Jacksonville, Florida’s Ghanaian Princess

I love cemeteries. They’re so full of history. So when I’m given the opportunity to take a tour of one, I always take advantage of it. Years ago, I took a tour of the Old Jacksonville City Cemetery, and we were led to a little building which, frankly, I thought at first was a tool shed.

 mausoleum

But the story behind it is much more interesting. Here lies Princess Laura Adorkor Kofi.

 Mother Kofi

She was sent here from Ghana to encourage former slaves to return to West Africa. While here, she founded the Missionary African Universal Church and had quite a following. She spoke publicly throughout the United States, and was called Mother Kofi by her followers. There is a neighborhood here in Jacksonville called Adorkaville that is struggling to be restored that was founded by her followers. She was assassinated while speaking from a pulpit in Miami in 1928. Thousands attended her funeral.

There is a lot of fascinating obscurity surrounding Mother Kofi.

  • Why did it take 5 months for them to get around to burying her?
  • Why would a black African princess choose, in 1928, to make Jacksonville, Florida, then a deep, dark, racist enclave, her home?
  • With so many followers, why couldn’t they come up with a more attractive mausoleum for her?
  • Why can’t anyone agree on the spelling of her name? Is it Kofi, Kofey, or Koffey?
  • Why can’t you find more details about her assassination? How was it done? Who did it? What became of him? What was the reason behind this heinous act?
  • Why can’t I find anywhere that describes the exact location of Adorkaville on the web? Even the Adorkaville.com website doesn’t tell you.
  • One would think it wouldn’t be hard to get preservation money for such an historical figure, but apparently some of her followers have broken off and are trying to sell the land out from under the ones who want to maintain it. Much controversy, it seems.

I would love to learn more about this fascinating woman, a woman leader at a time when women were supposed to stay home and behave, and an outspoken black woman in the deep south at that. I think her story deserves to be brought to the wider world. I hope someday all the questions that swirl around Mother Kofi will be answered.

For more details, such as they are, go here.

_________________________

Like this blog? Then you’ll LOVE this book! http://amzn.to/2cCHgUu

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Jacksonville, Florida’s Ghanaian Princess

  1. These are my thoughts, and my thoughts only, but to answer your questions:

    Why did it take 5 months for them to get around to burying her?

    There was some unknown phenomena surrounding her body. The undertaker at the time reported a strange mist in the coffin. He had never seen this before and contacted other undertakers who couldn’t advise him because they never experienced it either. An older more experienced undertaker told him to take the body out and wipe the coffin, which he did daily.

    Why would a black African princess choose, in 1928, to make Jacksonville, Florida, then a deep, dark, racist enclave, her home?

    One of her callings was to give Black people in America hope. Florida had the most lynchings per population making it the most violent state for Blacks. Her powerful and inspiring speeches revitalized many Black people into not despairing despite the harsh circumstances.

    With so many followers, why couldn’t they come up with a more attractive mausoleum for her?

    That wasn’t the point. The pomp and fanciness wasn’t so much important as to the legacy she left behind and her desire for the empowerment of Black people, the Motherland and GOD.

    Why can’t anyone agree on the spelling of her name? Is it Kofi, Kofey, or Koffey?

    Like much when it comes to immigration, names are often misspelled, lost in translation, or derivatives are made.

    Why can’t you find more details about her assassination? How was it done? Who did it? What became of him? What was the reason behind this heinous act?

    There is information. The Richard Newman/Laura Adorkor Kofey Research Collection has information and so does the church that she founded.

    Why can’t I find anywhere that describes the exact location of Adorkaville on the web? Even the Adorkaville.com website doesn’t tell you.

    The City of Jacksonville has destroyed and condemned many of the buildings. Bureaucracy continues to be a crutch in its existence.

    One would think it wouldn’t be hard to get preservation money for such an historical figure, but apparently some of her followers have broken off and are trying to sell the land out from under the ones who want to maintain it. Much controversy, it seems.

    Grantwriting is a hard skill that is learned. It’s not as easy as you think.

  2. Pingback: They Love Me in Ghana – The View from a Drawbridge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s