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Over Troubled Water

Strengthening the relationships between all African ancestored descendants

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 0 comments

A New Kind of Freedom is Coming!
By Robin Foster

In the latter part of 2010, I took an inventory of all the twenty-five plus years of genealogy research I have conducted on my own family.  I realized that even though they came out of slavery, they had embraced very high principles which they worked to instill in their children.  
Slaves Waiting for Sale, Richmond Virgina.  Based on 1853 sketch.  Image on Wikipedia.
They embraced principles of faith, family, work, and community after having endured a system which had erased the basic building blocks to living those principles successfully.  The physical components of each were erased, but the potential to restore them remained forever etched in their consciousnesses.

The Old Plantation, ca. 1790-1800. Watercolor ...Image via Wikipedia
I owe them so much.  They came victoriously out of slavery.  While the onlookers feel that should be sufficient and that we should forget about it and move on, we know we have not yet been made whole.  I embarked on a journey that started with About Our Freedom.  I realized we have incorporated the best gifts of the ancestors and have progressed beyond what they could have imagined, however, we also bear the wounds of the abuses that they endured, and we need to be free from the shackles brought on by offense in order to experience increased happiness and success.

We talk about sin and repentance a great deal, but we neglect to speak of the Healing Balm available for those who have been treated unjustly.  There is a process we each must undergo individually and collectively in our families and communities.  We are all at different stages in this healing process.  We need to seek an environment conducive to healing, and we need to start a dialog that facilitates that process.  

Over Troubled Water is set to become one of those avenues.  There is a saying, "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear."  Out of my desire to experience freedom to the fullest extent, I knew I would need to identify and fix what was broken.  A kind, wise, and loving Heavenly Father has blessed man with the knowledge and the means to heal the sick and bind up the feeble knees.  

You never know what form the teacher will take, but you can be certain that if you move forward with faith, help will come.  I am in the midst of coming to intimately understand how slavery effected my family and the effect that had on me. I have nothing to be ashamed of, but rather marvel at what they were able to accomplish.  I have so much hope for my future posterity that I can sufficiently keep the effects of abuse from reaching the next generation.  I am finding it hard to contain myself.  I am not going to keep this to myself. I am happy to begin  to share some important resources with you starting this week.  Gather your family together to participate.

The most important part about this exchange will be your feedback.  When someone takes the time and energy to share something to be helpful, take the time to tell that person whether you liked it or disliked it.  This is how that person can know to either keep sharing or go back to the drawing board.

Remember what I said about dialog?  We share similar stories and experiences.  Our exchange can benefit both of us, as well a those who happen by.  Please, please, please, share your insights about the historical African American lectures and documentaries that will be reviewed and linked here thanks to Conscious Media Productions. 

There is a new kind of freedom coming!  I just wanted to set the tone ahead of time by re-posting this Psalm from About Our Freedom that I wrote for my own posterity in the spirit of  my ancestors who continue to whisper to me:

My Children's Freedom Psalm
By Robin Foster

There is no need to succumb to grief or sorrow.  Do not easily be overtaken.  Work past the feelings. His love and help are perpetual unto me.

He has been with me all my days and through every dark night.  He has led me out of bondage.  Through all persecutions, He has preserved me.  His love and army shields and protects me to the point where I am a wonder. No unhallowed hand can hinder my progress.  My enemies are dumbfounded. 

He has heard and answered me swiftly in a still small voice.  Knowledge disseminates upon me with each breath.  My eyes, though they see not, see all.  All day and all night my heart yearns to commune with Him.  My beseechings have ascended and fallen at the foot of His throne.

Secret friends have buoyed me and steadied my staggerings.  I have transcended this mortal existence and spiritually supped satisfying the depths of my soul---a meal prepared solely for me.

Why waste one moment of such great delight wallowing in the mire?  Why gorge myself on crumpets which leave me in staggering dizziness only to turn to rend the baker? Turn away. Find secure footing.

Listen for the One who calls infinitely after me. He is gentle. He is kind.  His voice I can recognize even though a thousand war cries sound on every hand. No need for crumpets once I have thoroughly feasted. No stoop among counterfeits again.

Be grateful!  Be joyous! Be glad!  Straighten your shoulders, and look upward.  Be strengthened by the renewing of your mind.  Praise ye the Lord perpetually!  Check yourself.  Heart, mind, and soul should balance.

In all things, Praise ye the Lord!  In your in comings,  in your outgoings,  Praise ye the Lord!  Enter the Cleft of the Rock of Ages, the Rock for days to come.

He only warrants perfect trust...only He alone.  I have proven Him in days past.  I remember the night.  He proves me now.  Move on!  Move on!  Move on to victory!

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Monday, June 20, 2011 1 comments

Healing the Descendants of the African Diaspora
By Robin Foster
Joseph Project: The Movie

JosephProjectthemovie.com | Myspace Video
The Honorable Jacob Okanka Obetsebi-Lamptey was the Minister of Tourism in Ghana and "The Joseph Project"  was his brain child.

 Millions of Africans were captured and shipped to Europe and the Americas.  We still suffer the results of this separation from our homeland and enslavement today.  Even though this will be no easy task, one of our purposes here is to find healing once and for all.

We have been taught to despise ourselves and the very resources which can help in the healing process.  Many of us know something inside and in between us does not "feel" right.  Some of us still suffer amnesia.  Others have risen like Joseph of Egypt to prominence and greatness in the land where we were once enslaved despite all the psychological and emotional chains which still bind many.

Well we will only ever be as strong as the weakest member.  In order to continue to be successful in our various communities, it is crucial that we cloak ourselves in tolerance and love and work to forge alliances with African ancestored peoples across the globe.  It is time to get on with the work of healing.

I am sharing a few tips for how to initiate that healing below, but first of all think about your last family reunion.  How did it feel to take a little time out to go home and spend some time with your family in a familiar place?  How did you come away from that experience? In a certain respect, too many of us have remained orphans unknowingly.

Take the time out to go home.  Walk the place your ancestors walked. Visit the sites where they were last such as the slave fort, the dungeon, or the coast.   Acquaint yourself with your African family. Look into their faces and embrace your heritage there.

Please review the list below, and by all means share your own ideas.

1.  Find forgiveness.

2. Reconcile with your family members if needed.

3.  Eliminate the word "can't" from your vocabulary.

4.  Learn what you can about your ancestors.

5.  Make a pilgrimage to Africa.

6.  Refuse to speak negatively.

7.  Learn what you can about African history and colonization.

8.  Learn the truth about the history of slavery and emancipation in the place your ancestors were enslaved.

9.  Learn about the cultures, people, and current events in Africa.

10.  Share what you know and learn with others. 

Share what you know:

We would love to post your photos and experiences here highlighting your pilgrimage to Africa so that others who have not had the opportunity to go may be encouraged to do so.
Submitted by Nana Nethanel Nasi.

One of the many treasures shared by Nana Nethanel Nasi are photographs of the site in Assin Manso, Ghana where captured Africans bathed in chains after being captured a marched toward the coast. Also, please see this blog, Destination Ghana.  The writer of that blog has not posted since 2007.  Perhaps you can encourage her by leaving a comment.

The actual body of water called "The Last Bath."  Submitted by Nana Nethanel Nasi.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011 0 comments

Can a Captor Cradle You?
By Robin Foster
Oh people! What must we do to overcome the effects of the abuses endured during slavery?  We suffered the removal from our native land, the wiping out of our history from our memories, and we have been armed with the knowledge of how to inflict pain and suffering as we experienced being forced into the servitude of others.

What happens to a child raised up under the influence of emotional and physical violence?  How many children can on their own leave the cradle of the captor, establish a productive family, and become a positive force for good in his community without the help of good friends and family?  Where is the village?

Scars of a whipped slave (April 2, 1863, Baton...Image via WikipediaThink of the abuser of the child.  If he never respected the sanctity of the child in the beginning to the point where laws had to be imposed on him, and the child had to be taken by force, is it wrong to anticipate that he will continue to act out of anything but selfishness?  Unless he has some Divine conversion, can the child expect love, sincere acceptance, or any form of nurturing at his hands?

This is what went wrong after the American Civil War was fought.  Granted, we take nothing from the sacred blood that was spilled on behalf of freeing the slave.  There were African American freedom fighters among them too.  This is why "the forty acres and a mule" never materialized.  After the benefactors went returned home to the North, we see charity and goodwill could not be forced from the abuser.

The so-called freedman remained in the hands of the abuser as the child under his stewardship and as a dependent on him for shelter and food.  Slavery was off the books in 1865, but remained in the hearts and on the plantations for decades more.  So what effect does living in an abusive home have on the children?  Do you think they might start to act out these abuses on each other?  If left unchecked, how bad could it eventually get?  Would they begin to play the part of the abuser?

So now the question comes to mind, "Are we free?"  What do people do today once they have the courage to realize they are trapped living under the effects of abuse?  They turn to a friend, someone they can trust. They turn a blind eye and deaf ear toward any person who would thwart their empowerment or who would try to make them feel inferior. After all, that is a tactic used to perpetuate abuse. They seek out others who are have suffered and worked through the same difficulties.  As they come together in these communities, they are able to receive strength and be a strength to others less strong.

Submitted by Nethanel Nasi
To all the children from the Diaspora I say, "You have been waiting in the wrong cradle. Wake up, before you it is too late.  You were kidnapped from a golden cradle and have been separated from the source of your identity. Do you remain separated from those who do not feel uncomfortable with your ebony or nutmeg complexions, your wavy or kinky hair, or your fully developed frames?  Create a bridge for yourself to pass over from time to time or to pass over once and for all.

With the blessings of technology all African ancestored descendants can develop an online haven where healing can take place.  Let's recite and relish in our history. Let's come together to identify the principles that help us to enjoy freedom and happiness.  Hopefully, "Over Troubled Water" will be the beginning of that for you.  If we fail in breaking the chains that shackle the minds of the present-day generation, the future generations may have no hope.  Quite frankly, what would then be the purpose of our ancestor's hopes and struggles?

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"The W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University celebrates the centennial of a pivotal publication by inviting the public to hear writers, critics, and members of Harvard's faculty and administration read some of the many memorable passages from The Souls of Black Folk.
The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois was published by A. C. McClurg & Co. in Chicago on April 18, 1903. One hundred years later, many still consider this series of essays to be the most influential book written by an African American in the 20th century. Du Bois was the first black man to receive a PhD from Harvard University and was one of the earliest founding members of the NAACP."  See Forums Network.
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W. E. B. DuBois and Encyclopedia Africana
By Robin Foster

Tribute to W.E.B. Du Bois and his work on the project, "Encyclopedia Africana," in Ghana:

Redeemtours ... W.E.B. Du Bois Center

In 1909, W.E.B. Du Bois conceived of an idea to create an encyclopedia depicting all African people as a way to overcome racism.  He met with strong opposition and betrayal in the United States.  See W.E.B. DuBois and the Making of the Encyclopedia Africana, 1909-1963.

After many years, he was invited to Ghana and was provided with funding for the project in 1961.  He did not live to see his project completed, but he is greatly revered by the people of Ghana. He is buried there and his home was made into a museum.
W.E.B. DuBois Mausoleum. Submitted by Nethanel Nasi.

What difference would there have been in the lives of African Americans had DuBois been able to publish his encyclopedia in America?  How would our relationships with those on the African continent been different today? Are we able today to restore the history that has been lost and strengthen relationships after so long?

You may be surprised to learn as you follow along that the children of the Diaspora have not been forgotten by those on the African continent.

More Resources:

You will discover more about W.E.B. Dubois from the following video. It seems Dr. Henry Louis Gates' had a great uncle who knew him.  I do own Encarta Africana, which Gates discusses.  It is beautifully done. I will share with you, however, the fact their are those who do not believe the encyclopedia is accurate enough.  I cannot provide an opinion on this.

The Encyclopedia Africana
W.E.B. Du Bois had long advocated and pursued an encyclopedia project. In his Autobiography he wrote:

I had planned an "Encyclopedia Africana" in 1909 but my leaving Atlanta for New York postponed this project and the World War prevented its renewal. In 1934 I was chosen to act as editor-in-chief of a new project of the Phelps-Stokes Fund to prepare and publish an Encyclopedia of the Negro. I spent nearly ten years of intermittent effort on this project and secured cooperation from many scholars, white and black, in America, Europe and Africa. But the necessary funds could not be secured. Perhaps again it was too soon to expect large aid for so ambitious a project directed by Negroes and built mainly on Negro scholar­ship. Nevertheless, a preliminary volume sum­marizing this effort was published in 1945. (p.302)
In 1961 Du Bois accepted President Nkrumah's invitation to move to Ghana and work on the Encyclopedia Africana project. The project was underway, but far from being completed by the time of Du Bois's death in 1963. See:  WebDubois.org

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011 0 comments

Our History Before Slavery
By Robin Foster

Welcome! I am inviting you on this journey with me to discover who we were before slavery.  I will continue to research the plight of my ancestors during the period of slavery in the America's, however, I know that the best part of who they were existed before they were kidnapped and crossed the Middle Passage.

My focus has been to search out the principles that made them successful so that I can evaluate my own life and provide an example to my posterity.  The African students and friends whom I have known through the years have been good examples to me of hard work, respect, and community.   

I have identified these same qualities in my parents and grandparents and other family members.  Unfortunately, I can only trace my forebears so far at present.  I have found solace in identifying as many as I have been able to document, but I think it is very dangerous to let slavery alienate me from where I came from before slavery.   If I do not overcome the intentions others had to erase who I was, they will be the victors and I will cease to learn more.

I am referring to more than paying someone to examine my DNA and provide a certificate from which tribe I descend. When I look at my round nose, my coarse hair, and the great desire I have to work past the amnesia which erased our sense of who we were and where we came from for myself and my posterity,  my desire is to connect with other African ancestored peoples, share stories and compare notes, then move forward.  

Submitted by Antoinette Harrell.  Trip to Niger.
Thinking I would begin with searching for others who have bridged this gap, I started this site.  Up to this point, it has been my great fortune to collaborate with genealogist, peonage researcher, radio and television Host of Nurturing Our Roots, Antoinette Harrell.  I am fortunate to also be associated with our colleague, Nethanel Nasi.  The sacrifices that they have rendered have paved the way and each of us will be able to add a section to the bridge.  Brother Nasi sacrifices to help the people of Ghana and has recently organized resources and people locally to help people in the Mississippi Delta have the things they need after devasting tornadoes in the region.  I know in my heart that these key individuals would help in this endeavor as well.  I was not prepared, however, to come to the understanding that Brother Nasi as well as Antoinette hold the key to recapturing vital hidden history.  I am happy to be able to share their insights about their experiences on our native land with you.  I also invite others to contribute their stories with us here so that we may all benefit.

Son, Aubrey Younger (Left) (aka) Prince Obiri and Nethanel Nasi  (Right).  
In our second or third conversation, he explained the connection between W. E. B Dubois and Ghana.  There is a museum there, and W. E. B. Dubois is buried there.  I have read and studied the life of  Dubois, but I marvel that so much history is still left for me to discover.  I am also intrigued by the fact that Dubois' personal library was left in Ghana.  

Come back often as we make sacred connections, explore our history before American slavery, and share the stories and experiences of people of African decent from every continent.  

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Keep the content flowing!


With the blessings of technology, all African ancestored descendants can develop an online haven where healing can take place. Let's recite and relish in our history. Let's come together to identify the principles that help us to enjoy freedom and happiness. Hopefully, "Over Troubled Water" will be the beginning of that for you. We welcome contributors who will share their history and perspectives that we may all learn and benefit.
Keep the content flowing!

Our Motto:

"I believe that all men, black and brown and white, are brothers, varying in time and opportunity, in form and gift and feature, but differing in no essential particular, and alike in soul and the possibility of infinite development." --W.E.B. Dubois
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Over Troubled Water by Robin R. Foster is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at overtroubledwater.blogspot.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://overtroubledwater.blogspot.com/.


The village is coming together! We are from many diverse groups from around the world. We invite you to use Over Trouble Water as an avenue that will spark much needed dialog. This dialog can lead to great enlightenment and healing. Every effort will be made to supplement using historical resources for further study, however, opinions or views expressed in articles reflect the contributor's life experiences and are the responsibility of the respective contributor. Comments should be addressed to the respective contributor.

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