“Sankofa,” a word in the Akan language of Ghana, means “reach back and get it” (san – to return; ko – to go; fa – to fetch, to seek and take) and is associated with the proverb, “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” Its message, particularly important to African Americans and other peoples of the African Diaspora, is for us to go back and reclaim what is good from past. Then, understanding why and how we came to be who we are today, we can move forward and create successful futures for ourselves, for our children, and for our children’s children. The Adinkra symbol of a bird with its head turned backward to take an egg off its back represents Sankofa.
In Houston, Texas, at the 2014 reunion of the African American descendants of President James Madison, we lit candles to honor the memory of our enslaved ancestors. Our cousin Dr. Ed Madison videotaped the ceremony. https://vimeo.com/99108952.