Grave of Laura Adorkor Kofi in Jacksonville, Florida

Laura Adorkor Kofi, also known as Mother Kofi and sometimes “Princess,” was born in Ghana around 1893. She emigrated to the United States in 1917, reportedly after having a vision that convinced her she was called by God to help Africans in America. Kofi traveled around the country preaching to crowds about God and the importance of remembering their African heritage. In 1927, she founded the African Universal Church. As leader of the church, she went by the title “Warrior Mother of Africa’s Warriors of the Most High God.”

Kofi became involved with the United Negro Improvement Association. Often seen as a controversial figure, she was accused of financial impropriety and could have faced criminal charges. However, because of her importance to the Black community in the South, she was allowed to leave the organization.

After initially being based in Detroit, Kofi later moved to Jacksonville, where she continued to spread her religious views. But on March 8, 1928, she was shot and killed while giving a sermon in Miami. Her body was put on display for several months while her followers contacted her family in Africa to determine how she should be buried. During that time, the funeral home charged mourners $0.25 per viewing.

Eventually, it was decided that she should be interred in the Old City Cemetery in Jacksonville. Kofi was finally laid to rest on August 17, 1928. It was reported that thousands of people observed her funeral services across different cities.

Her grave is a small white chamber with a plaque that gives the title “Princess.”

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