Historical Notes Born in Ghana, Japhet Aryee lived in Spring Valley, New York, with his wife, Maria, and their four children. When he came to the United States, Japhet, a skilled carpenter, drove a taxi while earning a master’s degree in business. At the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, he supervised corporate tax audits. On September 11, Japhet was at work on the 86th floor of the South Tower. He was 49 years old.
Curator's Comment Appearing between the vibrant stripes of this kente cloth is the Golden Stool, a sacred symbol of the Ashanti people of Ghana, the ethnic group to which Japhet Aryee belonged. Japhet grew up in a family that valued education and hard work. He carried those values, along with this ceremonial cloth, to the United States in the early 1970s. In New York, Japhet drove a taxi to help pay for his higher education in business. Later, he went to work for the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance at the World Trade Center. On 9/11, he was seen performing his duties as a fire safety officer, helping others evacuate. HIDE