Author Jacqueline Woodson Returns To Ghana

Jacqueline Woodson is the author of “Brown Girl Dreaming” and “Another Brooklyn,” among other books.

Jacqueline Woodson is the author of “Brown Girl Dreaming” and “Another Brooklyn,” among other books.

Jacqueline Woodson is the author of more than two dozen books, including “Brown Girl Dreaming,” which won the National Book Award in 2014, and her latest novel, “Red at the Bone.”

Last year, she traveled to Ghana to participate in that country’s “Year of Return” Initiative. The effort encourages members of the African diaspora – including African Americans – to come to Ghana for a year and try to reconnect roots that were severed during the Atlantic slave trade.

Woodson felt an immediate connection to the country and its culture. But she remained mildly skeptical about the activities promised by the initiative and wrote about it in The New York Times.

Ghana’s Year of Return website celebrates “the cumulative resilience of all the victims of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.” It promised everything from a welcoming World Music Festival to a Natural Hair Expo to a First Bath Of Return and Naming Ceremony in which participants, as is custom for African babies, are bathed, given African names and presented to their extended African family. While these events sounded interesting and somewhat moving, it was not the way I wanted to see Ghana for the first time. I wanted the circumstance rather than the pomp. I wanted truth.

She joined us to talk about the experience — the first time she ever set foot on the African continent.

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