11 Dec
Posted by Obiora Nnamdi Anekwe

When I was a young boy, I used to believe that the higher position or title you had in life, the more important you were. This is, of course, untrue. As an adult, I have come to realize that it is not the title or position one has that makes one significant, but rather how one uses his or her influence to help others. I have discovered that the people who hold the lowliest positions have tended to make the greatest contributions to humanity. Our greatest leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, and Mahatma Gandhi did not have grand worldly positions. They were well-educated, but they did not necessary have the positional titles that matched their academic credentials. Instead, these men and women possessed the courage and willingness to step out of themselves to help resolve a greater societal issue. They were not highly paid corporate leaders or esteemed politicians. Instead, these men and women chose a path of service that eventually led them to their true purpose.

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08 Nov
Posted by Obiora Nnamdi Anekwe
From Left to Right: Alexis Southerland, Obiora N. Anekwe, and Yvonne Southerland

Three local authors in one family have recently published children’s books, each on different themes. Yvonne Southerland (mother), Alexis Southerland (daughter), and Obiora N. Anekwe (son-in-law) displayed and read from their respective books in the African American Heritage Center during the Kids Book and Comic Fair held Saturday, November 4th at the Macon Library, a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, located in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The branch, opened in 1907, was the borough's eleventh Carnegie library. This year’s theme was “Celebrating diversity in fiction written by local independent authors.” In Yvonne Southerland’s children’s book, The Moose is Loose: The Adventures of an Adirondack Moose and the Wiggletoes Family, she chronicles 35 summers in which her family spent vacations in the Adirondacks visiting many of Big Moose’s favorite sites. She is a retired art educator in the New York Department of Education who has edited a tour guide, Florence and its Hills, and authored a book on her family history entitled, Legacy: Seven Generations of a Family.

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24 Oct
Posted by Obiora Nnamdi Anekwe

On October 16th, I attended mass with my family at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Brooklyn, New York. After parking the car, I walked toward the church and noticed several men and women dressed in bright white shirts and dark pants standing outside. They had several wind instruments like trumpets in their hands. Upon entering the church, several people were dressed in purple. I felt a little odd because I was not dressed in the same colors as other congregants.  From that point on, I knew there had to be some kind of commemorative gathering or celebration occurring that I was unaware of that Sunday. Then after mass, the music began to play and the people from church lined up to celebrate what I learned was the Feast Day of the Cristo Negro de Portobelo (also known as the Black Christ Festival). I had never heard of this Catholic feast day, so I decided to research it and discovered something new about my faith.

But before I further describe this feast day, I want to briefly discuss the imagery of Jesus Christ. His depiction in appearance connects to the Feast Day of the Cristo Negro de Portobelo on many levels. The image of Christ has been portrayed in a multiplicity of visual representations. Throughout history, a people’s cultural heritage and background has dictated how the image of Christ is represented. The Book of Revelation in the Bible’s New Testament described Christ as a man of wooly hair and bronze skin. According to the New International Version, Revelation 1: 14 states: “The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.” In the Old Testament, the Book of Daniel in 10:6 describes the coming Christ in the following manner: “His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.” Although there has not been a generally agreed upon consensus by biblical scholars regarding Christ’s physical appearance, it is commonly agreed upon that He was a Hebrew man with the common physical characteristics of such men during his day. I think that it is significant to bring up the above points regarding Christ’s appearance due to the content of this article. It offers some insight into why some people of African descent may worship Christ the Messiah as a black man in Latin America.

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