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Curtis "Kojo" Morrow

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Information about Curtis "Kojo" Morrow

Profile image of Curtis "Kojo" Morrow

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Jewelry Artist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown, Gray
Favorite Food:
Beans, Rice
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Ghana
Favorite Quote:
Take Care Of Yourself.

Birthplace

Born:
3/27/1933
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Jewelry Artist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown, Gray
Favorite Food:
Beans, Rice
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Ghana
Favorite Quote:
Take Care Of Yourself.

Birthplace

Born:
3/27/1933
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Curtis "Kojo" Morrow is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Author and jewelry maker Curtis “Kojo” Morrow was born March 27, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois. He attended elementary school at Doolittle, Douglas and Phillips. When his family moved to Michigan, Morrow, on his seventeenth birthday asked for his mother’s consent to drop out of Buchanan High School and to join the U.S. Army. While training at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Morrow learned of the escalating conflict in Korea and volunteered for service.

Morrow was sent to Korea and was assigned to the Army’s last all-black unit, the 24th Regiment Combat Team, known as the Buffalo Soldiers. Wounded twice, Morrow received the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star for heroism, the Combat Infantry Badge and four Battle Stars. After Korea, he spent two years as a paratrooper in Japan, before being honorably discharged in 1954. At Chicago's American Academy of Art, from 1957 to 1959, Guy Nalls mentored Morrow in painting. Moving to New York in the early 1960s, Morrow was part a group of black artists and intellectuals who became disillusioned with America and drawn to Africa. In 1965 he left for Ghana with less than $300 in his pocket.

An admirer of Ghana President Kwame Nkrumah, Morrow was welcomed at the airport by Nkrumah's advisor, Dr. Shirley Graham DuBois. Morrow spent the next eleven years living in Ghana, Togo and the Ivory Coast, learning traditional woodcarving and jewelry craftsmanship and fully immersing himself in the culture. Morrow was adopted by an Ashanti-Paramount chief in Ghana and given the name “Kojo Acheampong.” In Ghana during the 1960s and 1970s, the African American expatriates included artists Tom Feelings, Julian Mayfield, Maya Angelou, historian Nell I. Painter, and Alice Windom. In 1983, this group, "Sankofa", held a reunion in Washington, D.C. When he returned to the United States in 1976, Morrow was able to contribute to the growing interests in African art and culture.

In addition to his art and jewelry, Morrow has published The Return of the African-American, detailing his journey of self-discovery to Africa. His second book, What’s a Commie Ever Done to Black People?, details his experiences in Korea and explores what it is like to fight as a United States soldier for other people's "freedom" while suffering from racial discrimination in that same army. More recently, Morrow has been working on an illustrated children’s book based on African mythology.

See how Curtis "Kojo" Morrow is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Curtis "Kojo" Morrow's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about his maternal family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow speculates about the date and circumstances of his mother's relocation to Chicago, Illinois from Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow shares stories about his paternal grandfather during the Civil War
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes his paternal grandfather's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow remembers his paternal grandfather's account of life during slavery, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes his paternal family ancestry
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls a story from his paternal grandfather's journey to join the Union Army during the Civil War
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow remembers his paternal grandfather's account of life during slavery, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes his paternal grandfather's jobs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls his parents' meeting and subsequent marriage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes his childhood experience living with his aunt and uncle at a Pentecostal church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about his mother's jobs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls the sights and sounds of growing up in Chicago, Illinois during the 1930s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow lists his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes his childhood personality and interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls joining the U.S. Army at the age of seventeen in 1950, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls mentors from his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow lists the various elementary and high schools he attended
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes the unofficial racial segregation during his youth in Buchanan, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls joining the U.S. Army at the age of seventeen in 1950, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes his experience at basic training and demolitions training in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow explains his decision to fight in the Korean War when he was in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls encountering segregation while traveling to Fort Belvoir, Virginia during the Korean War
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes his experience arriving in Incheon, South Korea to begin his tour of duty in the Korean War
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes his entry into the 24th Infantry Regiment, the last unit of Buffalo Soldiers, during the Korean War
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls his first combat experience during the Korean War
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about his experience being on the front lines in the Korean War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls being wounded during the Korean War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow remembers witnessing a soldier die from severe wounds during the Korean War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow remembers witnessing civilian casualties during the Korean War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow estimates the percentage of military casualties and wounded during the Korean War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about the demographics of soldiers in the Korean War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow remembers his commanding officers in the 24th Infantry Regiment
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow explains the harsh realities of war
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow reflects on the importance of sharing accounts of historical atrocities
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes the difficulties in recovering from the trauma of war
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes the destruction and death he witnessed during the Korean War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about his return visit to Korea in 2001
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about his return home from the Korean War
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls the incident that led to him being awarded a Bronze Star in the Korean War
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow reflects upon killing a young Chinese solider during the Korean War
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about actor John Wayne's visit to a field hospital during the Korean War and dangers of friendly fire
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow explains how he developed an interest in art after returning home from the Korean War
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls meeting Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali in New York in the mid-1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls his political awakening in New York City in the 1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow explains how his involvement with the 20th Century Art Creators led to his decision to go to Ghana
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls planning his trip to Ghana
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow lists the African American expatriates he encountered in Ghana in 1965
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls his initial experiences in Ghana in 1965
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls the 1966 coup d'etat in Ghana that ousted President Kwame Nkrumah
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about developing his artistic skills in Ghana and starting his freelance career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls his involvement with a family business delivering lunches in Ghana
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls trying to develop a food delivery business in Ghana that ran into challenges from poor road conditions
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about settling in Agogo, Ghana and developing his jewelry business
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls how his mother's death prompted his return from Ghana to the United States
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about the entrepreneurial skills he acquired during his time in Africa
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about metallurgy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about teaching metallurgy and his other craft skills
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes the self-confidence that he discovered during his time in Africa
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about the resistance to acknowledging African heritage that he found in parts of the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes the turn towards embracing African heritage in America
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes the transatlantic slave trade from the perspective of Africans
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about the internalized racism held by some African American expatriates in Africa
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow recalls political discussions from his time in Ghana
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about being inspired by a biography of African American explorer and North Pole co-discoverer Matthew Henson
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow talks about writing his two books and how they represent his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Curtis "Kojo" Morrow narrates his photographs