wheatley Awards

Awards Haki Madhabuti, Host of The Phillis Wheatley Awards John Jay College students at the 2009

John Jay College students at the 2009 Harlem Book Fair.

As such, Igbo oral tradition confirms the claims by Geneticists that by 280,000 B.C. human evolution was interrupted, and Adam, a hybrid was cre- ated through a process of genetic engineering. However, our findings reveal that the creation of Adam was not an upward climb on the evolutionary lad- der but as the Bible says, a descent, a Fall, for thereby he became divided, no longer whole or wholesome. All over Africa and in ancient Egyptian records, oral and written traditions maintain that Homo Erectus were ‗heaven beings‘ or god-men who possessed mystical powers, such as telepathy, levitation, and bi-location and that their words could move mountains and change the course of rivers. Adam lost all that when his right brain was shut down by

those who ‗created/engineered‘ him. The direct descendants of Homo Erectus were the small dwarfs who were the heroes of folktales in every part of the world. It was they who created the first civili- zations in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas and it was they who founded and sustained Igbo civilization, and they continued to live in Igbo land until they were driven out by the British colonialists. It was they who transported Igbo lan- guage and culture to all corners of the globe.

The significance of our research is that our findings are expanding the parameters of knowledge and demon- strating that both Evolutionism and Creationism played parts in the development of the human specie; that indeed man- kind is one family and that Black Africans were the earliest ancestors of humankind and the first to be called Homo; that the lost Paradise of Eden was an African location, in fact a West African/Nigerian location, and that the solutions to the problems created for humankind by Modernity and the Falling Apart of Adam - two problems metaphorically demon- strated in Chinua Achebe‘s Things Fall Apart - are to be sought in Black Africa.

Professor Catherine Acholonu-Olumba

New York, July, 17 th 2009.

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Dr. Marie Umeh with Haki Madhabuti at the 2009 Harlem Book Fair in NY. Max
Dr. Marie Umeh with Haki Madhabuti at the 2009 Harlem Book Fair
in NY.
Max Rodriguez receiving an award at The River Room in
NY.
Max Rodriguez receiving an award at The River Room in NY. Professor Chudi Uwazurike (third from

Professor Chudi Uwazurike (third from right) with his col- leagues at the 2009 Harlem Book Fair in NY on July 18.

Invocation entertains the audience at the 2009 Wheatley Awards.
Invocation entertains the audience at the 2009 Wheatley Awards.
Volume 4, No. 1 The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Dr. Guillermo Linares, Commissioner for Immigrant
Volume 4, No. 1 The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Dr. Guillermo Linares, Commissioner for Immigrant
Volume 4, No. 1 The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Dr. Guillermo Linares, Commissioner for Immigrant

Volume 4, No. 1

Volume 4, No. 1 The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Dr. Guillermo Linares, Commissioner for Immigrant Affairs,

The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter

Dr. Guillermo Linares, Commissioner for Immigrant Affairs, pre- sents Dr. Marie Umeh with an award
Dr. Guillermo Linares, Commissioner for Immigrant Affairs, pre-
sents Dr. Marie Umeh with an award at Nigeria House in New
York, April 2009.

Page 11

Honorees at the Afro Heritage Venture Awards, April 2009.
Honorees at the Afro Heritage Venture Awards, April 2009.

Afro Heritage Venture/NYC Immigrant Heritage Week Celebration! by Olutosin Mustapha Afro Heritage Venture, a 501 (c)(3) organization committed to improving educational and cultural services, was se- lected as one of the event planners to organize the annual New York City Immigrant Heritage Week in April 2009 by the Mayor‘s Office of Immigrant Affairs. NYC Immigrant Heritage Week is an annual program initiated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2004 to honor the contributions of recent immigrants‘ development of New York City. Afro Heritage Venture honors Americans and Immigrants who are accomplishing extraordinary goals in the commu- nity to support other immigrants. Some of the honorees are Dr. Marie Linton Umeh , who is an Associate Professor of Africana Literature in the Department of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY for her ―above the call of duty,‖ advo- cacy in assisting immigrants in their academic and professional pursuits in the U.S.A., Ms. Joyce Adewunmi, the Founder and Executive Director of New York African Chorus Ensemble in Harlem, Chief Ayoola Soetan, Ms. Isseu Diuof, a Senegalese born photo journalist and the publisher of Afrikanspot; Ms. Ramonat Akinlolu, who is an honor roll student in the prestigious Brook- lyn Tech High School and a daughter of Nigerian-American immigrants. We pay tribute to Ramonat Akinolu for all her aca- demic and community achievements and as a role model to other teenagers. The Founder/Executive Director of Afro Heritage Venture, Ms. Olutosin Mustapha, who is also an educator and pub- lisher of Afro Heritage Venture Magazine insists that ―New York City Immigrant Heritage Week is a program designed to encourage immigrants to integrate into American society and also to take pride in their heritage in a diverse metropolis, such as New York City, known as the capital of the world.‖

Dr. Guillermo Linares and Dr. Marie Umeh at Nigeria House in New York, April 2009.

Dr. Guillermo Linares and Dr. Marie Umeh at Nigeria House in New York, April 2009.

and Dr. Marie Umeh at Nigeria House in New York, April 2009. Dr. Uchenna Umeh, Dr.

Dr. Uchenna Umeh, Dr. Guillermo Linares, Publisher Tosin Musta- pha and Dr. Chizoba Umeh-Asuzu at Nigeria House in New York, April 2009.

Dr. Guillermo Linares, Publisher Tosin Musta- pha and Dr. Chizoba Umeh-Asuzu at Nigeria House in New
The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Page 12 Volume 4, No. 1 Igbo: The Beginning of
The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter
Page 12
Volume 4, No. 1
Igbo: The Beginning of All that was Lost
An Interview With Catherine Acholonu-Olumba
October 29, 2009, John Jay College, CUNY
by Daria Koszyk, Kristen Gurka and Ryan Olsen
Professor Catherine Acholonu-Olumba is a writer and re-
searcher of African Cultural and Gender Studies, and she has re-
ceived numerous accolades gained from the books she has published
on this topic. Some of the books she has written include The Gram
Code of African Adam: Stone Books and Cave Libraries, Recon-
structing 450,000 Years of Africa‘s Lost Civilizations, and A Reply to
Al Gore; Motherism – The Afrocentric Alternative to Feminism. She
Prof. Catherine Acholonu-Olumba speaks to John Jay College,
CUNY students in July, 2009.
has received prestigious awards, such as Professor of African History
and Philosophy from Pilgrim‘s University and Theological Seminary
in North Carolina. Of the many organizations she has collaborated
with, one of the most notable is the United States Information Service.
This document will cover the many achievements of Catherine
Acholonu-Olumba, and give a brief biography of her life.
Catherine Acholonu-Olumba is an internationally known scholar. In 1986, she was one of only two Africans to
participate in the United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Women, which took place in the Dominican Republic. This
meeting focused on the mainstreaming of gender into the Plans of Action of United Nations world conferences. In 1989
as an upcoming scholar, Acholonu-Olumba began to lecture at numerous universities in the United States and the
United Kingdom, discussing the findings of her research, as well as the discovery of the Nigerian origin of a slave author
from the seventeenth century. In 1990 she was awarded the Fulbright Scholar-Writer-in-Residency award by the
United States, while lecturing as a visiting professor at several prestigious colleges in the same country. One of her most
notable international accolades has been her inclusion within the book ―International Authors and Writers Who's
Who.‖ During her travels, she has been noticed by several internationally known leaders, such as Former U.S. President
Bill Clinton who wrote a letter to one of her organizations.
Catherine Acholonu-Olumba's book titled, They Lived Before Adam, is her claim through research that Homo
Erectus was originated from the Igbo people, and that all descendants are Igbo ambassadors. Throughout her studies of
the Ugwuele site, she found carved stones, which were used to commemorate people of prominence within that culture.
Also, she was able to ascertain that the original people on Earth all spoke the same language, which was Igbo. She al-
ways states this is the language in which Adam and Eve spoke, saying that the Adam and Eve story has links to the Igbo
heritage via their language, as certain meanings of words share a similarity to the Adam and Eve story. The language
relationship was done through the Hebrew and Igbo language, as they share similarities in the words used for Adam and
Eve in meaning. The data goes as far as the Ten Commandments, as there is a correlation between Ndi Ichie Akwa my-
thology or folklore tradition of Ndigbo by I. N. C. Nwosu. The book states that God gave ten laws to the people etched in
stone, which symbolize the human ten fingers, and even the laws share a similarity with the Hebrew ones.

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Acholonu-Olumba‘s book also states that the Igbo language and tradition share similarities with Noah and the distribution of his sons throughout the world. The story of Noah's flood is contained within their oral stories, which afterward state that the great ancestors of the Igbo people were told by God to return to the center of the Earth to multi- ply in peace and tranquility. This is compared to the biblical version where Noah tells his son Ham to return to Africa, which contains the cartographic center of the Earth, being South Eastern Nigeria. The monoliths found are claimed to be landmarks for the new locations of Noah's children, specifically the descendants of Ham. Professor Acholonu-Olumba and her book, They Lived Before Adam, are both highly integrated with African his- tory. She is a highly knowledgeable and credible researcher, and her literary work further delves deeper into the origins of the African people. Her purpose for this book was to trace the genealogy of the African people as far as it can go, and to find the similarities it had with prominent cultures throughout history to prove its validity. It further adds to her acco- lades, as the book exemplifies the vast research she performed and gathered on this intricate topic of Igbo heritage. Upon researching information about the book, They Lived Before Adam, by Catherine Acholonu-Olumba, we have discovered many unknown ideas about the lost history of the Igbo society. In terms of writing a paper, we have de- cided to do an interview with the author herself, Catherine Acholonu-Olumba. The interview helped us get a more in- depth idea about the Igbo society, how the language and culture traveled and where and how it still exists today. Also, we learned what the author felt and as we listened to her ideas and findings of the Igbo people. It was a great experience because it gave us a better understanding of the book and how ideas and languages of one society traveled to other ar- eas. Acholonu-Olumba is an intelligent person and it was a great experience having an interview with her. In this inter- view, we can acknowledge many aspects of the hidden society from the author herself.

Daria: What is the thesis of your book, They Lived Before Adam?

 

Acholonu-Olumba: This book is about history. It‘s about rewriting history. To know that anything that has been misrepresented about Africa can be restored. This book was written because some people feel that the role that Africa has played has been denied. So this research is to try and see how we can restore what has been lost in terms of people and missing information. So, in a nutshell that is what the thesis is about. Kristen: What has inspired you to write this book? Acholonu: I wanted to fill the missing gap in history. Daria: What does the name ―Igbo‖ mean? Acholonu-Olumba: Igbo is the name of a tribe in Nigeria. There are over 100 tribes in Nigeria and Igbo is one of the three major tribes. It is located in the Southeastern part of Nigeria, very close to the Atlantic. Daria: Did you go there? Acholonu-Olumba: I live there. It‘s my ethnic group. Daria: Is it big? Acholonu-Olumba: It‘s not big. Maybe it‘s the size of New York City or a little less; it‘s like the size of New Jersey. Daria: Is it similar to New York City with buildings and everything? Acholonu-Olumba: Umm, no. Africa‘s situation is different than here. We have rural villages and we have

forests

and cities but small cities not big with tall buildings. That‘s what we have in our capital, but not in Igbo

villages and towns. Kristen: What was the most interesting fact you found during your research?

 

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Acholonu-Olumba: The most interesting information to me is the fact that we found Igbo language in different parts of the world as the foundation of the original language of most people in all the continents, such as Asia, Europe, Middle East, North and South America and of course Africa. Kristen: Who is Obatala? Acholonu-Olumba: He was the leader of the migrant people. The Igbo people were the original people, from the pre Homo Erectus period. That‘s like before 1 million B. C. So, these people were there before homo sapiens which came on board around 200 thousand B. C. So, we believe that the Igbo story goes all the way to Homo Erectus 1 million B. C. and beyond 1 million B. C. So, that‘s a whole different story from what I can say. Adam is homo sapien and he was the first person to leave the African continent and to begin to go around the world. He was the migrant African. Then after going around he came back and then he was led by a man named Obatala. In Nigeria he was called Obatala but in The Bible he was called Ham. Daria: I read in the book that the first people were a blueish color not black. Can you explain that in more detail? Acholonu-Olumba: Yes. In some writings we found actually in India the image of their gods is blue not black or white or yellow or anything, but blue. The Indian god was blue. So research says that some writers believed that the first people who were on the African continent were blue in color, blue-black. When they left years ago, thousand of years later their color turned black, but originally they were blue-black. So, that kind of ties in with why the Indians describe their gods as blue. So, we‘re trying to find a connection, a cultural connection, genetic connection and religious connection, which make some kind of sense in the long run. Kristen: What evidence did you use to prove that Igbo people were the oldest people on the planet? Acholonu-Olumba: Archeological evidence and linguistic evidence were used. Archeological evidence be cause archaeologists found that people who lived in Igbo land by 1 million B. C. say that they are the oldest group than any one has ever found anybody from Homo Erectus habitation anywhere in the world. It‘s the only place from 1 million B. C. Everywhere else we have 500 thousand B. C. So, with that we can state our facts today until someone else finds something different as evidence of the oldest people. The oldest people we can call Homo Erectus, that is first man. They are people who can stand up and eat and do stuff like man and not like animals. People who make choices in the food they eat and stuff like that and hunt. The aspect of hunting is what man does and all that Homo Erectus was known for. So, he would cut his food and he used stone and an axe to cut the meat and that was what Homo Erectus was known for. He was man. He was different from animals that didn‘t use tools to cut their meat. So ,those stones and tools distinguish the first man from the animals who didn‘t use tools. We found these tools belonging to the time span of 1 million B. C. Igbo land and that says that originally, the original Igbos lived around that period and so far that‘s the oldest time span of Homo Erectus anywhere in the world. So, that‘s one proof. The second proof is the linguistic evidence, which shows that Igbo language was the first language spoken in many continents around the globe by different people. That shows also that Homo Erectus who left Africa went with that language and he went everywhere with it. So, that‘s how this language is the first language and now these words are still here. Kristen: So, do you believe that the Igbo language is the basic language of human kind? Acholonu-Olumba: Yes. It‘s the basic language of Homo Erectus and the basic language of human kind. The oldest people spoke that language So, that‘s the only way it traveled around the world. You can find evidence of

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one language going to one continent, going to one nation or three or four but when you find one language in almost every nation so far from the place we have studied the only way we can show that especially when it‘s the primitive people and there is no evidence that Igbo people have traveled even if they traveled to Britain today, we

can not make the language. We can take the language, but we cannot make the language. We cannot influence the

language. When one language influences another language, the stronger one is inflected. So, the only way to prove or

 

explain

Igbo presence in the language of different parts of the world is by the people who were there. The ancestors, the

people who speak this language, they were there. There is no other explanation considering how far Igbo land is from other parts of the world right now and the fact that there is no evidence in known history that Igbo has been outside Igbo land can be beyond history. So, we keep going back. The only place we can find evidence that people of Africa left and went to other parts of the world is the Homo Erectus period. This is where scientists have proved that Igbo are the first people who

populated and came from Africa. There is no other way. Kristen: Did you choose to do research about Nigeria or did you have a specific reason? Acholonu-Olumba: Well, my research began about Africa trying to find out about Africa and the history of black people because that is the part of history that has been lost. We have no written history but we do have some history. I was reading up on other continents because we have written records and in Africa we have no written records. The only way to find the history of Africa is to go to those continents who have written records because there is no continent, no country, no people that don‘t make history by contact with other people. If there was an out of Africa phenomenon which scientist announced there was, then the first human beings around the world came from Africa. I'm looking for evidence from prehistoric Africans; African pre history. People in Europe kept written history, India kept written history, Chinese kept written

 

history,

but in Africa we don‘t have any records, but you see people always tells stories and people always speak the

language of heir ancestors. So, if I go to other continents and I found evidence of stories of people of Africa or their culture

or language, if I can find those things I can find evidence that Africa had some history before people began to leave. That is for me some history. It is evidence that Africa made some contribution to global civilization or global culture. Daria: In what way is Nigeria related to ancient Atlantis and how does this have a connection with Igbo? Acholonu-Olumba: Atlantis has symbols. There were two major symbols that were used by Atlantean people. On the dollar bill there is a symbol from Atlantis. The triangle with the Seeing Eye in the center. You find the symbol among the culture trade of one of the Nigerian‘s tribes. The symbol can be found in the Nok civilization. People of Nok are highly civilized. All artifacts of Nok have the triangular eye. People ask why they make the eye in a triangle, instead of making

a

regular eye. People who study prehistoric cultures were doing cultural comparisons. They found that one of the major

Atlantis symbols was the triangular eye, with the Seeing Eye in the center. So, there is a possible link between ancient Nigerian people and the Atlantis. There is also another Atlantis symbol. The second link is the symbol of three circles joined together in a form of a triangle. The third link was written by Igbo people because of the name of the monolith. They say that the monoliths were written by the first people who were dwarfs meaning people who used stones. In Igbo language the inscriptions are in the language of natives. The places where you find the monoliths of the people are not speaking the Igbo language. The inscriptions are in Igbo language. So, it‘s obvious that the people living there before were Igbo. You find the dwarfs all over the world today because they left from Africa and traveled around the world. They had

the basic culture. They had a mystical culture, which was the root of basic religion. When you look at the picture of the inscriptions you can see that they weren‘t written by stone. Some kind of basic technology was used to write it. The shape

is

perfect and there is no way a stone could make a perfect shape like that unless the stone was soft while you were doing

it. So, a mechanized instrument had to be used. Daria: Who was Ham and Kush? Acholonu-Olumba: Ham was the second son of Noah. Noah was the man of the ark; he had three sons. After the ark

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incident he told each of his sons to go a different way. Ham was sent to Africa to populate the continent. He came with his children and populated Africa. Ham had a number of sons. Kush was the first son of Ham, the inheritor of the African continent among the three sons of the Biblical father of nations. The other son‘s name was Mizraim and he found Egypt. Linguists officially recognize Canaanite as the mother of Hebrew and other Semetic languages. This would confirm that Hebrew culture is a child of Canaanite culture and that was claimed in The Gram Code of African Adam : Stone Books and Cave Libraries, the children of Shem, Noah‘s first son inherited culture from the children of Ham. Kristen: Was the African continent originally heart shaped? Acholonu-Olumba: Today, the African continent is no more heart shaped. It is now shaped more or less like a skull with plenty of landmass missing from it , creating a deep depression exactly where Nigeria and Cameroon are presently located. Daria: What was Plato‘s view on Atlantis? Acholonu-Olumba: Plato‘s records show that there were ten brothers who ruled parts of Atlantis, the highest of them was named Atlas. The mountains of North Africa are also called Atlas Mountains; all which go to show the Atlantis was part of Africa‘s past. Plato‘s description of Atlantis is that it was the most glorious civilization yet achieved by mankind in terms of its government, architecture, wealth and productivity of its people, fertility of its land and the beauty of its city. The architecture of the main city of Atlantis is spectacularly labyrinthine. It is the world‘s only record of a city surrounded by concentric rings of sea and land. Daria: What research project or book are you working on now? Acholonu-Olumba: I am writing the sequel to the book They Lived Before Adam. Kristen: Is there anything else you would like us to know that we didn‘t ask? Acholonu-Olumba: We talked about many things today. So, let‘s leave some for the next time we meet. Daria: Thank you Professor Acholonu-Olumba for a great interview.

In conclusion, Catherine Acholonu-Olumba's book titled, They Lived Before Adam, is her claim through research that Homo Erectus originated from the Igbo people, and that all descendants are Igbo. Ambassador Catherine Acholonu-Olumba's purpose for this book was to trace the genealogy of the African people as far as it can go, and to find the similarities it had with prominent cultures throughout history so as to prove its validity.

 

References

Acholonu-Olumba, C. (2008). They Lived Before Adam : prehistoric origins of the Igbo the never before been ruled (Ndi Igbo since 1.6 million B.C.). Nigeria: A CARC PUBLICATION.

Acholonu-Olumba, C. (2009). The Gram Code of African Adam : stone books and cave libraries:

AFA PUBLICATIONS. Catherine Acholonu Research Foundation. (2010). Retrieved December 3, 2009, from http://www.carcafriculture.org/index.htm

Nzomiwu, E. (2009, September 7) Acholonu - Harvest of Awards for Enigmatic Scholar.

Retrieved December 3, 2009, from http://allafrica.com/stories/200909070599.html

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An Evening with a Renowned Activist

by Kadiatu Sylla

Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi United Na- tions NGO/DPI Executive Committee member Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Representative.
Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi United Na-
tions NGO/DPI Executive Committee
member Sub-Saharan Africa Regional
Representative.

As a Justice Studies Major, a McNair Scholar and an inspiring play writer and most of all, an individual who is concerned about the world‘ socio-economic and politi- cal injustice, I was more than honored to interview one of worlds‘ most influential women for the Flora Nwapa Club, which took place in March 2010 . A medical doctor with interest in gender and human rights, Doctor Eleanor Nwadinobi has been recog- nized for her internationally renowned stand for human rights, specifically that of wid- ows from Africa, England, the United-States and Brazil , among countless others. Some people know her as the woman who played an unfailingly instrumental role in the pass- ing of widow‘s right by the Enugu State House of Assembly (Nigeria), which has been signed into Law in June 28 th , 2001. Others know her as the lady who rightfully said in one of her papers at the UN ― Culture is a way of life passed down from generation to generation, but when culture ceases to be a way of life and instead becomes a threat to human existence it is better defined as Torture.‖ Yet, other people know her as the woman who historically revealed the dehumanizing acts against widows around the world, specifically in Southern Nigeria. As I look at her throughout the interview, I no- tice her charming smiles, the passion in her voice and the inspiration and wisdom one gets, while listening to her.

Kady: Hello Doctor Eleanor! First of all, let me say that it is a great pleasure to meet you. I can‘t wait to have my fellow classmates and colleagues read this interview. You‘ve just made me one of the stars at John Jay. (Smiles) Doctor Eleanor (Smiles): The pleasure is all mine Kady! Kady: Doctor Eleanor, would you tell me if this is your first time in the United States? If not, what brings you in the U.S. during this cold season? Doctor Eleanor: No, this is not the first, neither is it my second visit in the U.S. I have been here several times to present papers at the U. N. and at conferences on behalf of widows around the world. Kady: Can you give us a brief history of your involvement in WiDO (Widows Development Organization)? Doctor Eleanor: I am a professional Medical Doctor with interest in gender and human rights. So my background in the field of medicine has been of tremendous help in my work as a human rights activist. In the 1990‘s I was very un- comfortable when I noticed the way widows were treated when I visited two bereaved individuals, one a man and the other a woman. I was deeply unnerved with the fact that the widow was treated differently from the widower. For exam- ple, I found in the Southern-Eastern States of Nigeria, namely Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo, many dehuman- izing practices associated with being a widow. Most widows in those states and around the world for that matter are dis- inherited. In some cases in those Southern Nigeria States, most women are blamed for the death of their husbands, and, some are even seen as witches. In other countries around the world, some widows are ostracized and seen as outcasts. Whereas, widowers, on the other hand, can easily reintegrate in social life by remarrying and receiving the sympathy from the society at large. So I conducted a research in those Southern States of Nigeria in the 1990‘s, and my suspicions about the ill treatment of widows were confirmed. Thus, I started my journey for the better treatment of widows and the respect of their human rights. Kady: How did your education, both in London and Nigeria, prepare you to be the kind of person you are today, so dedicated and passionate about what you are doing? Doctor Eleanor: First, I must say that education did play a role. But it must be understood that my life, for what it is today, has been shaped by a multiplicity of factors. Secondly, I am grateful for my faith; I am a woman of faith. I am very happy to say that I believe in God, who has blessed me with good health, intellect and compassion, which have been crucial in my endeavors. And I am really blessed to have my mother, who is really my role model you know, an en- courager and a tower of strength in my life. In my adult years, I also consider myself very blessed that I got married to a very supportive man with whom I have a wonderful family. My family supported me, even when I was going against the culture at that time, because issues of widowhood and burial are taboo subjects in my country, Nigeria. So when my hus-

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band had a road accident, during which I nearly lost him, people told me that it was because I was looking into taboo subjects. But my husband survived, and he has been one of my greatest champions and encouragers. In addition, educa- tion is learning. People ask me why I am still going to school, given that my children have grown now! (since I am cur- rently doing a masters in human rights in Ireland.) Well, I tell them that one never stops learning. So I think that educa- tion is highly important. Kady: Thank you for giving us those insights about education. Though both of us coming from West Africa, you and I know that it‘s not like parents don‘t want their daughters to go to school. Most parents in West African countries seem economically and socially, even politically compelled to keep their daughters home, instead of letting them go to school. So in your case, what was so unique about your parents that propelled them to see beyond that immediate grati- fication and say ―you know what, we might need her right now, but her future matters the most‖. So what is unique about your parents and what kind of advice do you have for African mothers, as far as the education of their daughters is con- cerned?

Doctor Eleanor: Let us back track a little bit, because you said ―parents‖ several times. If you noticed, I said ―my

mother‖ played a crucial role. Now on the flip side of that, my father despite being ―educated‖ did not feel that a girl child has a prime position as an heir. So in his case, you know, from my father‘s point of view, I would not say that he sup- ported me in going into activism or championing the cause in the beginning. Mind you, having said that, by the time I started gaining recognition and going to conferences interna-

Delegates with Queen Mother: United Nations NGO/DPI Executive Committee, Sub-Saharan Africa regional Representative Dr.
Delegates with Queen Mother: United Nations NGO/DPI Executive
Committee, Sub-Saharan Africa regional Representative Dr. Eleanor
Ann Nwadinobi, Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, Community Mayor
of Harlem, Ambassador of Goodwill to Africa, Mary Canrm Screen and
Noema Chaplin, UNREP . Photos: eEyeCam.com

tionally, he then became interested in editing my conference papers. If I was going to conferences internationally, he would want to have a look, you know make few suggestions, here and there. He then became the proud father. But just as you have said, it is crucial to have that family support. Thus, the support that I‘ve got from my husband has helped me achieve what I want to achieve. Then the wider community that you mentioned in Africa is a huge obstacle, not just for a woman going into ac- tivism you know, but also for a woman aspiring to great heights. There is always that possibility where they may say, ―Well who is going to look after her family, her husband or the home if her career entails a lot of traveling‖? So it‘s difficult to overcome those hurdles. I think once you show that you‘re empowered or get spousal support if you‘re married, then it would propel them to say, ― Well it looks like her husband is okay with her travel-

ing to the U.N. or going on her own to achieve her career goals, so who are we to complain?‖ But also, the man has to be strong, be- And if the community questions a husband‘s manhood by trying to figure

cause the community is very strong in Africa.

what kind of a man he is by allowing his wife to travel internationally for conferences, if he succumbs to the community or peer pressure, then major problems arise. So, it‘s really a question of striking that balance. However, in answer to your question, parents and mothers in particular should do everything to ensure the education of their daughters because when you educate a girl, you educate an entire nation.

Kady: Speaking of the community, we have an African lady today as the President of Liberia. What are your thoughts about her? Are you proud of her, if not what do you think she should be doing? Doctor Eleanor: I am extremely proud that we have a female President on the continent of Africa. Something that the oldest and biggest democracy, America, could not achieve. They couldn‘t achieve a female President; we achieved it. But it‘s connected to your previous question. Do you actually know Ellen Johnson‘s background? She actu- ally was working with the U.N. So she got that leverage, the connections, the reach and the networks. This is actually why I was emphasizing to you the importance of coming to these meetings at the U.N. So I have got to say that I am proud of you Kady for the questions that you have asked at the U.N. meetings from the youth perspective. That‘s the sort of thing that you need to do as often as possible. Go out to these meetings, speak up and speak out! Kady: (With a smile) Thank you Doctor! It is actually very important that you said that, because due to so many

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The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Page 19 Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi speaking to an audience at the
The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Page 19 Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi speaking to an audience at the

Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi speaking to an audience at the 2010 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Volume 4, No. 1

Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Volume 4, No. 1 other facts, Africa again has
Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Volume 4, No. 1 other facts, Africa again has

other facts, Africa again has become so wide opened to the rest of the world. We have young people, especially women all around the world getting their Master‘s and PhD‘s. You and I, in fact are perfect examples of that. So what advice do you have for those women, especially the young ones? How do these women create a balance between the Western cultures and what‘s going on in Africa? Doctor Eleanor: My advice is that if you have the opportunity, use it to the best advantage that you can. Culture is good, but it also changes. There is the good and the bad

is good, but it also changes. There is the good and the bad culture. There is

culture. There is the Western influence that can turn our African culture right around on its head. Yet you can also use some of the Western culture to propel your- self to do something better, while ensuring that the richness of the African culture is maintained. And when it comes to ―harmful culture‖ and the keyword is ―harmful ‖ then we must get rid of that as quickly as possible. Kady: Last question. It‘s actually good that we expatiated on culture, because we have a President who grew up in all kinds of cultures, from Africa to Malaysia, to the United States and Hawaii. So I think that President Obama should be used as an example to show us cultures that do work and those that don‘t work. So what is your opinion about America having its first Black President today and an individual as exemplary as President Barack Obama? Doctor Eleanor: I am ecstatic over the fact that we have a Black President of the United States. It speaks vol- umes, as to how far the Black race has come in a country in which they have been slaves and discriminated against. Obama‘s presidency speaks volumes for democracy, because if it were not the type of democracy that allowed voters to vote and votes to be fairly counted, then he wouldn‘t be President. His Presidency speaks volume for culture and for change. It speaks volumes for hope, aspirations and dreams that can come true.

Courtesy of Piyanuch Panichpisal Audience at the panel, Male Involvement in Promoting Human Rights for
Courtesy of Piyanuch Panichpisal
Audience at the panel, Male Involvement in Promoting Human Rights for
Women, March 7, 2010.

Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi is the recipient of several meritorious awards. In December 2009, Dr. Nwadinobi was honored with the following awards: ―Ada e ji agamba‖ from Abia State, Nigeria; (the English translation is: ―The daugh- ter who represents us abroad,‖) and ―Ambassador of Women in Need‖ from Umuada Igbo, Nigeria.

is: ―The daugh- ter who represents us abroad,‖) and ―Ambassador of Women in Need‖ from Umuada

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Steinem at Baruch

by Dr. Lisa Williams

Appearing both ageless and wise, the 75 year-old Glo- ria Steinem, on April 16 th , delivered this year‘s Addison Gayle Memorial Lecture at Baruch College. The audience was packed with hundreds of young college students and older members of the New York community who had come out to see and hear from one of our most important early feminist leaders. Over the course of her lecture, Steinem first and fore- most stressed the importance of understanding the intersections between race and gender oppression. She began her talk by inviting the audience to take over the agenda, urging those present to make announcements about the various political activities going on in the Baruch community. Her goal is always to undermine hierarchy, which is, of course, part of pa- triarchy, and as Steinem emphasized, ―doesn‘t work.‖ Steinem was clearly honored to speak at a lecture dedicated to Addison Gayle‘s memory. She described Gayle as a man who was never

condescending, someone who had a deep and quiet knowledge ―at the back of his eyes,‖ someone ―really understanding.‖ As Steinem explained, ―We had outsider em-

Gloria Steinem, Founder, Ms. Magazine
Gloria Steinem,
Founder, Ms. Magazine

pathy for each other. I was in awe of him.‖ They worked together many years ago in the 1960‘s, at New York magazine, when it was a young, innovative, upstart publication. Both Gloria Steinem and Addison Gayle collaborated on an article immediately following the traumatic events that shook the nation in 1968 after Martin Luther King, Jr.‘ s assassination. ―We had a type of unconscious coalition of the outs—this sense of outsiderness, this skepticism about violence. As the primary objects of violence by sex, by race, by bothwe were pretty skeptical about whether violence can change anything in this country,‖ Steinem told the audience. Throughout her talk, Steinem‘s goal was to continually emphasize ―how totally crazy sorting people by sex and race is.‖ She even imagined a moment in the future when a lecturer would try to convince her audience that there ever existed a time when such racial sorting even existed. Referring to a documentary, ―Journey of Man,‖ distributed by National Geographic, Steinem explained how tracing DNA trails shows that every single human being is related to an ancestor in Southern Africa. These DNA trails demonstrate that as humans migrated throughout

the globe, race was just a minor adjustment to climate.

And yet, Steinem said in this present day,

―Still we have to have Black Studies, Women‘s Studies, Native American Studies if we are going to have a [full] human history.‖ Steinem described herself as a ―hope-aholic,‖ someone who does not give in to the defeat of pessimism. One of her most moving statements was clearly, ―Progress lies in the direction we haven‘t been.‖ She urged her audience to understand the ways ―being marginalized becomes part of our core. To be pessimistic is to be defeated before we begin.‖ By working together, sex and race caste systems can and will be uprooted. ―These caste systems are intertwined and …there is no such thing as trying to separate them,‖ Steinem said. The movement for women‘s suffrage followed the abolitionist movement, just as the second wave of feminism, as well as the movements for the liberation of sexuality, followed

Dr. Lisa Williams
Dr. Lisa Williams

the civil rights movement. Steinem‘s point was that all of these systems of inequality must be fought. ―We can‘t fight one without fighting the other, and that is the conclusion,‖ she stated. ―There is no such thing as being a successful feminist activist without being an anti-racist and without stand- ing up for movements of sexual liberation. And there is no such thing as being anti-racist without being a feminist.‖ This was Steinem‘s message—a message of hope and renewal that encouraged everyone in the audience-- those who came of age during the second wave of feminism, as well as the many young students striving today to build a more equal and humane world.

Volume 4, No. 1

The Addison Gayle Memorial Lecture Series began in 1991, following the untimely death of Addison Gayle, Jr., CUNY Dis- tinguished Professor and re- nowned African American liter- ary critic. Professor Houston Baker, Jr., Gayle's close friend and intellectual collaborator, gave the inaugural lecture that year and subsequently the lec- tures have featured a number of notable writers and critics, in- cluding John A. Williams, John Edgar Wideman, Caryl Philips, Julia Wright (Richard Wright's daughter), Henry Louis Gates Jr, Barbara Christian (late), Arnold Rampersad, Manthia Diawara, and Carol Boyce Davies. Tuzyline Jita Allan, Professor of English at Baruch College, has organized the lectures since their inception.

Professor Tuzyline Jita Allan

Professor Tuzyline Jita Allan

Professor of English at Baruch College, has organized the lectures since their inception. Professor Tuzyline Jita
The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Page 21 Volume 4, No. 1 MALE INVOLVEMENT IN PROMOTING
The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter
Page 21
Volume 4, No. 1
MALE INVOLVEMENT IN PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS FOR WOMEN
by Marie Umeh
The panel, "Male Involvement in Promoting
Human Rights for Women: Implications For Beijing +
15," had a full house of conference attendees and
friends of the presenters on Sunday, March 7, 2010 at
the United Nations' Church Center in New York. Two
QUEENS graced the occasion at the United Nations'
Commission on the Status of Women's 54th meet-
ing (CSW-54): The Queen Mother of Harlem, Dr.
Delois Blakely, and the Queen of Holistic Health in
Brooklyn, Queen Afua. Queen Afua, who won the
coveted award for the BEST DOCTOR had a table
set up with her comprehensive formulas for wellness
as she distributed cards promoting her new book,
Overcoming An Angry Vagina (2010). She
talked about her earlier books to promote health and
healing in the communities of the world. People in the
audience were anxious to buy: The City of Wellness
(2008). It was particularly marvelous when she men-
tioned that President Barack Obama's campaign for
"wellness," both before and during his tenure in office,
Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban ki moon, the Queen Mother of
Harlem, Dr. Delois Blakely, and Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi at the U. N., March 3 , 2010.
was similar to her health plan for the "sacred women"
who knocked on her door searching for healing and happiness. Queen Afua had the audience chant "I can heal myself!" over and
over to empower everyone with the confidence that the best life---good health---is in our hands. People who tasted her food for
life (Green Life Formula 1) said: "The drink was deliciously nutritious." Queen Afua is a great Ambassador of Wellness promot-
ing healthy living and discipline as the cure for violence in our communities.
Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury was chair of the afternoon's event and the panel, "Male Involvement in Human Rights of
Women: Implications for the Beijing Platform of Action: 15 Years After." He was the Ambassador of Bangladesh to the UN from
1996
to 2001. Two of the highlights of his truly remarkable contribution to the world community have been, first, he initiated the
proposal for the adoption of the Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security on March
8, International Women's Day 2000, as the President of the Security Council. Secondly, Ambassador
Chowdhury proposed the Proclamation of the UN International Decade for Culture of Peace and Non-
violence (2001-2010) and chaired the UN General Assembly drafting group for the preparation and adop-
tion of the UN Program of Action for the Culture of Peace in 1999.
Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, President of the Widows Development Organization in Enugu, flew in
from Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria to lead the forum, along with Dr. Marie Umeh of the Department of English
at John Jay College, CUNY. Dr. Nwadinobi's presentation about girls and women in Nigeria and the chal-
lenges they face brought heartfelt sighs from the audience. Her presentation, "The African Woman From
the Cradle to the Grave: How Can Male Involvement Improve Her Life?" x-rayed the crises of the girl child
and woman within the context of culture in Africa and Nigeria in particular, where male dominance, patri-
archal systems and the custody of cultural norms have continually been identified as the problem. Dr. El-
eanor Nwadinobi, who is a medical doctor healing the wounds of women, and a law maker, gave her views
through the key hole from the other side of the door by taking a peek specifically at the role of men in actualizing the ideals
of women's empowerment and gender equality. Her examples of male involvement came from a training workshop she conducted in
Enugu titled, ―Building Bridges: Faith, Customary Practices and Law in Nigeria‖ for thirty faith and traditional leaders held in
2009
by the Widows Development Organization in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretary. The objective was to target
the custodians of culture and religion in a system where all traditional rulers are men and most religious leaders especially in ortho-
dox denominations are men. According to Nwadinobi, after the three days of training, the groups pledged the following: 1) to cele-
brate the girl-child by ensuring that girls are kept in school, giving scholarships to them and celebrating women for giving birth to
girls; 2) to encourage the cause of women‘s inheritance to landed property from both the father and husband; 3) to promote WILL
The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Page 22 Volume 4, No. 1 writing; 4) to encourage
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Volume 4, No. 1
writing; 4) to encourage allocation of land to women; 5) to declare proclamations; 6) to write bye-laws; 7) to employ effective dia-
logue on issues of customs; 8) to preach adoption to childless couples; 10) to educate the congregation on how the sex of a baby is
determined; 11) to lead by example, that is, to write their own WILLS;
12) to organize outreach workshops to sensitize and to empower rural
dwellers to overcome all cultural challenges. The follow-up on the
commitments of traditional rulers and religious leaders is planned
by WIDO through community visits.
Rev. Dr. Peter Igwilo, the Director of Pastoral Care Services
Department, at St. Catherine's West Rehabilitation Hospital in
Hialeah, Florida, addressed the far reaching damages and devasta-
tion the family and marriage institutions have incurred overtime, as
a result of imbalanced and unfair treatment meted to most women in
most societies and cultures of the world, occasioned by male domi-
nation and characterized by all kinds of violence against women
and children. Rev. Dr. Igwilo, commended the age long struggles by
women, especially since the Beijing conference, and condemned all
Courtesy of Piyanuch Panichpisal
Dr. Marie Umeh, The Queen Mother of Harlem Dr. Delois Blakey and Dr.
Eleanor Nwadinobi at the Millenium UN Plaza Hotel in New York on
March 7, 2010.
forms of mistreatment and violence against women under any guise.
He recognized equality of all human beings irrespective of sex or
race.
His statement that "male domination in history has not bene-
fited men" drew great applause. "Men are the losers," he told an audience of about one hundred people gathered together in the
Hardin Room at the UN's Church Center in New York. According to him, "male domination is the greatest threat to male existence
and one of the reasons "WHY MALES DIE FIRST." He statistically cited the fact that there are an overwhelming number of widows
than widowers in all male dominated cultures of the world. Most men die early leaving their wives and children to enjoy the family
wealth or suffer untold hardship as the aftermath. He questioned the audience about what accounts for men dying first in most mar-
riage partnerships? He said that most cultures placed undue burdens and stress on men, calling them lord and master of the house.
Men end up becoming beasts of burden and sacrificial lambs and die early deaths. If the men don't get their disappearing acts to-
gether, their depleting numbers and untimely deaths will continue to rise leaving their children and widows to enjoy or suf-
fer. Calling for balance in the family roles and responsibilities,
he advised men to allow women their space to contribute as
much as they can to the upkeep of the family. This would en-
able both husbands and wives to live for each other, together
with their children, as much as possible.
Building upon the gains of the Beijing Platform of Ac-
tion of 1995, the firebrand cleric and academic also gave
an ecclesiastical recipe for reversing the trend which is threat-
ening a happy family life in all the communities of the world,
by warning the audience that domestic violence should no
longer be considered a family or private issue. Such statements
serve only as a ploy to cover up abuses against each other. He
reminded everyone that the World Health Organization
(WHO) had since 2005 declared such violent behavior as a
public health problem/issue. He further said that women
alone should not hope to eliminate violence against women; it
is always a wrong strategy to attempt to promote one sex or
gender over another. What unifies humanity is greater than
what separates women and men, he averred. Domestic abuse or
violence is always larger than violence against women. There-
Courtesy of Piyanuch Panichpisal
Rev. (Dr.) Peter Igwilo, Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, Dr. Beverly Frazier, Ambassador
Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Dr. Marie Umeh, Queen Afua of Heal Thyself, Inc. and
guests at the United Nations CSW-54 meeting on March 7, 2010 in New York.
fore, it is unfair for the United Nations or its agency to continue to pursue violence against women in isolation of violence against
other members of the family.
Dr. Marie Umeh's presentation, "(Re)Defining Masculinity: Male Involvement in Eradicating Violence Against Women
and Promoting Human Rights for Women," identified the problem of gender discrimination as a manifestation of sexism in America.
"The American women's movement for equality has not been won totally," she told the global group gathered before her and the
other panelists, "if the high number of physical and psychological violence against women in both the private and public sectors is

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anything to go by." Quoting Jackson Katz author of Tough Guise (1999), she said that men perpetrate 90% of the violence in American society against women. She went on to point out that the culture to degrade and dehumanize women is a social ill that demands a social response: "If society's sex-role socialization schema is a learned behavior, it can be unlearned through gender- awareness education, gender-bending workshops, and the enactment of legislation for female equality and equity." Dr. Umeh gave examples of men who (re)defined masculinity by taking a critical look within, and becoming a part of the solu- tion by shedding the male disguise of tough guys before they adopted grassroots activism. Dr. Umeh's profiles of exemplary men making change included: the Vice-President of the United States, Joseph Robinette ―Joe‖ Biden, Jr. who sponsored the Violence against Women Act of 1994 which outlawed all kinds of violence against women. Tony Porter and Ted Bunch co-founders of the organization, A CALL TO MEN, in New York were also examples of honorable, respectful, well-meaning men who have taken charge of making a positive difference in men and women's lives. Michael Kimmel, an author and activist, who globally works to engage men in gender equality, also deserved recognition. He is one of the founders of the groups: "Santa Cruz Men against Rape," and "The National Organization of Men against Sexism." According to Kimmel, "The answer to the problem of sexism is feminism." Reverend Dr. Floyd Flake of the Greater Allen AME Zion Church in Jamaica, New York, who built homes for battered women and their children in his district, was another one of the pillars in our society whose grassroots activism earned praise. Wil- liam Henry ―Bill‖ Gates of Microsoft Corporation, who provided food, beds, medicine and medical supplies for women and children with HIV/AIDS globally, was one of TIME (2005) magazine's outstanding humanitarians and philanthropists. Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, and a 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient was also recognized as an activist who empower women by providing them with bank loans to start and to maintain businesses to take care of themselves and their fami- lies.

Dr. Beverly Frazier, who teaches in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College, CUNY, addressed the problem of the high rate of prison (re)entry among African-American males and females in the United States. According to Dr. Frazier, more than ever in American history and more than in any country in the world, every year hundreds of thousands of individuals are incarcerated and released. Of the 2.3 million incarcerated Americans, 12 percent are women---a four-fold increase in less than 8 years. Research has found that female pathways to offending is different than males. They are more likely to be arrested because of their involvement with men, specifically their husbands or boyfriends. Recent studies have also found that men are also one of the greatest obstacles to reentry for many of these women. Thus, there is an enormous need for programs, social interventions, services and support to improve the chances of the pro-social reintegration of women returning from prisons and jails, which will enhance the preservation of their families and cohesion of communities. Within a larger study, which sought to determine the community institutional capacity (CIC) for prisoner reentry within Philadelphia, questions were asked about specific programming for female ex-prisoners. The results were striking. Services to women were found to be uncoordi- nated and fragmented. The challenge, then is to connect the tens of thousands of female ex-prisoners with the much-needed ser- vices available, to develop new services, to coordinate the service delivery system, and to design programming to assist improving relationships with these women and the men whose negative influence may lead to recidivism. Many questions followed. For example, a woman representing a group from North Carolina asked: ―What is the difference between equity and equality?‖ The panel chair said that equity is no longer used basically. ―Equity means gradual equality. I‘ll give you what you are entitled to. This is not what we want. We want equality between men and women, equal status. This is the objective of the United Nations.‖ The Queen Mother of Harlem asked: ―Where do we go as the mothers of civilization for a healing process, beyond the borders of North America, especially in the United States? How do we get included in the process to make us whole again as Africans of the Middle Passage of the Trans-Atlantic Ocean of Enslavement?‖ Queen Afua responded to the ques- tion with: ―It‘s in my hands. Green Life Formulas will build up the immune system. As a Holistic practitioner, I know you can em- power yourself and then you can connect and heal others. Saturate the body with chlorophyll; heal thyself. The balance we‘re look- ing for starts from within ourselves.‖

References Ending violence against women: From words to action (2006). Study of the Secretary-General. New York: United Nations.

Engendering development through gender equality in rights, resources, and voice (2001). Washington, DC/ New York: World

Bank & Oxford University Press.

Ericsson, S. (Producer) & Jhally, S. (Director). (2002) Tough guise: Violence, media and the crises in masculinity. [Videodisk]. Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation. Katz, J. (1999). Tough guise: violence, media and the crisis in masculinity. Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation.

Porter, T. & Bunch, T. (2000).

A call to men: Ending violence against women. New York: Wholly Moses Productions.

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Obama, B. (2004). Dreams from my father: a story of race and inheritance (1st pbk.
Obama, B. (2004). Dreams from my father: a story of race and inheritance
(1st pbk. ed.). New York: Three Rivers Press. IBN 987-1-4000-8277-3 457pp. $14. 95.
A review by Professor Marvie Brooks
President Barack Obama, U.S.A.
At a certain age and stage in life most people begin to search for their identity so that
they may claim their personhood, understand their culture, place in the family, and role in the
community and the nation. This was true of the young Barack Obama, an individual of mixed
race parentage, who, after his graduation from college, began seeking a meeting with the
―missing face‖—his absent Kenyan father. His parents separated when he was a toddler. Thus,
stories from his grandparents and his mother about his father and their admiration for his learn-
ing, drive, self confidence, British accent, and determination to keep his principles and values
gave him a portrait of the man (Obama, 2004, pp. 5-9). Barack met his father when he was ten
years old. The father came to Hawaii to mend after a car accident in Kenya and to see the fam-
ily —Barack‘s mother, her parents and his son. From Kenya, he brought Barack some wooden
sculptures, a lion, an elephant, and a male figurine in tribal dress, plus a basketball and two
records of African dance music. His father showed him how to dance and took him to a Dave
Brubeck jazz concert. Father and son enjoyed reading their respective books together as they
lounged around in his father‘s apartment sublet. During that month long stay over the Christ-
mas holidays, he told the boy about his other brothers and sisters, for he had remarried, and
congratulated him on his good school marks. His father admitted that he had been smart in
school and all of his children took after him for they were all quick with their lessons.
The reality of a father at home and the ―What is Africa to Me?‖ concept 1 came home to roost during his father‘s visit.
The elder Barack encouraged the young boy to study hard even during the Christmas holidays which brought about a minor
crisis because his son wanted to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas on television. However, the real test came when
Barack‘s homeroom teacher, who had liven in Kenya, invited Barack senior to the school to lecture to his son‘s classmates
about Kenya (Obama, 2004, p. 69). Prior to his father‘s visit, Barack did some research at the public library on Kenya and the
Luo people, his father‘s tribe (Obama, 2004, p. 9, p.64). His mother, an anthropologist, had given him information about
Kenya‘s history from a work by Jomo Kenyatta. Barack junior had represented his father as a prince to the children at school
so his library research was to fortify this vision complete with historical riches and venerable monuments like that of Egypt
which he had seen in a picture painted by his grandfather (Obama, 2004, pp. 63-64). Barack felt let down because his read-
ing revealed that the Luos were a part of the Nilotic people who were nomadic, lived in huts, ate millet, corn, and meat, wore
thongs and originally came from an area around the Sudan. He dreaded his father‘s forthcoming talk and anticipated the ridi-
cule of his classmates. However, the elder Barack‘s learned talk about Kenya, tribal customs and laws, respect for the elders
who held legal meetings under the trees, the training of the young men who had to kill a lion to prove their manhood, the
wonderful wildlife, the people‘s deep motivation and the country‘s drive for independence from Britain, plus his thoroughly
engaging personality, enthralled the students and teachers. Barack‘s pride in Africa was rescued for the students and faculty
clapped, asked questions and told him just how impressive his father was (Obama, 2004, pp. 69-70). After this brief visit
Barack and his father remained in contact with each other through mail correspondence.
The younger Barack‗s mixed race status made him deeply aware of his peculiar ―two-ness‖ or ―double
consciousness.‖ 2
Away from my mother, away from my grandparents, I
was engaged in a fitful interior struggle. I was trying to raise
myself to be a black man in America, and beyond the given
of my appearance, no one around me seemed to know exactly what that
meant (Obama, 2004, p. 76).
Stanley Anne, his mother, had two interracial marriages. The first marriage was to his African father and the second to
his stepfather who was from Indonesia. Both men were students whom she met at the University of Hawaii. She and Barack
traveled to Indonesia to live with his stepfather who introduced and treated Barack as his son (Obama, 2004, p. 38). Barack
learned about power from his stepfather (Obama, 2004, pp. 45-46). Having encountered purges, corruption, a lack of free
speech, forced military service and his own student life turned upside down because of a dictator‘s whims, his stepfather, Lolo,

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advised Barack that survival entailed being strong. Otherwise, other men will take advantage of you including taking your land, wife and possibly your life. The alternative was to be cunning and peaceable with the ones holding power (Obama, 2004, pp. 39-41). Barack‘s mother, always respectful toward both her husbands and their cultures, deplored racism and taught her son important values, e.g., honesty, fairness, and empathy toward others. She understood the value of an education and the practi- cality of United States citizenship so she ―homeschooled‖ her son, at 5 A.M., each morning before she left for work, through an American correspondence course in addition to having him attend Indonesian schools (Obama, 2004, pp. 47-51). His mater- nal grandparents adored Barack and deplored racism, prejudice and segregation. During their life in Kansas, black people were segregated out of the life of whites so they were just shadows to them. However, in Texas they witnessed ―Jim Crow‖ practices of discrimination and were victims when their daughter was hooted at by children chanting racial slurs at her and a black girl lying on the ground reading quietly from the same book. The two children were rescued by Barack‘s grandmother. The grandfather called their parents and made a visit to the school principal. The parents informed him that his parental du- ties included telling his daughter to avoid friendships with the coloreds (Obama, 2004, pp.18-20). In Hawaii, Barack made friends with several African-American teenagers who had moved to Hawaii from the mainland. The phrase ―That‘s how white folks will do you‖ was used by them when evaluating covert or overt racism commit- ted against black people (Obama, 2004, p. 80). In Hawaii, even Barack had experienced racism. He described how a senior citizen where he lived was afraid to be on the elevator with a black male and would not apologize when it was explained to her that Barack lived in the building (Obama, 2004, p. 80). However, he could not imagine thinking in terms of ―white folks‖ or bigots when it came to his family (Obama, 2004, p. 81). The teenagers discussed the issue of power and always having to play by the white man‘s rules because of the power balance (Obama, 2004, p. 85). Those who pushed too hard against this rule were labeled as militant and their opportunities were cut down (Obama, 2004, p. 85). Frank, a friend of his grandfather, was straight about black-white interaction and attitudes when Barack told him that his grandmother wanted his grandpa to drive her to work because, while waiting for the bus, she had been accosted by a black male panhandler who was persistent in asking her for money. He explained that acts from past and present caused some black people to dislike whites and she was right to be fearful. Frank and grandpa both grew up near Wichita, Kansas but their experiences were different due to Jim Crow discrimination. Whites could never really know how racism affected black people. For example, Frank must always be vigilant in order to survive, whereas Grandpa could relax and sleep (Obama, 2004, pp. 89-91). While attending Occidental College, in California, Barack found that some racially mixed individuals did not want to consider blackness and what it meant. They were satisfied with being individuals (Obama, 2004, pp. 99-100). Frank reminded Barack, when he left Hawaii to attend college, to stay awake and avoid thinking that he had it made and did not need to think about other blacks with less opportunities (Obama, 2004, p. 97). As a community activist in Chicago, he saw the social, legal, educational, and economic issues that African-Americans faced and the bleak future of the youth in that environment (Obama, 2004, pp.236-242, 252-253). When the telephone call came that his father had died, the twenty-one year old Barack decided that he needed to visit Kenya and find out more about his father‘s history in order to complete his own self-actualization (Obama, 2004, pp. xvi, 5, 219-222). On that journey, Obama met his siblings, his father‘s siblings, his grandmother, his father‘s wives, and his grandfa- ther‘s brother. Their oral and visual portraits of Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. completed his son‘s memories and at the end, Barack junior whose Arabic name means ―blessed one‖ becomes just that as he arrives at an understanding of his father, his history and culture, and accepts himself.

Notes 1 Cullen, C. (1997). Heritage. In D. Hunt, (Comp.) The Riverside anthology of literature . (3 rd ed., pp. 801-804). Boston:

Houghton Mifflin Co. The poet helps the reader to appreciate the fact that one must understand African history and culture in order to ap- preciate Western and United States history as well as the experience and contributions of black people in the United States and globally. 2 Du Bois, W.E.B. (1989). Of our spiritual strivings. In The souls of Black folk. (Chapter 1)

http://site.ebrary.com/lib/johnjay/docDetail.action?docID=10085583

W.E.B. Du Bois introduced the important sociological and psychological term ―double consciousness‖ and ―two-ness‖ in The souls of Black folk. The issue raised is can one be an American with the same rights and responsibilities as the Cauca- sian society and be black? Does racism impede this integration and bring these two views into conflict? Must one always check to see how the white world views a black person? Du Bois explains why the African-American must view him/herself through two mirrors.

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Volume 4, No. 1

WIDOWHOOD: Facts, Feelings & The Law

Edited by Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi

Reviewed by Rev. Dr. Peter Igwilo

The book titled WIDOWHOOD: Facts, Feelings & The Law, a publication of the

Reverend Peter Igwilo, PhD., M. Ed., BCC.
Reverend Peter Igwilo, PhD., M.
Ed., BCC.

Widows Development Organization with the support of the Sigrid Rausing Trust, UK; Enugu, Nigeria; 2008; 40pp.; Thick paper back, edited by Dr. Eleanor Ann Nwadinobi, is a master piece depicting creative, literary and artistic ingenuity of its contributors and editor.

Three of the most essential problems in discussing and understanding the global problem of widowhood, include getting the ‗Facts,‘ capturing the ‗Feelings‘ and the availability and correct application of ‗The Laws‘ are succinctly packaged in this book in a most pre- cise, concise and artistically illustrated style. Some people have had to talk, read, discuss, comment or write about widowhood problems, but they either have lacked the facts, the laws or the feelings; but this book provides all three. Thus it makes the understanding of the widowhood issues even much easier and clearer.

Many people read the book with various degrees of shock because of its content revela- tions about inhumanities perpetrated in the name of cultures and traditions. For exam- ple, ―I was asked to sit on the bare floor.‖ ―My blouse was removed.‖ ―My hands tied up with rags so that I could not scratch my face or eat with my hands.‖ Another said, ―If my body became too dirty they would use sand to bath me.‖ ―I did not bath with water or wash my hands until after one month of my husband‘s death.‖ ―I wore one wrapper

throughout.‖ ―No blouse on my chest‖ (p. 9). The book also contains in alarming propor- tion numerous other cruel, barbaric and massive abuses in African society. In addition, it covers a wide range of obnox- ious topics found in the widowhood practices across-the-board, such as shaving of hair, disinheritance, sleeping with the corpse, sitting on the floor, ostracism, confinement, routine crying and others. All these treatments depict grave primi- tiveness. The book also presents a special case study of such practices in neighboring Southeast States; as well as picture stories, widowhood poems, and excerpts of a 2005 study, to say the least.

The most outstanding contribution of the work is to scholarship. Research scholars find this book most treasurable be- cause of its attention to statistical details and information on widowhood as contained in pp 26-37. The dearth of statis- tics is a bane in conducting research in Africa. Moreover, this work is a book of revelation on the problem of widowhood in Nigeria. It makes this book a must-have for all policy makers and legislatures, government agencies, school libraries, and non-governmental organizations. In fact, across-the-board this book should enjoy great appeal especially to stu- dents of social sciences, African studies, classroom instruction of high school students, college/university undergradu- ates/graduates students. Students of criminal justice colleges will devour this book. Its pictorial illustration makes it the most excellent material to explain to foreigners about human abuse in Africa. Above all, it is most apt and useful for con- ferences, seminars, workshops, considering its content merits and portability. The use of colors and artistic design-the pasting of the Feelings, Facts and The Laws together on one page, not only makes readership and comprehension easy, it also softens and tones down the cruelty and violence to which women are subjugated in many cultures, and ultimately gives this book its master-piece graphic excellence. It must be stressed that the language and grammar of the ―Feelings‖ sections were presented verbatim in the book in order to capture the implicit originality in the words, quotes and expres- sions of the widows in order to relay their exact feelings.

(Dr. Eleanor Ann Nwadinobi is a wife and mother, founder and pioneer President of the Widows Development Organi- zation (WiDO) and currently the Sub-Sahara African Regional Chair of the United Nations NGO/DPI Executive Committee).

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Volume 4, No. 1

Title: State of the Nation- A Case of Monumental Corruption in Nigeria

 

Author: Holden C. Anele Publisher: Duke~C Publishers, New York, 2006, 1 st Edition ISBN-13:978 -1-4243-1286-3; ISBN-10 1-4243-1286-8 Pages: 333 The Contents of this book is grouped into seven chapters after Preface and Acknowledgements. Chapter one contains Ex- ecutive Blunders p. 15. Chapters two to seven are arranged in this order: Poverty in a Wealthy Nation p. 40; Corruption in Politics p. 90; Transforming Nigeria for the 21 st Century p. 128; Economic Blue Prints for Nigeria p. 164; Eradication of Poverty and Duplicity of IMF p. 223; and Leadership- the Missing Link p. 272. Other materials contained in the book are Random thoughts p. 322; Read- ers‘ Challenge p. 325; About the Author p. 329 and closes it with Works Cited p. 330. The arrangement of material contents of this book is simple, and provides the attraction to read this book.

The title of the book State of the Nation - A Case of Monumental Corruption in Nigeria conjures importance and class for the book. Mr. Anele‘s inspiration for the title may have also been evoked by the ―State of the Union Address,‖ in the USA and/or The CNN State of the Union by John King, etc.

The book cover is thick. The cover design is nothing but awesome. It has the Map of Nigeria in a black background, with some white trimmings in the back. The frontal cover has a portion of the Map in oxblood red. There is also a dividing white bar that links the front and the back cover. The cover design and the title jointly command some prominence for the book in the committee of other books on the shelf or desk.

Literary Criticism: Presentation of the work is simple, with great clarity of words, great pools of vocabulary from across disciplines, good illustrations, a great sense of history, politics, personalities, and patriotism. Holden dedicates this great work to his Parents- Elder Joseph and Ezinne, N. Anele and Grandparents Chief Chigbu and Agnes Ihim and other Great Nigerians too nu- merous to mention here.

The subject matter of this book, State of the Nation -A Case of Monumental Corruption in Nigeria , speaks for itself. It is an

excellent identification of problems with positive solutions, sound exposition of facts and myths in Nigeria and Nigerians. The au- thor approaches his subject matter, analyses, advice and contributions from the standpoint of his career, Computer Sci- ence/Biometrics/Adjunct in Computer Information System and a Senior Fraud Investigator with the Bureau of Fraud Investiga- tion in the United States. This book is timely because Nigeria is depicted today as a failed statebecause of corruption. Its degen- eration and continuous free fall leaves no one in doubt but only proves Holden Anele‘s point. Nigeria has disappointed virtually everyone including alien investors who had thought Nigeria‘s past leaders were serious. Their steady move over to other African countries and neighbors in droves does not surprise anybody. Investors who are Nigerians are also moving away. Nigeria has be- come a laughing stock and a recruiting ground for terrorist across the world. The way forward is for every Nigerian home and abroad - to accept failure and the challenge for change.

I differ with Mr. Holden Anele for dedicating this book to some former leaders he applaudes for their so-called positive impacts and contributions to the development of Nigeria. And what happened? If these positive contributions were enough and true, Nigeria would not be what it is today because they are the same people mostly trusted to move Nigeria forward. But they failed. Obasanjo has been trusted more than everyone else in Nigeria, and has mostly failed to lift Nigeria up. To whom more is given more is expected. There is no former leader who did not contribute something positive in one way or another, but we have gotten nowhere. It is miserable. There is no excuse! It is a collective failure. The past and the present have failed? What about the future?

WE HAVE ALL FAILED INCLUDING THOSE IN THE DIASPORA WHO TEND TO BLAME THOSE AT HOME. THE MASSES HAVE FAILED EVEN MORE FOR INACTION. IT IS NOT LATE FOR THE NIGERIAN MASSES TO RISE UP AND SAY NO. IF WE SAY NO TODAY IT IS NOT UNPRECEDENTED.

Nigerians need honest, shameful rather than shameless, open, transparent. selfless and first class patriotic leaders. Nigeri- ans cannot wait to be proud of their country and embrace an amazing future where people‘s capacity to achieve their ultimate dreams is limited only by their strength, ambitions, willingness and eagerness to excel and do what is right. Corruption is in every country and society, though not applauded is no excuse. Nigeria can become a place of pride that has order and rule of law, where people can live, work and coexist in peace and security with world class facilities and good standards of life. Being in a foreign land has to be a choice but not because we have no home. We need not go through what Britain, Germany, America, India or China went through before we can make it because our time and natural endowments are better. We are blessed better than any of them. Our blessing is part of our curse. Rev. Peter Igwilo, M. Ed., PhD. (NIGERIA/USA)

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Volume 4, No. 1

The True Nanny Diaries: A Novel by Nandi Keyi

 

A sneak peak inside the lives of the upper east & west side nannies by Nickehelia Scott The True Nanny Diaries is a novel written by Nandi Keyi; her book is the first “nanny” novel told by the immigrants who do the thankless jobs of domestic work in America. The novel explores different ideas and themes, but mainly, it touches on the hardships that illegal immigrants face, whether it is finding a job, friendship, trust, betrayal, or being able to pay for school tuition or just maintain their lifestyles: living in America with no papers.

The story is based on Valdi West, and her three friends. Valdi left her native country Trinidad & Tobago at the age of 25 to study at Columbia University in New York on a scholarship. However, the firm that provided the financial incentives for the scholarship installed a conservative board that ended “wasteful expenditures” which of course, included scholarships at

installed a conservative board that ended “wasteful expenditures” which of course, included scholarships at

foreign universities. Columbia allowed Valdi to continue on credit for the following semester, but after that was over, Valdi was unable to continue her goal towards her degree. She had to figure out a way to survive in America as an illegal immigrant. Valdi never expected to be babysitting to survive in this country mainly because she did not like to be a babysitter, and babysitting a white child was a direct reflection of domestic slavery workers. She was very well educated she did not have to settle for that. Valdi had already obtained a bachelor’s degree at the University of the West Indies and was working on her master’s degree at Colum- bia before her scholarship ended. Even though Valdi had a Bachelor’s degree, which is so important in America, she was still unable to find a decent job. In America it is extremely hard for the undocumented immigrants because this country is based on money and status, and without that there really aren’t many options. When you go to a job in- terview you must have a State ID and when you have gotten the job, you must provide your social security number and fill out the paper work; now imagine not even being able to obtain the state ID. Valdi ex- plored the one option she was aware of that paid somewhat decent:

babysitting on the upper West Side. Valdi worked at her first babysitting job for three

babysitting on the upper West Side. Valdi worked at her first babysitting job for three years and was let go because the needs of the girls changed. They needed someone who would be able to help them with school work etc., as though Valdi was not capable of that. Although she was fired, the family did allow her to stay in their home until she found another job. However, that situation was going sour; the family began to do things to push Valdi out. They moved her to the basement right next to the boiler room and then got a dog which they knew she was terrified of. Valdi knew she needed to get out of their house, so she began her job search again. While Valdi was out looking at Ads for another job she stumbled on an Ad that read:

Live-in Nanny Position Our babysitter needs a home. She crawls on the floor! She dances! She clowns! She wrestles! She makes faces!

My girls really adore her but our needs have changed. And we want to pass her on to a good family. (p. 59) Valdi was distraught over this; the ad looked as though the “woman” was advertising her like she was a monkey! Valdi could not handle this and decided to meet up with the girls (other babysitters) at Central Park by General Sherman Statue and show them what the “woman” really thought of her. The girls were Madam Lucian, an older lady, who supplements her meager babysitting wages by selling homemade

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Volume 4, No. 1

bread from out of her Brooklyn apartment; Monica, who was also a babysitter who lucked

bread from out of her Brooklyn apartment; Monica, who was also a babysitter who lucked up through an arranged “green card marriage”, and last Ava, who used to be Valdi’s best friend, but now they were so far apart, mainly because Ava outgrew her friends. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree, was on her way to a government job with legal American status, all thanks to the family she worked for. When Valdi approached them about the ad, she was surprised at not getting the response she expected. She felt the ad was an injustice, and be- lieved that Ava of all people would see it her way and understand. However, Ava did not see it the same way Valdi did; she felt the family was helping Valdi to find a job but Valdi was just ungrateful. This disagreement began to tear their

friendship apart because Ava believed that Valdi was taking advantage of the family and she should try harder to find a job and get out of their home. With the help of Ava, Valdi eventually found a job. She worked for a woman who had a five year old son; her life began to revolve around this family. Initially, the “woman” treated Valdi as though she was a domestic slave worker, but after Valdi showed her intelligence and courage, she suddenly valued Valdi’s

opinion on matters and even thought of her as a friend. The woman depended on Valdi more than ever, and Valdi found a way to make babysitting work for her. Throughout the novel, the author focused on trust and loyalty as themes. The most trying point of loyalty was when Madam Lucian confided in Valdi. Madam Lucian earned a meager salary babysitting, therefore, most of her income came from her home- made bread business that she ran out of her Brooklyn apartment. For most West Indians, it is a big dream to work in the U.S. and to be able to build a big house back home so when they are tired and ready to leave the U.S. they would be “set.” Well, that was also Madam Lucian’s dream; her motto was “one bread

one brick” which means for every one bread sold one brick was bought for her house. After years of sending money to her brother for her house, she finds out that there is no house. Her brother lost his own house from gambling. He also gambled and drank all of her money and was in fact in jail because it was illegal to gamble in her country. Madam Lucian was devastated and confided in no-one but Valdi. She wanted Valdi to take her secret to her grave; she did not want the other girls to know about the scandal. Even af-

ter Madam Lucian’s death, Valdi was no house but she couldn’t be- have wanted them to know. and she was not going to go back This novel in my opinion is and told from a West Indian im- spiring. The author touches on stand or know about because they mented immigrants live in the U.S. lenges they endure because of not are incomprehensible. Having to are inferior to them just because thing to deal with, but this is the grant.

The style of The True lary form, similar to Alice Walker’s ning of the novel The Color Purple,

this is the grant. The style of The True lary form, similar to Alice Walker’s ning

wanted to tell the girls that there cause Madam Lucian would not Madam Lucian had trusted her on her word. awesome; the fact that it is written migrant’s point of view is very in- topics others would not under- know nothing of how undocu- The issues they face and the chal- having a social security number deal with someone thinking you you work for them is not an easy life of an undocumented immi-

Nanny Dairies is done in an episto-

The Color Purple. From the begin-

the author introduced the episto-

lary technique, by using a letter from the main character, Celie, to God. The letter to God was written be- cause Celie did not have anyone else to write to. She expressed anger and wanted to know why all the people she loved were constantly hurting. The other letters were correspondence between characters, ex- pressing the voice of true desires, specifically Celie’s letters to Sofia and her sister Nettie. The letters allowed the characters to display emotions and other private feeling that could not be expressed publicly. Alice Walker focused on the double repression of black women in the American experience, similar to Nandi, who also focused on the repression of black women. However, Nandi centered on that of the un-

The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Page 30 Volume 4, No. 1 documented black women immigrants.
The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter
Page 30
Volume 4, No. 1
documented black women immigrants. Alice Walker sets her story of Celie’s transformation from a passive
female to that of an independent woman within the culture of southern black rural society, from the 1900’s
to the 1920’s. In the beginning of the novel, Celie is shown to be dominated by, first her father, and then
later, by her husband. The author contends that black women suffered repression at the hands of black
males, who imposed the double standard of white society on women. Black women also suffered from dis-
crimination by the white society. Celie was abused physically, mentally and sexually by men. But with the
help of Shug Avery, her husband’s mistress, she evolves and no longer thought it was acceptable to be
beaten by the men in life. Although Alice Walker was criticized for her negative portrayal of black men,
she was admired for her powerful portraits of black women. Alice Walker was brought up and very in-
volved in the Civil Rights movement. Therefore, many of her social and racial views were expressed
throughout the novel. The last letter Celie wrote, was to everyone including God. This is to show that she
has forgiven everybody and that her story had completely changed, and she is no longer angry or being
abused.
The primary and most prominent theme of both authors was to project a positive outcome in life,
even under the harshest conditions. In both novels, the main characters triumphed over adversity and for-
gave those who oppressed them. Both authors are exceptional writers who appear to love the portrait of a
strong black woman. They both showed their characters as women who endured huge amounts of oppres-
sion, but survived through it and turned into women who were extremely independent.
References
Keyi, N. (2009). The true nanny diaries. New York: Bread for Brick Publishing.
Walker, A (1982). The color purple: A novel. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.

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Volume 4, No. 1

The Flora Nwapa Club Newsletter Page 31 Volume 4, No. 1 AFRICAN LITERATURE ASSOCIATION, U. S.

AFRICAN LITERATURE ASSOCIATION, U. S. A.

Volume 4, No. 1 AFRICAN LITERATURE ASSOCIATION, U. S. A. Officers: Marie Umeh, President John Jay

Officers:

Marie Umeh, President John Jay College, CUNY Msumeh@aol.com

Sabine Jell-Bahlsen, Treasurer Ogbuide Films Sabinejb@aol.com

Chimalum Nwankwo, Bibliographer North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC muonisi@yahoo.com

Founders:

Marie Linton Umeh Sabine Jell-Bahlsen Ernest N. Emenyonu

The Flora Nwapa Society Charter Members:

1.

Oty Agbajoh-Olaoye

2.

Tomi Adeaga

3.

Adetayo Alabi

4.

Ada U. Azodo

5.

Nancy Topping Bazin

6.

Andrea Benton Rushing

7.

Belle Brodzki

8.

Dale Byam

9.

Kassahun Checole

10.

Michael Coleman

11.

Irene d’Almeida

12.

Ernest N. Emenyonu

13.

Dan Glover

14.

Olabode Ibironke

15.

Sabine Jell-Bahlsen

16.

Nubia Kai

17.

Sonia Lee

19.

Paule Marshall

20.

Joseph McLaren

21.

Ingse Skattum

22.

Pamela Smith

23.

Willie D. Stamp

24.

Linda Strong-Leek

25.

Obiora Udechukwu

26.

Davidson & Marie Umeh

The Flora Nwapa Society

Membership Form

The Flora Nwapa Society is an international organization affiliated with the African Literature Asso- ciation. The primary goals of the association are to preserve and to promote meaningful research per- taining to Flora Nwapa and her literary production. The Flora Nwapa Society is committed to increasing awareness of and scholarship about Flora Nwapa as a major African woman novelist, dramatist, essayist,

poet, publisher and politician of the 20 th century. In honor of Africa’s first female novelist and publisher

of the Anglophone world, The Flora Nwapa Society Award will recognize an individual who has dis-

tinguished oneself in writing and publishing in Africa or in the African Diaspora. The Flora Nwapa So- ciety Award is also open to academics and to public figures, such as managing directors, politicians, foundation heads, journalists, and individuals from the world of arts and entertainment. Suggestions for the 2010 Flora Nwapa Society Award are welcomed. Letters of nominations should include the full name and mailing address of the nominee, a list of the candidate’s major works, accomplishments, and publications. A statement of 250 words, indicating the candidate’s achievements and three letters of

support are required. Letters should be addressed to the president by April 15, 2010.

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Please remit your dues by cash or check MADE PAYABLE TO:

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