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The 9th Annual Keepers of the Flame Awards

The 9th Annual Keepers of the Flame Awards was held on Friday, November 13 2015 at the Kaufmann Auditorium, at the Hill House Association. This event was created by Brother Amir Rashad and Linda Imani Barrett as a way to honor the rich past, present, and future of African and African American artisans. The honorees at this event are recognized for their continuous creative contributions, and are honored as Keepers of the Flame.


Dr. Anthony Mitchell, Sr. is the co-founder with his wife, Iya Bea Mitchell, of the Ibeji Drum Ensemble and Kuumba, Inc., a performing arts and educational consulting company. They founded Ibeji Drum Ensemble in 1995 to establish a legacy for their twin sons, Anthony, Jr. and Dante. For the past 25 years Brother Tony has been a familiar participant on the Pittsburgh arts scene and has performed with the following groups: The Imhotep Drummers, Drums of West Africa in America, SAFARACE (The Sounds of African Drum and Dance), ReSunSum, the Pittsburgh Dance Ensemble, and the Legacy Arts Project. In 2011 Brother Tony was enstooled as a Developmental Chief in Blekusu Village of Ghana under the title Togbi Keli I.


In addition to performing, Dr. Mitchell, as an arts educator, has conducted several studies of community-based performing arts programs and organizations. He has also published academic articles documenting the role of arts in healthy child and youth socializing. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, his articles in the Black Child Journal highlighted the positive impact of the cultural arts and African-centered education on the healthy racial identity development of African American youth in self-determining communities. And, in 2013 he co-wrote an article, “Afrocentric Intervention Paradigm: an Overview of Successful Application by a Grassroots Organization” in the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment.


Dr. Mitchell in 2015 received the Forum on Black Affairs Humanitarian Service Award for community outreach, services to historically under-represented populations and diverse Pennsylvania communities and institutional contributions. During this year he also received the Faculty of Excellence in Teaching Award at Penn State Greater Allegheny. Congratulations to this keeper of the flame who serves to further African American learners as a part of his legacy, and ongoing service in education, and in the arts.