In 1918, Laura Adorkor Kofi apparently had a vision from God concerning the preaching of the gospel in the US and helping reinstate the dignity of black people by getting them back to Africa.
Kofi left everything in Ghana, then Gold Coast, and moved to the U.S. to start her duty as a Godsent prophet to the blacks in the diaspora. After 100 or so years, Kofi's story is in danger of getting lost.
Kofi would come to be known by the newly-freed black people of the US as Mother Kofi or Mama Laura. She had been born around 1893 in Accra, then gradually becoming the favourite place for Europeans in the Gold Coast.
Written on her gravestone in Old Jacksonville City cemetery in Florida, is the title "Princess" which, according to Face2FaceAfrica.com, suggests that she was of royal lineage from a Ga community called Asofa.
If she were a princess, it would explain how she had been educated at a time when Western education was not in style in African colonies. Noble African families struck close relationships with Europeans.
Some sources however say Kofi was from Kumasi but they are heavily challenged because Adorkor is a typical Ga name.
When Kofi arrived in the US, she settled in Detroit. It was not long before she established connections with Marcus Garvey, the pan-Africanist who rallied black people in the diaspora to return to Africa.
Kofi became the most outspoken member of Garvey's United Negroes Improvement Association. She was sent to many parts of America to speak to black people and convince them to return to the land of their ancestors.
She had become quite popular among black people in the United States and was referred to as the Prophet from Africa. But she will later fall out with Garvey and fearing for her life, move to settle in Jacksonville, Florida.
In Jacksonville, she established the African Universal Church. The church exists till this day but is now known as St. Adorka's African Universal Church.
In her sermons, Kofi spoke about why blacks all over the world needed to unite and return to Africa to develop their community rather than make their toil and sweat profit the lands their ancestors were forced to work on.
But this sort of rhetoric was dangerous in the United States at that time. Slavery had ended less than 100 years before Kofi's time but in former slave states like Florida, black people were still not allowed dignity.
On March 8, 1928, Kofi was killed during a speech while addressing a crowd of over 5000 people at a church in Miami where she had not visited since she left. During her sermon, she had been speaking about the power of God to help Africans and black Americans.
But as fate would have it, Adorkor may not have been killed by white people. Maxwel Cook, a Garvey supporter was suspected to have shot Kofi.
Today, the story of Laura Adorkor Kofi is known only by a handful of Africans and African-Americans.
A woman who was one of the earliest fighters for the emancipation of the black race needs her story told more often and widely.
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