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Middle Passage: a Journey of Endurance

by
Waltrina Kirkland-Mullins


Contents of Curriculum Unit 02.01.05:

To Guide Entry


When I attended elementary school some 45 years ago, a countless number of classmates and I were led to believe that Black people "miraculously arrived" on American soil via the slave trade, that they had no real culture or civilization. Many students (and their parents) denied being a people of African descent, for it held a negative connotation. Additionally, many of the students questioned why "if all of us were Negro," did Blackfolk come in such a wide spectrum of colors.

In the 21st century, although efforts have been made to introduce this missing portion of reality in textbooks and coursework, at the elementary school level, this topic of study is taught on a minimal basis. Upon canvassing elementary school students, I have found many who continue to associate Africa with Tarzan, stereotypical images of onyx-hued people residing in a jungle-laden, lion-filled continent overflowing with huts and villages. Students continue to question why the rainbow of black people exists. Nevertheless, some educators with whom I have discussed my concern state that there's no need to teach this subject at the primary grade level, that such a study would be beyond student comprehension and that delving into the history of Black people prior to and during the slave trade would stir up undesired emotions during a time when we want to spread harmony among diverse populations. I challenge this mode of thinking. Experience has taught me that the implementation of such studies serve as a social empowerment tool, one that helps us celebrate and respect the culture of others. I contend that the teaching of this subject will assist in combating the portrayal and acceptance of stereotypical images and poor communication too often experienced across cultures.

People of African descent have a rich heritage, for their ancestors--many of whom hailed from the Western coast of Africa--once lived in great empires such as Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. These empires flourished: metalwork, weaving, woodcrafting, and trade with other countries existed in these societies long before the emergence of Western civilization. People of African descent too have a living testimony, one of creativity, strength, and endurance quite obvious when examining the heinous and dehumanizing trans-Atlantic slave trade. We cannot assume that students and teachers have this information under their belts. Educators across cultures must come to grips with the fact that in order to truly teach, we must objectively step outside of our comfort zones. MIDDLE PASSAGE: A JOURNEY OF ENDURANCE has been written to help instructors do just that: it takes a look at a small part of African Heritage in the hopes of fostering a sense of understanding, connection, and appreciation of the strength of a people.

Targeted at students in Grades 1 and 2, MIDDLE PASSAGE is modifiable to accommodate students in Grade levels 3 through 5. It can be implemented at any time during the course of the school year. Since, however, December through February marks the beginning of Kwanzaa and African-American Heritage month, the unit serves as an informative prelude to the study of African peoples and an enlightening complement to the Kwanzaa celebration during this time frame.

My unit is divided into three sections: Ghana, Pre-Slavery (taking a glimpse at the ancient Ghanaian empire); The Treacherous Slave Trade (where students "experience" the dehumanizing journey from Ghanaian shores to the Americas); and Traditions Embraced (highlighting traditions that despite the shackles of slavery are evidenced yet today). MIDDLE PASSAGE is interdisciplinary: Language Arts with emphasis on narrative writing, Math, Music, and Art are well integrated into the unit. It is also written in compliance with New Haven Public School's Social Studies Common Performance and Content Standards (SSCPS and SSCS respectively) as follows:

SSCPS: Students will demonstrate their understanding through written, verbal, visual, musical and/or technological formats. They will pre-edit, draft, revise, edit and publish at least one literary work.

SSCS3.0 Using maps, globes, and related resources, students will identify different parts of the world and examine the traditions found therein.

SSCS5.0 Students will read, view, and listen to multiple sources concerning history, and they will use information obtained through stories to identify problems, suggest solutions, and predict outcomes.

NOTE: An annotated bibliography is provided. However, with regard to the use of teacher, student, and Internet resources, be mindful of stereotypical word usage when presenting and/or discussing African culture. Such words as "primitive, mystical, magical, mysterious, dark, enchanted, tribes, villages, primitive people, jungle, enchanting environ…" often prove offensive to people of African culture. Replace them with such words as aboriginal, original people or indigenous inhabitants, townships, cities, communities, communal areas, dense equatorial forest, tropical rain forests, beautiful environ….) Rather than use generalized terms to describe African people, be specific. Use the actual name of the studied group, e.g., Ghanaians, the Akan, the Damongo people…; In teaching African culture, we want to dispel any stereotypes that may occur.

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SECTION 1. GHANA: PRE-SLAVERY

Duration: 2 Weeks - 3 days per week / 45-minute sessions

Focus: Integrated curriculum to include Social Studies, Language Arts, and Art.

Suggested Readings: Social Structure and Traditional Organization of The Akan of Ghana

Enchantment of the World Series: Ghana

Objectives: Students will

*understand that thriving African cultures engaged in international trade and exploration before the emergence of European civilization
*learn about ancient Ghana, its geographic locale, the diversity therein to include its people, their lifestyles, languages, and customs.
*experience folklore, non-fiction, and fictional tales through storytelling, guided reading, and interactive role play
*demonstrate their understanding of subject matter through story writing, journal writing, and art creations.

Vocabulary

TwiAkanEweAsanteGa
sankofafuntunfunefucedibaobobmango
badiecedarebonymahoganyshea butter
bankyekenkefufukeleweleampesi
palm nutsomo tuokosecompoundextended family
matrilinealpatrilinealKenteAdinkraAsantehene
Queen MotherYanadonnutorowambiri seprewas

Background Information:

Upon visiting Ghana today, visitors would experience a blend of modernization and traces of the past. Thriving cities such as Accra and Kumasi contain office buildings, buzzing enterprises, and "computer bars" where Internet access is readily available at nominal fees. Suburban-type communities and rural areas dot the landscape. To see "wild animals" is to visit a city zoo. To see life in old traditional form is to attend a funeral and/or special ceremonies held during specific times throughout the year. Ghana's history and stance today differs significantly from yesteryear.

Long ago, however, Ghana was once one of the largest empires in West Africa. Geographically the country included what is today referred to as western Mali and southeastern Mauritania. During the fifth century A.D., Ghana began to emerge as a thriving nation, becoming an established center of the iron industry. Skilled ironworkers (all male, a tradition still embraced today) produced weapons and utilitarian artifacts sold and bartered in Ghanaian markets. Metalwork was not limited to iron, for the country was rich in gold, found along mountain ranges in its coastal region (thus the Portuguese nomenclature for the country, The Gold Coast). Ghana became renowned for this precious metal, its handcrafts, the forging of iron for tools and weapons, along with magnificent utilitarian pieces crafted from gold, silver, and copper. From approximately 300 A.D. through the mid-1000s, Ghana served as a great trading center. Arab caravans traveled on camels from North Africa across the Sahara to exchange salt, dried fruits, and copper for Ghanaian gold, ivory, leather goods, and jewelry. Artisans, again males, crafted gold and wood products. Although rich in these resources, Ghana was predominantly an agrarian nation. Its people harvested cocoa, plantains, cassava, yams, millet, corn, and groundnuts (peanuts). Fishing and forestry were also an integral part of the culture. These products too found their way in the Ghanaian marketplace.

Ghana's population was diverse, divided into such groupings as the Akan, the Asante, the Fante, the Ga, the Krobo, Ewe, and the Dagomba. Over 800 different languages were (and to this day continue to be) spoken throughout the country, ranging from Twi and Fanti to Arabic.

Its people embraced social institutions that ensured a meaningful life: For the Ghanaian, family was (and continues to be) extended, and strong familial bonds provided a sense of community, cultural values, religious structure, and pride that were greatly adhered to. Mother, father, sister, brother, aunts, uncles, distant relatives and friends worked collaboratively for the socio-economic well being of all. Depending upon the indigenous group to which one belonged, the extended family was matrilineal or patrilineal.

Ghana embraced a traditional system of political authority that consisted of chieftaincy, kings, and ethnic groups. The chief (Asantehene or Yana, depending upon the region) came from a particular matrilineal line and each was in charge of designated territories. Religious, socio-economic and political structures laid a major foundation for the strength of the empire. Rules and regulations ensured that responsibilities were carried out in a systematic way. Each individual had a role, and that person carried out his or her role within that institution. In Ghanaian society, people often occupied several positions of status and/or presences; assumed roles depended upon the institution in which the individual found him/herself.

Slavery existed in Ghana on a minimal basis prior to the arrival of European slave traders. Slavery, however, tended to be used as a means of retaining social order, i.e., a way of implementing justice for wrongdoing. (If, for example, I stole cattle from my neighbor, I would have to pay for the crime perpetrated against that individual or that individual's family; I would have to work off that debt in some form.). Captured individuals were used for labor purposes, often serving as domestics and warriors. By no means was slavery like the dehumanizing institution inflicted by Portuguese, Dutch, British, and Spanish slave traders, one that stripped a countless number of indigenous inhabitants of their heritage and culture.

During this period, many Ghanaians embraced traditional religion. Islam had begun to emerge as a result of interaction with Arab traders and indigenous inhabitants from the North African region. Ghanaians believed that God could be reached through lesser forces: these autonomous spirit beings can take on several forms, i.e., ancestors or spirits. The pouring of libations, special offerings, and/or sacrifices were often made to keep favor with these spirits, for it was believed that catastrophic events could befall one who violates or offends the these deities.

For the Ghanaian, music and dance were inseparable. Both served as a means of communicating ideas and emotions. The use of music differed from community to community. Generally speaking, it was organized on the basis of age and sex. Cradle songs (lullabies), for example, were sung from birth. During puberty, children learned didactic songs that instruct how to take care of home and family. Music taught during puberty rites were taught to both genders solely by women. Women also performed dirge songs conducted during funerals. Hunters, warriors, and various male sects performed their own music. Mixed group music also occurred, where the opposite sex sang and/or danced together.

Music was used for political, religious, ceremonial, societal reasons--and at times for pure entertainment. Traditional instruments such as the torowa (beaded gourd rattle), mbiri (finger piano), seprewas (7 stringed fiddle), and dunno (talking drums) were used to communicate information through rhythmically enticing sounds.

Dance was used as a means to communicate feelings among family and friends. Facial expressions and hand gestures become just as important as the steps, and it is motivated by the rhythmic music. Movements and gestures were often symbolic: for example, hands syncopatedly raised over ones head is indicative of grief, hands placed behind the back or embracing gestures represent sorrow, v-shaped finger gestures raised over the dancer's head is symbolic of approval-a job well done.Traditional dance served as an integral part of society. Through dance, God, heroes, and the ancestors were honored. Valuable lessons were told, and societal values were revisited and shared. Traditional dance was used as a tool to communicate the history of Ghanaian people. According to Professor O'ni, Master Choreographer in charge of the National Dance Theater of Ghana, "for the Ghanaian, dance was and continues to be humanity. It depicts the society, the spirit of the people."

What we today deem as Art was an integral part of Ghanaian life. Hand-woven cloths, rich in color and meaning, were abundantly created in Ghana. Adinkra, which contained a wide variety of symbols, conveyed messages that ranged from the ethnic group to which one belonged to behavioral characteristics of the wearer. Usually worn during funerary occasions, it was worn by men draped in a toga-like fashion. Kente, a painstakingly woven cloth bursting with color was worn solely Ghanaian royalty. Like Adinkra, its colors and patterns held specific meaning. Adinkra symbols were often woven into Kente or carved in statues, masks, sculptures, and utilitarian objects.

The ruling class possessed an abundant amount of gold and cedis (cowry shells). These items symbolized wealth and royalty. They could often be found in hand-crafted items.

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Activity 1. A Land of Many Tongues

Ghanaian languages were as rich and diverse as the culture. As noted in Section 1, Paragraph 2, many languages were spoken throughout the empire. Twi (pronounced shwree) and Ga were some of the major languages spoken during the pre-slavery period-and these languages are still used today. In this exercise, students will sample the diversity of language in Ghanaian society. To facilitate pronunciation, a phonemic breakdown is provided.

TWI

Wo ho te sen? (whoa-hoe-teh-sain) How are you?
Me ho ye eye.(may hoy yay)I'm fine.
Wo din de sen?(whoa-den-day-sainWhat is your name?
Me din de your name.(may-den-day ______.)My name is _____.
Me da ase(may dah say)Thank you.
Yoo(a drawn out yo)You are welcome.
aane(ah-nay)yes
dabi(dah-bee)no

GA

Te acheo bo tee?(teh ah-chay-yo bow teh)What is your name?
Acheo me (your name.)(ah-chay-yo meh)My name is __________.
Oyi wa don. (oh-yee wah doan)Thank you.
Yoo(a drawn out yo)You are welcome.

The pronunciation of these terms is easy to embrace. Have students learn these basic greetings and phrases--particularly what is your name both in Ga and Twi. Ask your students to imagine what it would be like to talk with someone who looks like you, yet when the words come out, you discover the individual speaks a different language. How would you communicate? (Raise this question again in Section 2 re: the slaveship journey.)

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Activity 2: Adinkra Wall-Hanging

Before initiating this activity, set the tone by reading The Talking Cloth by Rhonda Mitchell and provide background information concerning the use of Adinkra cloth (see italicized wording below). Students will subsequently create a meaningful wall hanging and an accompanying paragraph to describe the significance of their cloth creations.

For centuries, Adinkra craftsman have fashioned their cloth with painstaking care. As holds true throughout Africa concerning the use of any natural resource, the Adinkra craftsman pours libation to Nyame (the Creator) before undertaking his creative effort.

A special dye is made just for the Adinkra. Extracted from the bark of the badie (pronounced bah-ghee) tree, it is placed into a large makeshift barrel. Water is poured over the bark until it is completely covered. The bark is allowed to soften for several days. Thereafter, it is sieved and dried. Using mortar and pestle, the remaining bark is ground into a fine powder. The fine granules are placed into kettles of water and boiled for hours, and subsequently sieved to remove undesired particles and to extract the rich dark liquid. Adinkra print designs are made using carefully carved and intricately crafted calabashes. (A calabash is a type of gourd. In Ghana, some grow on trees, others along the ground. They come in gooseneck or spherical form and are used to make everything from ladles and bowls to percussion instruments.) Symbols are meticulously applied to the cloth using nothing more than sculpted calabash stencils and accompanying hand-carved wooden tools.

Note also that colors within the fabric hold significance, and their meaning differ for each societal group. For the Akan, gold or yellow represented royalty, everlasting life, prosperity, warmth, glory, maturity, prime of life, and the presence of God. White symbolized purity, joy and/or victory. For the Ga people, red denoted the death and remembrance of a relative or loved one, sudden calamity, national anger or crisis. Green represented vitality, procreation, and fertility. Among the Ewe, blue was symbolic of love and female tenderness. For some cultures, black conveyed reverence of old age, death and its power over life. In some cultures, green mixed with white was symbolic of a bountiful harvest. The combination of red and yellow stood for life and its power over sickness. Purple represented serenity, patience, and oneness with God.

Up until recent times, Adinkra cloth was used during funerary occasions and worn solely by men. Aesthetic symbols (see http://Quattro.me.uiuc.edu/~fog/adinkra.html) and the colors contained thereon rendered the cloth a source of communication, for together, a message was conveyed. When worn, the "talking cloth" would be eloquently wrapped around the wearer.

We do not have enough fabric or time to create an authentic piece of Adinkra, but we can perceive the essence of its beauty and symbolism by making a cloth of our own.

Materials

You will need

An electric iron
freezer wrap
Adinkra stencils (see Bibliography - Ghana: Stencils)

Materials (Con't)

7 x 18 inch strips of cloth (use white, beige, or pastel blue pillow cases cut into strips, one per student)
10" straws
rubber bands
spool of heavy duty black or brown thread
watercolor template with brushes (emphasize the use of red, black, green, yellow, blue, purple-colors often found in Ghanaian fabrics)
water-filled cups (to clean paintbrushes and moistened watercolors
red, black, green, and yellow acrylic paint

Preliminary Stencil Preparation

Fold freezer wrap. Using half of the Adinkra stencil, lay against fold and trace. Cut out stencils. Open. Make enough to accommodate 3 to 4 stencils per student. Additionally, cut out strips to frame each ironed-on stencil.

Cover tables. Lay out one watercolor palette per student with two water-filled cups (one to moisten the palette, the other for cleansing the brushes)

Procedure

Step 1. Have students roll up their sleeves, wear smocks (or garbage bags with openings cut out for student arms and head), and cover desktops with newspaper prior to beginning this activity.

Step 2. Take linen strip. Use finger to pucker a small section of cloth. Place a rubber- band on the bottom portion of the finger-draped fabric until it forms a small peak. Slide peaked fabric off of finger. Repeat rubber-band pucker technique as many times as possible until there is no room to continue the process.

Step 3. Highlight the significance of colors found in Ghanaian fabrics. Have students select two or three watercolors for his/her cloth from the colors noted above. Saturate chosen color palettes with water. Drench brush and generously apply paint to the peaked portion of the fabric. (I recommend using a repeated color pattern, e.g., purple, red, and dark blue or green, black, and yellow. Using such patterns results in a beautifully tie-dyed cloth, and it is a great way to reinforce the Math concepts of patterns and sequence.) Saturate the remainder of the cloth. Paint will be absorbed inside the folds and throughout the surrounding fabric.

Step 4. Remove rubberbands and open fabric. Allow it to dry. (If a radiator is available, lay painted fabric thereon to expedite drying process). Iron it flat.

Step 5. Have students select two or three different Adinkra stencils. Encourage them to select stencils that have special meaning for them. Aesthetically place them on the fabric, allowing equidistant space between each stencil. Iron them onto the fabric, shiny portion facing downward. Using additional freezer wrap strips, frame each stencil, again with the shiny side facing downward. Iron on to form "boxed stencils."

Step 6. Have students select one acrylic paint color that accentuates the "tie dyed" cloth. Paint space within the ironed-on stencil frame. Don't panic if paint gets on the freezer wrap. The adhesive stenciling will be removed after the paint dries.

Step 7. After the Adinkra wall hanging has dried and all stenciling has been removed, coat the top 1" inch of cloth with Elmer's glue. Wrap this portion of the cloth around the plastic straw. Do the same thing with the bottom. Allow fabric to dry. Push string through straw at the top end of the fabric. Tie. Your wall hanging is complete!

Step 8. Encourage students to think about the colors and stencils used in their cloth and subsequently create a paragraph to define the meaning behind their talking cloth.

Note: This activity can conclude with an Author's Tea, where students present their artistic and literary accomplishments before parents and classmates. The wall-hangings can also be placed on exhibition within the school, and/or at a community businesses and/or at a local library in the surrounding area.

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SECTION 2: THE TREACHEROUS SLAVE TRADE

Duration: February / 3 days, 45-minute segments.

Focus: Integrated curriculum to include Social Studies, Language, Arts, Music, and Art.

Suggested Readings: Middle Passage

From Slavery to Freedom

Before The Mayflower

Castle & Forts of Ghana

Vocabulary:

slaveryimprisonedshackleddehumanizingservitude
indentured servantschoonersslaveshipsslave tradeslavetrader
slaverslibationDiasporaMiddle Passageoverseer
miscegenationannihilationenslavementtrans Atlanticlegacy
ancestorsmusketsshackleschattel

Objectives: Students will

*recognize that both Africans and Europeans were involved in the sale and transport of human cargo.
*learn about the agony of the trans-Atlantic slave trade through language, music, and song
*re-enact a voyage on a slave vessel through storytelling and interactive role-play (Tom Feelings' Middle Passage, supported by the historical writings by Professor John Henrik Clarke, will serve as our storyboard)
*experience the slave trade through visual images, authentic photos, and narrative writings, take an "interactive journey" from Cape Coast Castle in Ghana to the Caribbean and the Americas
*comprehend that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was a tragic, dehumanizing ordeal
*recognize that the use of language is a crucial aspect of effective communication and is not limited to oral and written traditions
*subsequently create a slave narrative based on their understanding and interpretation of the dehumanizing journey

Background Information:

Should you visit the southern coastal region of Ghana today, you can see Elmina, Cape Coast, Dix Cove, Axim, and other castles-each a haunting reminder of a gut-wrenching episode in history.

Upon stepping back in time, we would find that around 1471, Portuguese explorers landed on Ghana's southernmost border; they named it "the Gold Coast" because the area was abundant in the precious metal (Anquandah, Castles and Forts of Ghana, 1999). At first, simple trade took place. Between the 14 through 1700s, news of the wealth and beauty of the land had spread extensively. Avarice and competition set in. Commerce increased and soon included not only the trade of gold, ivory, mahogany, salt, and other natural resources, but also the sale of human cargo. Both Europeans and Ghanaians were actively engaged in this lucrative business however many historians conjecture Ghanaian slaveholders were unaware of the severity of the institution as perpetrated by European slave merchants. The Portuguese, Dutch, British, and Spanish (who of the four played the least dehumanizing role in the sale of human cargo) contributed to the downfall of the once-thriving culture. More than 8,000,000 Ghanaians were forcibly shipped from Cape Coast castle alone! Many of the victims spoke different languages such as Ga, Twi, Ewe, and when herded onto slave vessels, were unable to communicate with one another. Asantehenes, queen mothers, priests, Yanas, other members of the royal family, architects, metalworkers, farmers, weavers, families, children born and unborn…. all were stripped from their homeland. Beaten and shackled, they were indiscriminately placed in holding pens until the slave schooners were ready to set sail. The women, strategically placed in a special area beneath the senior slave merchants' bedchambers, met an unpardonable fate. (Upon visiting Cape Coast castle today, you still smell the stench of death in the holding area-- you hear the haunting, disheartening echoes and whispering sounds of struggle in labyrinths beneath the castle leading to the slaveholders' chambers.)

Led through the castle gates, the people wailed recognizing that they would never see their homeland again. Theirs was an exit through what Ghanaians today still refer to as the Door of No Return.

Activity. Through The Door of No Return

Before beginning this exercise, set the stage. Line your classroom tables and chairs up in such a way that one large aisle is formed. Have children come to group in this designated area, and begin with the discussion of Ghana once being a great empire. Tell your students to imagine they are living in a Ghanaian fishing village, frolicking and/or working along the shoreline when suddenly they notice a strange group of men, Portuguese slave traders drawing near. At this point, use Tom Feeling's Middle Passage as a visual complement. Discuss the illustrations. (Note: This beautifully illustrated work contains powerfully graphic images; be sure to preview the book and clip together those pages that you deem most appropriate for your young viewers. Note too that Professor John Henrik Clarke provides enlightening introduction to coincide with each portrayed image that can be read for additional background information purposes.) Subsequently, turn off the lights. Nurturingly inform the children that they are about to take an imaginary journey on that slave schooner. Have each child lay out on the floor side by side as closely packed as possible. Advise them that for the next five minutes, they cannot talk, turn their heads from side to side, or move any part of their bodies. They must lie perfectly still as if their hands and feet were shackled. Encourage them to close their eyes and think about these inquiries:

What would do if you saw strangers entering your community clad with muskets and shackles? How would you feel if they forced you from your homeland into an unfamiliar structure-a castle-and they stuffed you into a cramped room called a holding pen? That room contained small slits in its walls so that light and air could barely come through. How would you feel? Imagine being lead through a gate and herded like cattle onto a slaveship. Envision being stacked alongside and on top of each other. If you are sick or nauseous, you must remain in your spot. If you must use the bathroom, you must stay there. If your friend or a person unknown dies alongside you, you must lie there. Imagine the sights. The sounds. The smells. The thoughts. Imagine…

Give students a few minutes to quietly savor these questions. Then have them open their eyes and return to their seat where they will participate in syntax-development storywriting activity. Children will be allowed to use inventive spelling (words written out on a phonemic basis). Stories will be edited and rewritten on a story worksheet (see Attachment A).

Extension Activity

Continue the journey by showing Road to Freedom, a film produced and directed by actor Tim Reid. This film can be used to highlight life post the infamous voyage and the spirit, ingenuity, and strength of a people as they strive to be free.

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3. TRADITIONS EMBRACED (This is in the final stage of crafting.)

Duration: 2 Weeks - 3 days per week / 45-minute sessions

Focus: Integrated curriculum to include Social Studies, Language Arts, Math, Art.

Suggested Readings:

Social Structure and Traditional Organization of The Akans of Ghana
Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity
Enchantment of the World Series: Ghana
The Talking Cloth
Kofi and His Magic by Maya Angelou
Boundless Grace
Cornrows
Africa Dream

Objectives: Students will

*understand that the implementation of slavery was a source of economic gain primarily for Europeans and that despite this tragedy, Black people have endured and have held on to many aspects of their cultural heritage
*generally examine Black traditions in the Americas similar to those found in Ghanaian culture.

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BACKGROUND

Despite the atrocities of slavery, over 20,000,000 black people endured. Although stripped of much of their culture, language, and heritage upon their arrival to the Americas, inhabitants from African shores (including Ghana) held on to many traditions: extended family, overt expressions of faith and ancestral worship, the ability to improvise and make do with minimal resources, the creative use of seasonings, okra, peanuts, and yams; language and terms of endearment, woodcrafting and ironwork, cornrowing and body adornment, music and dance are evident throughout the Africa Diaspora.

Extended Family. While visiting Adukrom, a small township along Ghana's Akrupam Ridge, I resided with the Adjei family. My stay there reminded me very much of being in Harlem during the 50s and 60s, a time when Black communities were strong and striving. I wondered why despite never having visited Adukrom before, I felt so connected.

On the first day of my four-day homestay visit, I chatted briefly with the lady of the house, Mrs. Grace Adjei. Grace was busy in the kitchen preparing a welcome meal for me. Grace apologized for not sitting with me, for she simply had to complete the welcome meal. I shared it was fine, that until she was finished, I would love to meet the children of the household. Taking advantage of the moment, Grace called for her granddaughter, Ivy, an eight-year old who had been playing with a group of children in front of the house. All dashed in, curious to meet the new visitor. Ivy introduced the remaining bunch while her grandmother ran out to put the finishing touches on the fufu, kelewele, and okra stew: "Mah-dam, dis ees my braadah, Bismarck," Ivy shared with a Twi accent. "Dis ees my seestah, Cynthee-ah. Dis ees my braadah, Willyum…" I met 8 children--each who appeared to be so close in age, their relationship was questionable! As soon as the opportunity availed itself, I spoke with Grace. "Ivy introduced me to your children." "Ohh yeahs, awl ov dem are my chill-drehn." "You're kidding me!" I responded. "No, day are my chill-drehn. Two lev dowhn dah way, tree lev next dohr, and tree are my grahn-chillren." Needless to say, I burst into smiles for I should have remembered: extended family is an integral part of Ghanaian culture (and African culture overall). My question was answered. It was the sense of community and inclusiveness that reminded me of my younger years in Harlem. For me, it served as a confirmation that my old neighborhood embraced an African tradition.

Extended family defined includes every member, from mother and father, grandparents and cousins to Godparents and life-long friends. The extended family is also comprised of many households. Each family member knows his or her place and responsibilities. Elders are treated with respect and are often sought after as a source of wisdom and guidance. Ancestors are revered and at times called upon and honored during ritualistic ceremonies. Children belong to everyone in the family; it is not uncommon for one to call an elder Mother, Father, or Auntie even if there were no or minimal genetic ties. Extended family serves a source of guidance and emotional and spiritual support. Children from different sets of parents think of themselves as brothers and sisters.

It is phenomenal to observe that despite the dehumanizing impact of the slave trade, the concept of extended family has been translated into black culture throughout the Caribbean and the Americas past and present. On the plantation, many blacks of differing African ancestry took on the role of mama, baba, or nana. (These and other terms of endearment meaning mother, father, and grandma were carried over from West African shores and are still used today.) Children from different sets of parents called themselves brother and sister. Many lived in the same households, working together much like their ancestors in the Motherland. Several historians specializing in the field of African Studies, like Professors John Henrik Clark and Yosef ben-Jochannan, contend it is one aspect of African heritage that helped black people endure the brutal conditions of slavery.

Many households today throughout the Americas and the Caribbean continue to embrace this tradition. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles often living in the same household serve as caretakers for the children. Responsibilities are given to respective family members. Ancestors, long deceased, are often discussed, revered, and remembered during special holiday gatherings and family reunions. Although the concept of extended family is still embraced by many people of African descent, it has been negatively impacted by social patterns (particularly in the United States) of individualism, divorce, and the integration and/or scattering of once close-knit communities. Cultural celebrations such as Kwanzaa, a seven-day African-American holiday created in the United States to commemorate the rich heritage of Black people, encourage Black people to hold on to this important tradition.

Culinary Traditions. Similarities found in cooking among blacks throughout Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas are astounding! I found this to be particularly true when traveling to West Africa, the Caribbean, and the American south.

While dining with the Adjei family in Ghana, I gorged myself on a hearty meal of okra stew accompanied with rice, a spicy mucilaginous dish remarkably similar to one my father often made for our family during my childhood. The tantalizing dish is a blend of diced okra, tomatoes, corn, onions, cayenne pepper, with a pinch of salt simmered over medium heat.

In 1984, while visiting Barbados, I came upon a roadside stand. The woman there sold a wide variety of sweets; her coconut cakes and sugared peanuts caught my fancy (and helped me gain a few pounds). Later travels to Bahia, South America , Nassau, Bahamas, and Ghana resulted in similar roadside encounters. In each instance, the scrumptious coconut cakes were made of grated coconut, sugar, water, and ground ginger. The combined ingredients were simmered in an iron pan, cooled, shaped into patties, and eaten as a tasty in between meal treat. Unshelled peanuts were similarly simmered in a shallow pan containing mixture of more sugar than water. Cooked until the sugar crystallized around each nut, the treat satisfied the most voracious sweet tooth.

Dumplings, a small mass of leavened dough cooked by boiling or steaming, is similar to banku, a large Ghanaian dumpling made of pounded cassava and corn meal. Oxtails with dumplings, a savory stew often referred to as Southern and/or Caribbean cuisine, is similar to meat and/or vegetable stew dishes accompanied with banku eaten in Ghana and in many other countries in West Africa.

The use of spicy seasonings, corn, black-eyed peas, greens, okra, peanuts, watermelon, and starchy fruits and vegetables like plantains and cassava by blacks throughout the Africa Diaspora are deemed rooted in African culture.

Kente. Today in the United States and abroad, it is not uncommon to find people across cultures donned in wearing apparel made of authentic Kente cloth or cotton fabrics duplicating the Kente design. People from all walks of life today use this fabric, long ago worn solely by Ghanaian chieftains and their royal court. Many clergy members in traditional black churches throughout the United States and the Caribbean wear Kente as part of their religious uniform. Many priests at parishes housed in Black communities wear Kente collars and overlays as part of their religious attire. Kente sashes and collars have become a familiar adornment and college graduation ceremonies

Authentic Kente continues to be painstakingly woven in the small town of Bonwire in Ghana, West Africa. Its popularity has extended that township; cotton replicas of the fabric have also been created in other parts of the world, particularly China and Turkey.

For many who wear it, Kente serves as fashion statement. For others, it depicts a connectedness with Africa and her people. Note too that its use is not limited to the clothing industry. Kente today also serves as an international symbol for the entire African continent; an eye-catching Kente wall-hanging is proudly displayed in a main corridor of the United Nations.

Adinkra Symbolism. The use of Adinkra symbolism has carried over into Caribbean, the United States, and Europe. Originally, these symbols were not created for art sake but rather to convey a message: in the past, Adinkra fabric was used extensively for funerary occasions. As holds true for the use of Kente cloth today, Adinkra fabrics are worn and used by people of all cultures spanning the globe for wide variety of occasions and reasons.

A visit to major department stores like Rich's in Atlanta, Georgia or specialty shops like Pier 1 Imports or the Authentic Things Boutique in New Haven, Connecticut, will find you amid clothing and artifacts filled with Adinkra symbolism. A stopover in Brooklyn, New York will find you at Sankofa Ironworks, a company specializing in home repair and iron fencing. The company proudly displays its Sankofa logo. Ajuuwa and Muchson Halim, artisans who specialize in the creation of sterling silver jewelry laden with Adinkra symbols, distribute their creations throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Their work (available through cultural centers such as The Studio Museum and The Schomburg Center of African Research Gift Shop, both located in Harlem, New York) is rich in meaning and painstakingly created.

For many people, the use of Adinkra symbolism has become an art form, but for a large number of blacks throughout the Africa Diaspora, the symbols continue to convey a message.

Hair Care. Black hairstyling trends in the U.S. have taken on many twists and turns: Post slavery and up through the 60s, blacks have embraced fashion trends closely associated with larger Euro-centric standards of beauty. A large number of men wore their hair straightened, processed, and wrapped in do-rags, while many black women resorted to the hot comb and permanent waving methods. During the 60s, with the rise of Black awareness, many African-Americans began to embrace aesthetic values based on West African culture. Letting ones hair grow out naturally became the norm. Hair braiding as a symbol of beauty and identity became popular and continues to grow. (Interesting to note is that during and post slavery times and up until the 60s, natural hairstyles and corn-rowed hair were deemed "bad hair, niggah naps, or pickininny dos." Today, for many Blacks throughout the world, cropped and corn-rowed hairstyles serve as a symbol of beauty and pride.)

Hair braiding salons owned by Ghanaians, Senegalese other African people, along with Black American-born entrepreneurs, are thriving businesses in the 21st century. These salons service people across cultures. (Ironically in Ghana and many parts of the African continent today, many women are taking on Westernized values: hair straightening and perms are not unusual. Nevertheless, a huge percentage of Ghanaian females from childhood to 18 continue to tale pride in holding on to past traditions, wearing their hair natural or meticulously braided in impressive styles.)

Music and Dance. From October 1996 through March 1997, an exhibition accentuating African musical instruments and their visibility throughout the world was featured at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. According to descriptive notes provided by Ken Moore, Associate Curator of the Musical Instrument Department at MMA, during the presentation (see www.furious.com/perfect/kenmoore), "The essence of African music is rooted in the concept that simple rhythmic patterns played on rattles, drums, bells, horns, and other musical instruments simultaneously form a dense mixture of polyrhythmic impulses that fade in and out, constantly renewing and recombining as a kaleidoscope of sound textures. Handclapping and jingles worn on arms and legs or attached to clothing accentuate dance movements and add to this rhythmic complex of layered sound. The music invites the active participation of each member of the community and distinctions between performer and observer become blurred as the infectious rhythms demand that the body react." Moore added that the use of musical instruments from all parts of the African continent has had a significant, enriching impact on music and dance throughout the world.

Pre-slavery, African music and dance were used as a source of communication. Membranophones (drums), idiophones (slit gongs, bells, clapping sticks, thumb pianos, xylophones and rattles), aerophones (woodwinds of the "African orchestra"), and chordophones (stringed instruments) were used to convey messages, thoughts, warnings, values, and feelings. Music and musical instruments served as a phone line for African people. Slavetraders and slaveowners, aware of this fact, made every attempt to disconnect this mode of communication. However, singing, drumming, and dance resurfaced in Caribbean and the Americas in disguised forms. African traditional music and dance were ingeniously fused with African rituals and celebrations.

Africanisms in music and dance across cultures are evident past and present. Long ago, when confined to slave quarters, the African slapped out Hambone rhythms across knee and chest. They made catchy tunes with swift feet movement against dry earth, laying the foundation for tap. Sandman Simms, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gregory Hines, and Savion Glover are masters of this legacy. Dance steps performed by the Asante during the Akwasidae festival influenced rhythmic movements found in Charleston, a popular dance in the U.S. during the roaring 20s. Saxophonist John Coltrane and trumpeteer Miles Davis fused modern day sounds with rhythms played in the Asantehene's court. Quincy Jones, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Ralph McDonald combined African rhythm with modern-day melodies: these artists used such instruments as the twene dua (slit log drum), dawro (bell), djembe and dunno (talking drums), and mbiri (finger piano) to create contemporary sounds we enjoy today. Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, and other Latin musicians undergird their salsa, meringue, and mambo beats with African sounds. Punk, rock, raggae… all have an undertone of African rhythm. A full circle has truly been made, for today, the works of such Ghanaian recording artists as Gyedu-blay Ambolley and Konimo resound not only in their homeland, but throughout the world.

Inventiveness and Creativity. The ability to take limited resources and transform them into functional objects is a part of African tradition that has endured throughout the Africa Diaspora.

During slavery, particularly in the South, blacks used tattered pieces of cloth to create patchwork quilts, many of which contained the strip method of weaving prevalent in Ghanaian and other West African cultures. Quilts were used not only as a source of warmth and comfort; but at times as a source of relaying information. The cloth often contained patterns and symbols that like Adinkra "talked" to the user, helping runaways make it North to the Promised Land, away from slavery's clutches. (An African-American quilt exhibition is currently being featured at the Yale Art Gallery; scheduled for exhibition at other museums across the country, it wonderfully portrays this aspect of history.) The waste products from the pig, doled to the slave by his/her master, were transformed into edible foodstuffs like chitterlings, pig feet, and blood pudding. Remarkably today, these once undesired parts of the pig are served as delicacies in many fine restaurants across the U.S. Washboards and a sturdy piece of thread strung from a nail hammered into a board served as musical instruments. For many blacks throughout the world, the tradition lives on.

Activity 1: A Taste of Ghana

Many wonderful recipes made their way across the Atlantic from African shores. Here are a few variations to give you a taste of Ghana and the Africa Diaspora.

Peanut Chop

1 16-ounce can of unsalted peanuts
1 to 2 teaspoonfuls of cayenne pepper

Open the can of unsalted nuts. Sprinkle cayenne thereon. Close the lid. Shake vigorously to ensure all nuts are dotted with the savory spice. Open and enjoy. A glass of papaya, mango, or pineapple juice with ice serves as a delicious accompaniment! Enjoy!

Grace's Groundnut Stew

I had the opportunity to sample this savory stew during my home stay visit in Ghana. Although I have not mastered the original recipe, this modified version resembles what I experienced in the home of Grace Adjei. It is delicious served with a fresh garden salad and whole-wheat bread! This hearty meal should be prepared in an uncovered three- quart pot.

1 package chicken cutlets (cut into bite-size wedges)
McCormick Monterey Chicken seasoning
1/2 cup of peanut, olive, or vegetable oil
1 32-ounce can of Bruce's Yams
28-ounce can of pureed or diced tomatoes
2 large white potatoes (diced)
1 medium head of cabbage (diced into thin, bite-sized pieces)
1-2 cups of water
1 large onion (diced fine)
1-16 ounce package of baby carrots
8-ounces of peanut butter
1 to 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper (or season to taste)
1 level teaspoon of sugar

Pre-heat oil in three-quart pot. Using McCormick's Monterrey Chicken seasoning, season chicken wedges to taste. Add chicken wedges, diced onion, and cabbage to heated oil. Sautee until vegetables and chicken are tender. Add two cups of water and tomato puree. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes or until stew slowly thickens. Stir occasionally. Add sweet potatoes, carrots, cayenne, and the remaining water. Stir. Continue to slow cook under medium heat. Add peanut butter. Simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Serves six to eight.

Eddie's Kelewele

This recipe, served as a side dish or in-between meal treat, is simple to make. Brother Eddie, manager of the Cozy Lodge Restaurant in the beautiful city of Kumasi, prepared it for me.

2 large, firm plantains
cup of vegetable oil

Heat vegetable oil in skillet. Slice plantains into ½-inch wedges. Cut wedges into fourths. Sautee wedges in skillet for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle lightly with sugar or salt to taste.

Kokusi Tatari

(An Americanized Version)

1 ¼ cup of sugar
¼ cup of water
2 cups of grated coconut

Optional: for a true Ghanaian flair, include 1 piece (about 2" long) of grated ginger.

Mix sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Stir over moderate heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Cook without stirring until the sugar mixture lightly browns and slightly thickens. Add grated coconut and stir until mixture is thoroughly combined. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool until it can be handled. Using an ungreased cookie sheet, scoop a heaping teaspoon, shape into a ball. Place each ball 1" apart onto the cookie sheet. Press lightly to flatten. Let it set until completely cooled and firm. Yields 30.

Extension Activities

View Our Musical Heritage Series: Music of Africa. This video focuses on West African musical instruments with emphasis on Ghana. Reasonably priced, hands on instruments can be purchased at such stores as T. J. Maxx, Marshalls, 1001 Villages, and Pier 1 Imports.

Funding permitted and/or permission granted, learn more about African and Ghanaian culture by visiting: New Haven's Yale Art Gallery and/or Luchson's Casa Blanca African Artifacts Shop; New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Africa Museum.

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SUGGESTED READINGS & SUPPORT MATERIALS@Text:

Note: This listing has proven useful to teachers at the primary/elementary grade level nevertheless they are worth perusing and in many instances are useable by upper grade instructors. It will be expanded as my research continues.

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ADULT RESOURCES

Abatte, Francesco. African Art and Oceanic Art. Octopus Books, London (1972). This book provides samples of "art" found throughout the African continent. Contains beautiful works created by Ghanaian people.

Anquandah, Kwesi, J. Castles and Forts of Ghana. Ghana Museums & Monuments. Board Atalante. Professor Anquandah conducted the archeoglogical excavations in the Clastles of Elmina and Cape Coast and masterfully portrays his discoveries in this photographic work. An expert in Ghanaian's historical past, Professor Anquandah provides readers with a wealth of photos and background information regarding European slave trade and its impact on Ghanaian culture.

Benneh, G. Basic Social Studies Atlas for Ghana. Addison-Wesley Longman, UK. Limited (1997). An educational resource used by Ghanaian students, provides background information re: Ghanaian culture.

Bennett, Lerone. Before the Mayflower. Johnson Publications, Chicago (1993). Written by an American Historian of African and Africa Diaspora culture, this work provides valuable background information regarding African kingdoms before and up to the beginning of the slave trade.

Courlander, Harold. A Treasury of African Folklore: The Oral Literature, Traditions, Myths, Legends, Epics, Tales, Recollections, Wisdom, Sayings, and Humor of Africa. Marlowe & Company, New York (1995). A wonderful collection of African writings, some from the Ghanaian tradition.

Franklin, John Hope. From Slavery to Freedom. Vintage Books, New York (1992). This work provides an objective look at the Africa Diaspora, beginning with great empires of Africa through the slave trade up until the African's fight for freedom during the slave trade and beyond.

Feelings, Tom Middle Passage - Introduction by Dr. John Henrik Clarke, (1995). A beautifully depicted pictorial essay of the dehumanizing journey. With an introdction by Dr. John Henrik Clarke, this work stirs the imagination and takes an explicit look at the slave trade through the eyes of a master artist.

Kumekpor, M. L, Bredwa-Mensah, Yaw, and vanLandewijk, J. E. J. M. The Ghanaian Bead Tradition: Materials, Traditional Techniques, Archaelogical and Historical Chronology, Bead Usage, and Traditional-Sociological Meaning. The Ghana Bead Society Press, Ghana (1995). An informative work, provides background information re: the use and purpose of bead wearing in Ghanaian culture.

Martin, Phyllis M. and O'Meara, Patrick. Africa - Third Edition. Indiana University Press. Bloomington, IN (1995). Provides in-depth background information into the societal and political aspects of Ghanaian culture.

Olatunji, Michael Babatunde & Dietz, Betty Warner. Musical Instruments of Africa. The John Day Company, New York (1961). Provides wonderful background information on instruments found throughout the African continent, many of which are used in Ghanaian culture.

Osei, E. K., Social Structure and Traditional Organization of the Akans of Ghana: Clanship Systems and Marriage. Tell Africa Communications, Accra (1998). Provides background information on ethnic groupings in Ghanaian culture.

Ross, Doran H., et al. Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity. Provides a historic look at the making and use of Kente. Contains exquisite photos of different patterns contained therein.

Sarpong, Peter. The Sacred Stools of the Akan. Ghana Publishing Corporation (Publishing Division) Tema, Ghana (1971). Written by a Ghanaian scholar, this work provides background information on the chieftancy/social structure of Ghana, highlighting the use of the Asante stool in correlation with leadership.

Willet, Frank. African Art. Thames and Hudson, New York (1971, 1993, 1995).

Wilson, Ellen Gibson. A West African Cookbook Introducing Foods From Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone Adapted for American Kitchens. Avon Books, New York (1971). A wonderful cooking resource. Follow the recipes to sample wonderful eating!

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STUDENT RESOURCES

Angelou, Maya. Kofi and His Magic. Clarkson Potter, New York (1996). The photography contained herein are absolutely wonderful and accurately portray the landscape, the people, and diversity found in Ghana. A must-use realistic fiction resource.

Bartok, Mira, et al. Ancient & Living Cultures: West African Stencils - Ghana. Good Year Books (1993). Filled with valuable information, folktales, Adinkra symbols, and activities to be used in class.

Blauer, Ettagale and Laure, Jason. Ghana. Enchantment of the World. Children's Press, New York et al, (1999). A non-fiction work that gives an accurate view of Ghanaian culture past and present.

Chocolate, Deborah Newton. Talk, Talk: An Asante Legend (A Retold Version). Troll Associates. New York (1994). This catchy work of fiction highlights the Ghanaian belief that inanimate objects possess a spiritual quality. An enticing tale for the emergent reader.

_______________________. Spider and the Sky God: An Akan Legend (A Retold Version). Troll Associates (1993). A wonderful traditional tale to explain the creation of the heavens.

Franklin, Kristine L. The Old, Old Man and the Very Little Boy. Antheneum, New York (1992). A touching story revealing the beauty of aging and the wonders of the circle of life.

Mendez, Phil. The Black Snowman. Scholastic, New York (1989). This fictitious work speaks on the being proud of one's heritage and of being Black. It begins, however, with a powerful, realistic glimpse of thriving African nations from long ago and touches upon the beginning of the slave trade and the destruction of a culture. Despite it all, a people have stood strong. An empowering read for one with low-self esteem.

Kuenyefu, Nikki P. Kwaku Ananse and His Mouthless Wife. Second Image Publishing, Accra (1998). A hilarious Ghanaian folktale in the tradition of Ananse.

_______________. Kwaku Ananse and the Cupful of Hot Beans. Second Image Publishing, Accra (1998). Another wonderful related work by the author.

Haskins, James and Benson, Kathleen. African Beginnings (A Look At Great African Empires of the Past). Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, New York (1998). A non-fiction work masterfully illustrated by Floyd Cooper, it highlights the great kingdoms of Africa. Ghana is well depicted.

Mitchell, Rhonda. The Talking Cloth. Orchard Books, New York (1997). A wonderful children's writing that highlights the purpose behind the creation of Adinkra cloth.

Osseo Asare, Fran. Good Soup Attracts Chairs - Ghanaian Cookery for Children. (1993). Simple-to-prepare, tasty dishes are included in this work. A great complement to storytelling.

Stelzig, Christine. Can You Spot the Leopard: African Masks. Prestel, Inc., Munich/New York. (1997). This work helps students understand the meaning behind African mask-making, that mask hold more than an artistic meaning. A wonderful complement to exposing students to African art.

Sutherland, Efua. Playtime In Africa. Antheum Press (1963). Although somewhat outdated, based on my extensive stay in Ghana, many of the presented games and information continue to hold true. A valuable resource in the study of Ghanaian culture. Games and activities noted herein can be played and/or created by young learners.

Toprah, Samuel Kwasi. The New Adventures of Ananse. Academia Magazines Publisher, Accra (1998). A Ghanaian folktale.

Yarbrough, Camille, Cornrows. Coward-McCann, Inc., New York (1979). Cornrowing is common to African people and is a meaningful tradition handed down throughout the Diaspora. Although not specifically targeted at Ghanaian culture, it accentuates an African tradition that is embraced by Blacks throughout the world.

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VISUAL RESOURCES

Steal Away by Kim and Reggie Harris (Songs of the Underground Railroad)

Our Musical Heritage, Music of Africa (West African focus with emphasis on Ghanaian musical instruments)

Race to Freedom Produced by Tim Reid (A wonderful film depicting the treacherous ordeal of slavery in the Americas and the drive of a people to race towards freedom.)

Aristoplay Artdeck: 52 African Artifacts Playing Card Series, Produced by ARISTOPLAY, LTD., Ann Arbor, MI. (Provides a wealth of photo images of African masks, sculptures, and metalwork

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INTERNET ACCENTS

http://Quattro.me.uiuc.edu/~fog/adinkra.html Adinkra patterns

www.nmafa.si.edo/exhibits/currexhb.html Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African Art Info

www.nmafa.si.edu/exhibits/kente/how4.htlm How to wrap and wear Kente

www.civilrightsmuseum.com Background on civil rights movement in America with background information on the origins of black peoples (subject to exhibition changes)

www.schomburg.com Reference library on African Diaspora and more

www.africafocus.library.wisc.eduProvides a wealth of impressive photos of African terrain; call up Ghana to see 149 beautiful images of Ghanaian culture
www.furious.com/perfect/kenmoore An interview with the Metropolitan Museum of Art Currator concerning African instruments; written by Bob Hargus March 1997

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MUSIC RESOURCES

(Note: These items are available on Cassette Tape or CD)

The Path by Ralph McDonald, Antisia Music, Inc.

Songs of Freedom

Drums of Passion by Babatunde Olatunji, Columbia Records*

More Drums of Passion by Babatunde Olatunji, Columbia Records*

Yaa Amponsah Special, Ghana National Folklore Board of Trustees

Ambolley, Gyedu-blay Ambolley, Megastar Productions

Pop Music From Africa Parts 1 and 2, LaserLight

Note: These recordings are perfect for introducing young learners to the sound of musical instruments played in Ghana. Some cuts are traditional; others are contemporary. All give a flavor of African music past and present. Many instruments, such as drums, gourd rattles, guitars, and finger pianos are familiar to many cultures throughout the world and are widely used throughout Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. This pointer should be accentuated during the teaching of this unit.

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RECOMMENDED EXCURSIONS

Yale Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

Museum of Natural History, Hall of Man (Focus: African Culture), New York, NY

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (African Masks and Artifacts Exhibition, Hall of Egyptian Culture), New York, NY

The United Nations, New York, NY

The Smithsonian Museum of African Art, Washington, DC

The Blacks in Wax Museum, Baltimore, MD

The Africa Museum, New York

Schomburg Center for Research in African Culture, (Harlem) New York, NY

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