"Johnson believed that without an original identity, one would continue to remain empty inside."

Author Okwuono has created a modern fable concerning the feelings and aspirations of an African American boy. Johnson becomes a man by seeking answers to the deep, troubling questions that plague him. The highly intelligent son of an overprotective unwed mother, Johnson begins his journey of discovery early on. He tries to reach out to his peers in elementary and high school but soon sees the differences in how he and others of his skin color are treated. Wondering why, he begins to develop a plan to travel to Africa to recoup the cultural losses imposed on his ancestors when they were brought to America as slaves. He is welcomed heartily by the villagers of Ozuzumba on Africa’s West Coast and is surprised, impressed, and delighted by what he learns there. He returns to the US with “a sense of real equality” and an impetus to succeed based on his new understanding of who he is and who he and his people can be.

Okwuono, a graduate student working on a doctoral degree at the University of the Rockies in Oklahoma, composed this book with a multi-fold purpose. He sought to answer the questions of his son, who was shocked to learn of the horrors of slavery, giving the boy a will to adapt the power of love over the love of power. Too, the story Okwuono has so wisely constructed will speak clearly to people of all backgrounds, though most effectively and emotively to those who, like his hero, are puzzled by the erasure of their ancestral gifts as they were forced to assimilate into a foreign culture without the means possessed by most other immigrants to contribute to it. Okwuono has addressed these issues with imagination, providing a genuine incentive for others to follow his lines of research and reasoning.

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