Monday, 1 September 2014

August 31 Declared African History Reflection Day

Press Release
September 1 2014, London, UK

August 31 Declared African History Reflection Day

The centenary of the founding of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA) by pan-African champion Marcus Garvey in Kingston, Jamaica has been marked by a motion declaring August 31 as African History Reflection Day (AHRD).

The motion, which was proposed by the African Histories Revisited and TAOBQ (The African Or Black Question) community organisations, was carried at the UNIA @ 100 presentation by history consultant Kwaku entitled ‘Marcus Garvey, Economic Empowerment And Relevance To Ghana’, which took place at the Ghana High Commission in Highgate, north London.

AHRD is inspired by articles of UNIA’s Declaration Of The Rights Of The Negro Peoples Of The World, which was adopted on August 13 1920 at a UNIA convention in New York.

AHRD is about setting aside August 31 as a day to reflect on African history with a focus on African empowerment and enterprise, and engaging children wherever possible in any aspect of the global African experience and history. Children in this case include anyone young at heart and still interested in learning.

It is proposed that August 31 should be observed as a holiday, in that whether as individuals, families, or community groups, we suspend the ordinary business or routine of the day for however long is deemed practical to highlight and deliberate on the relevance and lessons learnt from global African history, and how to move forward as empowered and confident people.


African Histories Revisited TAOBQ (The African Or Black Question)

a) Articles of the Declaration Of The Rights Of The Negro Peoples Of The World adopted at the UNIA Convention in New York on August 13 1920, which inspired African History Reflection Day:

53. "We proclaim the 31st day of August of each year to be an international holiday to be observed by all Negroes.”

49. "We demand that instructions given Negro children in schools include the subject of 'Negro History', to their benefit."

b) AHRD update/amendment of Declaration’s sentiment and language:
NEGRO = African

NEGRO HISTORY = African History

REFLECTION = careful or long consideration or thought

HOLIDAY = a day fixed by law or custom on which ordinary business, routine or curriculum is suspended in commemoration of some event or in honor of some person

CHILDREN = children includes anyone young at heart, irrespective of age, still interested in learning

THEIR BENEFIT = Attendees of AHRD programme should see relevance of information provided and deliberated upon, opens their minds, and empower them in going forward. Programmes should consist of delivery of bite-sized historical facts, and dialogue that offers deliberation upon the facts, its relevance to contemporary times, and how it can be used to empower and move people forward

c) Additional Declaration articles worth noting:
11. "We deprecate the use of the term 'n****r' as applied to Negroes, and demand that the word 'Negro' be written with a capital 'N.'”

39. "That the colors, Red, Black and Green, be the colors of the Negro race.” The Red, Black and Green are the UNIA tri-colours adopted in 1920. It’s pre-dated by the Green, Yellow and Red foundation tri-colours Ethiopian flag of the 19th century. Both sets of colours are now recognised as pan-African colours as they inspired the colours of the flags of several countries in Africa and its Diaspora following the independence movements from the 1950s. A combination of the UNIA and Ethiopian colours, making the Red, Black, Yellow and Green four-colour combination provides another  choice

40. Resolved, that the anthem 'Ethiopia, Thou Land of Our Fathers' ('The Universal Ethiopian Anthem') shall be the anthem of the Negro race: Ethiopia in this case means the African continent, rather than just the country Ethiopia

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

TAOBQ unveils a top 10 list and a new concept for identifying people of African heritage

Jan 14 2014

TAOBQ unveils a top 10 list and a new concept for identifying people of African heritage

A new year, a new concept and a new word for affirming African heritage!

The TAOBQ (the African Or Black Question) campaign revealed its araning concept and its first ten 10 subjects yesterday.

“Araning is the act of giving one’s self or someone else an African name in order to unequivocally assert their African heritage,” explained TAOBQ co-ordinator Kwaku at the Xtra History & Reasoning Session presentation entitled ‘Araning: The Importance Of African Names In History & Our Daily Lives’, which took place at the Harrow Mayor’s Parlour.

Aran is made up from African Reclaimed And Named, a concept that encourages Africans, particularly those of note who’ve contributed to world history, to be given African names, so that there’s an obvious connection of their achievement to their African heritage.

Whilst individuals are welcome to aran themselves, TAOBQ will only aran posthumously.

The person at number one of the top 10 list is William Kofi, the 19th century Chartist leader. The araning concept was born as a result of a young person saying they had learnt about the Chartist at school. But with his surname spelt Cuffay or Cuffe, it was not obvious to her that he had African heritage, until she saw his image at a community history event.

Kofi is a Ghanaian name for a male born on Friday. Kofi’s grandfather was taken into enslavement from Africa, possibly from the area now known as Ghana.

At number two is the Maroon leader and Jamaican national hero known as Nanny, which we contend to be a corruption of Nana, a Ghanaian title for a king, queen, chief or revered elder. Her brothers, apart from Johnny, had typical Ghanaian day names such as Cudjoe and Quao.

The African-American inventor Kwadwo Lewis Latimer is accorded third place. Kwadwo is a Ghanaian name for a male born on Monday.

Elsewhere on the list, at number four is the African British classical composer Babatunde Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. His name is Yoruba for “father returns”. Although he never met his doctor father, who never returned from Sierra Leone, one can imagine the composer might have longed for his father’s return as he gravitated towards Africans from the continent and the US, and infused his compositions with African sensibilities.

A hundred years ago, the first African mayor in London was in post. Kojo John Archer is at number five. His is a Ghanaian name for a male born on Monday.

At number six is the first wife of Marcus Garvey, who was able to trace her lineage to Ghana on account of the history provided by her grandmother who had been enslaved in Jamaica. Yaa Boahimaa Amy Ashwood Garvey’s name was given to her by her royal family during a soul searching trip to Ghana.

Very few Africans were able to speak for themselves during the 19th century Abolition period. Asante Ignatius Sancho, who’s placed at number seven, did just that. Asante is a Kiswahili word for “thank you”, in recognition of  his giving Africans a voice at such a critical time.

At number eight is the little known, English-born scientist Dr Buyisele Alan Goffe. His name stems from a Xhosa term meaning “he has retrieved what was lost”.

Coming in at number nine, as we commemorate a century of the founding of Marcus Garvey’s UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association), is the once top UNIA recruiter and fundraiser in the Florida chapter: Laura Adorkor Kofi. Her last name is variously spelt as Kofey, Koffey, Cofey, or Cuffy. Adorko is a Ghanaian name for a second born female, whilst Kofi is usually that of a Friday day born male.

And at number 10, is someone who did more for espousing African pride and self-worth globally than anyone else in modern history, another Jamaican national hero: Akoben Marcus Garvey. His name stems from the Adinkra symbol for war horn, and a warning to be vigilant and wary.

For those interested in investigating araning themselves – and one does not have to go the whole hog like Kwame Kwei-Armah, as adopting a single African name can be sufficient, there are books such a Julia Stewart’s ‘African Name’ and numerous internet resources.

The semi-monthly Xtra History And Reasoning Sessions take place on Mondays 6.30-8.30pm at the Mayor’s Parlour in Harrow Civic Centre. For more details or to book:



The Pioneering Araning List:
1.William Kofi (Cuffay, Cuffee) - Chartist leader
2.Nana (Nanny) - Maroon leader
3.Kwadwo Lewis Latimer - Inventor
4.Babatunde Samuel Coleridge-Taylor - Composer
5.Kojo John Archer - Politician
6.Yaa Boahimaa Amy Ashwood Garvey - Activist
7.Asante Ignatius Sancho - Abolitionist
8.Dr Buyisile Alan Goffe - Scientist
9.Laura Odarkor Kofi (Kofey, Coffey) - Pan-Africanist
10.Akoben Marcus Garvey  - Pan-Africanist
© 2014 TAOBQ

TAOBQ (African Or Black Question (TAOBQ) is a British-based campaign focused on African history and identity. It advocates people of African heritage should be described as African, instead of black.

It was started in 2011, as a response to the UN declaring 2011the Year For People Of African Descent. In a randomly filmed documentary, entitled ‘The African Or Black Question’, majority of the respondents were not aware of the UN initiative, whilst just over half described themselves as Africans rather than black. Parts of the film can be accessed at the top of

TAOBQ suggests the following recommendations:

1. People of African heritage be described as African, instead of black.
2. The opportunity for study of African history be made more accessible.
3. People of African heritage consider adopting African names in order to assert their African identity

Its blog can be found at