My Quest To Teach

February 1, 2016

Chinua Achebe – Writers Can Be Activists

Chinua Achege
Chinua Achebe – Writers Can Be Activists

“One of the truest tests of integrity is its
blunt refusal to be compromised.” Achebe

The mindset that “storytelling is a threat to
anyone in control,” is shared by the Nigerian
writer, poet, activist and superior storyteller
Chinua Achebe. “The Father of African Literature,”
a proud Nigerian storyteller. His influence in
writing has touched generations of African and
global writers, storytellers, poets and now in
the digital age, even after his passing Achebe
is influencing Bloggers/Content Creators and
Thought Leaders.
Those that are content creators, particularly
those of color and culture have a story to tell
and must tell it. What kind of voice do you have
that can uplift and inspire people to positive
and transformative actions in their communities,
cities, homes and even schools?
The written word does not have to be written in
this age of technology, it can be audio, video
or a combination of digital elements that
provide interactivity and a global reach.

“The storyteller has a different agenda than the
emperor,” as Achebe states because through
storytelling truths can be shared. Lies can be
exposed and people can be inspired even beyond
their perceived hopelessness.
Many successful writers are the peasants in
communities where the royalty are stealing the
resources that the people need. Denying food,
water, human rights and importantly the educational
opportunities to escape the hardships of poverty,
unemployment, and even death. The emperor’s
greatest tool is to keep the people ignorant
and dumb-downed.

How many names are there of boys and girls, men
and women killed in the streets of their communities
and cities, their human rights to live a life of
love and freedom taken away because colonialism
still is alive; freedoms denied, lives wiped away
by bullets, illegal choke-holds, and even executed for
telling the truth against racism, brutality by
those sworn to protect and serve, that try to keep
people of color and culture afraid. Why is it now
dangerous for little Black boys to play with plastic
guns when their white counterparts can own assault
rifles and take pictures placing them on Social Media
sites and receive millions of likes, but little black
boys and girls get targets on their heads and backs?

Writers should understand the people whose story they
are telling. They should have an intimate relationship
to be able to tell the truth, to seek truth and share
righteousness. Writers should be critical of opportunities
squandered, chances for progress lost and talents not
shared. A writers ability in telling the truth should
be to tell the truth even if the truth hurts.
Achebe in his 2008 interview with Bill Moyers shares
his reflection of the missed opportunities in his
homeland of Nigeria, how much could have been achieved
by helping the poor, those lacking education and the
“gifts” that could be given to the world. The same
holds true in this nation. Education denied boys
and girls of color and culture denied proper
education can be this nations doctors, educators,
explorers and innovators.

My passion for writing about the wisdom of Chinua Achebe
is the truth he sets in his books and poetry, pertaining
to the influences of colonialism and how even in the
21st century too many Blacks deny the opportunties to
be educated, they still blame others for their inability
to read, they refuse to budget their finances, refusing
to teach their children of color and culture to
learn about their history.
Thousands of Blacks died to make sure their grandchildren
obtained an education and had rights. Dr. Martin Luther
King stated years ago that “Doors of opportunity are
open to you that were not open to your parent and
grandparents, to your mothers and fathers.

People of color and culture are still having their human
rights denied, economic disparities and even the
implementation of school to prison sentences for children
instead of counseling and compassion. Parents must look
clearly to seek the answers to have their children
excel in school, to teach about the values and empowerment
of education. We cannot burn down our neighborhoods in
anger but as Dr. King stated, we must be able to,
“Learn baby learn so we can earn baby earn, and not chant
burn baby burn.”

The words are there in “The Souls of Black Folk,”
“Up From Slavery,” and other works of Black literature.
Why can Black parents encourage their children to watch
Scandal and Empire, but cannot take time to read the
Bible with their children, study scriptures that their
grandparents were denied and even killed for touching
the scriptures that were the first books freed slaves
learned to read with.

Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
and others share stories that many globally can connect
with. Blacks in America must tell their stories and not
allow those that are not interested in their successes
to be storytellers only spreading half truths that lead
us to believe that Blacks are the owners of self-destruction
and lacking cultural love and cultural respect.

“Good writing requires more than dashing things, while
it is work it is always enjoyable.” Achebe
Mar 22, 2013
Many nations suffered from colonization, they sought to
gain their freedoms through conflict, when they became
free then they began to teach their children, empower them
with knowledge and understanding. When will Blacks
understand that movements only go so far, but knowledge
and understanding can change the world.
Imaging when all children of color and culture are reading
and comprehending on or above grade level what a world
Blacks will have.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: