AUTHOR BOOK TALKS

TALK 1

In this day when multitudes in our country and the world wonder fearfully how to survive despite so many questions, with my presentation of Folayan’s Promise, we will see how this one family, in this one village, raised their girl child to be as valued and prepared as their sons while living determinedly with joy and eloquent hope, and the axim: Adye Akye Asa. Survive we must and survive we will.

The Gold-Banded Box, Book 1
FOLAYAN’S PROMISE

In Ghana, the curator at the Cape Coast Historical museum met me after work. He had only thirty minutes for me. Panicked, I asked questions, he answered.  As I began to  read clips from scenes of Book One to have him verify accuracy, his attitude changed from polite corrections to enlightened engagement.

When time was up, he said “Go on,” ultimately, tripling the time.  I needed details about Folayan’s village and location that I had only witnessed in my mind, but I had never seen it, did not know if one like it existed.

After reading about it to him, he said, “I know the place of which you speak. However, it is not as close to El Mina as it is to a fortress.”

“Really?” Incredulous, I felt chills. He gave me directions to Fort Kormantin opposite the village of Kormantse. Twin hills.

Road work prevented us accessing the village. At the fortress, whether walking, sitting, with dignity, ng at the cannons, down at the rolling sea, or taking telephoto pictures of what little I could see of village tree and roof tops, for over three hours the historian addressed all my questions spanning from the beginnings of the slave trade and the European countries that had commandeered that fort from the previous nation.

Though it was a small building compared to the castle, there was no less pain and terror that the captives endured. I was shaken, coming out of the men’s dungeon, but the women’s–wrenched  my heart, and snatched away my voice.

It returned in Folayan’s Promise:
Living under the shadows of slaveholding castles and forts, while watching ships intrude on the Gold Coast, Folayan comes of age. Her father prepares for her to prosper in spite of lurking perils.

AUDIENCE:

Book Clubs: in person or by SKYPE
Libraries and Bookstores
Organizations whose concerns and missions connect with GBB issues and Village Folayan

 

 

TALK TWO VILLAGE FOLAYAN

This talk will show how one small or many villages can improve five various family structures: two-parent, single-parent, guardian-headed, foster, and group homes who are willing to band together with community mentors as individuals or in clubs, churches, colleges,  and businesses using Village Folayan guided methods to help children to raise the honor, skills, economic, and academic success of their families, and thus the community.

Village Folayan – a training center for parents and mentors to develop skills that implement The Gold-Banded Box principles which strengthen “the village.”
“It takes a village to raise a child:” The old African proverb has been touted often, most always to nods of agreement.

Village Folayan provides a structured plan on how people in a community can collect their skills and make it happen.  Village Folayan’s goal is to raise, nurture, and train children. The generational family units that our society used to have is not the norm today.

The knowledge and wisdom that passed down from elders to young parents is nearly lost. But that wisdom is still out there in the village-at-large, and we can band together and make a change; a determination to help with guided support to go back and capture our wisdom, our heritage, and Raise our Children together.

AUDIENCE:

Individual Mentors, Foster families and group homes

Clubs (i.e. mentor organizations, community social clubs, boys and girls clubs, Jack and Jill, social workers, black teachers, fire fighters, police, nurses, unions…)

Churches – member families and outreach to community families

Colleges – professors/departments- to speak to classes as well as to establish Village Folayan’s . College students who wish to mentor High School students use the Village Folayan training manual and Teen Journal to guide 9th -12th graders in a program is a combination of Black Student Unions  and STEM/STEAM, or  Science, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, with tutoring and college success strategies.

Businesses – helping their employee families become healthier, less stressed and support their children to be more academically successful (Happy employees = more productive business)

Transition Facilities – helping people break destructive cycles. Especially those who want to move from dependent lifestyles into an addiction-free, out of prison system into an independent healthy lifestyle, whether in a day program or live-in several month residency. (401)

 

TALK THREE
MY AUTHOR’S JOURNEY WRITING THE GOLD-BANDED BOX SERIES

My author’s journey began at birth, when my mother named me. In childhood, I longed for and often scribbled different appellations on my notebook margins. Once, I asked her, “Why did you call me Phyllis?  Nobody has that name but me!”

“I named you after a famous colored lady, a writer.” she said.

In the passing of time, I learned more about Phillis Wheatley, born in 1753 in Senegal, West Africa, captured and brought to America at age eight, and taught to read by her captors, the John Wheatley family. Phillis proved to be a brilliant scholar and acclaimed poetess, who penned her most renown poem addressed to “His Excellency General Washington.”

I  was not captured, but at the age of fourteen, I was whisked off to boarding school.  I wrote my first poem about a cypress tree I saw up on the hill above the ocean beach of the academy that God had planned for me to attend for one of the most significant years of my life, just as He made a way for me to travel to Africa to do more authentic historical research for The Gold-Banded Box series. My writing journey is one of awe-filled, humorous, sometimes scary, and unforgettable experiences that include my surprise when my travel agent suggested that we begin our Motherland in Senegal.  I thought again about Phillis Wheatley who died in 1784, a fact I did not know when I used old century calendars to calculate for Folayan the birth year of 1785.

That cypress tree stretching for the freedom of the sea, whose mingling waters might finally circle around the back way to the Motherland, is sort of like the circuitous route of my writing efforts. The poem, the play, O Freedom!, and the books in The Gold-Banded Box series, the research adventures, the writing classes, the submissions, rejections, encouragements, connections, computer crashes, and publishing steps, have ebbed and flowed on the tides of my life, finally coming to this cove where Book 1, Folayan’s Promise, could launch and set sail on its own.

 

TALK FOUR
AUTHOR TRAVEL TALKS

At the turn of the century and Y2K, on July 4 of the year 2000,  Phyllis experienced her initiation to the continent of Africa. During the flight, she looked down at the Atlantic and pictured ships of old crossing it, loaded with human beings, some of them being thrown overboard to the sharks that tracked the smell of blood and left a trail of bones.

On the other hand, filled with anticipation, she was so grateful to look out the airplane window, and see the earth’s curvature in the shape of the lion’s head of Senegal come visible; then the thrill of putting her feet on the soil of the Motherland, and seeing old cities with tall buildings akin to those in Harlem she had left only nine hours ago. That afternoon, while winding in the Dakar travel agent’s car on a city tour, she marveled at buildings with giant statues on the second level, carved from white stone, lovely angels with Negroid faces. She was struck with the African esteem in their own beauty. She wondered what else awaited her, sights and thoughts hidden by disconnect. With her own eyes, she imbibed many sights she never even thought of regarding Africa, and she was refreshed.

Phyllis has traveled to 34 countries on three continents and islands, including 14 African nations. She explores African and African diasporan places and experiences, making connections and intersections between other cultures. After arranging for Phyllis to go to uncommon, intriguing sites that she requested, her USA travel agent often added those locations to his regular itineraries. While mingling past with present, enjoy a unique experience as she shares those hidden sites you may have never discovered.

Phyllis can come and speak about any one of the following topics:

  1. West Africa: Return to the Motherland
  2. North Africa: From Canaan to Gold Coast
  3. East, South, Central Africa:  Kwantunyi Adventures,
  4. Europe: The King’s DreamEngland, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Morocco
  5. Israel, Jordan: The Plan comes Alive
  6. West Indies Islands: Africa in Diaspora
  7. Mexico: Olmec Connections
  8. United States: trek though African American History