Black culture, history in the news

By Ernie Brown

The next three months will provide several opportunities for black people to get acquainted — or reacquainted — with their culture and history.

The yearly celebration of Kwanzaa usually takes place between Dec. 26 and New Year's Day.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday and the 145th celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation occur in January, and Black History Month is in February.

There are also two events coming up next week that might interest you. The Black History Study Group is sponsoring a visit by Chike Akua (pronounced Cheek-uh A-koo-uh) from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at New Bethel Baptist Church's fellowship hall. The study group meets at the church, 1507 Hillman St.

Kenneth King of Youngstown, better known to most as "Brother K," said Akua has done some work with the Youngstown City Schools and is author of several books and DVDs including "A Treasure Within: Stories of Remembrance & Recovery." He's also authored "A Kwanzaa Awakening," "African Origins of our Faith" and a DVD, "From History to Destiny: A Paradigm for Black Business Prosperity."

Akua is a 1992 graduate of Hampton University in Virginia and also is a 2003 graduate of Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta. He has more than 12 years of classroom teaching experience and has lectured across the country.

He has appeared on radio and television talk shows sharing his perspectives on education, spirituality and self-knowledge. He continues to train teachers and develop Afrocentric and multicultural curriculum.

You can find out more about Akua by going to his Web site at He will have his books and DVDs available for purchase.

A Christian minister, Akua also has facilitated workshops on sexual abstinence, youth advocacy and African cultural awareness for the Tavis Smiley Foundation's annual Youth 2 Leaders conference.

For those who don't know, Smiley is a black, syndicated radio and talk show host who appears on Public Broadcasting System, and he often is a guest on the Tom Joyner morning radio talk show that can be heard here locally on 101.9 FM.

At 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at St. Augustine Episcopal Church, 614 Parmelee Ave., professor Manu Ampim will speak on the "The Vanishing Evidence of Classical African Civilization: The Case of the Merowe Dam." King said this will be a PowerPoint presentation from the internationally known scholar.

King adds Ampim also is a teacher of research methodology and leads tour groups to Egypt. His books, DVDs and 2008 Egyptian tour information also will be available.

Ampim has his bachelor's degree in business management and his master's degree in history/African-American studies. He has taught in the history department of Morgan State Univerisity in Baltimore and at the department of ethnic studies at San Francisco State University.

He has studied at Oxford University in England and collaborated on a NASA-sponsored research project which examined the ancient climate and migration patterns in Africa. Ampim now teaches Africana studies at Merritt College in Oakland, Calif. Among his books is "Egypt as a Black Civilization" and "Towards Black Community Development."

He is currently writing a two-volume work called "Martin Luther King: The Evolution of a Revolutionary," which is due out next year. To find out more about Ampim, go to his Web page

I encourage as many black folks as possible, especially youths, to come out and support the two speakers who will be in our city to share their knowledge and information. If my work schedule permits, you will see me there. The events are open to the community at large, and if you attend, you will undoubtedly get another perspective on education, business and Africa.

As always, The Vindicator also will carry the days, times and places for local Kwanzaa celebrations as well as events leading up to MLK observances throughout the Mahoning Valley.

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