Author Topic: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi  (Read 23604 times)

sheclown

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Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« on: January 18, 2014, 06:52:58 PM »
Best things about Jacksonville....exploration of times past. 

Joe and I were invited to walk around Adorkaville today (more on that later) and I learned about Princess Laura Adorka Kofi (Mother Kofi as she is called by her followers). 


She was born in Ghana in 1893.  As a princess of privilege she left her country to attempt to unite African Americans with their homeland.  Hers was a message of self-help and commerce and always with a spirituality tied to personal empowerment. 

She spent the years of 1926 - 1928  in this small house on Florida Avenue.  At this time she had tens of thousands of followers.




sheclown

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 06:54:24 PM »
She was arrested in Jacksonville on trumped up charges. 


from http://www.lauraakofi.org/Princess_Laura_Adorka_Kofi.pdf

thelakelander

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2014, 06:57:13 PM »
Wow. Great find. We don't hear too much about the history of Jax's black neighborhoods. Thanks for sharing.
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sheclown

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2014, 07:00:25 PM »
Shortly after this event, she traveled to Miami to preach her message.  An assassin shot her while she was at the pulpit.  March 1928.

Martyred at 35 while preaching the gospel .

Her body was brought back to Jacksonville. Huff's Funeral Home, on Davis Street, had 10,000 followers show up to pay their respects.



Her followers in this country received special permission to bury her body in Jacksonville.

She is interred at the Old City Cemetery. 

« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 12:56:44 PM by sheclown »

IrvAdams

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2014, 07:35:46 PM »
Terrific stuff, thanks! Is that page from a larger story/book? I followed the link and it was just a few more pictures.

Is her former home still standing?
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sheclown

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2014, 08:01:13 PM »
 Yes still standing !!

Dig around the website and see if you can find t. I'll try too. It is a 40+ page document

IrvAdams

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 08:22:02 PM »
I found it, and your link was right, but for some reason it didn't take me there right away and I did the old 'Google-it' with her name and found it. It's a terrific read. he had a huge following all over the U.S.

Here's the link (but I think it's the same as yours):

http://www.lauraakofi.org/Princess_Laura_Adorka_Kofi.pdf
“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still”
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IrvAdams

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2014, 08:26:59 PM »
I see what happened: I am on a touch device (iPad), and I touched the picture instead of the link (they're close together).
“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still”
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Tacachale

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2014, 10:41:24 PM »
I encountered this fascinating story about 10 years ago when I interned at the old Neighborhoods Magazine. The Times-Union has covered it a couple of times, most recently last March: http://jacksonville.com/news/premium-news/2013-03-07/story/after-85-years-slain-ministers-jacksonville-legacy-lingers

Here's an older piece: http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/021205/neR_17931357.shtml

Laura Adorkor Kofi, also spelled "Kofey" and other variations, got her start in Marcus Garvey's black nationalist movement and at one point had a high position in the UNIA organization. Evidently a lot of people think she wasn't really a princess from Africa, but rather an African American from Georgia. Either way, she played a major role in bringing the movement to the South and was its main force here in Florida. She was a forceful enough speaker that she began attracting followers in her own right to the "African Universal Church". As she became more popular she had a falling out with Garvey in 1928 and her movement split off. It was evidently Garveyites who killed her in Miami that year, but no one was ever convicted.

In the 40s her organization reorganized as the "Missionary African Universal Church" formed Adorkaville on New Kings Road. Her successor died in the 1970s, after which a number of other groups split off, including at least one that's still around on North Old Kings Road.

According to the Times-Union article, the Historic Preservation Commission has been supportive of declaring Adorkaville a historic site.
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sheclown

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2014, 07:39:31 AM »
Lecture on Laura Adorka Kofi:  Queen Mother of the America's Black Nationalist Movement.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/T5DDYrjxKzo?version=3&amp;amp;hl=en_US&amp;amp;rel=0" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/T5DDYrjxKzo?version=3&amp;amp;hl=en_US&amp;amp;rel=0</a>

We learn good stuff from this lecture including a section on her time in Jacksonville. (45:48)

"In the 1920s Jacksonville was the hottest and one of the greatest cities in America when it came down to black people..."
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 09:20:12 AM by sheclown »

sheclown

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2014, 09:07:32 AM »
"You have been a long time away from home..."


from http://www.lauraakofi.org/Princess_Laura_Adorka_Kofi.pdf

« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 09:10:43 AM by sheclown »

sheclown

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2014, 09:10:14 AM »
Why she chose Jacksonville as her headquarters:


from http://www.lauraakofi.org/Princess_Laura_Adorka_Kofi.pdf

rutabaga

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2014, 09:28:29 AM »
Thanks she clown.  I missed this bit of local history.  Too frequently, the good get assassinated. …. M.L.K… J.F.K….. R.F.K. ….MX ….. those who have a sense of looking after those positioned less able to look after themselves.

sheclown

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2014, 09:33:32 AM »

sheclown

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Re: Jacksonville's African Princess: Laura Adorka Kofi
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2014, 09:48:39 AM »
Her legacy -- a Black Utopian Community off of Soutel Drive -- Adorakville. 

(And yes...it is in danger of demolition by code enforcement).



Joe and I went to visit Adorkaville yesterday.  I will post pictures and tell that story in a bit.


With Piko Horne, daughter of Eli Nyombolo

« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 01:05:00 PM by sheclown »