Black History Month: Remember Igbo Landing and the Flying Africans

Chika Oduah
8 min readFeb 20, 2020
“Igbo Landing” a painting by artist Diana “Dee” Larue Williams, depicts an event that occurred on the coast of Georgia in 1803. It’s a 4' x 8' Oil on Wood. The painting was on display at the former Coastal Center for the Arts.

Adaugo. Daughter of an eagle. Obidike, the heart of a strong man. Amadioha, god of thunder. Ezinwa means, good child. Onaedo, precious gold. Ndidi means patience. Obiora. Heart of the people. Enuma. The heaven’s know. Jideofor. Free from guilt. Anwuli. Joy. And my own name, Chika, means God is supreme.

These are all Igbo names and as I write these names down, I am speaking them out loud as well.

Because these could have been the names of Igbo people who committed suicide together in the year 1803.

Before I go any further, let me establish what Igbo is, in case you’ re asking yourself ‘what does Igbo mean?’ Igbo is the name of one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. Igbo is also the name of the language spoken by Ndi Igbo (that means ‘Igbo people’). Population estimates put the Igbo people somewhere between 14 and 30 million and the Igbo diaspora is worldwide. There’s even a popular Nigerian joke that if you don’t see an Igbo person in a community, then leave that place because it’s not fit for human habitation. While Ndi Igbo are dispersed all over the world, they come from the area that is now known as southeastern Nigeria.

Igbo culture values high achievement and there are many Igbo people who’ve made a name for themselves. To name a few there’s the celebrated writer Chinua Achebe who is known as the founding father of African fiction; Obiageli Ezekwesili, former vice president of the World Bank’s Africa division and a founding director of the corruption-fighting organization Transparency International; Nnamdi Asomugha, actor and former football player in America’s NFL, as well as actress Kerry Washington’s husband; Chiwetel Ejiofor, the actor who’s riveting role as Solomon Northup in the 2013 Steve McQueen film, 12 Years A Slave, won him Academy and Golden Globe award nominations.

Chimamanda Adichie, the novelist, eloquent public intellectual and feminist; Chioma Ajunwa, first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field…

Chika Oduah

Africa-centric news, notes and observations from a journalist | poet | photographer | filmmaker | writer travelling through Africa *