American Society of African Culture, American, 1956 - 1969 Search this
ink on paper
H x W (letter): 10 1/4 x 8 in. (26 x 20.3 cm)
H x W (envelope): 4 1/16 x 8 3/4 in. (10.3 x 22.2 cm)
Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa, Africa
Nina Simone traveled to Nigeria in December 1961 for the Lagos Festival, sponsored by the American Society of African Culture (AMSAC). Simone traveled with a group of 33 African American artists, performers, and educators. Included in the delegation were Odetta, Randy Weston, Geoffrey Holder, Natalie Hinderas, and Lionel Hampton. One of the goals of AMSAC was to expose African Americans to their African heritage. The Lagos Festival was the group's first event in Africa and coincided with the first anniversary of Nigerian independence. As part of the festival, a cultural center was opened and two public concerts were held.
This was Simone's first visit to Africa and this intimate letter written to her new husband Andy Stroud shares her first impressions of Lagos. Looking back on the experience in her 1991 autobiography, Simone wrote, "All around us were black faces, and I felt for the first time the spiritual relaxation any Afro American feels on reaching Africa. I didn't feel like I'd come home when I arrived in Lagos, but I knew I'd arrived somewhere important and that Africa mattered to me."
A four page letter, with envelope, to Andy Stroud from Nina Simone. Simone is writing from Lagos, Nigeria, and comments on locals, accomodations, and her love for her husband. The letter is handwritten in blue ink on stationery from the Federal Palace Hotel. Simone dated the letter only as [December '61] in the top right corner. The envelope is postmarked December 17, 1961.