The first African-born Prime Minister of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah was a prominent Pan-African organizer whose radical vision and bold leadership helped lead Ghana to independence in 1957. Nkrumah served as an inspiration to Martin Luther King, who often looked to Nkrumah’s leadership as an example of nonviolent activism.
It was a phrase accredited to Nkrumah that helped shape Andrew’s life on and after April 4, 1968 when Martin Luther King was assassinated and Andrew’s mother, Ruby Lee Williams, sat down and with him “the talk” that most Black mothers have had to have with their sons about how to behave when you are inevitably stopped by police, so you don’t become another statistic.
However, in Andrew’s case, he was threatened and bullied by the same elderly white female clerk at the corner pharmacy who had been selling Andrew comic books and newspapers from other cities for many years, who told Andrew to “keep your dirty hands off of reading stuff or you’ll end up like that nigger King”.
So Ruby told her son that he had been born in a place where people from Europe, in another part of the world had traveled to Africa, where our people were from and brought here hundreds of years before where they had killed and robbed the land from the people who lived here first.
She said that when Dr. King stopped talking about civil rights and started talking about human rights, the white people and government in America might have had him killed like they killed African leaders because they were afraid they might have raised up colored people around the world together, in what she called “the struggle”.
She told me to keep reading and learning all that I could but to make sure that I survived to carry on the struggle as long as I could, but to understand that I could not do it with hate in my heart for the Europeans or pity for the Indians because my life’s blood was mixed together with theirs too. Instead my “struggle” was to find some way to reconnect our different races as a family because, she said, at one time everybody on Earth had come from Africa and that we are all one human race.
“You are not an African because you are born in Africa. You are an African because Africa was born in you”
Well, I did keep reading and learning and was inspired by what I read in the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper in 1973 to move to Los Angeles, where Tom Bradley had been elected Mayor of a city with a diverse population from around the world that seemed to be a place where I could find ways to connect those here with their families and networks back home so that we could work together to make the world a better place.
After graduating from high school in 1975 I moved to Atlanta to begin a series of management trainee positions in various sectors, including retail sales, security, restaurant management, and the parking induction that helped me prepare for the move to Los Angeles in 1980. My first visit was to the Leimert Park area where I opened my first business address in Marlton Square Shopping Center – a few blocks away from where the Los Angeles Sentinel would later be situated.
Little did I expect, a few years later to launch from Leimert Park the P.A.R. Referral Network and begin writing a 100-page Entrepreneurial Survival Handbook that was published in 1990 as the predecessor to researching and writing the PAR Export Trading Company Executive Summary published in 1999, that motivated Global Business Incubation’s Chief Researcher, Paul McDonald to become my mentor and inspiration for the rest of his life and mine.
Ten years later, after my appointment as one of the first 200 Facebook Ambassadors by Globcal.net, Paul appointed me as Zero Time Solutions Facilitator for GBI, GBI Emerald Veterans, GBI.systems and Urban Futurists, introducing me to Bermudian Corin Smith, GBI Chief Know-How Officer, who became and continues to be my key thought-partner.
Corin, in turn, recruited me as the only non-Bermudian member of the Emperial Group’s Sanctum Think Tank which was incubated by RootCause.org in the development of the Strategic Operational Understanding for a National Development System (S.O.U.N.D.S.) of Sanctuary addressing grassroots solutions for Bermuda’s hard core and underserved communities. We have since adapted the model for the Leimert Park and Crenshaw Corridor areas of Los Angeles which face many of the same challenges.
During my trips to Bermuda in 2012 we devised “The Kwnzaa Accord” 50 year social contract to reconnect the African Diaspora with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 during and beyond this First Ten Year Implementation Plan 2013-2020, starting from the original founding place of Kwanzaa, Leimert Park.
PROPOSED PLAN OF ACTION (USA)
Leimert Park, the last African American cultural hub west of the Mississippi is also the Diaspora cultural hub with many immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa. It’s subway stations on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Line opening in 2021 will for the first time bring millions of travelers from the airport through this community, which can become either an oasis for African culture or a fatal victim of the gentrification already occurring.
The Sankofa Passage and People’s Walk of Adinkra Symbols outside the Vision Theatre could become major tourist attractions for Pan-African visitors and the area could be developed with investments from Africa to make this a world renown center for African culture on the West Coast.
With the right planning we could together do the planning and promotion necessary to uplift Traditional African Leaders and culture around the world with Ghana and Los Angeles being the magnets on either end through my role as Prince Andrew Williams Jr. of Obi Eziokwu Palace Ghana by HRM Eze Dr. Amb. Chukwudi Thenetu, Eze Ndigbo Ghana (King of the Igbo People of Ghana) and the Council of Chiefs and Elders.