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February 3, 2014

King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village

King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village
by Bartels, Peggielene and Eleanor Herman
B Bartels, Peggielene BAR

In August 2008, on the cusp of the Presidential election for what would be the first Black President of the United States, Peggielene Bartels receives a phone call at 4am that changes her life. She is told that she has been selected to be the next King of Otuam, a small village on the western coast of Africa near the Atlantic Ocean. A list was drafted with 25 possible candidate names to become the successor to the throne. The successor had to be related to the former King, have characteristics of a great king and be approved through a sacred ritual of pouring libations to ensure that the chosen candidate was not only approved by the Council of Elders but also approved by ancestor spirits. Peggy possessed both relationship and characteristics of a king. She was unanimously approved by the ancestor spirits.

Peggy is beside herself with excitement and doubt. After all, she already has a job as the Secretary to the Ghana embassy in Washington D.C. How would she figure out how to be King of an African Village?

This book shares the journey that Peggielene Bartels encounters on her road to becoming King of Otuam. She chronicles many challenges such as learning the workings of being a king, working with her stubborn, chauvinistic Council of Elders, figuring out how to obtain running water, healthcare and education to make Otuam a sustainable and economically sound village, and finding out the mystery behind the former king’s death. This is King Peggy’s inspiring story of hard work and dedication to the people of Otuam and her goal to make Otuam a respected village in Ghana.

                               — Recommended by Kim Jones, African-American History Committee