In 2008 a dynamic think tank of scholars, therapists, clergy, and legal and corporate professionals came together to explore the possibility of designing programs that would offer persons of African descent, and institutions that serve Black communities, comprehensive opportunities to become informed about the social, political, spiritual, and cultural history of pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial Africa, through firsthand contact and interaction.
Our collaboration yielded a vision and mission now consolidated in the goals and directives of African Pilgrimages Incorporated (API), a 501 (c)(3) organization that aims to cement holistic bridges among people of African descent and foster harmonious relations throughout Africa and the African Diaspora.
We take pride in our unshakable commitment to providing quality programs that are planned after investigative and intensive research and collaboration among API staff and expert affiliates in Africa and the diaspora. Our major program emphasis is organizing and conducting PILGRIMAGES TO SACRED SITES ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT. The teams of scholars and professional experts responsible for each unique program design take the requisite time to research and collaborate before arranging each pilgrimage.
Biographical Info of API-Board Members
Emmanuel Yartekwei Amugi Lartey, PhD
Dr Emmanuel Lartey, Board Chair and Co-Founder of African Pilgrimages Inc., a native of Ghana, has been since January 2005 Professor of Pastoral Theology, Care and Counseling at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He has extensive experience as a traveler and leader of group travel. Dr Lartey earned degrees in psychology, math, religion, (University of Ghana, Legon) counseling and pastoral care (PhD, University of Birmingham, UK). From 1984 – 1989 he taught seminarians and university students at Trinity Theological Seminary and the University of Ghana, Legon.
He served, from 1989 – 2001, as Senior Lecturer and Director of the Centre for Pastoral Studies and Practical Theology at the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom. He was formerly Professor of Pastoral Theology and Care at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA. (2001 – 2004).
Rev Dr Lartey is an ordained Minister of the Methodist Church, Ghana and has served variously as Circuit minister, School Chaplain and University Chaplain in Ghana and the United Kingdom.
He has travelled extensively in Africa including leading groups on mission trips and Study Seminars, especially to Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Cameroons, Senegal and Ghana – and has led travel seminar groups to Ghana from the US regularly since 2003. During his tenure as Executive Council member and later President of the International Council on Pastoral Care and Counseling (ICPCC) he travelled widely in Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, South America and North America. Dr Lartey is a much sought after speaker and presenter at international conferences and meetings.
His book publications include
Pastoral Counseling in Intercultural Perspective (1987), In Living Color: An Intercultural approach to pastoral care and Counseling, (1997/2003) and Pastoral Theology in an Intercultural World, (2006).
Antoinette D. Kemp, MDiv.
Born in Philadelphia, PA, Rev. Antoinette D. Kemp was ordained in The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She earned an MDiv degree from Columbia Theological Seminary, and served 6 years as Youth Minister and Associate Pastor for The United Ghana Christian Church in Atlanta, GA. She is currently a Corporate/Industrial Chaplain for Cobb-Vantress, Inc.(Tyson Corporation). Antoinette is a 2008-2009 Fellow for the Black Women in Ministerial Leadership, Church and Society with The Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, GA. She serves on various Boards for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and is a Ministry Missions Interpreter. Her formal training as a Chaplain includes Grady Memorial Hospital HIV/AIDS Clinic, in Atlanta and Agnes Scott College, for Women, Office of Religious Life in Decatur, GA.
Antoinette completed her Clinical Pastoral Education in Chaplain Residency at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. She is the Executive Director for the Legacy 2009 Youth and Young Adult African Diaspora Conference. Added to her portfolio is the title of Georgia Consultant for The National Black Church Initiative for The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
Antoinette is a member of The American Association of Christian Counselors, National Association of Christian Counselors, and Assiociation for Professional Chaplains. She is a member of the Atlanta Interfaith World Pilgrims, and is the Executive Director for African Pilgrimages, Inc.
Antoinette a Certified Biblical Counselor and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Mexico, Greece, Spain and Gilbraltar. She enjoys theater, dance, music and the arts, and loves being the mother of three phenomenal daughters and three beautiful granddaughters. Antoinette is committed to building bridges across cultures, faiths and communities while attending to the health, wholeness and well-being of all people.
Dianne M. Diakité, PhD
Dianne Marie Diakité, Vice Chair of African Pilgrimages Inc., was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Hartford, CT, USA. She earned her BA degree from Colgate University in English and African American Studies, her MDiv degree from Harvard Divinity School and her PhD degree in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she studied with well known scholars such as Delores Williams, the late James Washington and her advisor James Cone. Dr. Diakité is an Associate Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Emory University, where she teaches courses in the graduate and undergraduate curricula. Prior to Emory, she taught at The College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts and at Macalester College in Minnesota, the alma mater of the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan (1961). Dr. Diakité’s research and teaching interests include theologies and religious practices of the African diaspora with particular emphases upon African-derived religions in the Americas and the Caribbean; Black, Womanist and Caribbean liberation theologies; theory and method in Black religious studies; and interreligious dialogue among communities in the African diaspora.
Dr. Diakité is the author of Three Eyes for the Journey: African Dimensions of the Jamaican Religious Experience (Oxford University Press, 2005).
She has also written a number of articles and essays, and is near completion of a second book-length manuscript entitled Religious Vocabularies of Africa: Obeah, Orisa and Identity in Trinidad.
Dr. Diakité has over twenty yeas of academic related travel experience in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. Beyond her work in Trinidad and Jamaica, she has studied, lectured and led travel seminars and other educational and spiritual pilgrimage groups in a number of countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, The Benin Republic, South Africa, Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Bermuda. She spent a year and a half conducting research as a Fulbright Scholar (2006-2007) in the Democratic Republic of Congo where she studied the history of religions in Central Africa during the slave period and prophetic religious movements in Congo today. She aims to translate and disseminate her rich research experience in the DRC through several articles and a published book.
Dr. Diakité has committed herself to the vocation of teaching and research with the intention of inspiring students and other audiences (whether in the classroom, church, temple, mosque, prison or community center) to commit to a life of critical and progressive thinking about religion, politics, and social, communal and personal formation.
Marcus L. Harvey;, PhD
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Marcus L. Harvey is an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. After earning his B.A. from Morehouse College in 2001, he pursued graduate study at Emory University, earning Master’s degrees in 2004 and 2005, and his Ph.D. in 2012. Dr. Harvey’s teaching and research explore the cultural systems of indigenous West Africa and its Diaspora, paying particular attention to systems associated with the Akan of Ghana, the Yorùbá of Nigeria, and derivative systems found in Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Jamaica, Trinidad, and North America. Other major foci in Dr. Harvey’s work are the related issues of knowledge construction and “religious” consciousness. His dissertation, entitled “’Life is War’: African Grammars of Knowing and the Interpretation of Black Religious Experience”, analyzes Yorùbá and Akan structures of meaning in conjunction with Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Dr. Harvey is currently working on a manuscript based on his dissertation that draws on research conducted in Nigeria and Ghana. He has presented his scholarship at domestic and international conferences including the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College and University Teachers, and the Òrìṣà World Congress.
Dr. Harvey aims to develop both his teaching and research in ways that offer substantive theoretical contributions to the academic field of Africana religious studies while also reaching broader audiences. In pursuit of this goal, he currently collaborates with his close friend and colleague Dr. Darin Waters – an historian of nineteenth-century American history on faculty in the history department at UNC Asheville – in the development of a local educational radio program entitled The Waters and Harvey Show: Conversations with the Past, Present, and Future. The program, which airs on WRES-LP 100.7 FM, examines pressing historical and cultural issues facing African-American communities in western North Carolina and elsewhere.
The API Logois comprised of three combinedsymbols that represent our vision and mission: the Adinkra symbol Sankofa, a handshake, and a map of Africa. Sankofa is an expression of the Akan peoples of West Africa. It is derived from an adage which means “it is not a taboo to go back for that which one forgets.” Sankofa is symbolized by a bird with its neck turned backwards, carrying an egg in its beak. The egg shows how fragile the process of retrieval can be; it is a process that has to be handled with care and sensitivity. The egg is also a symbol of life. The handshake depicts reconciliation among persons of African heritage in the Diaspora and on the continent. The blue hand represents the descendants of Africans who were forcibly taken across the ocean during the transatlantic slave trade era, and the black hand represents continental Africans. Our strength as a people will be magnificently multiplied when we are reconciled, when we stand together as sisters and brothers, sons and daughters of Africa. The map of Africa symbolizes Home – actual and/or ancestral - for all people of African descent (from whence we came)!