Seydou Keïta and the Genuis of Photography

Photo of the late photographer Seydou Keïta

Seydou Keïta was born in Bamako, Mali, Africa in 1921 (exact date unknown) and died November 21, 2001 in Paris, France. Keïta was the eldest child in a family of five children. His father, Bâ Tièkòró, and his uncle, Tièmòkò, were Malian furniture makers. Upon a return from Senegal to Mali in 1935, his uncle Tièmòkò is reported to have given Keïta a Kodak Brownie camera with film. Mountaga Traoré and French photographic supply store owner Pierre Garnier were among his biggest supporter as he honed his photography skills.

Seydou Keïta Photography Studio in Bamako, Mali

In 1948, Keïta set up his first studio in the family house in Bamako-Koura, behind the main prison. This self-taught photographer captured the heart of Malian society through his exquisite photographic record of the people between 1940 and the 1960.

"Seydou Keita was the place to go if you wanted to have a beautiful image of yourself. That was the studio to go for the local bourgeoisie and even for the middle class who wanted to grow in the social level," states gallery curator N'Gone Fall in a BBC report. Keïta's work was nationally reknown among the Malians and subsequently became world reknown as the prolific photographer's photographs began to be collected in Europe and the U.S. by museums and galleries.

Slide show of a selection of Seydou Keita's photographs

What is Juneteenth?

Photo of Juneteenth Statute, Galveston Island,
Texas, USA, commemorates the reading of the
Emancipation Proclamation at Ashton Villa, June 19, 1865

Juneteenth is short for June 19th. It is celebrated as part of African American history, mostly in Texas and the South, to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States. It dates back to 1865 when soldiers for the federal Union, led by Major General Gordon Granger, made it to Ashton Villa near Gavleston, Texas with news that the Union won the war and human slavery was illegal. This was two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by the U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.

The enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas was not made a reality until 1865, with General Granger's arrival with his Union regiment and the surrender of General Lee. This two and a half years delay in receiving the news of federal emancipation has generated many stories of how it was delivered to Texas.

Some say that that the Union troops waited for Texas slaveholders to reap the last cotton harvests. Others say that the messenger was murdered on his way to deliver the news of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Some commentors report that President Lincoln just did not have full authority over the region. In either case, Africans in Texas were freed TWO AND A HALF YEARS after the official historical date for independence of Africans in the United States.

The Juneteenth Statute above is a 9 foot tall bronze statue that was erected in 2005 on the grounds of Ashton Villa in Texas to commemorate an 1979 Texas legislative declaration that made June 19th a state holiday to memorialize the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at Ashton Villa on June 19, 1865.

Susan L. Taylor: Advocate for Mentoring

Video of Susan Taylor on mentoring as a tool to
combat the public education crisis

Born January 23, 1946 in New York, Susan L. Taylor is now Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Essence magazine and founder of National CARES Mentoring. In this video she discusses countering the "pipeline to prison" course of failing schools through instituting local mentoring programs that tap into the wealth of support and know-how available from individuals within a community. Each one reach one. This clip was developed January 14, 2010 as part of The Lottery Film (, a film by Madeleine Sackler, released in U.S. theaters May 7, 2010.

Local Mentoring Program Information:

Harlem CARES Mentoring Movement

Atlanta CARES Mentoring Movement

For information on starting a local school mentoring program through the National CARES Mentoring Movement, find more information on its website at


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