Timbuktu: Historic Learning Center and Monument to African Intellect

There is a mythical connotation associated with the land of Timbuktu that suggests a place far away, if not fictitious. In reality, Timbuktu is not the fantastical invention of storytellers. It is a city in the West African nation of Mali that was once the learning center of the world.
Named after “Buktu” a Tuareg woman who offered fresh water and a place to rest for travelers in an area near the noted city, Timbuktu began to distinguish itself in the 11th century. Situated along a trade route to Mecca, the location grew into a notable marketplace that attracted many people, including Muslim scholars who shared Islamic teachings that were widely disseminated. The continued growth of Timbuktu was bolstered when Mali’s wealthiest ruler, Mansa Musa, visited the city in the 13th century. He built a royal palace and what was then the
largest house of worship in West Africa. The great Jingarey Ber mosque still stands.
At the height of its development, Timbuktu was home to more than 150 schools and Sankore University. Its educational network served more than 25,000 students and taught a variety of subjects, including medicine, agriculture, astrology and more. Some 700,000 Timbuktu books and manuscripts are
accounted for today, and a greater number suspected to have been produced.
Click below to learn more about the intellectual legacy Timbuktu provides people of African descent. Be reminded of the thinkers, learners, and readers from which Black people descend.

To hear an NPR report about covert operations that helped preserve thousands of irreplaceable Timbuktu manuscripts, tune in click below.

2021 April Newsletter, History and Culture

Arturo Alphonso Schomburg, Founder of Largest Africana Library Collection

Standing on the shoulders of African ancestors who valued scholarship and learning, Arturo Schomburg expressed an early interest in learning Africana history. Motivated by his 5th grade teacher’s erroneous assertion that Black people had no significant history, the Afro-Puerto Rican dedicated his life to collecting and documenting the achievements of Africans and their global descendants. His work laid the foundation for assembling one of the world’s greatest Africana library collections. Today, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture stands as tribute to a great African Diaspora bibliophile and collector.


In 1891, Schomburg emigrated to New York at the age of 17. He settled in Harlem at the dawning of its “Renaissance”—a time when the work of Black intellectuals, writers and artists reflected heightened Black self-regard. Like African Americans born in the United States,  Schomburg experienced everyday racism. He fully embraced the common ties that bound people of African descent throughout the world. The inextricable connection to his diaspora family was at the heart of his activism and research.

To learn more about the legendary work of Arturo Schomburg—historian, activist, and collector—click below. Be reminded of what one person of African descent, firmly rooted in their African Diaspora history, can accomplish.

2021 April Newsletter, History and Culture

Brilliant Young Brother, Investment Entrepreneur Donates $100K To HBCUs

Meet 24-year-old Bryce Thompson, a graduate of Morehouse college, whose uncle helped pay his tuition when financial support was most needed. Recognizing the life-changing value of his uncle’s generosity, Thompson decided he could and must do the same to help other Black students. That’s why he recently donated $100,000 to ten HBCUs he personally visited to present each check. 


Thompson is financially able to give because of his entrepreneurial success as an investor. He is the founder of “TradeHouse Investment Group,” a company that teaches people how to properly invest in the foreign exchange market. In addition to being a successful investor, Thompson is a living breathing representation of who young Black men are. He embodies the kind of talent and drive stirring in the hearts of many others. He is an exemplar of how Black men and women—focused and inspired—can and do achieve beyond measure. 


Click below to learn more about the young Brother we want every Black man and woman to know about. Spread the good word. Be inspired to take action.

2021 April Newsletter, Present Day Achievements

Two Sisters Launch Chocolate Production Company in Ghana as Nation Limits Export of Raw Cocoa

Most any time Black entrepreneurs venture into a business that uses raw supplies from 

Black-owned sources, there is the opportunity to activate and celebrate mutual gain. That’s a big part of what makes Kimberly and Priscilla Addison’s new “57 Chocolate” company applaudable. They will use homegrown Ghana cocoa—a primary source of raw cocoa on which the global chocolate industry depends—to enter the $100 billion chocolate production industry in which Black people barely participate. 

What makes the Addison sisters’ company even more significant is that they are launching at a time when Ghana cocoa exports to foreign countries are coming to an end. Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently announced an impending shift in Ghana’s historical export relationship with foreign buyers—who pay little for cocoa yet profit big. On February 28, 2021, while visiting Switzerland—the “Swiss Cocoa” capital of the world—President Akufo-Addo gave notice that Ghana will begin processing more of its cocoa, and no longer export the raw product to Switzerland. The President’s announcement marks a historic shift between Ghana and Switzerland’s export-import relationship. The change is intended to improve Ghana’s economic sovereignty. 

Click below to learn more about “57 Chocolate,” a company helping to advance Ghana’s chocolate production industry. The company represents the beginning of a larger and perhaps sweeter story about the flavor of self-reliance. 


To hear an excerpt from the notable speech President Akufo-Addo delivered in Switzerland, tune in below.

2021 April Newsletter, Present Day Achievements, 

Two Brothers Create the Healthy Hip Hop Education Platform, Using Music and Animation as a Catalyst for Learning

A few years ago, Roy Scott began noticing how easily his child memorized and repeated the lyrics of Hip-Hop music. Soon convinced that music could be a powerful learning catalyst, Scott began to build a learning platform that used Hip-Hop music as a teaching tool that appealed to children and parents in Black communities. 

After Scott and co-founder Wes Smith successfully launched the “Healthy Hip-Hop” company, they secured a Shark Tank appearance and investor deal. Yet, after their successful pitch, the show was not aired and the deal rescinded. The Healthy Hip-Hop owners soon discovered that because Disney owns ABC, the network that airs Shark Tank, a decision was made not to support or promote Healthy Hip-Hop. Apparently, Disney decided the young business was a competitive threat. According to Scott, “They looked at our children’s programming as competition. And so, ‘Welcome to Hollywood,’ is what we were told.”

One experience with the Healthy Hip Hop education platform will help explain why Disney might be uneasy. The music, messaging, animation, and vibrant colors are amazing! Click below to learn more about the Healthy Hip Hop platform and how, despite being released from Shark Tank, its owners garnered more funds and determination to scale the business. Be inspired by Scott and Smith’s “cant stop, won’t stop” example of Black achievement.

2021 April Newsletter, Business & Finance

Dr. Ashanti, 1st Black Woman Chemical Oceanographer in the US is Dedicated to Lifting Others As She Climbs

On land, sea, and in the air, Black people have and continue to accomplish highly—despite historic and present-day challenges. Dr. Ashanti Johnson exemplifies this truth as an oceanographer, and first Black woman to earn a PhD in chemical oceanography at Texas A & M University, Galveston. It was her 3rd grade dolphin project, followed by relentless encouragement from 2 teachers, that inspired her interest in mastering knowledge of the seas. 

While Johnson has earned a host of science awards, her commitment to helping others achieve similarly may be one of her most enduring distinctions. Recalling a sentiment she developed en route to becoming an oceanographer, Johnson stated,“My experience at Texas A&M for grad school is when I initially decided that I would make it easier for others. I wanted to ensure that they would not have to struggle and do all of the proving that I had to do without a support system.”

Dr. Johnson’s commitment to bringing others along as she climbs represents a cultural value that has long served people of African descent. Responsibility for oneself in relationship to the collective well-being of others is a fundamental way of being that regenerates and sustains life. To learn more about the brilliant oceanographer who has made it her business to help others, click below.

2021 April Newsletter, Present Day Achievement

The Black Bread Company, Launched by 3 Black Men Committed to Social Justice

Inspired by the 2020 social justice movements, Mark Edmond became determined to support Black businesses. He knew there was a connection between social justice and Black economic empowerment, and wanted to be a catalyst for building better Black lives. When he searched for grocery products, he could not find any bread manufactured by a Black-owned company. That’s when he recruited two friends, Charles Alexander and Jamel Lewis, to partner with him and create the “Black Bread Company,” reportedly the first Black-owned sliced bread company in the United States.

The Black Bread Company is open for business. High-quality honey wheat and premium white bread can be purchased at their online store. The operation is governed by the motto “come correct,” a principle intended to guide every facet of the business.

Click below to learn more about 3 businessmen who have combined their talent, money, and commitment to empowering Black people, while generating profit. Be inspired by a simple idea grounded in profound Black self-regard.

2021 April Newsletter, Present Day Achievement