Laura Adorkor Kofi, a Ga princess who moved to America for the sole purpose of Black liberation and repatriation.
She started the African Universal Church which preached the Gospel along with positive black identity.
Laura Adorkor Kofi was born in the Gold Coast (Now Ghana) in 1893 as indicated on her gravestone.
Life in America
She moved to North America around 1918, and lived in Detroit for several years.
Laura Adorkor Kofi moved to the U.S. not as an immigrant, not in search for a better life,
not for any economic or spiritual gain but she moved to the U.S as a free native to tell her fellow stolen African brothers and sisters the need for them to come home.
Within months in the U.S., Laura Adorkor Kofi had become a prominent name throughout the U.S, particularly the South.
Attracting thousands to her speaking engagements, she worked to revive the southern branches of Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
UNIA members as well as ministerial alliances became concerned over her striking popularity over its members that many saw her as a threat to the organization.
Marcus Garvey arrested for mail fraud in 1925, While Garvey was in prison, Laura Adorkor Kofi’s fame and influence grew.
Enthusiastic crowds continued filling theaters and auditoriums in Florida and throughout the
south to hear Kofi’s passionate speeches about the opportunities available to black people if they repatriated to Africa.
“For many African Americans, it was their first time listening to someone from Africa,” White says. “She spoke about the greatness of Africa.
She spoke about the movement from Africa to liberate the people here, and that there was
a divine relationship between the Africans, the east blacks, and the western blacks, the African Americans. She spoke of pride and strength.”
Unfortunately, after Garvey’s release, the two had a fallout and Marcus started to describe her as a fake and constantly appealing for her arrest.
Feeling that her life was in danger especially after the release of Marcus Garvey, Laura
Adorkor Kofi relocated from Miami, where she felt threatened, to Jacksonville.
She announced her split from the UNIA.
In 1927 she established the St. Adorka’s African Universal Church. As leader of this new spiritual movement, she became known as “Mother Kofi.”
On March 28, 1928, Laura Adorkor Kofi returned to Miami to speak.
Thousands gathered to hear her talk about the power of God to help Africans and black Americans.
In an unusual move, she asked her bodyguards to sit down.
That allowed a gunman to rush the stage and shoot “Mother Kofi.” in the back of the head, killing her.
Although she died in March, she was not buried until August 17, 1928. She received thousands of mourners.
According to the local newspaper, approximately 10,000 people attended the funeral of Laura Adorkor Kofi (Florida Times Union, 1928).
Finally, “Mother Kofi” was laid to rest in a specially built mausoleum in Jacksonville, Florida.
In her honour, a small settlement close to her church was built and named
- Ben Brotemarkle, “Rise and Assassination of ‘Mother Kofi'” Florida Frontiers (16 February 2016): 7A.
- Steve Patterson, “After 85 years, slain minister’s Jacksonville legacy lingers” Florida Times-Union (8 March 2013).
- Marcus Garvey, notice dated 10 October 1927, The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Vol. VI (University of California Press 1989): 599. ISBN 9780520065680