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Fig 1.3 – Social Sciences

Text: Page 7

Fawodhodie ene obre na enam
Emancipation (Freedom) Comes with Its Responsibilities

The symbol depicts a desert landscape with sand dunes. Five women in traditional clothing walk across the desert. They carry tall pot-like containers with a wide mouth. Their shadows fall on the desert sand in front of them. The scene with the woman is on the left of the painting. A freedom adinkra symbol is superimposed on the right. A fist extends out from the top of the adinkra symbol.

The Fawodhodie is an Adinkra symbol from the Akan culture in present-day Ghana and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire of West Africa. It is important because the Akan culture can be found in the Americas, because about 10 percent of all slave ships that embarked from the coast of West Africa to the Americas contained Akan people. Akan captives were known for seeking emancipation from slavery and were leaders in slave revolts and plantation resistance tactics. The symbolically rich Ghanian culture views symbols as essential for enriching daily life because Adinkra symbols convey concepts, meanings, and proverbs on buildings, sculptures, clothing, pottery, and even household items.

The Fawodhodie Adinkra symbol requires that emancipation comes with responsibilities, that humanity creates their own destiny but must work hard and take personal responsibility for social change. Those that follow the social sciences view the world as based in social relationships because the universal experience of being human is being part of a system, a member of a society.

The social science impulse is rooted in emancipation from political, socioeconomic, and cultural constraints. Although the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln initially only freed those enslaved in the rebellious south and left slavery untouched in the north, it was not until the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed in 1865 that slavery and involuntary servitude was abolished. The Latin meaning of emancipation is freedom from physical bondage and to no longer be considered as property to buy and sell. The idea of emancipation is deeply rooted in American culture and, although African Americans were physically freed from slavery, the constraints of the political, socioeconomic, and cultural bondage have continued throughout American history.

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