A children’s visit well worth the sacrifice

The children of Sankofa Academy giving a presentation.
Precell Geter, artist, with a piece he donated to the Sankofa Academy in honor of Dr. Ben- Johannan.
Photos by Lem Peterkin
A children’s visit well worth the sacrifice
By Eulene Inniss

A case against deferring one’s dream was convincingly argued recently at Sankofa International Academy when Mrs. Ollie McClean, the director, held a celebration to honor Dr. Ben-Johannan.

A diverse segment of the community was at the school mingling with Mrs. McClean, her staff, students and parents as they anxiously awaited the arrival of Dr. Ben, the beloved Ethiopian historian, author and Egyptologist, who gave birth to African History as we have come to know it.

To enhance the moment, a film on the life and work of Dr. Ben was shown by Minister Clemson Brown. The children watched with deafening silence as all were mesmerized by the scholarly achievements of this gentle giant. But something happened. Dr. Ben’s visit to Sankofa was canceled.

After the disappointing news, Sankofa’s parents decided that they would continue the celebration at Dr. Ben’s residence. They understood the urgency of now and the importance of having the children meet Dr. Ben.

The welcome Sankofa received at Dr. Ben’s home was beyond description. He was obviously overwhelmed by the generosity and love exhibited through the many gifts from the children, especially the Quilted pillow/blanket from Sister Carolyn Alexander, Sankofa’s quilting teacher.

What a remarkable evening! The children engaged in intellectual discussions and shared their knowledge of Afrikan History with Dr. Ben. Langston Hughes in his famous poem, “What happens to a dream deferred?” speculated about the outcomes of such dreams. Sankofa, however, offered a concrete reason as to why not to defer their dream. At 93 years old, Dr. Ben is in the twilight of his years, they had to seize the moment by any means necessary.

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