The company logo, Sankofa, is an Adrinka symbol from the Ashanti region of Ghana in West Africa. Sankofa is a depiction of a bird looking over its shoulder. It literally means, "Go back and fetch it."
African American youth can ensure their academic success with stories of courageous leaders that engage their interest!
Their parents can enhance their children's self-esteem and pride with awareness of their history!
Teachers can expand their students knowledge about all American history!
Everyone can appreciate, be motivated, and empowered by the inspiring courage of these forgotten heroes!
Knowledge of our ancestors and their contributions to civilization are prerequisites to appreciate our heritage and to understand our potential to make similar contributions. Unfortunately, most historians did not weave African American history into the fabric of early American history except for the inclusion of slavery where African Americans were usually represented as victims rather than instigators of change. A broader knowledge of this history will benefit everyone.
In Massachusetts, African Americans have contributed to every aspect of the legacy of this state including its political, literary, artistic, and scientific realms. This brand explores those individuals and places that are significant to understanding and appreciating the rich and inspiring history of African Americans in Massachusetts.
Sargent Johnson (1888 – 1967), a famous Boston born, artist who flourished during the period of the Harlem Renaissance, once explained his main goal to create beautiful sculptures with clearly articulated African American features:
“It is the pure American Negro I am concerned with, aiming to show the natural beauty and dignity in that characteristic lip and that characteristic hair, bearing and manner; and I wish to show that beauty not so much to the white man as to the Negro himself.” – Sargent Johnson
A similar goal led me to open an African American cultural boutique in Boston, Treasured Legacy, from 1992 to 1998. The store was located at the Dartmouth Street Shops of Copley Place, an up-scale retail mall where stores such as Neiman Marcus, Gucci, and Tiffany are located. The Dartmouth Street Shops are retail spaces at the mall set aside for small, locally owned businesses. At Treasured Legacy, we sold fine art reproductions by African American artists represented in museums across the country to allow more people to become familiar with this important aspect of American heritage by interacting daily with it in their home.
The location of Treasured Legacy outside the mall along the Southwest Corridor Park encouraged a lot of casual foot traffic from neighborhood residents. Early one morning, an elderly African American woman stood outside in the cold staring through the windows at the displays. I went to the door to welcome her in but she hesitated since this was Copley Place with its traditionally expensive stores. She eventually entered at my invitation.
A leisurely stroll around the store allowed her time to view all the framed art and sculptures. When she completed her walk around the shop, she placed on the sales counter a single note-card to purchase. It featured on the front a reproduction of “The Sharecropper,” an etching by the artist, Elizabeth Catlett. She then placed next to the note-card a handkerchief that she gently opened, and began to deliberately count out coins to pay for her purchase. After I put her note-card in a bag, I ended the sale with a customary but heartfelt, “thank you, and have a nice day.” Her response will always stay with me: “I have had a nice day, now that I see you are here.”
Just as that individual needed affirmation that she was important and that people who looked like her had made important contributions to our society, we all need similar affirmation. The vision, faith, and determination of the individuals whose stories are shared throughout this brand should forever be inspiration to us all.