African Studies Colloquium Series: Ebony Coletu

Reclaiming Laura Adorkor Koffey: What can we know from Accra?
Thursday, October 6, 2022 3:30 PM
Minor 110

Ebony Coletu is a scholar and writer based in Philadelphia and Accra. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University. As a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana she researched back-to-Africa initiatives led by Gold Coasters between 1898-1928. She also stages public memorials and conversations about little-known girls and women born in Ghana who died abroad in the name of a cause. Her current book project, Relentless Returns, chronicles a linked series of African invitations for diasporic return and investment in the early days of pan-Africanism.


Abstract: In 1926, Laura Adorkor Koffey traveled to the U.S. inspired by a prophetic calling to invite African Americans to live and invest in the Gold Coast. She launched her speaking tour as a charismatic organizer with Marcus Garvey’s U.N.I.A. movement but less than two years later she was assassinated in Florida. Critics called her a fraud, an imposter from Georgia rather than a Gã princess. For decades, confusion about her identity made it difficult to say anything about her motives and family history. This talk shares several methods used to gather fragmented information in Accra that led to a surprising new story about Laura Adorkor Koffey and her family’s century-long investment in diasporic return.

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