Our Vission & Mission
As API seeks to provide resources, opportunities, and leadership for the healing and well-being of all people of African heritage, our vision is to be an international organization providing educational travel for students, opportunities for African cultural and historical exploration, visits to African sites of healing for therapy and holistic health, reflective spiritual pilgrimages and professional consultative services. API journeys to Africa include pre-departure educational orientations and workshops designed to prepare participants for transformative pilgrimage experiences. We offer programs for individuals, families, religious traditions and organizations, primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions, fraternal and sororal organizations, rites of passage organizations, athletic clubs, artistic groups, professional associations and societies, and others interested in our initiatives.
API’s vision is particularly inspired by the urgency characterizing a sweeping trend of ‘African heritage seeking’ among communities across the African diaspora, as many are determined to replace the guessing game about specific genetic connections to the African continent with reliable facts and data. Although advances in genetic testing now enable and satisfy the curiosity of African heritage seekers, the search for African genetic roots and connections has an extensive history in African diasporan traditions. Long before the 1977 debut of the TV mini-series Roots Africans of the diaspora had expressed profound yearnings for credible accounts of their personal and collective histories. However, conventional methods of uncovering ancestral lineages have been a luxury inaccessible and elusive for so many people of African descent whose ancestors’ experiences and memories were often erased by their placement in history as moveable property—chattel to be auctioned, mortgaged, willed and gifted by their owners and consumers in private dealings and the public market.
Many across the African diaspora have attempted to overcome their onerous exile from ancestry and heritage by solidifying familial, ethnic, cultural, and racial ties through a host of local, national, and international traditions. The routes taken in search of their obscured African roots are as diverse as the peoples of the African diaspora and engender a deep sense of pride in and curiosity about the African continental heritage and civilizations that gave rise to unique New World Black traditions. The African-inspired legacies of music and dance forms; spiritual expressions; culinary traditions; fashion, adornment, and grooming aesthetics; communicative strategies and oral traditions that litter our distinctive cultural landscapes, coupled with our current scientific and cultural ethos of genetic testing and mapping, intensify the search for greater genealogical and ethnic precision as Africans of the diaspora seek to align themselves with African continental geographic and cultural regions of direct relevance to their personal lineages.
In Brazil, the country that received the largest percentage of enslaved Africans among all American and Caribbean slaveholding territories, the link between Brazil’s northeastern population and the Nigerian homeland from which many were forcibly removed, was never broken, as merchant ships transported Black Brazilians back and forth between the two coasts throughout the nineteenth century. In the United States, there is evidence that the indelible institution of family reunion gatherings began to take root in the decades after Emancipation when families that were torn asunder during slavery made efforts to reconnect, re-member their past, and secure their future. For many the future and the past remain inextricably bound in an ultimate quest for Home. Knowing where their lineages might locate them in Africa is an essential step in the journey. However understanding the complex contexts, the roots and routes from which their lineages sprang in Africa offers an essential remedy for so many lost and suffering souls in search of meaning and belonging. Acquiring deep knowledge of the civilizations and history of Africa allows searchers to piece together the spiritual and cultural narratives that can help to nurture and restore what William E.B. Du Bois referred to as the collective ‘soul-life’ of the African diaspora.
With this history in mind and our recent move toward scientifically-sanctioned ‘African heritage seeking,’ API offers services that enhance the options for securing and reinforcing formidable relations among Africans and African diasporans, with an emphasis on education, cultural and spiritual enrichment and holistic health/healing and reconciliation.