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Sometime in 1982 I started writing for Ivan. In 1977 his great book They Came Before

Columbus was published and in 1979 he began publication of the Journal of African

Civilizations. How I began to write for the Journal makes for a good story.

 

 

Writings of Runoko Rashidi

 

Introduction to African Civilizations / African Presence in Early Asia / Introduction to the Study of African Classical Civilizations

 

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Recollections of Ivan Van Sertima—The Early Years

By Runoko Rashidi

 

 

30 May 2009

Greetings Sisters and Brothers,

I first met Ivan Van Sertima in either late 1980 or 1981. I went to a lecture that he gave in a classroom at UCLA. An evening or so later I attended a reception in his honor at the residence of Legrand H. Clegg II. The lecture was about the African presence in America before Columbus and the reception gave us a chance to have an up close interaction with him.

He was a light skinned Black man of medium build. He wore a jacket and tie. He was clean shaved except for a mustache and wore a short Afro. And he spoke with a distinct British accent. I was honored to be in his presence. He seemed rather detached and aloof but you could tell that he was a great scholar. And he really seemed to appreciate the ladies!

It was around this same time that I quit my job with a mortgage company and started working in the EOPS department at Compton Community College. My job was to organize cultural awareness programs designed to expose the students and the community in Compton to things African. I believe that Ivan was our first speaker. Among the other early speakers that I brought to Compton at that time were political activist Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) and the great cultural historian John G. Jackson.

Another person that I got to know during those early days at Compton College was Charles S. Finch, MD. Jan Carew who, like Ivan, was from Guyana, South America and who was Ivan's major mentor also I invited in as a speaker. Jan even stayed at my apartment. But Ivan became our regular. He was a great orator and had a grand and commanding on stage presence. You know, I think a lot of it had to do with his British manners. Whatever the case, his speaking style and presence were clearly captivating.

Sometime in 1982 I started writing for Ivan. In 1977 his great book They Came Before Columbus was published and in 1979 he began publication of the Journal of African Civilizations. How I began to write for the Journal makes for a good story.

Legrand Clegg and I had driven down to San Diego, California to attend a program highlighted by Ivan and John Henrik Clarke (another wonderful scholar that I was to get to know and develop am excellent personal relationship with).

I remember that Van Sertima, Legrand, myself and a San Diego brother named Chuck Ambers, were parked in front of a liquor store talking about what spirits we were going to buy when Ivan asked no one in particular if anybody knew anybody who might know somebody if they knew anybody who had photographs of the people of ancient Iraq. He wanted to use the photos to illustrate a new issue of the Journal. I had recently begun to study the subject but did not say a word. Legrand Clegg, busy trying to promote me, pointed out immediately that Runoko Rashidi was just the man! Ivan looked at me as if to say, "who, that guy?" He appeared to have no confidence at all at the suggestion and seemed extremely dubious. But Legrand was persistent and Ivan relented. His parting words to me were, "Well just write a few words and send in the photos."

He later told me that the photos were actually terrible but that the article that I wrote was very good and he was impressed with my style. (I wonder what he would say about my photos now?) From that day on I held him in awe and wrote for all the Journals from 1982 to the last one in 1995.

Just about at that time the Journal of African Civilizations ceased to be a journal per se and became a book that was published two or three times a year. The first was Egyptian History Revised and the second one was Black Women in Antiquity. He published my first article in the former and my second (an even bigger essay) was published in the latter. By this time I could see that the respect that he had for me and the confidence that he had in me was beginning to grow immeasurably, for in the Black Women in Antiquity anthology he not only published an article of mine on African goddesses, but I also helped him do some of the editing for the book. He was extremely grateful and at this point we actually began to be something approaching confidants and friends.

You know, with Ivan's transition (I could not write the "d" word) it seems almost like I have lost my bridge to those early years and those scholars that mentored and influenced me at that pivotal stage in my life. Little by little and one by one they are all gone now, or just about gone. First Chancellor Williams and then John G. Jackson passed. Then Charles B. Copher and Edward Vivian Scobie and, especially John Henrik Clarke, joined the Ancestors. Then Ivan got sick and Jacob H. Carruthers died. Shortly after that Nana Ekow Butweiku got sick and died. William Mackey and Baba Donaldson died. And it seems like just yesterday that my friend Asa Hilliard made his transition. Jan Carew is sick and Dr. Ben is in a nursing home in the Bronx. And now Ivan is gone. Kind of takes my breath away and puts a tear in my eye. I am oh so grateful for the fellowship that they provided and the mentoring that they gave. But, still, I miss them very much.

It seems like the end of an era.

In love of Africa,

Runoko Rashidi Okello

posted 1 June 2010 

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Dr. Ivan Van Sertima: The Afrikan Presence in Ancient America

Ivan Gladstone Van Sertima (26 January 1935 - 25 May 2009) was a historian, linguist and anthropologist

at Rutgers University in the United States.[1] He was noted for his controversial Afrocentric theory

of pre-Columbian contact between Africa and the Americas.

Ivan Van Sertima was born in Guyana, South America. He was educated at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London University) and the Rutgers Graduate School and holds degrees in African Studies and Anthropology. From 1957-1959 he served as a Press and Broadcasting Officer in the Guyana Information Services. During the decade of the 1960s he broadcast weekly from Britain to Africa and the Caribbean. He is a literary critic, a linguist, an anthropologist and has made a name in all three fields.

As a literary critic, he is the author of Caribbean Writers, a collection of critical essays on the Caribbean novel. He is also the author of several major literary reviews published in Denmark, India, Britain and the United States. He was honored for his work in this field by being asked by the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy to nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature from 1976-1980. He has also been honored as an historian of world repute by being asked to join UNESCO's International Commission for Rewriting the Scientific and Cultural History of Mankind.

As a linguist, he has published essays on the dialect of the Sea Islands off the Georgia Coast. He is also the compiler of the Swahili Dictionary of Legal Terms, based on his field work in Tanzania, East Africa, in 1967.

He is the author of They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America, which was published by Random House in 1977 and is presently in its twenty-ninth printing. It was published in French in 1981 and in the same year, was awarded the Clarence L. Holte Prize, a prize awarded every two years "for a work of excellence in literature and the humanities relating to the cultural heritage of Africa and the African diaspora."

He also authored Early America Revisited, a book that has enriched the study of a wide range of subjects, from archaeology to anthropology, and has resulted in profound changes in the reordering of historical priorities and pedagogy.

Professor of African Studies at Rutgers University, Dr. Van Sertima was also Visiting Professor at Princeton University. He is the Editor of the Journal of African Civilizations, which he founded in 1979 and has published several major anthologies which have influenced the development of multicultural curriculum in the United States. These anthologies include Blacks in Science: ancient and modern, Black Women in Antiquity, Egypt Revisited, Egypt: Child of Africa, Nile Valley Civilizations (out of print), African Presence in the Art of the Americas (due 2007), African Presence in Early Asia (co-edited with Runoko Rashidi), African Presence in Early Europe, African Presence in Early America, Great African Thinkers, Great Black Leaders: ancient and modern, and Golden Age of the Moor.

As an acclaimed poet, his work graces the pages of River and the Wall, 1953 and has been published in English and German. As an essayist, his major pieces were published in Talk That Talk, 1989, Future Directions for African and African American Content in the School Curriculum, 1986, Enigma of Values, 1979, and in Black Life and Culture in the United States, 1971.

Dr. Van Sertima has lectured at more than 100 universities in the United States and has also lectured in Canada, the Caribbean, South America and Europe. In 1991 Dr. Van Sertima defended his highly controversial thesis on the African presence in pre-Columbian America before the Smithsonian. In 1994 they published his address in Race, Discourse and the Origin of the Americas: A New World View of 1492.

He also appeared before a Congressional Committee on July 7, 1987 to challenge the Columbus myth. This landmark presentation before Congress was illuminating and brilliantly presented in the name of all peoples of color across the world.

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Attack On Africans Writing Their Own History Part 1 of 7

Dr Asa Hilliard III speaks on the assault of academia on Africans writing and accounting for their own history.

Dr Hilliard is A teacher, psychologist, and historian.

Part 2 of 7  /  Part 3 of 7  / Part 4 of 7  / Part 5 of 7 / Part 6 of 7  /  Part 7 of 7

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
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#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

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#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

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

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

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The Price of Civilization

Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

The Price of Civilization is a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Sachs finds that both political parties—and many leading economists—have missed the big picture, offering shortsighted solutions such as stimulus spending or tax cuts to address complex economic problems that require deeper solutions. Sachs argues that we have profoundly underestimated globalization’s long-term effects on our country, which create deep and largely unmet challenges with regard to jobs, incomes, poverty, and the environment. America’s single biggest economic failure, Sachs argues, is its inability to come to grips with the new global economic realities. Sachs describes a political system that has lost its ethical moorings, in which ever-rising campaign contributions and lobbying outlays overpower the voice of the citizenry. . . . Sachs offers a plan to turn the crisis around. He argues persuasively that the problem is not America’s abiding values, which remain generous and pragmatic, but the ease with which political spin and consumerism run circles around those values. He bids the reader to reclaim the virtues of good citizenship and mindfulness toward the economy and one another.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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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)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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

Enjoy!

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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

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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

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update 9 March 2012

 

 

 

Home Black Librarians  Tributes Obituaries Remembrances

Related files:   African Libraries Project  Runoko Rashidi       The Black Presence in the Bible: A Selected Bibliography  Delany and Blyden  Tribute to Ivan Van Sertima

Runoko in Budapest   Niger and the National Museum    Photos of Global African Presence  Runoko in Papua New Guinea  Recollections of Ivan Van Sertima