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The late Abiy Ford

Renowned Ethiopian American professor passes away at 83 Abiy Ford (1935 - 2018)

Renowned Ethio-American Professor Abiy Ford passed away at a hospital in United States at the age of 83, his family announced on Wednesday.

Professor Abiy’s history dated back during Emperor Haile Selassie’s era, in 1930s where Ethiopians had then been in fierce battle against the 1935 Italian invasion.

African Americans of all classes, regions, genders, and beliefs expressed their opposition to and outrage over the 1935 Italian invasion of Ethiopia in various forms and various means.

The invasion aroused African Americans – from intellectuals to the common person in the street – more than any other Pan African-oriented historical events or movements had done. It fired their imagination and brought to the surface the organic link to their ancestral land and people.

African Americans, for the most part, interpreted the 1935 Italo-Ethiopian war as a racial war. They looked at the Italian aggressors as White aggressors against Black Ethiopians, whom they considered ancestral relatives.

Even though Pan African visions did not play a primary role among the contemporary Ethiopian leadership, attempts were made to recruit African American “farmers, engineers, mechanics, physicians, and dentists.” Ethiopia sent delegates to the United States for this purpose.

According to historical accounts, in 1927, Doctor Workineh Martin, later Ethiopian Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James in London, came to the United States and invited African Americans to settle in Ethiopia.

Among those who accepted the invitation were Doctor John West of Washington, DC, who was appointed as a personal physician of Emperor Haile Selassie and John Robinson, a Chicagoan, a personal aviator, and Rabbi Arnold Ford and Mignon Ford.

Following the path of his parents Arnold and Mignon Ford, Professor Abiy Ford resigned from his full professorship position at Howard University and decided recently to move and settle in Ethiopia for good.

Until recently, he has been serving as the Dean of the School of Journalism at Addis Ababa University.

His family announced on Wednesday that his body is expected to arrive here in Addis Ababa and will be laid to rest at the Holy Trinity Cathedral on Thursday. (Compiled by Yonas Abiye)