By Doni Glover, Publisher
(BALTIMORE – February 27, 2023) – Black History is quite possibly my favorite topic of all. As an International Studies major in the grad school at Morgan State University, I can’t help but be in love with Black History because it is in fact World History.
I am here to tell you that Black History did not start nor end with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, also known as the Ma’afa (or great tragedy).
Dearest Black brethren, we had an extensive history thousands of years before the institution of American chattel slavery ever started.
I shared on today’s show how we, as African Americans, are by-products, if you will, of British culture. We speak English because the British colonized North America until we fought back and took our independence as a nation. And for the record, Blacks have fought in every major conflict (both for and against) since the arrival of the first Europeans to North America.
Don’t believe me? Then just look up the power and beauty of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment.
My point here is that almost everything we know has been taught to us through a British lens. Again, that’s why we speak English.
In South America, they speak Spanish and Portuguese mostly. Do you know why? Because Spain and Portugal ran South America and they did so at least 100 years before the British came to North America. The Spanish, in fact, owned Florida until 1831 (Do pick up a copy of my second book, “I Am Black Wall Street”).
Ever heard of Zumbi? He was a freedom fighter in Brazil who built his own quilombo or freedom colony until he was captured and executed. Ever heard of King Bayano? Look him up. He too built a freedom colony as did several other Blacks across South and Central America and the Caribbean who defied slavery in the Western Hemisphere. The greatest defiance, no doubt, came when Toussaint L’Overture dismantled Napoleon – yes, Napoleon – and sent him back limping to Ajaccio.
In short, wherever there was slavery, there was equally someone or some people who would not take slavery lying down without a fight. Some even won their freedom because they knew deep down in their DNA that slavery was not their legacy. Many died proving it.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus found himself in the Western Hemisphere. We know today that the Spanish and the Portuguese hired him to explore this side of the world. His goal was to come to the Americas and bring back riches to southern Europe.
We know that part of the story. But also in 1492, do we know that the last Moors were just being chased out of the Iberian Peninsula after 800 years? In that period, the Moors brought culture to southern Europe and were ultimately revered across Europe. They were likely the ones who exposed Columbus to the New World. If the Moors were running things there, then they obviously controlled the waterways. This would suggest that the Moors had ships and they did sail. Their perspective was global.
And before that, Blacks were a part of every major development in Europe.
We often forget the story of Hannibal, the Carthaginian (modern-day Tunisia in North Africa), who commanded forces to climb over the Swiss Alps on the backs of elephants to march on the Roman Republic. He was born in 247 B.C.
Why don’t our children know these historical facts? Why don’t we remember these nuggets? Maybe, we are so indoctrinated in somebody else’s culture that we didn’t take the time to learn our own history. And yes, Black History includes African History because Black people come from Africa. For anyone to think Blacks in America have no connection to Africa is absofrickinlutely ludicrous.
We cannot expect those who seek to control our thinking to tell us of the proud, glorious legacy of which we are a part. It is not their job to tell us. It is, however, our job to learn our own history and understand it for ourselves. That is our duty to ourselves and our ancestors. And then we must teach it to our children.
Once we know our own history, we can then walk more confidently in our skin, even in a heavily non-Black America.
Thank God my dad pointed me in the right direction as a child. He’d tell me to use my head for something other than a hat rack. The teachers we had in those days in the Baltimore City Public School System taught us to use context clues. They showed us how to pull information from here and from there so as to get a better glimpse of the story.
Consequently, I have learned to challenge everything somebody tries to tell me about my history, including the part about the autochthonous peoples of North America. I’ve studied too much to allow a bumbling idiot to try and reshape my thinking. If they have not done the research, if they only come with a Eurocentric view of the world, if they have never been to Africa nor studied her gifts to humanity, and if they do not acknowledge that human life began there, then there is absolutely nothing they can begin to tell me about who I am or from whence I come.
Typically, I can tell them more about their own history than they can tell me about mine. Case in point, all humans trace their DNA back tot he San Bushmen of Namibia. Many thanks to my Morehouse brother, Robert Scott, for the countless hours of conversation on the topic.
We have to study. We have to research. And once we begin, we will find that there is no limit to what we can learn.
A Rhodes Scholar is nice, with all due respect. But, do you know who Cecil Rhodes was? Do you know about the so-called white man’s burden? Do you know how DeBeers came to own the diamond mines in South Africa and where they come from to get there? Do you know why they traveled there?
Today, Blacks still live in the worst parts of the land in South Africa – even after Nelson Mandela rose from 27 years in prison to become the first Black president there. Think about it. The first Black president in South Africa. What? It’s Africa, damn it!
Africans should be owning the diamond mines. Black South Africans. Yet, they lost their birthright. They did not stave off the intruders who came to colonize the Motherland. And as a result, they live in shanty towns.
And this type of pillaging has taken place all over the world. This is what happens when one people lose to another: their children and grandchildren live with the results. Whether it is Asia or Africa or Europe, when one people lose to another, they often become irrelevant in the eyes of man. To the victor goes the spoils.
The conqueror then uses all kinds of ‘jedi mind tricks’, including religion and indoctrination, to maintain their control over our thinking. Hence, my brothers and sisters, we must always, always, always think for ourselves.
We can never afford to allow someone else to define us, especially those who have never had the best intentions in mind for us. To do so would betray our history, our birthright, and the powerful legacy our ancestors left for us. Do us all a favor, make learning Black History a 365-day-a-year project. Challenge each other. Teach each other. Make it a competition. Make our history relevant, especially in the eyes and minds of our children. For the more they know, the better they will do.
Imagine teaching algebra with Black History at the core. Then, little Black kids will have more interest, especially when they find out that it is used to build pyramids … like their ancestors did!
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