When the News Hits Home: Ebola in Sierra Leone, A Love Letter to My Ancestral Country

Touching deep and thoughtful


ALMOST a year ago I learned my maternal line was a 100% match for the Mende people of Sierra Leone, West Africa.  I was on the grounds of North Carolina’s largest historical plantation, when Gina Paige, head of African Ancestry revealed my results in the shadow of the four remaining slave cabins on the property.  For me it was a watershed moment. I was in a sacred place, reclaiming part of the African in my African-American.  If I am honest, I was also reclaiming part of the American as well.  As an African American until you know something of those initial moments of your ancestor’s arrival and what life looked like for them, it is hard to have the same feeling towards your American-ness that someone of another background has looking at Ellis or Angel Island, the borderlands of the Southwest or the Gulf Coast.

In my mind’s eye I…

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