As a young man Runoko Rashidi was inspired by the traveling journalist and historian J. A. Rogers. Rogers was undefeatable, rescuing and uncovering Black history from obscure places around the world and many of Europe’s historically ruling families. W.E.B. any continues today constantly adding to the countries and the Wonders that he uncovers. DuBois once wrote of Rogers “no man alive has written more about the Negro”. Rashidi found inspiration in Roger’s life and work and pledged to travel the world much like Rogers had done to follow in his footsteps and witness firsthand the presence of Africa around the world.
This book documents Rashidi's inspired Global Journeys in Search of the African Presence. It's a unique travelogue, recording country by country travels, and day by day encounters with people, historical markers, art and cultural practices that separate and unite Blacks around the word. It’s richly illustrated; with colorful photos mostly taken by the author. The photos do a wonderful job of highlighting the author’s pursuit of a global Africa. They also present the reader with the same stunning visual African presence that Rashidi found, and still finds as he continues his travels today. He now has visited more than sixty countries, long ago surpassing the twenty-four that Rogers - his inspiration – had visited in his life.
Travelogues as literature are not a new way of sharing the experience of distant lands, as they have been around for centuries. In fact, many of the early exploiters of Africa used their travelogues to inform other exploiters of Africa and the “New World”. The uniqueness of Runoko’s work is his passionate purpose. He turns the old tradition on its head, rather than using the narrative to exploit and disperse people of African descent, Runoko’s purpose is to unite those people, now found all over the world by pointing to their similarities and to their unified beginnings. In that sense the man, and book are unique. No one has travel further, no one has travelled more, no one has traveled with the passion of this man to unite people of African descent with their common origin, and common history.
Today Runoko’s global search continues as he regularly takes groups to the many distant places he has traveled, as well as new ones that he crosses off his ever-shortening list. His current activity will hopefully lead to a volume two of global searching. With each group he leads he gets to experience his passion anew, assuring that a new generation will share the inspiration that propels him.