William & Mary

2017 Concord Traveling Scholarship Recipient

Samantha Boateng

Samantha Boateng is the 2017 recipient of the Concord Traveling Scholarship for Creative Writers.  She will travel to Ghana this summer to learn more about her grandfather, who became a legendary figure after managing a successful cocoa company and building a town for his workers.  Samantha wrote in her proposal: “His story intrigues me; it begins with the inspirational poor man who works hard to become rich, but it later begins to twist into so much more. He had 16 children, 6 concubines, 1 wife, and a conflicting identity that changed around different people. My family members have told me that he was kind, hostile, wise, selfish, benevolent….”  Samantha, who has started a library in the town her grandfather built, plans to visit his house in Kumasi and explore his diaries, notes, and other papers.  As she learns more about her grandfather, she hopes to learn more about herself.  “As a Ghanaian-American,” she points out, “I’ve faced challenges in finding what identity I was supposed to claim in ‘Black or White’ America. I am Ghanaian, but I was born in the United States and I’ve struggled with having to choose between being Ghanaian or American. In exploring my culture and history, I am hoping to establish my identity, and the legacy my grandfather left me.”  Samantha will write both fiction and nonfiction accounts of exploring her family roots.