Internal Medicine, Cardiology

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
The sign of my great uncle's medical practice
The sign of my great uncle's medical practice

41 Eastern Parkway. Large, stately – pre-war Brooklyn. Grand and elegant, the protruding green awning carries its name, Copley Plaza, in gold lettering. For almost 40 years this solid black sign sat affixed to the building. Then you’d walk into its majestic hardwood lobby. All those decades, it was a marker of my great uncle’s practice… and the community that would come along with it.  

My mother, Adzo indigenously or Evelyn colonially, came along – with her uncle from Ghana after acquiring his medical degree in Scotland. The immediacy of immigration is often the struggle to make paths and the resolve of others to follow. Colonialism’s terror leads to folks like my mother stomaching that. She handled the administrative work. Managerial desk for the next 38 years. Chairs, employees, and pharma-branded pens came and went – she, as well as that sign, would remain. Suffering years of apartment hopping and wage theft, she endured.  

She also endured me. My outbursts of boredom – spending hours after school seeking thrill in office supplies and copy paper, to my disgust at the thought of dealing pills for cholesterol. I was an erosion to their paths. The truth of immigration is realizing the struggle never truly ends and forged paths are often too fragile to endure themselves. Joseph’s was a doctorate and Westchester wealth. Adzo’s was a visitor’s visa and the constant threat of eviction. Mine is neither. No solid black sign with an MD in my future. I couldn’t have done it without them. 

Place(s): Ghana, New York City, Brooklyn
Year: 1976

– Kojo

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant