This is the "Sankofa Freedom Award" page of the "African-American Resource Center" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content
A guide to the holdings of the African-American Resource Center of the Tulsa City-County Library.
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Sankofa Freedom Award Print Page

The meaning of "Sankofa"


A symbol of wisdon and learning from the past to build for the future (Literal meaning: Go Back to Fetch It)

Sankofa means "go back to the past in order to build for the future," or we should not forget our past when moving ahead. Sankofa is a realization of self and spirit. It represents the concepts of self-identity, redefinition and vision. It symbolizes an understanding of one's destiny and collective identity of the larger cultural group.

Sankofa is symbolic of the spiritual mind-set and cultural awakening African people were experiencing in the decades after independence on the African continent. The Sankofa bird is used to represent Sankofa. The symbol is of a bird turning its head backward and its long beak is turned in the direction of its tail.

-The Adinkra Dictionary by Bruce Willis


Keith Jemison, Rudisill Regional Library Manager; Alicia Latimer, AARC Coordinator; Hill Harper, 2012 Sankofa Winner; TCCL CEO Gary Shaffer


(back) Karen Ferrell; Saundra McGee; Sharon Louie; (front) Sharon Haynes; Pearl Cleage, 2010 Sankofa winner; Alicia Latimer


Alicia Latimer and Nikki Giovanni, 2008 Sankofa Winner


Sankofa Freedom Award Criteria

The Sankofa Freedom Award was established in 2005 by the African American Resource Center and the Tulsa Library Trust.  The purpose of this bi-annual award is to recognize a nationally prominent author whose life's work positively addresses the range and complexity of cultural, economic and political issues affecting the greater African-American community.


The award consists of an engraved crystal plaque and a prize of $7,000. The recipient will give a public address on the day of the awards presentation.

A Sankofa Author Selection Committee appointed by the AARC Coordinator determines the candidates for the award, without receipt of any applications from authors, publishers or outside nominators.


Dr. Michael Eric Dyson 2006 Sankofa Winner


Susan L. Taylor received the Sankofa Freedom Award in 2014


Loading  Loading...