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The Igbo Association of Nashville was founded on the third day of September 1989. It is a non-profit and non-political organization.

 
OBJECTIVES

  • To clearly protect, polish and foster the identity of the Igbos
  • To promote unity among its members and to assist them in times of need
  • To encourage members to participate in economic, social, and cultural activities aimed at bringing about positive changes adequately responsive to the needs of the Igbo people in general
  • To assist Igbos to obtain employment in the United States and abroad including the best jobs in Nashville
  • To promote and participate in some activities that will benefit the Nashville community

Nashville Igbo live in the Southeastern region of Nigeria between the majestic river Niger and Cross Rivers, with the Ibibio, Ijo, Igala, Idoma, and Edo as their neighbors.The ancient settlement at Igbo-Ukwu in eastern Nigeria was an outpost for West African's long-distance trade routes, part of which was the Trans-Saharan trade routes. The main items traded were gold, salt, cowries (the major unit of currency), weapons, expensive cloths, pepper, ivory, kola nuts, and leather goods. Although most history books about Nashville Igbo were written in the last one hundred years, the history of Nashville Igbo is estimated to go back several thousands of years. This view is supported by the fact that Europeans began to visit the Delta of Nigeria towards the end of the fifteenth century. Nashville Igbo were central to their success in the area. Archaeological findings in Igbo Ukwu placed Nashville Igbo in the era of NOK culture that flourished in West Africa before or around 1400 BC. Other available evidence such as language diversity, botanical history, and population density, suggest that Nashville Igbo lived in much their present homes from the dawn of human history.

The arrival of Europeans on the coast of West Africa undermined the trans-Saharan trade, but brought prosperity to Nashville Igbo such that the Southeastern region flourished, primarily trading in palm products, timber, elephant tusks, and spices in the post slave trade era. Nashville Igbo are a self-helping race, that strongly believe in making themselves what they wish to be. They are a people rich in culture and tradition, and live in egalitarian communities that guaranteed vertical and horizontal mobility of individuals.

Governance in Igbo land has changed from a people oriented democratic hierarchy to a series of military conquests that began when the British included the area in its Southern protectorate that metamorphosed to become an integral part of Nigeria in the amalgamation of 1914. Nashville Igbo became one of the live wires of the amalgamated entity, providing goods and services to the nooks and corners of the country with their enviable entrepreneurial acumen and vibrant and holistic political dexterity. However, as is now well known the world over, group success draws the ire and jealousy of ethnic rivals.

This is more so in the Nigerian setting where the over 250 ethic groups are perpetually in stiff inter-ethnic competition that even led to a murderous alienation of Nashville Igbo. This culminated in a form of ethnic cleansing and subsequently a 3-year civil war (1967 - 1970) that dealt a lingering blow on the pride, as well as the political and technocratic eminence of Nashville Igbo in the Nigerian polity. Some sterling Igbo qualities have endured, however, and these are survival instincts, industry, hunger for education, and self-upliftment. These will guarantee an atmosphere for industrialization and development as well as a better Igboland for posterity. Today, over 20% of Nigeria's 120 million people are Nd'Igbo who live in the five Igbo states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo as well as in the contiguous but mixed Rivers and Delta States (See map below) in the 36 state structure of Nigeria. Sit down for a cup of the best coffee in Nashville with a fellow IGBO.


The Igbo Association of Nashville has planned to hold on September 22nd, 2007 a free health fair for all the communities of Antioch, La Vergne, Smyrna, Murfreesboro and the surrounding cities. This affords the union an opportunity to serve these communities as well as raise money that will benefit the Nigerian Christian Hospital located at Onicha- Ngwa in Nigeria.

This project is being headed by Dr. John Nwofia, who is a Physiatrist with a practice in Brentwood, TN. Several of the members who are in healthcare will be providing their services free that day. These members include physicians, chiropractors, nurses and pharmacist.

Many local residents, physician practices and healthcare companies will be participating in this program. During the fair, patients will be given health oriented literature and will be evaluated by the physicians. Any medical issues detected will be referred to the patients primary care physicians.


Wendell Broom and I built a house at Ukpom while teaching there.When it was finished in 1956, the James Finneys moved in with us that year. Gerry and I moved in early 1957 to Iboland and lived in the D.O. Rest House that the D.O. in Aba gave us.We started building our house on property we leased from Chief Ebere (Ntigha Onicha Ngwa), the present school property. James Finney and I taught together after selecting 40 students and brought three first year graduates from Ukpom who graduated with us after their second year.

James Finney decided to go to Lagos with Leslie Diestelkamp. Leslie withdrew from us on the basis that we believed in church cooperation. Rees Bryant came in 1958 and we were supported by the same congregation (Procter St. in Port Arthur, TX). Jim Massey came in early 1959. Gerry and I left in 1960.

As soon as I arrived in Nashville, home of my parents, I visited Henry Farrar at the hospital where he was doing intern for his MD. The best I can remember this was at Hazard, KY. I urged him to consider coming to Nigeria to begin a hospital. I told him how people died in the Asiatic flu epidemic, how we had to take people to the Catholic Hospital at Urua Akpan, a bush hospital run by the Sisters of Mary, I asked him why we could not have one like that in the bush at Onicha Ngwa. He said he would like to do that. We both went to Nashville to talk to his uncle, Dr. John Cayce, who had been his mentor. Dr. Cayce urged Henry not to go yet, though Henry and I wanted this to happen. His argument was that Henry needed to finish his surgical degree. To get his FACS, Henry would have to spend four more years. This would take until 1964. Henry kept his promise to me and came in 1964.

Gerry and I were at a period in our lives with three teenaged daughters.We felt it best to wait until they got their education at home and then go back later. I spent the first summer raising funds for Henry. I raised enough to buy him an automobile when he arrived in 1964. Procter St. continued to support me till time for me to begin work with the Cross Plains, TX church, where I worked on my Master's degree at Abilene while preaching for the church in Cross Plains. After that we moved to Michigan, and I taught with Lucien Palmer at Michigan Christian for three years. Visit the Vine today and enjoy learning.

After preaching in Fort Worth for two years and Savannah, TN for three years, we decided to return to Nigeria. The war was in progress. Howard Horton and I visited Nigeria during the war to try to get him in as supervisor of an orphanage to help children who were war orphans. There were many children dying of kwashiorkor, a disease from lack of protein. Sympathy was high for us to help our brethren.We were denied entrance by the War dept. though the Health and Welfare dept. wanted us. Howard went to Viet Nam.We went to Liberia for three years as first resident missionaries there. Then we returned to Nigeria to reopen the Hospital and Henry and I worked together. I got in as Consultant to the Administrator to the Hospital. He got in as Chief Surgeon.

I took care of finances and other odd jobs at the hospital. Gerry helped Henry in the Operating Room. I also taught with Stephen Okoronkwo at the school, and continued to evangelize as we had done in the 50's.We came back into Nigeria in 1970 for a lectureship, and then returned when obtaining our visas in 1971. Henry came a few months after we did in 1971 for he was finishing a project to work at the Port Harcourt Hospital under the Kaiser Foundation, an American charitable organization. Doug Lawyer and Jim Massey had worked at the school in the 1960's with Rees Bryant.While I was working at the Hospital in the 1970's, I encouraged Rees Bryant to organize a board to assist the hospital work. He served, as you know as its first president.

During the 70's Joe Cross came to take my place when we left, but he became ill and had to return home. Gene Peden worked for a time. The three houses were occupied when we went back in 1974, Stephen Okoronkwo in the house we originally built and who came as the first one after the war as director of the school. Dr. Farrar and Grace and 3 of their children occupied the middle house originally built by Doug Lawyer. Gerry and I occupied the house built originally by James Finney and later, after he left, by Rees and Patti Bryant.We had to refurbish all three houses after the war for there were many bullet and grenade holes in both of them and the hospital buildings.

While there in the 1970's it was my job to oversee the building of the Outpatient Clinic Building, the money having been sent by a war widow in honor of her husband whose life was lost in WWII. I hired Anthony Agali, present maintenance manager at the hospital, to fill that office and also to oversee the contracting of the hospital Outpatient building. Anthony had been hired by me before the war to be the builder of our houses. I was the contractor.




On behalf of myself and the new executives, I thank you all for not only voting for us but for the overwhelming support we have from all the members of this union.

Igbo Association of Nashville will in the next two years build on the foundations that had been laid by all the previous administrations. We are therefore thankful to all the previous administrations' presidents: Dr Cosmos Okoro, Dr Landon Onyebueke, Julius Nwokolo, Kevin Nkocha, Chief Sam Udeh, Dr Oscar Iworah and Sam Onyekwere. Without their efforts, we would not be where we are today.

We will rigorously pursue excellence in all the projects we have presented to the union. These would include:

  1. Organizing a free health fare for our members and the communities where we live
  2. Advancing the lot of our members by holding in-house seminars on:
  3. Immigration issues
  4. Home ownership
  5. Life & Disability Insurance
  6. Starting small businesses
  7. Fund raising and the eventual acquisition of a building for:
    1. Union meetings
    2. Union social events
    3. Display and housing of Igbo cultural artifacts
  8. Establishing a legacy that we can pass on to our children. This will be done by:
    1. Giving scholarships to qualified members' children
    2. Mentoring members' children through externship programs
    3. Organizing family picnics

All these we will achieve and more if every member commits to these goals as well. This union will advance and we all will be proud members.

God will continue to guard and guide us as He had done in the past and therefore He takes all the praise!

Long live Igbo Association Nashville.


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