A Journey Far: Okunrin
(A Man)

Spring 2024

A Journey Far: Ibọwọ

Summer 2024

A Journey Far: Gbigba

Fall 2024

A Journey Far: Okunrin
(A Man)

Early 1861 to early 1865

As the US Civil War begins, James continues at New York University because President Lincoln refused to allow African Americans to serve in the Civil War as soldiers. For two years, James continued his studies with his adopted brother, Bobby Harris from Boston, and monitored the situation through various newspaper articles, conversations in his classes, and the mysterious Mr. Bill, who regularly updated everybody in Ms. Howard’s building on the situation. Even after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 went into effect, James felt betrayed because he remained a fugitive slave.

Finally, in April of 1863, Lincoln allowed African Americans to serve in the United States Army and Navy as soldiers. James and Bobby immediately signed up, and their regiment, which fought in Kentucky and Missouri, was decimated in a vicious attack by Confederate rebels. James was injured but was one of three survivors from his regiment. On the way back to Boston, he discovers the way back to Penelope Farms. It ends with James on his way home.

A Journey Far: Ibọwọ (Respect)

1865 – 1875

James leaves the Army as the Civil War winds down. Gen. Grant has Gen. Lee on the run and James is at NYU preparing to graduate with a degree in Civil Engineering. Then President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated, and James decides to re-enlist in the United States Army. With his military background and college education, James is commissioned a First Lieutenant in the 9th Calvary and stationed in the Oklahoma territories. James rises to the rank of Major, and in the 10 years of command, he leads over 100 African American soldiers, better known as Buffalo Soldiers. After a devastating turn of events, James realizes he could no longer support a country that did not support and respect him nor the indigenous population in the territories. He deserts and heads into the western wilderness of the United States.

A Journey Far: Gbigba (Acceptance)


James, isolated for the first time in his life traverses the wilderness of 1870s Colorado until he stumbles upon an isolated group of Native Americans living in peace and harmony. After being allowed to visit, James earns the right to remain with them. A Journey Far ends with James finding peace in his mind, body, and spirit. For the only time in his life, he felt a sense of belonging. He was treated as a man. He found the respect he desired. James’ journey took him far away in time and perception. From a six-year-old child on a plantation in Maryland, to an 18-year-old man in New York City, to a 20-something man in Missouri, to a 30-something man in Oklahoma. And finally, to a place that whispers “home”.

A Journey Far by AJ Sam.