Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey

About Me

I am a first-generation high-school attendant and graduate.* I earned the Ph.D., M.Phil., and M.A. at Yale University in the Department of History and Department of African American Studies. At the University of Toronto, I earned my honors B.A. in History and Political Science (University of St. Michael’s College), and M.A. in Political Science and Ethnic, Immigration, and Pluralism Studies.

As immigrants in Canadian society, my parents spent their working lives in janitorial and housekeeping occupations. Their sacrifices and love are my greatest privilege. Any personal achievement, therefore, is entirely theirs.

My family is originally from Teshie, Ghana. My roots in what is present-day Ghana date back to the late 1400s when my ancestors arrived on the Accra Plains in wave migrations from the “primordial river” in the east.

Teshie is one of the original Gã (Accra) towns on the Gulf of Guinea. It is a bustling town whose once thriving fishing industry employed many fishermen and women traders. Teshie’s current impoverishment and underdevelopment belie the true greatness of its past. My lineal forebears, in fact, founded Teshie in the late 1600s as a garrison town after the outbreak of a civil conflict in neighboring Laa, a previous settlement that my ancestors co-founded.

Formidable and feared, the pioneers of Teshie earned a legendary reputation for defending allies from aggressors, and made history as one of the only coastal peoples who resisted successfully the frequent incursions, apocalyptic wars, and slave raids that hallmarked the rise of the Atlantic world. As a member of a minority ethnic group, the moral takeaway—resistance and survival against improbable odds—shapes my approach to scholarship and humanitarianism.

Photography by Jim Rankin

Historian . Humanitarian . Social Entrepreneur .

My ancestral clan, Atrékor-Wé (Est. ca. 1710), is in the Klé Musum quarters of Teshie and is the oldest and highest-ranking clan. I grew up speaking Gã, my ancestral language, and have taught myself to read and write it.

*I am passionate about the recruitment and retention of under-represented persons in post-secondary institutions. I worked for several years in the Office for Graduate Student Development and Diversity at Yale University, supporting the efforts of senior administrators. I especially welcome inquiries from first-generation high-school and college students about any aspects of the transition to college, or graduate or professional school.