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This African-American History Month western Nigeria is the center of attention

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The important thing to remember about the African-American community is that most of their families have lived here since the 1700's, and many arrived during the 1600's. Having been Americans for so long, they are multiracial with ancestors from all over the world. They are and were a critical part of the American labor force, and their role in the military has been critical to maintain safety for Americans on U.S. soil. They are an American's American. With that said, they also have roots in west Africa which is completely different and totally unfamiliar.

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To add to the confusion, Nigeria has the The Bight of Benin (a historical slave trading post) which can be easily mistaken as the homeland, and that area now has a bad reputation for violence on their soil and worldwide internet scams. To clarify, less than 10,000 American slaves came from there. There is a website called Slave Voyages which lists the slave ships' departures from west Africa and their destinations in the western hemisphere, and most of the ones that sailed directly to the United States departed from a large shipping port in the Bight of Bonny which is also called the Bight of Biafra, which is eastern Nigeria and Cameroon.

Regardless of what part of Africa that Americans came from, our focus is on western Nigeria and it has been that way for a long time because of their bad press. My objective in this article is to put Nigeria's problems aside for a moment and focus on their attributes.

The locations that have strongest ties to their indigenous cultural traditions, such as Ile-Ife, are populated with residents who have a very strong sense of citizenship, and strong family values. They're talented local leaders. They are exactly the opposite of the bad guys who give Nigeria a bad reputation.

They love children for the sake of loving them. Wealthy couples who don't have kids view their money as a bitter reminder that they don't have children to lavish it upon.

They're deeply religious and their faith is central to their lives. Their religion is Ifa which has over 400 divinities. Americans would think of them as guardian angels or nature gods. I painted thirty two paintings about their divinities, and I've included some of them in this article by creating a slide show. To view those that are not in the slide show visit my art portfolio on Google Plus by clicking on this link.

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