by Barbados Today
A greater emphasis on the richness of black history must be taught openly, not just in schools, but to all citizens within the wider African diaspora, Ambassador to CARICOM David Comissiong has declared as he launched a new book on the Pan-African experience
The prolific writer and Pan-African activist launched his latest book, The Pan–African Love Story of Arnold and Mignon Ford on Sunday at the Clement Payne Center. The book, which follows the largely unknown love story of two Barbadians, Arnold and Mignon Ford, as they moved from Barbados to the USA to find a better life, then moved to Ethiopia later in life while contributing heavily to the social and economic development of the East African nation.
Comissiong said that the intricate nature of black history has been underserved for far too long. He suggested steps should be taken to help introduce citizens to many of the characters that have helped shaped societies from across the region and the world.
“We have to give our people their history,” he said. “Unfortunately, many of our people do not know who they really are, what their real capacities are because they have a distorted view of their history.
“They have a distorted view of the journey and achievements of their forefathers and foremothers. Those of us who know the true story, we have a duty to share that true story. We are a remarkable people.”
Comissiong also revealed that the story around these native Barbadians who were known famously for their gifts – Arnold with his skills as a musician during the 1920s in Harlem USA, and Mignon as an inspirational educator when they moved to Ethiopia – was one that needed to be told, because of the great impact they had during their journey from Barbados to Africa.
He said: “I first learned about Arnold Ford, way back in the early 80s. From the time I heard about these life stories, they really struck a chord with me. I was so inspired by what I had heard, and I knew that someday I had to produce a book that would help to tell these stories, [and] would help to bring these two heroes to the greater attention from our people.
“I have called the book The Pan–African Love Story of Arnold and Mignon Ford, and on one level it is the story of the love between this Barbadian, Caribbean, African man, and this Barbadian, Caribbean, African woman. It is also a love story about … the African people, and Ethiopia.”
The book, published by Barbadian publisher Chattel House Books, will be available at all local book stores, with an e-book version to be launched soon.