Saturday, December 31, 2022

Coming Home: Reflections and Lessons Learned

While helping to bring a canoe ashore, a fisherman braces for a wave in Lake Volta.

“There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.” —Dr. Martin Luther King

By John W. Fountain

John Fountain stands in
Assin Manso Slave river
ACCRA, Ghana—I love Ghana and Ghana almost loved me. But I love America and America hates me. This is the great conundrum as my spirit angels beckon me home from Africa back to America as I sit aboard this Boeing 757.

I return to my Homeland from the Motherland with this much clear: A modern day back-to-Africa movement is not the antidote to American racism and the pain and angst that ails the Black body and soul, even if Africa holds deeply rooted truths about the enslavement and deportation of Black bodies to a cruelly racist world beyond this continent that is the birthplace of civilization.

I return with truths about slavery and the hate we hold brother against brother, which creates the chasm upon which outsiders still seize and prey, in order to conquer, sift and separate us, and upon which we cannibalize and slay ourselves. Still.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

A River Runs Between Us, But It Doesn't Have To

Ancestral Slave River in Assin Manso in Ghana is the historic site where shackled Africans 
were forced to bathe before making the final journey to slave castles
John Fountain standing in Slave 
River in Ghana.
By John W. Fountain
I see brother turn against brother, Black man against Black man. Witness this perennial crabs-in-a-bucket mentality in which we continually cannibalize each other here in America in the streets, in public pages, on social media in various venues--entertainment, political and otherwise. And my mind drifts back to Africa, where centuries ago brother sold brother into slavery to the European.

I see us slaying each other today, by words and misdeeds, by the tongue and by gun, leaving a carnage of strange fruit in Urban streets. Divided by the self-hate rooted in Africa, where Africans slew Africans, instigated tribal wars to capture indigenous men, women and children in exchange for guns, ammunition, liquor, for trinkets and a semblance of power. 

Sunday, May 29, 2022


By John W. Fountain
ACCRA. CAPITAL CITY. POPULATION 2.6 MILLION. Forty journalism students, one goal: To tell the stories of everyday people. From its bustling boisterous markets. To the relentless entrepreneurial merchants who hawk their wares in perilous streets that buzz with motorists and merciless motorbikes that dart recklessly between traffic. To the faithful “Kayaye”—the young women who work as head porters, carrying more than their weight on their heads and a small child tied in a cloth on their backs.
"The consensus around here is that whatever superlatives may be used to describe Ghana, one must also interject the word, 'hard.'"
This is their story. It is a story of the rhythms of life and in this time. The story of a people whose hardship alone is not enough to dissuade them from viewing life through the prism of possibility, even when sweat is dripping like raindrops from their brow, their backs aching from carrying their burdens in the heat of the day, their fingers stretched, their feet wearied and worn, and another day’s journey of toil for little pay awaiting at the light of each new sunrise. 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

With The Poise of Runway Models: Ghana's 'Madam Queens'

"Madam Queen"

Strong Black sister
Madam Queen
Carrying the weight
of the world
Beneath blazing African sun
Head lifted high
Back straight
Baby in tow
Wrapped in African cloth
Staring off
Into the haze
Of traffic
And this pressing crush of humanity
Without vanity

Africa Calling: "Soweto Freedom Song"

Scenes from South Africa set to the music of the Regina Mundi Youth Choir recorded live at the Regina Mundi Church by John W. Fountain while on assignment in South Africa.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Fountain Speaks on Poetry: "Let It Flow"

Please join Roosevelt University Professor John W. Fountain this Wednesday at 7 a.m Central Time for presentation live U.S. Embassy, Accra, Ghana American Spaces via its Facebook page


Previous Presentation


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

African-American Association of Ghana: Celebration "Black OurStory Month"

On Feb. 12, 2022, the African-American Association of Ghana, or AAAG, presented the “Black OurStory Month” program in commemoration of Black History Month, founded by Carter G. Woodson. AAAG is a community of African-Americans living in Ghana who have determined the need to establish a permanent means to promote our cultural, social, spiritual and economic wellbeing and reintegration into Ghanaian society.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Fishermen off the coast of Ghana guide their canoe to the shore. (Photo: John W. Fountain)

I still do not understand
Have yet to comprehend
Her beauty
Her hold upon
The soul
That breathes her in
With heaping inhalations
Her winds
In deep denominations
Of heat
and Cool
Her tranquil pools
Along rock-laden, sandy ocean shores
Where waves crash & roar

Remembering My Lil Cousin; Filled With Grief and Questions

William D’Chaun Lockhart, John W. Fountain’s cousin

By John W. Fountain

ACCRA, Ghana — I was here in Ghana when the news about my lil’’ cousin D’Chaun came. Months later, I am still staggering, lost somewhere between grief and anger in this cloud of death and uncertainty that has unsettled our lives since the pandemic.

These feelings find, swarm, overshadow me, even on Easter Sunday, despite my corner here in this sun-splashed West African paradise as the ocean’s waves crash and the wind blows through the branches of coconut and palm trees. I should be in a tranquil state of mind. But I am in an emotional No-Man’s Land, wrestling with my duo reality of life and death.

“We lost Chaun about 2:00 this morning,” read the text message Dec. 21, at 12:26 p.m. Ghana time (6:26 a.m. in Chicago) and four days before Christmas from his mother, Donna, my first cousin who growing up was more like a sister. “No phone calls right now, just pray for my strength.”

I texted back: “I’m so so so sorry.”

We lost Chaun…

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Carrying Water

Three children in Accra, Ghana tote water, one evening not an uncommon scene in Ghana.
 (Photo: John W. Fountain) 

Without complaint
and with no detectable frown,
the children here carry water
in the evenings after school.
I see them:
Little boys and little girls
with sunbaked skin
and innocent brown eyes
with assorted filled bottles
and buckets
lifted high
carried on their heads
with apparent ease
along these red dirt
and sand-laden rugged streets.
It is routine here
Not an unfamiliar sight:
and women
fetching water
at day
and at night.
And yet, the children smile…


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Beneath The Baobab Tree

This work pictured here is part of Ghanaian artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo’s Nkyinkyim installation.

Beneath the Baobab tree,
There is too much pain 
To calculate 
To ingest
Almost to speak of
Too much horror 
To comprehend 

And yet, 
I listen 
To their salted tears
That drift upon the winds 
Across the sands 
In this land
That speak 
from beneath
red clay dirt
The color 
of faded blood

Monday, February 7, 2022

"Upon Their Faces" - An Exhibit, A Lesson in History to Never Forget

These are among the stunning images at the Nkyinkyim Museum in Ghana.
Written after visiting the Nkyinkyim installation by Ghanaian artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo. The exhibit, which has more than 1,700 cement effigies in a field, seeks to create a total of 11,111, in remembrance and honor of Africans who were enslaved.

By John W. Fountain

Within these ancestral faces
Of horror
Of shock
Of anguish
And of pain
Lie history's shame
Almost unspeakable
Unforgettably enshrined
upon these hallowed grounds