The Light of Darkness: The Story of the Griots' Son
The Light of Darkness is the first memoir of Alhassan Susso, an immigrant from Africa’s smallest nation, the Gambia. It traces his journey to America as a nearly blind teenager and his trials and triumphs becoming American, while maintaining his deep African roots. The story builds on Susso’s long family tradition of serving as griots, the keepers and transmitters of his peoples’ history, and how he continues that tradition as a high school American History teacher to new immigrants in America. The inspirational story follows his inner life and thoughts as he moves back and forth between the Old World and the New, and his personal transformation. This story is about family and lineage. It is about tradition and change. It is about Africa, in a sense, if there is really such a place as singular in definition as Africa. It certainly is a story about being African, particularly from the perspective of his new American homeland. This story is also about seeing and awareness, and conversely about blindness and ignorance. It’s about what we can see, what we are conditioned to see, and what we can learn to see. It is about blind spots and the search for higher consciousness: culturally, historically, personally, professionally, economically, religiously, and otherwise. For sight, both symbolically and biologically, is a central theme of the story. Finally, it is a story about the importance of storytelling, of remembrance, of the obligation to remember and to retell, and of course the warning not to forget. It is about the power of story to bind a people together so tightly even the harshest of circumstances cannot destroy their sense of identity and unity as a people. This story is for everyone, anyone striving for a deeper understanding of the meaning of life and the challenges of translating that meaning into a life both fulfilling personally and meaningful to the greater human society.
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