Chicago Journalist Details How Her Family Escaped the Nigerian-Biafran War

Interviews, News Off 158
Go, Angelina! The Ihejirika family celebrated their mother's birthday and the release of her book, 17 years in the making, at the DuSable, May 14, 2016.  [Photo by Karen Kring]

“Escape From Nigeria” is about the harrowing journey that brought a courageous mother and her children to the United States as refugees of the Nigerian-Biafran War, on June 9, 1969. After several miracles miracles, they reunited with their father at “Chicago’s O’Hare Airport with the clothes on our backs,” said Maudlyne Ihejirika.

The book’s themes center around faith and determination, colorblind and border-transcending compassion, the immigrant and refugee experience, women’s empowerment through education, and miracles and resilience.

During the interview below, Maudlyne details five miracles that led to her family arriving to Chicago. Maudlyne discussed the ill effects of colonialism, a coup and ultimately a brutal massacre, starvation and war.

In the first half the interview she explains the circumstances that put her family in peril and the second half she describes the series of fortunate events (miracles) that saved her siblings and her mother and reunited them with their loving father.

“On Nov. 16th, we’ll be speaking to a student assembly at the Chicago Public Schools’ Paul Robeson High School, in Englewood, to share a journey we hope will affirm for these students that with faith, determination and hard work, anyone can achieve anything, despite presence of violence and poverty in their humble beginnings,” said Ihejirika.

“I’m so glad you’re willing to share this book with readers of the much esteemed Bean Soup Times,” said added.

The Ihejirika family has been an incredible contributor to the United States of America–one of which is their continued commitment to education. Visit the Voice of a Woman website which is a family-formed charitable organization with a mission to fund faith-based educational scholarships at the elementary school level.

Top photo: Maudlyne Ihejirika (standing) and Angelina Ihejirika, at May 14, 2016 celebration and private book party at the DuSable Museum of African American History. [Photo by Karen Kring]


About the author / 

Toure Muhammad

Author Toure Muhammad is the head bean, publisher and chief strategist of Bean Soup Times. The Morehouse graduate has written front page cover stories for The Final Call and N’digo. He has been featured in the Chicago Reader, Upscale magazine, rolling out newspaper, and N’Digo magapaper. He’s been featured on Tavis Smiley’s radio show on NPR, on Chicago’s WBEZ (Chicago public radio), and many other radio shows.

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