BY TONY KWAME ANSAH, JR.
My “Black History” is the combo-nation of two worlds.
One world is that my ancestors are from Ghana and the other world is that I was born and raised in America.
On one hand I’m Ghanaian and on the other hand I’m American.
Thus, my history is mixed between America and Ghana, which is also known as Ghanaian-American.
A two in one combo I am!
Although I learned a lot about African-American history, I always yearned to discovery more than that about myself identity. Yes, I’m thankful to have learned about historical figures like Sojourner Truth, Fredrick Douglas, W.E.B Du Bois, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and many others. I’m even more grateful to have taken my first African History course during undergrad years. Whereby, I also learned about Nzinga Mbandi, Yaa Asantewaa, Haile Selassie, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Nelson Mandela and so forth.
When I was studying history in undergrad school, I got introduced to politics and economics. I read and saw the negative effects that British colonialism in Ghana had on my family tree. Whereby, my parents, relatives and others sought greener pastures in North America because Ghana was in a regressive state, especially in the 1970s and throughout most of the 20th century. As a result, little Ghanaian communities began to emerge all over the Americas, mostly in Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.
After roughly two years of chewing and consuming African literature, I decided to go study about Africa in Ghana. I was lucky enough to find and join a study abroad program to continue my education and expand my knowledge about African history and politics. I must say that I learned a lot and enjoyed my studies overall.
During that span of time, I got a clear understanding about the past and present history of Ghana and other parts of Africa too. It was obvious to me that my place of birth was very different than the land of my ancestry. Things that I took for granted were all a luxurious privilege in America, but not quite the case in most parts of Ghana and other African countries.
I later returned to the United States with a Pan-African state of mind. My aim was to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all people of African descent. I found myself communicating and interacting more with and around individuals who identified as “African, Black, and/or Caribbean.” My thoughts and expressions continue to evolve and revolve around subject matters of all African descendants.
I wrote many poems incorporating my history as a Pan-African. Here’s an edited excerpt of one that embodies this historical school of thought:
I know you are, but what am I
I know you are an African
But what am I an American?
As I sit next to my kin
With so many inquiries
About history & her story of my ancestry
And how I ended up in America
Why wasn’t I born in Africa?
How did I become bi-ethnic?
I need to know the specifics
Otherwise I’ll be seeking refuge in a paradox
With the whales, alligators, snails, and sharks
Drowning to save my life of this soggy fiction
Struggling to affirm who & what I am with conviction
Am I this tradition or am I that tradition?
Which status do I fit in?
Which one can I get in?
Without having to be on the defensive
And without sounding too offensive
Sorry if I’m a little too aggressive
But it is time for me to become possessive of my racial/ethnic category
And that’s only a fragment of my story
Don’t let me find out what I’m all about
So, I can scream and shout
I’m PAN-AFRICAN and I’m proud…
With that being shared, it’s interesting to note that we live in a historical time where people of the African Diaspora are traveling back to their original roots in places like Ghana. The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” was a huge success story for many people and will surely go down as a historical moment for many generations. Now, that’s some monumental Pan-African history to say the least. True indeed!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony K Ansah, Jr., M.P.A. is a self-published author and a social entrepreneur based in Rhode Island, U.S.A. He has written and published several books and content via poems, quotes, fiction, non-fiction, blogs and articles. Tony has received national & international recognition from Face2Face Africa, Modern Ghana, SDG Philanthropy Platform and Alliance Magazine (just to name a few) for his articles about African business, culture, and philanthropy.
Copyright © 2019 by Tony Kwame Ansah, Jr.
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A great read. Thank you.