Free ebook – How to succeed at an African Festival

Summer is a time when you can find new customers at fairs, festivals, and flea markets. This free ebook shows you how to do better.

Get yours for free here


The book is totally free. You don’t even need to leave an email address.

Hope you will visit us though at

The winner of the Dashiki Day Contest

Congratulations George and Heather

George and Heather Kwakuyi

Winners of the Dashiki Day photo contest

George and Heather have received a $50.00 gift certificate from Africa Imports for getting the most votes for their Dashiki photo.

Everyone else who is shown below is also getting a $10.00 gift certificate, so there are 31 winners!

Happy National Dashiki Day 2016

Annie Lee Dolls Portray the Work of a Legend

Annie Lee Dolls Feature Photo

“You’re going to be working all of your life, so just do what makes you happy! And, if you are able to make others happy while doing what makes you happy, what more could you ask?”
– Annie Lee

We were recently given the incredible opportunity to add a line of Annie Lee dolls to our products here at Africa Imports. The original retail price on these dolls was $84, but we are now able to offer them at a surprisingly low price of $3.95 each. We hope that you and your customers can enjoy these dolls and help pay homage to the creator of these timeless figurines. To see the wonderful collection we have available in limited quantities, simply click here.

Annie Lee

The Legacy of Annie Lee Dolls

Annie Lee, the creator of these dolls, is renowned as one of the front-runners in African American artwork. She was known for her exuberant, lively style and the way her faceless dolls would portray emotion and glamour in a way that was not only fun but humorous. Her dolls had no faces, nor did the subjects of much of her artwork, but their posture reveals an emotion and liveliness that is hard to find elsewhere. “I try to paint things that people can identify with,” Lee told Contemporary Black Biography. And she succeeded. At her first gallery show in 1985, her paintings sold out within four hours of the show.
Lee’s work seems to lure the viewer into the lifestyle and atmosphere it shows; you can hear the saxophone player in her paintings and you can sense the swagger in a faceless doll wearing a fancy blue dress and dangling gold-colored earrings. Everything about Annie Lee’s artwork and her dolls speaks of the lush, everday life in African American culture as Annie Lee knew it.

Annie Lee’s Origins

Annie Lee was born in Gadsden, Alabama in 1935 and raised in Chicago by her devoted single mother. Growing up, she was expected to learn survival skills like cooking, washing, cleaning, and sewing. She enjoyed listening to radio shows like The Lone Ranger and The Shadow while knitting, crocheting, or drawing. At an early age she found fulfillment through painting, and won her first art competition at the age of ten. She loved art throughout her childhood, and grew more and more skilled as a painter and creator throughout high school. After high school, Lee was offered a four-year scholarship to attend Northwestern University after high school, but chose to marry and raise a family instead.

Unfortunately, life wasn’t easy after that. She wasn’t able to resume painting until she was 40-years-old, and before that she had gone through the sadness of losing two husbands to cancer and raised a son and daughter largely on her own. By day she worked as a chief clerk at Northwestern Railroad, and by night she studied art. After eight years of night classes, she earned her masters degree in interdisciplinary arts education from Loyola University. “Getting my masters degree was the best thing I ever did for myself. It reopened my mind,” Lee is quoted as saying.

Physical Hardships and Personal Tragedy

Annie Lee’s life still wasn’t easy after she got her masters degree. She developed tendonitis and spinal problems from painting so much, and the fumes from her acrylic paints made her sick. Even so, she refused to give up and had her first gallery show in 1985. The demand for her work was incredible, and she was inspired to keep working nights to bring in a supplementary income for her two children.

Sadly, tragedy struck in 1986 when Lee’s son died in an automobile accident. She left work to grieve her loss, and decided she would give up the financial security of her day job to pursue her art full-time. “I prayed I could make my living by painting. I felt I was supposed to paint. Now that my son was gone, I didn’t need such financial resources,” Lee remembered to CBB.“God did this through me,” she continued.“I never thought I would leave the railroad, but it was the best thing I ever did. It was hard to leave the security, but you have to take a leap of faith.”

A Successful Art Career

Annie Lee’s daring risk was a good one. In 1990, she opened her own shop, Annie Lee and Friends Gallery. She had a strong business sense and her gallery was a success! Some of her paintings even appeared in popular TV shows like Bill Cosby’s A Different World.
Lee was determined to capture Black American life and to convey emotion through body language and style as opposed to facial expressions. “You don’t need to see a face to understand emotion,” Lee explained to CBB.“I try to make the movement of the body express the emotion. And people can use their imaginations.”

Sadly, Annie Lee passed away on November 24th, 2014, in Henderson, Nevada. She was 79-years-old, and she will be truly missed. We hope that many more artists will follow in her footsteps and learn from her determination and unique perspective.

To see the Annie Lee doll collection available now, click here.

April 2016 Wholesale Flier

The April Wholesale Flier is now available to view and download. With fresh spring fashions, fun new accessories, and back in stock favorites–this 8 page flier is full of ideas to help boost your business. Click here to have the first look at the 33 new items in stock!

Click here to view and download the April 2016 wholesale flier.
Need to show your customers? Just download the retail or no price version to send to your customers:
Click here for the retail flier.
Click here for flier with no prices.

And get up to 58% off select items with the April specials!
Select clothing, jewelry, artwork, and more– all discounted until April 30, 2016. Click here to see all products on sale this month.

Click here to find out HOW TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS selling African products!

Tuskegee Airman John Mulzac

Retired FDNY Lt. John Mulzac, a Tuskegee Airman who took to the skies in three wars, died this week. He was 91.
Mulzac, a Brooklyn resident, was an original member of the elite Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. During World War II, Black Americans in many U.S. states were still subject to the Jim Crow laws and the American military was racially segregated, as was much of the federal government. The Tuskegee Airmen were subjected to racial discrimination, both within and outside the army. The heroism shown by the Tuskegee Airmen is said to have influenced President Harry S. Truman’s decision to desegregate the military in 1948. The airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2006, the highest honor bestowed by Congress.

The pioneering pilot moved from manning flight controls to manning fire hoses in 1947. He retired from the Fire Department in 1967 as a lieutenant, then worked as a sky marshal and as a U.S. Customs inspector before retiring for good to concentrate on his role as the patriarch of eight children, 22 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
For Black History Month and for their bravery and heroism, we honor Lt. John Mulzac’s life and all of the Tuskegee Airmen.


Come for a visit to Africa Imports…

Knowing who you are buying from is very important but let’s face it, you can’t always go and meet each company you deal with. That’s why we are bringing a little piece of Africa Imports right to your home!

Click here to go on a virtual tour of Africa Imports!

Meet the owner, see our friendly customer service staff, and hear how we can be there for you!

Clara Brown

Clara Brown
Clara Brown was a slave from Virginia, who spent her entire life looking for her 10-year-old daughter, Eliza Jane.

Brown was sold on an auction block in the early 1800s. By the time she was 18, she had conceived four children, each of whom were sold off to different owners. Brown would spend the next 20 years raising Ambrose Smith’s children – her master. At age 53, after Smith died, Brown was declared free and covered over 1,000 miles searching for her daughter. Her search was during the Gold Rush years, so after traveling to Kentucky, Missouri and Kansas to search for her child, Brown ventured to Colorado in hopes that her daughter was there in search of gold.

Brown worked as a cook on a wagon train in return for transportation and a means to carry her laundry pots. Once she reached Colorado, Brown set up shop as a laundress and saved her money – enough to invest in real estate. The town would get to know her as Aunt Clara, and she was a caretaker of the people and visitors in town.

In 1865, Brown moved east to return to her search for Eliza, and now she had money. After landing in Tennessee, she would offer most of her savings and earnings – $10,000 – for information about Eliza. The search was a bust, but all was not in vain. Brown had brought poor, freed slaves with her to give them a better life. Her kindness was noticed by the governor of Colorado, who named her an official representative of newly freed slaves or “exodusters.”

Finally, in 1879, at 79 years old, Brown got word that her daughter was in Iowa. They were finally reunited when Brown was 80, and her daughter was 56 years old. The same year, Brown became the first female member of the Colorado Pioneer Association, and she was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of fame.

She died six years later

Oliver Hill

Oliver Hill was a civil rights lawyer who was key to ending “separate but equal” in America and a prestigious member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. The Presidential Medal of Freedom Award recipient worked to obtain landmark legal decisions involving equality in pay for black teachers, access to school buses, voting rights, jury selection and employment protection.

Hill was a Richmond, Virginia native raised in Washington, D.C. Before joining the U.S. Army in 1943, he helped black teachers earn fair pay in the Alston v. School Board of Norfolk, Va. case in 1940. After returning from World War II, Hill went before the Virginia Supreme Court to win the right for equal transportation for school children. In 1951, he helped black students attending a broken down school in Farmville, Virginia obtaining a better learning facility by introducing the Davis vs. County School Board of Prince Edward County case.

Because of his work in civil rights, Hill’s family was constantly under attack by racists. His children were not allowed to answer the phone after numerous death threats. And one night, they were awakened to a burning cross on the front lawn.

Hill’s work earned him the 1959 Lawyer of the Year Award from the National Bar Association, the Equal Justice Award from the NAACP and the Justice Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association. Hill continued to receive many national honors, including the National Bar Association Hero of the Law award.

Hill died on Aug. 5, 2007 at age 100. In tribute to his legacy, a bronze bust of Hill stands at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia in Richmond.