The Great Educator

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(First posted on my blog on March 19, 2016.) Dr. Thomas Winston Cole, Sr. changed the course of my father’s life. In the early 1950’s, he took a chance by offering a Nigerian high school graduate of King’s College, Lagos, a scholarship to Wiley College in Marshall, TX, where Dr. Cole was the registrar. Wiley was a relatively small African-American …

Pamela Brown-PetersideThe Great Educator

What’s in a Name?

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(First posted to my blog on Feb 13, 2016.) For someone with a Nigerian father, I have an unusual surname. Not only is my family name unAfrican and all together British but it’s also hyphenated. Hyphenated names, somewhat unusual in the U.S., are usually formed from the surnames of both parents. From time to time, people who know my background …

Pamela Brown-PetersideWhat’s in a Name?

Football Madness

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(First added to my blog on Feb 7, 2016). I love most sports. And I love sports movies though I don’t find myself going to movies much anymore. However, 10 days ago, when I heard that ‘Concussion’ was about a Nigerian pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, (played by Will Smith – who never did sound anything like a Nigerian/couldn’t Hollywood have …

Pamela Brown-PetersideFootball Madness

Surviving Ebola: One Nigerian Doctor’s Terrifying Experience

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I continue to find myself gripped by the events surrounding the Ebola outbreak that continues to devastate Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. As 2015 begins, there are now 20,000 reported cases and 8,000 deaths – and counting. I also keep reflecting on how thankful I am that the disease was successfully contained (at least so far) in Nigeria, Africa’s most …

Pamela Brown-PetersideSurviving Ebola: One Nigerian Doctor’s Terrifying Experience

Nigeria’s Successful Response to Ebola

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Described as a “spectacular success story,” the World Health Organization declared Nigeria to be Ebola free on Monday October 20, three months after the disease arrived in Lagos, a vast city of 21 million. It was the first time Ebola had been contained in an urban context. Four days later, New York City confirmed its first case of Ebola. Ebola …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNigeria’s Successful Response to Ebola

Nigerians Don’t Get Depressed…oh really?

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The details came out in pieces. First I learned that a young woman in an elite public high school in Manhattan had taken her life. She was a junior (15 or 16 perhaps?) and the inciting incident appeared to have been that a teacher caught her cheating on an exam. The press had vilified the teacher, publishing both her name …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNigerians Don’t Get Depressed…oh really?

How I Wish My Father Were(n’t) Alive

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A week ago today in Jos, at a gathering where people were watching the Champion’s League Final, a hotly contested soccer match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid, another bomb went off. This time only 3 people were killed. Tragic, but fortunately the loss of life wasn’t significantly greater. It was the third bomb in Jos in a …

Pamela Brown-PetersideHow I Wish My Father Were(n’t) Alive

Lead Us Through This Crisis

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Nigeria, where I was born, is in crisis. In the space of a few weeks, 200+ secondary (high) girls have been kidnapped and abducted from a school in the northeast of the country (by men dressed as soldiers) and this unprecedented horror has been sandwiched by two bombs in Abuja the capital, which have killed almost 100 people between them. …

Pamela Brown-PetersideLead Us Through This Crisis

My ‘Americanah’ Story

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  My favorite Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is in New York to promote her latest novel, Americanah, which just came out in paperback. Last night she spoke to a packed house at the Tenement Museum (www.tenement.org), today she’ll be a guest on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC and next week she’ll be at the Schomburg in Harlem. That …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMy ‘Americanah’ Story

My Grandfather’s Final Words

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I never had the chance of knowing my Northern Irish grandfather. He died suddenly from a heart attack at age 74 when I was just 2. At the time, my parents were considering a trip to visit he and Granny which never happened. Granny once told me Grandpa had passed away 2 weeks after their 50th wedding anniversary – she …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMy Grandfather’s Final Words

“I didn’t get engaged until I was 76.”

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This trip to Newcastle was quite unexpected and pulled together in just a few days. I’d been wanting to visit Auntie P for some time now, ever since I learned she’d got married for the first time late in life and was now caring for her frail husband. But I couldn’t quite figure out how to get myself to Northern …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“I didn’t get engaged until I was 76.”

“Did I Tell You How I Met Your Granny?”

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This weekend I had the privilege of being in Northern Ireland to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my cousin G (that’s a different post). I was also extremely fortunate to share a few meals with Auntie P and her husband of 10 years, Dr. G. Auntie P, like my mother, is from Northern Ireland, and her mother, like my …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“Did I Tell You How I Met Your Granny?”

The BBC Loses One of its Finest

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Komla Dumor, a Ghanaian broadcaster with the BBC World Service and host of ‘Focus on Africa’ is gone. He died yesterday of an apparent heart attack at the age of 41, leaving a wife, 3 young children, and scores of fans spread across Africa and beyond in shock and disbelief. I am one of those who are reeling. He was …

Pamela Brown-PetersideThe BBC Loses One of its Finest

Whose Story?

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Last night I attended a discussion at the Schomburg, a research library in Harlem that’s part of the NY Public Library. My favorite Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was headlining the panel along with Siddharta Deb (Indian cultural critic). Romain Bertrand (French historian), and Farah Griffin (African-American historian @ Columbia.) The event was facilitated by the not-so-new Director of the …

Pamela Brown-PetersideWhose Story?

Nigerpolitans

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Last week my brother Ian was visiting with a childhood friend of his who now lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. That gave us a reason to connect with several other friends of Ian’s. We met at Buka, a popular Nigerian restaurant in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn. Ian has known J, an architect based in Red Hook, since they were toddlers (40 years!).   J …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNigerpolitans