Forum on African and African-American Relations

Center for Global Citizenship, Saint Louis University

April 22, 2017


Tension and distance have long existed in the relationship between African immigrants to the United States and African-Americans. There could be several reasons for this, including significantly different experiences and misconceptions fueled by the media.


This forum will bring Africans and African-Americans together to discuss their history as black people and their shared pain. It will be an opportunity to problem-solve together to find ways to transcend the mostly uncomfortable relationship with one another and work together as a minority group to enhance their development.

Presenters:  Dr. Tisha Brooks, Dr. Samuel Governor, Sylvester Jacobs and Rev. Dr. Speratus Kamanzi.

Rev. Dr. Speratus Kamanzi is a Catholic Priest from Tanzania, and a member of the Missionary Order called “Apostles of Jesus.” He earned a Ph.D. in Theology from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium). He is currently a chaplain and professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Fontbonne University. His book, Soteriological Models, was published in  2010.  Rev. Dr. Kamanzi acknowledges the tensions between Africans and African-Americans and determines that sincere conversations can be a solution to the problem.

Sylvester Jacobs grew up in Oklahoma but left the U.S. in his early twenties after serving in the military and then spending a year at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He went to Europe in the mid 1960s, spending time in Italy, Belgium, the U.K. and Switzerland. It was at L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland that he was able to gain a better understanding of who he is as an individual and to begin his career as a photographer. He spent the next 40 years living mainly in the U.K. working as a photographer and teacher. He returned to live in U.S. in 2007 with his wife Janet. Sylvester Jacobs is passionate about ideas that will help improve African and African-American relations.

Dr. Samuel Governor is a medical doctor and a researcher who is currently studying at Saint Louis University in the Master in Public Health program with a joint concentration in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. A native of Ghana, Dr. Governor attained his Doctor of Medicine (MD) from Novgorod State University in Russia, where he lived for seven years. While there, he was a student leader in the National Union of Ghanaian Students in Russia (NUGS-RUSSIA). Since coming to the United States, he has desired to understand the disparities between African Americans, white Americans, and Africans living in the United States. He is eager to participate in conversations that will foster unity between African Americans and Africans.

Dr. Tisha Brooks is Assistant Professor of English at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  She received an M.T.S. degree from Harvard Divinity School and a Ph.D. in English from Tufts University. Dr. Brooks’ interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching explores intersections between African American Literature, Diaspora Studies and Religion. She is author of “Conflicted Journeys: Colonial and Missionary Crossings in Amanda Smith’s An Autobiography” (2013). Through her teaching and writing, Dr. Brooks seeks to generate a deeper conversation that crosses multiple divides, including race, gender, religion, and nationality.