ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

Home  ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)  

Google
 

The main preoccupation of this project has been to provide a culturally relevant view

based on an interdisciplinary approach, focusing on a history of ideas and civilizations,

societies and institutions. To that end, it was decided to use African sources, such

as oral traditions, art forms and linguistics, and to adopt a continental perspective of Africa

as a whole avoiding the usual dichotomy between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

 

 

Pedagogical Uses of African Histories

Compiled by Rudolph Lewis

*   *   *   *   *

Launching the Pedagogical History of Africa Project in Harare yesterday [5 September 2011] , President Mugabe said . . . "The history that must be written by our African scholars and academics here is the history that focuses on African people in struggle as creators of their own destiny rather than mere consumers of stories written about them by passive on-lookers who oftentimes happen to be non-African outsiders . . . . Real history belongs to a people in struggle and not to the interpreters of history. The people themselves are the makers of history and therefore the real historians. The interpreters are mere raconteurs of history and not the actual history-makers as is often wrongly implied . . . Only this way can we avoid history written by colonialists as 'winners'. Our real winners are the people, whose real history or struggle the so-called winners would like to distort and suppress . . . You cannot be a historian of African people if you do not share their cry or their laughter. No. The African sensibility, reflected in African culture and worldview, is the only accurate compass to guide a historian who is genuine about writing African history. . . . Slavery and colonisation do not themselves constitute African history. They disrupt and falsify the trajectory of African history.

They dehumanise Africans to fit into the scheme of European capital. The ideology of racism is created as a parallel process to rationalise the oppression of Africans. . . . I need not stress that it is imperative to edify educational systems, which embody the African and universal values so as to ensure the rooting of youth in African culture in the context of a sustainable and participatory development. This way we continue to foster the spirit of unity in Africa as embodied in the African Unity Charter”—AllAfrica  /  President Robert Mugabe's UN Speech  /  “Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa” Project

 

*   *   *   *   *

Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa Project

Elaboration of the common pedagogical content for use in African schools

First meeting of the drafting teams: Harare, Zimbabwe  4 – 9 September 2011

 

I. Background

Following their decolonization, the African countries expressed a strong desire to understand their past and build knowledge of their common heritage. Through history, they hoped to combat certain preconceptions about African societies, enhance their cultural heritage and reinforce their common aspiration to achieve African unity. To this end, it was felt that the conventional reading of history should be challenged in order to improve understanding of the continent’s past, its cultural diversity and its contribution to the general progress of humanity. Accordingly, at its 13th session (1964), the General Conference of UNESCO invited the Director-General to prepare a General History of Africa (GHA). This monumental work, completed in 1999, was published in eight volumes, with a main edition in English, French and Arabic. Furthermore, twelve studies and documents on related themes were published as part of this endeavour. An abridged version of this collection was also published in English, French, Kiswahili, Hausa and Fulfulde. This tremendous undertaking represented 35 years of international cooperation, drawing on the contributions of 350 experts from Africa and from the rest of the world.

To tackle this huge task, made all the more complex and difficult by the vast range of sources and the fact that documents were widely scattered, UNESCO proceeded by stages.

The first stage (1965 to 1969) consisted in gathering documentation and planning the work. Several meetings were held and campaigns conducted in the field to collect oral traditions and establish regional documentation centres. In addition, the following activities were undertaken: collection of unpublished manuscripts in Arabic and Ajami (manuscripts in African languages written with the Arabic alphabet), compilation of archival inventories and preparation of a Guide to the Sources of the History of Africa, drawing on the archives and libraries of a number of European countries and later published in nine volumes.

The second stage (1969 to 1971) was devoted to the deliberation of questions regarding the drafting and publication of the GHA. It was decided that the GHA should cover three million years of African history, published in eight volumes, with a main edition in English, French and Arabic and translations into African languages such as Kiswahili, Hausa, Fulfulde, Yoruba and Lingala.

The next stage (1971 to 1999) consisted of the drafting and publication. This began with the establishment in 1970 of an International Scientific Committee composed of 39 members, two thirds of them Africans) to take intellectual and scientific responsibility for the project. During that period, UNESCO held several meetings and symposia on GHA topics that had been overlooked by researchers. The results of these meetings were published in a series of books entitled UNESCO Studies and Documents—The General History of Africa. Twelve studies and documents were published in this series, covering a wide range of subjects, in particular the slave trade, relations between Africa and the Arab world, relations between Africa and the Indian Ocean, the role of youth and women and Africa after 1935.

The main preoccupation of this project has been to provide a culturally relevant view based on an interdisciplinary approach, focusing on a history of ideas and civilizations, societies and institutions. To that end, it was decided to use African sources, such as oral traditions, art forms and linguistics, and to adopt a continental perspective of Africa as a whole avoiding the usual dichotomy between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. This shift in perspective is reflected by the significant number of renowned African scholars who contributed to this project as members of the International Scientific Committee, editors and authors.

II. Justification

Although it was successfully completed in 1999, the General History of Africa is still inaccessible to the general public. Despite the publication of an abridged version in eight volumes and the translation of volumes of the main edition into many languages—

including Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese—its current form and prohibitive costs have impeded its wide distribution. Despite the initial goal to use the GHA to produce textbooks, children’s books and radio and television programmes, it is not yet sufficiently exploited in Africa. In fact, very few history textbooks have incorporated the project’s aspirations and a measure of Euro-centrism still prevails in history teaching in Africa.

Furthermore, the worrying trend in recent decades to promote the “nationalization” of history has given disproportionate importance to the period of colonization, at the expense of a regional perspective which would highlight interaction among the various African peoples and their common heritage.

As history education helps to shape peoples’ identities and to improve understanding not only of cultural diversity, but also of the values and heritage shared by all regions of the African continent, UNESCO has decided, in cooperation with the African Union, to start the second phase of the General History of Africa in order to promote history education from an African cultural standpoint.

The second phase was conducted on the basis of recommendations by several expert meetings held by UNESCO during and after the successful completion of the first phase (Dakar, 1986; Nairobi, 1989; Tripoli, 1999; UNESCO Paris, 1999; Dakar, 2001), during which the experts concluded, inter alia, that history curricula in schools were outdated and inadequate, and recommended that new textbooks be drafted on the basis of the General History of Africa for use by primary and secondary schools on the continent. To that end, they stressed the necessity to write them from an African standpoint, without neglecting national and subregional characteristics, and to use the vocabulary employed by Africans themselves to describe their social, cultural and economic situations. They also stressed that those textbooks should outline political, social and cultural changes and developments that had occurred over time, as well as African contributions to the general progress of humanity.

Accordingly, the establishment of the African Union (AU) afforded a great opportunity to reform history education within the continent as a whole. The AU Member States had already expressed strong support for the renovation of history teaching on the basis of the General History of Africa, in particular in the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance adopted by Heads of State in 2006. Furthermore, the Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015) and the adoption of the Plan of Action for the Decade in Khartoum in 2006 called for the quality of education to be improved in all areas by giving more consideration to the link between education and culture.

Against that background, UNESCO launched the second phase of the General History of Africa (GHA), entitled "Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa" in March 2009.

The project’s main goal is to contribute to the renewal of history education in African countries by:

– developing three core components for primary and secondary schools in Africa;

– producing a historical atlas, an educational DVD, training tools and educational guides for history teachers;

– strengthening initial and in-service teacher training for a new approach to history education;

– promoting the use of the volumes of the General History of Africa and harmonizing the teaching of the GHA in higher education institutions throughout the continent.

In implementing the second phase, UNESCO has acted, as under the first phase, by establishing, in February 2009, a Scientific Committee comprising ten members from five different regions of the continent in order to take intellectual and scientific responsibility for the project. The Association of African Historians, a strategic project partner, is also represented on the committee.

After the second phase was launched, UNESCO held a regional conference in Tripoli, Libya from 12 to 16 June 2010 on the pedagogical use of the General History of Africa in African schools. The conference was attended by 117 experts from all over Africa and its Diaspora, including the focal points designated by African Ministers of Education within their Ministries. On that occasion, participants identified the topics that should be taught to African pupils and selected three age groups that should be considered during the development of core educational components, namely, pupils under 12 years old, pupils between 13 and 16 years of age and pupils between 17 and 19 years of age. The project’s Scientific Committee then selected the 30 team members responsible for drafting the core educational components for each age group and the accompanying teacher guides.

The first meeting for consultation and coordination between the drafting teams and the Scientific Committee is being held against this backdrop.

III. Objectives of the Meeting

This expert meeting has the following objectives:

– setting the methodology to be followed: which approach and methodology are the most appropriate?. How should ongoing developments in politics be taken into consideration in curricula? etc.

– defining the teams’ working methods: how should the drafting team’s work be structured—following which approach and using which resources? What will each member’s role be? How will the work be coordinated within each team and between the three teams? What should the coordinator’s profile be? What is the Scientific Committee’s role? Will one or more of the Scientific Committee’s members be responsible for monitoring the work of each drafting team? etc.

– setting a work plan: what must be done to produce core educational components and teachers’ handbooks? Should the support of other experts be sought? What are the indicators of advancement/progress? What are the lead times for these activities? etc.

The meeting will be preceded by a workshop on the revision of concepts, paradigms and categorizations used in social sciences and the humanities and applied to Africa. The goal of the workshop, established on the recommendation of the above mentioned Regional Conference held in Tripoli, is to raise awareness of this issue among members of the drafting teams and, in particular, to:

– identify problematic concepts;

– determine ways and means of dealing with Euro-centric concepts;

– identify new “decolonial” concepts and categories;

– find ways and means of including the contribution of African languages, toponyms, ethnonyms and anthroponyms to an understanding of the past;

– identify and solve the problems raised by the use of African terms (e.g. collection, transcription, harmonization, etc.);

– identify the educational implications of the decolonization of concepts and paradigms used in social sciences and applied to Africa.

IV. Expected Results

Workshop

1. Defining a grid for the analysis and identification of problematic concepts.

2. Developing a strategy for dealing with problematic concepts and categories.

3. Defining a common stance on the conceptualization of African realities and on terminology used in African languages.

Source: UNESCO

*   *   *   *   *

The General History of Africa (GHA) is a two-phase project undertaken by UNESCO from 1964 to the present. The 1964 General Conference of UNESCO, during its 13th Session, instructed the Organization to undertake this initiative after the newly independent African Member States expressed a strong desire to reclaim their cultural identity, to rectify widespread ignorance about their Continent’s history, and to break free of discriminatory prejudices. Phase One, which began in 1964 and was completed in 1999, consisted of writing and publishing eight volumes which highlight the shared heritage of the peoples of Africa. Phase Two, which began in 2009, focuses on the elaboration of history curricula and pedagogical materials for primary and secondary schools on the basis of the eight volumes of the GHA. Phase Two also focuses on the promotion of the use and harmonization of the teaching of this collection in higher education institutions throughout the Continent. Phase Two also concerns the implementation of these materials in schools in Africa and the Diaspora. The objective of both Phase One and Phase Two of the project is to re-appropriate the interpretation and writing of African histories and to demonstrate the contribution of African cultures past and present to the history of humanity at large.

An Overview of the General History of Africa
Volume I: Methodology and African Prehistory
Under the direction of J. Ki-Zerbo

Volume II: Ancient Civilizations of Africa
Under the direction of G. Mokhtar

Volume III: Africa from the Seventh to the Eleventh Century
Under the direction of M.M. El Fasi and I. Hrbek

Volume IV: Africa from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century
Under the direction of D.T. Niane

Volume V: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century
Under the direction of B.A. Ogot

Volume VI: Africa in the Nineteenth Century until the 1880s
Under the direction of J.F.A. Ajayi

Volume VII: Africa under the Colonial Domination 1880-1935
Under the direction of A.A. Boahen

Volume VIII: Africa since 1935
Under the direction of A.A. Mazrui and C. Wondji

Source: Wikipedia

*   *   *   *   *

Launching the Pedagogical History of Africa Project in Harare yesterday [5 September 2011] , President Mugabe said . . . "The history that must be written by our African scholars and academics here is the history that focuses on African people in struggle as creators of their own destiny rather than mere consumers of stories written about them by passive on-lookers who oftentimes happen to be non-African outsiders . . . . Real history belongs to a people in struggle and not to the interpreters of history. The people themselves are the makers of history and therefore the real historians. The interpreters are mere raconteurs of history and not the actual history-makers as is often wrongly implied . . . Only this way can we avoid history written by colonialists as 'winners'. Our real winners are the people, whose real history or struggle the so-called winners would like to distort and suppress . . . You cannot be a historian of African people if you do not share their cry or their laughter. No. The African sensibility, reflected in African culture and worldview, is the only accurate compass to guide a historian who is genuine about writing African history. . . . Slavery and colonisation do not themselves constitute African history. They disrupt and falsify the trajectory of African history. They dehumanise Africans to fit into the scheme of European capital. The ideology of racism is created as a parallel process to rationalise the oppression of Africans. . . . I need not stress that it is imperative to edify educational systems, which embody the African and universal values so as to ensure the rooting of youth in African culture in the context of a sustainable and participatory development. This way we continue to foster the spirit of unity in Africa as embodied in the African Unity Charter”AllAfrica

*   *   *   *   *

The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony

By Molefi Kete Asante

This book provides a wide-ranging history of Africa from earliest prehistory to the present day – using the cultural, social, political, and economic lenses of Africa as instruments to illuminate the ordinary lives of Africans. The result is a fresh survey that includes a wealth of indigenous ideas, African concepts, and traditional outlooks that have escaped the writing of African history in the West.  This straightforward, illustrated and factual text allows the reader to access the major developments, personalities and events on the African continent. Written by a world expert in African history, this ground-breaking survey is an indispensable guide.

This is the first Afrocentric history of the entire continent of Africa.It begins with the origin of humanity and closes with the debate over the United States of Africa. Written from the perspective of Africans themselves, The History of Africa, is useful for all introductory courses on African history.

 Contents

Introduction Part 1: The Time of the Awakening 1. Africa and the Origin of Humanity Part 2: The Age of Literacy 2. Africa and the Beginning of Civilization 3. The Rise of Kemet/Egypt 4. The Elements of Early African Civilization 5. Governance and the Political Stability of Kemet Part 3: The Moment of Realization 6. The Emergence of the Great River Kingdoms Part 4: The Age of Construction 7. The Spread of Classical Empires and Kingdoms 8. The Sudanic Empires: Historians and Their Narratives 9. Generators of Traditional and Contemporary Africa 10. Societies of Secrets: Farmers and Metallurgists Part 5: The Time of the Chaos 11. Arab and European Missionaries, Merchants and Mercenaries 12. Resisting European and Arab Slave Traders Part 6: The Age of Reconstruction 13. Africa Regains Consciousness in a Pan African Explosion Part 7: The Time for Consolidation 14. Africa Consolidates Independence 15. Toward a United States of Africa Without Compromise

Molefi Kete Asante is Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Black Studies and has published 63 books including 100 Greatest African Americans (2002) and the high school text African American History (second edition 2001).

Source: H-Net

*   *   *   *   *

Theoretical Discourse on the Challenges

 of Black Intellectuals in Post-Modern America

Excerpts by Tunde Adeleke

The black intellectual of today also functions as an arbiter whose role is to challenge and deconstruct Eurocentric scholarship. For example, black intellectuals like [Molefi]Asante, and John H. Clarke have undertaken to rewrite history from black/African perspectives. The last two decades, for example witnessed attempts by Afrocentric and black nationalist scholars to challenge entrenched interpretations of American and African history by publishing new histories primarily for a black audience. Deconstructing the intellectual edifice of white domination would empower blacks by expunging from their consciousness negative and destructive Eurocentric values. For example, among Asante’s legion of publications are recent reinterpretations of African history and African American history written from a black or Afrocentric perspective.

Also, the Nation of Islam has commissioned its own historians to write texts specifically for its schools; texts which directly challenge mainstream interpretation of American history.25 Thus, black intellectuals are engaged in multitasking. They combine both scholarly and activist functions. This responsibility to activism has however raised questions about the goal of  scholarship. Should scholarship focus primarily on the acquisition of knowledge? Or, should it be knowledge for individual/collective liberation and empowerment? There seems to be a consensus among black intellectuals, irrespective of ideology, that knowledge should have a utilitarian purpose. There is disagreement, however, on precisely the nature of the utilitarian goal—integration of nationalist/ethnic vision?

Explaining the contextual dynamics of black intellectualism, Franz Fanon suggested that since black intellectuals developed in the context of oppressive environments, they often seek to integrate into the dominant society.26 This is true of black intellectuals in America. The lure of the dominant society remains simply irresistible. Though critical of the dominant society, black intellectuals have not completely jettisoned the dominant ‘bourgeois’ ethos. Thus far, their leadership style is not consistent with effective “grounding” with the people. Their education has become a means of escaping the dark and gloomy world of the masses of black America into the lofty and affluent world of the dominant white society. Yet, as Fanon underscored, not all leadership is seduced by the bourgeois ethos of the dominant class. Rather than compromise, some black intellectuals choose to identify with the oppressed and marginalized.27 This revolutionary organic group, in the Gramscian sense, uses knowledge as a weapon in a revolutionary cultural war against a domineering and Eurocentric mainstream. To some degree, Afrocentrism exemplifies this tradition. Afrocentric scholars depict themselves as revolutionary

“organic” intellectuals. According to Askia Mohammed Toure, advocate of this genre; We must strive to develop a revolutionary soul-total psychic unity with the masses of our people. We must become the very embodiment of their hopes, dreams, consciences, and desires for justice. We must develop into mental and spiritual fighting machines of black America, instruments of the people. Other intellectuals not publicly identified with Afrocentrism have also advocated “organic” leadership. For example, Cornel West advocates an “‘organic catalytic black intellectual’---a thinker who would have a symbiotic relationship with the broader black community. West contends that this style of leadership would advance the struggle. According to him; “this model privileges collective intellectual work that contributes to communal resistance and struggle.”29 In this respect, according to William Banks, “West echoes Gramsci’s ideas about the importance of black intellectuals articulating issues and ideas relevant to their ethnic community…Convinced that ‘race matters,’ West calls for black intellectuals who will work to extend freedom to blacks and other subordinated groups.”30 However, while West centralizes race, other black intellectuals such as Shelby Steel and William J. Wilson highlight other elements. While not denying racial discrimination, these intellectuals contend that race no longer weighs heavily and thus call for centralizing other factors such as moral failure and class respectively.

It should be noted, however, that Cornel West is not an organic leader, his advocacy of this genre notwithstanding! There is a clear distinction between what he writes and his intellectual leadership style. Often his writings and leadership style are fundamentally self-promoting and at odds. He and other so-called progressive scholars dabble into just about any subject under the sun, solidifying their reputation as “experts” on black issues. They focus on racism, inequality, and the failures and shortcomings of American democracy. Due to their prodigious academic scholarship, and visibility, they have become institutionalized “talking heads” on televisions, radios and other popular media. Their ultimate goals are personal enrichment, and career advancement. This is true as well of the Afrocentric, cultural nationalist intellectuals who publicly proclaim identification with, and concern for, the plight of the black masses. They too are little better than the exploitative and hegemonic intellectual establishment they condemn.

They seem unable to completely commit the class suicide called for, and seem to be orchestrating the people’s cause for purely self-aggrandizement. This is clearly evident in their commoditization of knowledge.As public black intellectuals become more visible, assertive and functional, their demands have appreciated exponentially. As source and authority on black life and challenges; these intellectuals become the bona fide voice of, and authority on, black America. Their visibility and enhanced status has spurned a cottage industry around the spheres of public knowledge. These public black intellectuals impose and demand a high price for their services.

They have retreated into some private, secluded space or compartment, behind agential barriers. To reach them, one is first directed to agents who are employed primarily to negotiate lucrative booking fees—first class airfare, at times, including family members, five-star hotel accommodation and hefty honorarium which includes agential commission often for very minimal visits. Almost all black public intellectuals, regardless of ideological disposition, now sell their knowledge often to the highest bidder. As public intellectuals, their knowledge, unlike the Du Boisean / Woodsonian genres, is no longer for altruistic service in the uplifting of the race, but primarily a means of personal enrichment. They have become intellectual prostitutes and pimps, accessible only to those able and willing to pay for their services. Many have copyrighted their works and now charge exorbitant fees even from students doing research.

They all seem unwilling to fully commit class suicide, or return to, and “ground” with, the people. They seem incapable of overcoming the trappings of their bourgeois training. Instead of escaping the “Babylonian captivity” of their Eurocentric education, and undertaking the kind of “reconversion of mentalities” which Amilcar Cabral believed would prepare them to function effectively as the peoples’ advocates, they have chosen to prioritize personal gains.

Source: Inter-Disciplinary

*   *   *   *   *

The Importance

of an African Centered Education

By Kalamu ya Salaam

I reiterate the need to be self critical and the need to be grounded in the lives of our people. Far too many Afrocentrics are petit bourgeoisie professionals who are based at predominately Eurocentric educational institutions. Far too much of the focus of contemporary Afrocentrism is on the long ago and far away. Where is the community base? Where is the focus on the needs of the community? To a certain extent, much of what we see in some narrow Afrocentric theorists is an attempt to compensate for years spent suffering under the constant and withering intellectual onslaught of formal education teaching Black professionals that Black people are intellectually inferior. After one has invested so many years in academe, one sometimes spends an equally inordinate amount of time researching to prove to Whites that Black people are not only as smart as Whites, but indeed that we were the world’s first smart people. “Uh huh, but how does that free us?”

The issue is not about proving anything to Whites. The issue is meeting the needs of our people, being grounded in our people. Furthermore the inordinate amount of energy devoted to the study, praising, and admiration of African kings and pharaohs displays a serious sense of inadequacy and disdain for the common woman and man. What difference does it make to me how smart the leader was if the majority of the people are kept in ignorance? I don’t care what the priests knew about life, what did Ayo and Kwaku know, what did Bertha and Joe know? 

I don’t care how intelligent and spiritually refined the royal order was, what were the conditions, relative level of educational achievement and qualitative life of the people who were like you and I? Tell me about the lives of the masses, what we didn’t, what we did. Let us learn from our mistakes and build on our achievements in the context of building serious social relationships among ordinary people rather than this almost mystical interest in kings and things.

I agree with Amilcar Cabral that the focus of the African professional ought to be to commit class suicide. Rather than identify with the dominant society via a focus on developing professional skills for the purpose of being a more productive professional or for self aggrandizement, professionals ought to focus their skills on the uplift and development of the African American working class (whether actively employed or unemployed). This is what DuBois had in mind as a mission for the so-called “talented tenth.” Today, too many who would qualify as talented tenthers on the basis of education have deserted the mission, and it was the mission, and not the level of educational attainment, which defined the talented tenth in DuBois’ perspective.

*   *   *   *   *

Black Education and Afro-Pessimism 

By Floyd W Hayes

Way back in the late 1960s, as a graduate student at UCLA (working on an M.A. degree in African Studies), I was interested in the African struggle for independence and its aftermath and the acceptance of European-carved state boundaries.  The argument among my professors and other white/western scholars was that independent African nations should yield to those state boundaries.  But those state boundaries often went counter to the configurations of African nationalities.  It was said that Africans should yield to those boundaries so as not to give rise to small states that supposedly would not be able to sustain themselves for whatever reason.  But look at Luxembourg in Europe!  I recall thinking that those European-carved boundaries would cause unforeseen contradictions in the years to come.  Why?

Well, prior to 1914, there was no Nigeria!  The Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa-Fulani were all separate nations.  Now, that didn't necessarily mean that there was always peace within or among these nations, but to force them into one state set in motion, after independence, long lasting contradictions and dilemmas.  The Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa-Fulani, and other nationalities in contemporary Nigeria historically were different people with different cultures, political arrangements, etc., before Europeans arrived.  But sure enough, on the eve of Nigerian independence—actually, Nigeria should have become independent before Ghana—a power struggle began between Yorubas and Igbos over who would rule the Nigerian state.  Yoruba leader, Awolowo, and Igbo leader, Azikiwe, fought it out in the 1950s.  Although independence came, these internal contradictions were not settled.  Then the Nigerian-Biafra war emerged in the late 1960s.  Nigeria withstood the Igbo nation challenge, but those contractions only mirrored the dilemmas that would plague Nigeria and other African nations well into the 21st century.

My argument, then, is that the acceptance of European-carved boundaries set in motion a great amount of the present conflict in Africa.  The struggle for power among leaders of opposing nationalities has resulted in the privatization of power within certain nationalist (read "tribal") leaders in opposition to other nationalities (read tribes).  So, there is genocide.  I often wonder what would have happened if the Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa-Fulani, and other nationalities in Nigeria had decided to return the pre-colonial national or independent or separate status. Suppose the Kikuyu, Luo, Masai and others remained independent or separate after independence?  The question could be pertinent for nations throughout the continent of Africa.  My point is that although present internal contradictions are real, they may have their origins in external forces, which continue to gnaw at the very existence of Africans on the continent and their descendants in the Diaspora.

*   *   *   *   *

Black Education for Human Freedom

The African Renaissance and the History That Is in the Present

By Joyce E. King, PhD

I am a daughter of those enslaved Africans who were kidnapped and brought to the Americas. I remember the stories told in my family about slavery. But for the most part, we experience ourselves, our history and our identity, through lies told to us and about us that make us feel ashamed. Meanwhile those who perpetrated and benefited from these crimes against us go about feeling superior with their heads held high. In addition to the evidence of humanity’s origins in Africa, another magnificent truth we experienced at this conference is that African people are “one big family.” However, that reality is undermined by one of the most pernicious ways that our history has been used to divide African people: what our textbooks teach us about “slavery.”  In school we learn that there never would have been any enslavement if “Africans had not sold their own brothers and sisters into slavery.”

This has left a gaping wound in our souls. Who among us would want to be African when we are taught that is what has been done to us?  

Our response as Black intellectuals and Black Studies scholars has been to develop contextualized teaching materials that provide a truthful analysis of this historical dynamic. The point is to examine the indigenous African experience of servitude and enslavement before, during and after Arab and European slavery from the perspective of the African mindset as well as the enslavers and colonizers (King, 1992, 2005).

Let me share an experience I had in East Africa—in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985 when I attended the UN Decade of Women’s conference. In Nairobi I met a student who was attending a play at the university with his aunt—who was about my age. They invited me home with them to meet the rest of the family. After several evenings at their home, they also invited me to go with them to visit their grandfather in Pumwani—one of the poorest sections of the city. When we entered the Elder’s home, he greeted everyone and he thought I was from somewhere right there in Kenya. The family quickly told him that I was from the United States.

Now, this elderly grandfather, living in the biggest so-called “slum” in the city, who had no formal education, and who had not studied African history or Black history, started to weep. Through tears, the old grandfather looked directly at me and said, “Thank God! One of our daughters has come home.” He explained how happy he was that one of the “lost ones” has come home. “You should feel proud,” he said. “Don’t ever feel ashamed of what has happened to you because you have a home here.”

“One of our daughters has come home.”  With this simple declaration this ordinary African elder, living among the poorest, most downtrodden, “uneducated” people in the great city of Nairobi, expressed the essence of African people’s humanity: the uninterrupted, unqualified, and profound importance of our family feeling, the importance of children down through the generations, and an utterly spontaneous affirmation that wherever we have ended up, we are still at home in Africa—where we still belong as African people.  

*   *   *   *   *

I have been to Africa only twice, and spent a total of a mere six weeks on the continent.  That is a pathetically short time.  I once met a beautiful young Afro-American woman in the Liberian rain forest, with tears in her eyes as she began to understand the dark lies of the cannibalistic Tolbert regime, and realized she was stranded at Cuttington College for a year.  More recently I had a beautiful young Euro-American woman tell me she wanted to spend four months in Senegal because she was interested in the prehistory of Olduvai Gorge.  I had to remind her that the distance from Dakar to Nairobi is greater than the distance from Fairbanks to Mexico City. On the Passing of Asa Hilliard

posted 12 September 2011

*   *   *   *   *

AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books

 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

 

Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent

By Wilson J. Moses

This remarkable biography, based on much new information, examines the life and times of one of the most prominent African-American intellectuals of the nineteenth century. Born in New York in 1819, Alexander Crummell was educated at Queen's College, Cambridge, after being denied admission to Yale University and the Episcopal Seminary on purely racial grounds. In 1853, steeped in the classical tradition and modern political theory, he went to the Republic of Liberia as an Episcopal missionary, but was forced to flee to Sierra Leone in 1872, having barely survived republican Africa's first coup. He accepted a pastorate in Washington, D.C., and in 1897 founded the American Negro Academy, where the influence of his ideology was felt by W.E.B. Du Bois and future progenitors of the Garvey Movement. A pivotal nineteenth-century thinker, Crummell is essential to any understanding of twentieth-century black nationalism.

*   *   *   *   *

Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

*   *   *   *   *

 

Becoming American Under Fire

Irish Americans, African Americans, and the Politics of Citizenship

During the Civil War Era

By Christian G. Samito

In Becoming American under Fire, Christian G. Samito provides a rich account of how African American and Irish American soldiers influenced the modern vision of national citizenship that developed during the Civil War era. By bearing arms for the Union, African Americans and Irish Americans exhibited their loyalty to the United States and their capacity to act as citizens; they strengthened their American identity in the process. . . . For African American soldiers, proving manhood in combat was only one aspect to their quest for acceptance as citizens. As Samito reveals, by participating in courts-martial and protesting against unequal treatment, African Americans gained access to legal and political processes from which they had previously been excluded. The experience of African Americans in the military helped shape a postwar political movement that successfully called for rights and protections regardless of race.

For Irish Americans, soldiering in the Civil War was part of a larger affirmation of republican government and it forged a bond between their American citizenship and their Irish nationalism. The wartime experiences of Irish Americans helped bring about recognition of their full citizenship through naturalization and also caused the United States to pressure Britain to abandon its centuries-old policy of refusing to recognize the naturalization of British subjects abroad. / For Love of Liberty

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        

Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)

 

 

 

 

 

posted 12 September 2011

 

 

 

Home The African World   Nkrumah-Lumumba-Nyerere Index   Education & History  Religion & Politics   Inside the Caribbean