How are you? Runoko Rashidi is fine. No international trips since Zimbabwe
a couple of weeks ago but I did spend several days in Atlanta, Georgia and
I journeyed to Atlanta last week to speak at the Nile Valley Conference II.
I spoke at the first Nile Valley Conference way back in September 1984. It
was my first really big conference and it helped make a name for me there.
This was a different kind of conference but it was still a very good one.
Many of the world's greatest scholars were gathered, including Charles S.
Finch, Leonard Jeffries, Joyce E. King, Tony Browder, Wade Nobles, Hassimi
Maiga, Legrand Clegg and Marimbi Ani. I gave one of my best presentations
and I was honored by the presence of Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver. It also
gave all of us the chance to pay special tribute to Asa Hilliard--the great
scholar who was instrumental in the first Nile Valley Conference.
Even before my talk at the Conference I gave an afternoon presentation at
Kippsway Academy. The presentation was pretty good but what really struck me
was attitude of the students. I spoke in front of about 350 students and I
am not sure if I have ever been in the midst of so many youth so eager to
learn. It was truly inspiring. Many thanks to Michael Simanga of Fulton
County Arts and Culture.
On Saturday evening I spoke at Expansion Books in Huntsville, Alabama. A
couple of brothers from the local study group drove me from Atlanta to
Huntsville. We talked all of the way and passed through Scottsboro, Alabama
made famous by the notoriously racist Scottsboro Boys' case of the 1930s. If
you don't know about the Scottsboro Boys please do a little research. The
case of the Scottsboro Boys ranks right up there with the murder of Emmitt
Till and Medgar Evers and the bombing of the Birmingham church--all horrific
crimes of the times.
Expansion Books, owned by Anthony Browder, has got to be one of the finest
African bookstores in the world. It is large, clean, brighly-lit,
well-located, with lots and lots of titles. It even has a used book section
and the owner knows books. It was a just a joy to be there.
Returning to Atlanta on Sunday afternoon I gave a visual presentation on
Great African Women for the Sisters of Tomorrow. Everybody seemed to like
the talk and it was worth it just to be around so many beautiful African
But certainly, one of the great highlights of my Georgia/Alabama trip was the
appearance of a brand new book. Sankofa Kemet: My First Trip to the
Motherland is a new book by Jahbari Joseph Akua. It is edited by his dad
Chike Akua with an Introduction by Anthony Browder and a Foreword by Runoko
Rashidi. It just came out days ago. It is about eighty pages long, lavishly
illustrated and well organized. It demolishes the myth that the Elders have
failed and that the youth are hopeless. It is published by Imani
Enterprises. You need this book! For your copy go to
So that is my story. I have a new book, Black Star: The African Presence in
Early Europe coming out within days and am working on the photo captions for
a new French language travel book scheduled to be released in December 2012.
So I feel quite accomplished and very good about both me and you!
In love of Africa,
Runoko Rashidi Okello
p.s. Don't forget to register for my July 2012 tour and cruise to Egypt and
Nubia! I am also looking at a group tour to Brazil in November 2012. This
one will take us to both Rio and Bahia, and will end with a cruise on the
Amazon! Details soon to appear my web site!
- RUNOKO RASHIDI IN GEORGIA AND ALABAMA, Runoko Rashidi, 09/30/2011