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In truth, Aboriginal Australians only began to be regarded as human beings by the government

of Australia in January 1967.  You read me right!  Before a national referendum forty-one years

 ago the sisters and brothers in Australia were officially classified as "plants and animals." 



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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Global African Presence

Photos by Runoko Rashidi

Two Nubian boys that I photographed in a large village near Aswan, in mid-July 2008.  Aswan, Egypt's fourth largest city, is the capital of Egyptian Nubia.  My tour groups have been going to this village for the past two years and will go again next July.  We always bring school supplies and make a cash donation.  Why don't you make plans to come with us.  In love of Africa, Brother Runoko


An Aboriginal Australian child from northern Australia near Darwin.  . . . In Australia I hope to meet with my friend, sister Gracelyn Smallwood (the Queen of Aboriginal Australia) and visit a number of Aboriginal communities, especially in central and northern Queensland—a state that has been dubbed by the Indigenous people of Australia as "KKK country."  Indeed, Queensland has been identified as the most racist place in all of Australia.  Many of the bitter enders—white folks who refused to accept the end of apartheid and the beginnings of African rule in South Africa and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe—left Southern Africa and settled in this part of Australia.  But that is exactly where I am going—to a place where our people have been treated like two-footed beasts!  In truth, Aboriginal Australians only began to be regarded as human beings by the government of Australia in January 1967.  You read me right!  Before a national referendum forty-one years ago the sisters and brothers in Australia were officially classified as "plants and animals." 

A delightful photo of a young girl from Malawi.  The African country of Malawi is hard to pin down geographically.  You can call it part of East Africa, Central Africa, or Southern Africa.  It is in the center of Tanzania, Mozambique, and Zambia. I visited Malawi for four or five days in late June/early July 2007.  . . . Malawi was a real breath of fresh air.  Like much of Africa, Malawi is an economically poor but a stunningly beautiful country.  It has high mountains and exquisite lakes. . . . I flew from Dar es Salaam (the capital of Tanzania) to the city of Blantyre, Malawi via Nairobi, Kenya.  I spent two nights in Blantyre, another night in Lilongwe (Malawi's capital), and a final night in a chateau on Lake Malawi itself.  On that last night I went to bed and woke up to the sound of the waves caressing the beach just outside my door.  It was truly an evening to remember. . . . I loved the people of Malawi.   Indeed, I think that the people of Malawi are it's greatest resource.  They were fantastic.  I would describe them as gentle and friendly, humble and kind, proud but not arrogant.  They were as beautiful as the countryside.  And that is saying a great deal. . . .She is standing just in front of the lake and her smile captures the heart of the people of this wonderful African nation. 

A woman in Niamey, Niger, in December 2007.  . . .While in Niger I was told that seventy percent of the people are unemployed and that there is only one doctor for every 100,000 people.  Even if you do have a job, even if you are say, a teacher for example, you might only make the equivalent of $50 a month and even then you might not get paid for six months at a time.  Most people are simply desperately poor. This particular sister I think belongs to the people called the Djerma.  Most of the people of Niger are Hausa.  The Djerma are the second largest group.  Other groups include the Peul-Fulani (including the Wodabe), the Tuareg, the Kanouri, and the Toubou.  During the time that I was in Niger I saw and met and photographed numerous representatives of these sisters and brothers. . . .So in the middle of an interview with this Wodabe brother this beautiful Black woman slowly walked down the street.  I could see that she had some kind of deformity in one of her legs.  She was lame.  But she had her head up.  So, I began to think, let me give some money.  Let me do what God has given me to do.  Let me be crazy one more time. Now Niger is a staunchly Muslim country and I knew that it could be considered disrespectful if I just walked up to her with the equivalent of five or ten US dollars in my hand.  So I asked her if I could take her photo.  She said yes and then I gave her the money. 

Tuareg brother and a young Wodabe man in central Niger.  The Tuareg are the people of the desert.  The Wodabe are a traditional group of the Peul-Fulani.  I found both groups to be utterly fascinating.  And I liked them both.  Neither had met an African-American before.  The Wodabe told me that they had heard that they were Africans in America.  The tale was told to them by white American tourists.  But these good white folks somehow left out the particulars.  So the Wodabe were left wondering how those Africans in America got there.  I quickly cleared that up. This photo was taken by me coming from a arts and crafts market on the outskirts of Niamey.

This is the Black land of Morocco. . . .  Indeed, places like Zagora and Ouarzazate and the whole area is for all practically purposes a Black region.  I felt right at home here and people insisted that I was a local.  They would not believe that I was an African from the United StatesI took this photo of a sister who was cleaning up my room when I checked into my hotel in the city of Ouarzazate.  I fell in love with the place the moment I arrived and believe that I could have stayed there forever.  In Sarharan Morocco in April the roses bloom and the dates ripen.  The melons are sweet and cactus pears are cheap.  The kasbahs are magnificent and the people are friendly.

Morocco, in the northwest of Africa, has tremendous diversity and a large Black population.  Most of these sisters and brothers are Berbers and Tuaregs, and are concentrated in the Saharan regions of Morocco going towards the border with Algeria.  Places like Zagora and Ouarzazate and the whole area is for all practically purposes a Black region.  I felt right at home here and people insisted that I was a local.  They would not believe that I was an African from the United States.

Saharan Berber Sisterhood


Batwa in the Mountains of the Moon in Eastern Uganda. . . .This photo was taken along the eastern border of Uganda and western border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in June 2007.  The photo was taken on the Ugandan side.  We are standing in the Mountains of the Moon.  This is the area where it has been argued that the ancient Egyptians came from. . . . I always wanted to go to the Mountains of the Moon. And I always wanted to meet the Batwa—the so-called Pygmies.  In Swahili they are called the Bambiti.  . . . These sisters and brothers—the Batwa—were formerly hunters and gatherers dwelling in the Central African rain forests.  Now they have been uprooted and resettled in a dry and barren area, and made to perform for European tourists.  The main preoccupation, for the men at least, seems to be drinking alcohol.  Such is their pitiful attempt to drown away the day to day trials and tribulations of their lives. In this group I met the King and Queen of the Batwa. 

Runoko in India speaking at a reception in New Delhi in April 1998.  It was my third trip to India.  That night Dalits (Black Untouchables) came from all over Northern India to meet and greet me and my tour group.  Next to me is brother Dalit Ezimalai.  He was the keynote speaker that night.  His topic was the "Life and Times of Malcolm X."  Remember that this is in India!

African Woman in Turkey—My Turkish travel agent assured me that there were no Black people in Turkey.  But I insisted and he told me that he would help me look.  We found that in Southwest Turkey there were indeed small pockets of our people. They were brought there from Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia during the time of the Ottoman Empire.

These particular sisters are the descendants of African people taken from the Sudan about 150 years ago.  They are very poor and suffer from racial discrimination.  I spent most of a Saturday morning and part of an afternoon with them.  When I told them of the African-American experience with enslavement things got very emotional.  They told me that I was the first Black person that they had met who either was not from the Sudan or Turkey.  They were very excited by my presence and we had a lot to talk about.

The sister in this photo had a real special kind of dignity and she is representative of the others that I encountered.

Fijian boy—photographed in a fairly remote village on a distant Fijian Isle in March 2003.  

Fiji, on the borders of Melanesia and Polynesia, is a beautiful place with wonderful people who all say that they come from Africa.  I've already been twice and will probably go again next March leading a group.  And next month, God willing, I venture deeper into Melanesia than ever before.  It should be a fabulous trip. 

One thing about this photo: keep in mind that this is a completely "unmixed" Black child perfectly healthy and normal.  He does not have a white parent and a Black parent.  He is a little brother in Fiji.  The hair is naturally blond. 

Southern Sudanese—taken just after a lecture of mine at the University of Juba in Southern Sudan at the end of May 2007. We had a good number of people come out and I gave a good lecture. Juba is deep in the south of Sudan. It was the epicenter of the fifty year war with the Khartoum government of Sudan and the people of the south.

The area was devastated and I felt very clearly that this had been a major war zone. The infrastructure--roads, housing, electrical power--I think was worse than any place that I can remember and that is really saying a great deal. But the people carried their heads high and remained unbeaten, and I slept just a short distance from the White Nile.

Here I am after lecture with some of brothers that night.  I really was envious of that melanin!  Now just compare this photo with the one that I am about to send you from a trip to Fiji in 2003 and see the broad range and the beauty, in all of its variations, of our people.

Young Brothers from Northern Australia—Australia is my next international travel destination and after that Papua New Guinea, in parts of which, I am told, "dwell the blackest people on earth."  Now that I am looking forward to seeing!


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14 September 2008

Greetings Family,

I just wanted to inform you that the January 2009 trip to Egypt is definite.  We are going to do it.  I will post you the exact details in another day or two but to Egypt we are going.  It will be a full fourteen day trip seeing all of the most important monuments in Egypt from Giza to Abu Simbel.  We stay in all five-star hotels and all meals are covered.  We will have great guides and brother Runoko to provide special insight.  The price will be about $3400.00 double occupancy.  And don't forget to bring your school supplies for the Nubian Village.  Check out the Nubian girl in the attachment! So come on and go with me to Egypt.  Beat the heat in January.

In love of Africa,

Runoko Rashidi

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Runoko Rashidi is a historian, research specialist, writer, world traveler, and public lecturer focusing on the African foundations of world civilizations. He is particularly drawn to the African presence in Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands, and has coordinated numerous historic educational group tours worldwide.

Dr. Rashidi is highly sought after for radio, television, and newspaper interviews, having been interviewed on hundreds of radio broadcasts and TV programs. He has made presentations at more than 125 colleges, universities, secondary schools, libraries, book stores, churches and community centers. On the international circuit he has lectured in over 50 countries.

Dr. Rashidi is the author of Introduction to the Study of African Classical Civilizations. He edited, along with Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, The African Presence in Early Asia, considered "the most comprehensive volume on the subject yet produced". Dr. Rashidi also authored The Global African Community: The African Presence in Asia, Australia and the South Pacific. In December 2005 Dr. Rashidi released his first text in French, A Thousand Year History of the African Presence in Asia. He is the author of the forthcoming work Black Star: The African Presence in Early Europe.

As an essayist and contributing writer, Dr. Rashidi's articles have appeared in more than seventy-five publications. His historical essays have been featured in the Journal of Civilizations Anthologies, and cover the global African presence.

Included among the notable African scholars that Runoko has worked with and been influenced by are: John Henrik Clarke, John G. Jackson, Yosef ben-Jochannan, Chancellor James Williams, Charles B. Copher, Edward Vivian Scobie, Ivan Van Sertima, Asa G. Hilliard III, Karen Ann Johnson, Obadele Williams, Charles S. Finch, James E. Brunson, Wayne B. Chandler, Legrand H. Clegg II, and Jan Carew.

As a traveler, Runoko has visited one hundred countries, colonies and overseas territories in a twelve year period beginning in 1999.

Dr. Rashidi believes that his main mission in life is to help make Africans proud of themselves, to help change the way Africa is viewed in the world and to help reunite a family of people that has been separated far too long

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The Eyes of Willie McGee

 A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South

By Alex Heard

The Slave Ship

By Marcus Rediker

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#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

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

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

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

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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

#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
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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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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

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Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson, III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson's stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who've accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela's rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela's regime deems Wilderson's public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson's observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid's last days.Publishers Weekly

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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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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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posted 17 September 2008




Home Black Librarians  Transitional Writings on Africa   

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   Runoko Rashidi Speaks in Nigeria  Those Missing Noses in Kemet Sculpture    African Genesis Media Group    Nomads of Niger

An African Gathering in Senegal