The emergence of the Tawi Family Village has a long and winding historical trail. It, perhaps started in the 1970's during the life of the Columbus " Afro" set, "The Family", The African Center for Study and Worship, Columbus Association for the Study of Classical Civilizations(ASCAC), The Africentric Personal Development Shop(APDS) and ultimately The Tawi Family Village. Each of these steps in time along the way has impacted The Tawi Family Village's development.
During the early and mid seventies, the Columbus "Afro" set led by Brother Nommo X, was the premier local Black Nationalist Group. The headquarters was in Cleveland Ohio. The Columbus chapter stood out by claiming self sufficiency,cleaning up prostitution on East Main Street(18th St to Miller Avenue), raising it's own funds, establishing a physical local headquarters and maintaining arms for protection.
Several other important 1970 groups impacted the development of Tawi Family Village. The "Family" facilitated by Kwesi Adebesi, was an early Columbus Pan African Study Group that grew out of the All African Peoples' Revolutionary Party(Kwame' Toure). Many lessons were learned about the importance of Pan Africanism as a way of thinking and acting(i.e. having a clear ideology, a plan, a process, an evaluation, and the repetition of the cycle). This same period produced two Independent Black Schools Umoja Sasa Shule(Lubengula, Headmaster) and Harambee Uhuru Shule(Mwanza, Headmaster). It was through the independent school process that it became clear that the teaching/learning of Africans best occurs undergirded by African curriculum, developed, taught, administered and evaluated by African (minds, bodies, and spirits).
At the end of the seventies, plans were developed to implement the African Center for Study and Worship. These plans were implemented and incorporated in 1980. The "Center" as it was called had several components with the Food Co-op being the strongest and providing the primary source of income for maintenance. Other implemented components included African study classes and conferences, physical fitness activities, African spiritual services, Saturday school for children, loosely organized African community social services and security services as needed. Building blocks that were to be developed were home repairs, auto mechanics, school, a physical, mental and social service center and a broad based economic plan of action. It became very apparent, as the Council of Twelve operated the African Center, that a broad based self governed and self operated institution was needed and possible(of course this was first demonstrated by The Honorable Marcus Garvey). The physical, mental, and social service center building block was realized in the founding of the Africentric Personal Development Shop(APDS).
In 1988, the Africentric Personal Development Shop (APDS) was incorporated. The major foci of APDS were mental health, social and community services. Ultimately alcohol, drugs, violence prevention and treatment, community development and education (after school program, summer day camp, ASCAC, Council of Elders and rites of passage) became the most highly functioning programs.
Thus the Tawi Family Village has a long and rich foundation and heritage that extends more than thirty years. Over the past four years, it has been in the formal process of organizing as an active institution. Clearly, the roots of the Tawi Family Village are long and deep. It will draw from the deep well of inheritance in order to maintain focus, direction, strength and longevity. Certainly, the Tawi Family Village practice and process of "knowledge of self" is empowering in our efforts to "build for eternity"
Submitted by Elder Moriba Kelsey