St. Adorka’s African Universal Church

In the years since my folks moved to Loxley, I’ve become fascinated with a little church on Highway 64, driving into Daphne. The small, white building is largely unremarkable except for large painting framed in rough stone brick that overlooks what might have once been a shallow pool. Only ever getting but a small glimpse of the painting and the church each time I pass, I decided to find out more about St. Adorka’s.



St. Adorka’s was founded by Laura Adorka Kofi (sometimes appears as Kofey, Koffey or Cofey). The online biographies that I have found, which all seem to be very close versions of one another, all say that she was an African princess from Ghanna who had visions that she was to come to American and encourage African Americans to return to Africa and better themselves and to establish economic ties between African and America. For a time she was associated with Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Agency, but for some reason she was shunned by or left the existing organizations she had been working with in order to found her own church, two branches of which still survive, one in Daphne, pictures above, and one near Jacksonville where an independent African-American settlement called Adorkaville was created. Mother Kofi, as she was known, was killed while preaching to a crowd on March 8, 1928, in Miami. According to one website, the Florida Times Union, a local newspaper, estimated that as many as 10,000 people attended her funeral.



As you can see, especially if you click the pictures to see the larger versions, the painting is very textured. In the couple-second glance I’d get driving by, I thought, in fact, that it wasn’t a painting on a canvas, but more of a mosaic or something like bas relief. I love her feet, how she looks like she could walk onto the platform or pool, and the seven stars and seven torches around her.


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