Our roots (182557)
Credit: Contributed

First the cartoon series, now the book compilation. History was made when New York Amsterdam News illustrator and contributor Tayo Fatunla’s pet project series from art school, “Our Roots Black History Sketchbook,” was launched as a book at the spacious Canada Water Library meeting room in Surrey Quays in southeast London.

Hosted by the exceptional Councilor Michael Situ, the book launch was also graced with the presence of many such as Mayor of Southwark Dora Dixon-Fyle, who spoke of the need to have an educational book such as “Our Roots” in communities for the young, old and enthused to be educated about Black history and be well informed. She gave it a high commendation.

As his role as a cabinet member for Communities and Safety for Southwark Council, the hardworking Situ showed elation at the “Our Roots” book being launched in Southwark. Roland Rampat, who wrote a foreword for the book, spoke highly of its contents.

“Our Roots” began as a school project at the art school the Kubert School in Dover, N.J. Fatunla’s tutors Ben Ruiz and Hy Eisman were on hand to help develop the concept. The 120-page “info-tainment” book is a compilation of illustrations of Black achievers in the Diaspora and also highlights places and things of interest that relate to Black history.

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon in which you can use to change the world,” and “Our Roots” continues to educate.

Elinor Tatum, president and publisher of the Amsterdam News, took notice of Fatunla’s cartoons and has featured his cartoons in the paper. Amsterdam News has called Fatunla’s “Our Roots” “poignant and insightful vignettes.”

Marcus Garvey said it so well: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” That is exactly what “Our Roots Sketchbook” does so well. Knowledge is power. “Our Roots” is featured weekly in the U.K.’s biggest Black newspaper, The Voice. Fatunla believes that without the Black race, there would not be “Our Roots” so Black people have also contributed to global history.