AFRICANGLOBE – “Africans and persons of African descent must assume the primary responsibility and leadership in historical research….if we are to continue to leave practically all important historical research and writing concerning the Black race to the White man, then we must be prepared to accept, uncomplainingly, the White man’s point of view.”
-Chancellor Williams, African Historian
African History Month
African history month is a separate entity and should not be confused with Black History Month, an annual observance in the United States, Canada, as well as, communities in Europe and United Kingdom, honoring important celebrations and events within the history of the African Diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States, Canada and most other places in February and the United Kingdom in October.
Let us pause and give homage to Dr. Carter G. Woodson founder of Negro History Week in 1926, and the African-British history month was introduced in 1987 by Linda Bellos both are appreciated in our contemporary world. And also, we must pay tribute to countless activists, organizations and governmental agencies that are celebrated annually. African communities everywhere owe them a debt of gratitude.
However, we must not forget our ancestors and its history. If we do, we are negating thousands and thousand of years of our heritage. Africa is complex with over 2000 cultures, with different languages, traditions, and having histories of their own.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, history was written by the Europeans that was mostly, distortions and misconceptions in order to justify and maintained their world dominance. Therefore, it’s important for Africans from all walks of life to relearn history from their own perspective. African history month function is to address this issue, and “MONTH” will be every month. In other words, it begins January 1st and ends December 31st , representing every day, week and month in the year.
Most importantly, existing celebrations, and histories should be unified into one cultural forum. During a year, every day, week and month will have its own importance presenting history from ancient cultures to the present-day. However, there will be two sacred days; January 1st and March 1st. Both having their own significance.
January 1st, 1804 is to celebrate the Saint Dominique slaves whom won their independence from France, declaring the Republic of Haiti, in honor of the original inhabitants. Marking, the only time in recent history Africans fought and won their independence from an European power.
And also, on March 1st, 1896, Emperor Menelik II and his Empress Taytu decisively, defeated the Italians on the battle field in Adowa, Ethiopia, the only African country that entered into the 20th century that escaped Colonialism. Additionally, Ethiopia not only won independence but maintained their culture, including their written language and calendar. Indeed, these two events are special and should be recognized by Africans worldwide. Besides these sacred days, The last seven days in December will honor Kwanza seven days of activities. The other remaining days will be optional from established worldwide traditions, serving several purposes.
We must give homage to already existing holidays around the world. There are other days that must be considered, such as, Marcus Garvey’s, mass-movement (Jamaica), Kwame Nkrumah, father of African nationalism (Ghana), and African Day. And other events, will be discretionary. And also, on March 1st, 1896, Emperor Menelik II and his Empress Taytu decisively, defeated the Italians on the battle field in Adowa, Ethiopia, the only African country that entered into the 20th century that escaped Colonialism. Additionally, Ethiopia not only won independence but maintained their culture, including their written language and calendar that date back over a thousand years. Indeed, these two events are special and should be recognized by Africans worldwide. Besides these sacred days, the last seven days beginning December 26, will honor Kwanza cultural ceremonies.
There are other days that must be considered. Here are a few examples, honoring Marcus Garvey’s mass-movement that has not been duplicated until this day, Kwame Nkrumah, modern father of African nationalism (Ghana), and African Day, an annual commemoration of the 1963 founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), presently recognized as the Africa Union (AU).
African history month will address both ancient artifacts and contemporary events, but most importantly representing histories under one cultural umbrella.
Moreover, in order to learn African history, both the Arab and European conquests must be understood. First, we must bring attention to the Arab invasion of north Africa in 652 AD, followed by the Trans-Sahara slave trade that began earlier, and lasted longer than the Europeans quest.
In the Americas, the world recognizes current occupants are not the native inhabitants. Moreover, the world has the impression that Arabs are indigenous to North Africa. In the contemporary world, North Africa is the home of six Arab countries, South America, and North America was created by the Diaspora’s. And also, Africa has been partitioned into over fifty countries by the Berlin conference in 1884. Consequently, geographies of the world have been changed due to these three events.
To some degree, Africans are still living these legacies because its history has been the most suppressed in the world. The deliberate distortion was design to fit in with a western perception of Africa that continues to cultivate disunity by perpetuating a view of Africa and African people as unorganized, uncivil, unoriginal, and sub-human.
Words like “Negro” and “boy” were used to dehumanize and a disconnection from Africa. This attack lasted for generations causing a devastating effect everywhere.The teaching of African history during the Diaspora’s and colonialism was forbidden. Its own culture was removed and substituted with western cultures. In the Americas, Columbus’s so-called discovery was glorified and in England, the focus was on accomplishments of Queen Victoria, and Admiral Nelson exploits, and in France, it was Napoleon Bonaparte achievements. Europeans have always robbed Africans of their accomplishments by crediting foreigners or non-Africans. Among them are the pyramids, Carthage, Moorish empire, and African kingdoms, also, great Zimbabwe and Kilwa ruins in East Africa.Most disturbing is the continuation of specious claims even when the evidence and artifacts contradict the distortions. As far as there are concern Africa’s history, and achievements are too magnificent for them to acknowledge despite the fact they know the origin is African. In the past, there were historians whom unravel distortions about history that is now available for everyone. Among historians were, John Henrik Clarke, Chancellor Williams, J A Rogers, Asa Hillard II, Chekh Ada Diops. Ivan Van Sertima and many others. Today, there are scores of historians whom report history accurately.
Significantly, Africans from all walks of life must identify and learn basic events that have been grossly misrepresented. World history began at the heart of Africa and spread throughout the continent. The main method of development was its waterways of the Nile, Niger and the Congo Rivers. And the world shared from the development of farming, domestication of animals and fishing and these contributions led to the development of other civilizations. There were over 300 kingdoms and Empires at both ends of the continent, some lasting only for a few centuries others flourished for millenniums.
In today’s world, even though not verbalized some people still maintain the idea that Africans has not made any meaningful contributions to civilization. However, these issues have been addressed by noted past and present historians in addition to the Internet has unraveled distortions and misconceptions at an accelerating pace. In today’s world, there is no need to acknowledge these silly allegations.
Africa and its history are thousands of years old and because of modern technology it’s expanding in both directions. Everyday, new discoveries and ancient artifacts are constantly being found, and African history month can be the cultural forum to identify and incorporate them into on going presentations.
Now is the time for African’s worldwide to codify their history into one gigantic cultural forum. African history month is the inclusion of heroes, heroines, celebrations and events in all five continents.
Currently, African-Americans and Africans celebrate a multitude of holidays, heroes and events throughout the world.
Among them are Black History month, (USA , Canada, Europe in February and Great Britain in October), Dr. King (USA) Kwanza (Global), Zumbi dos Palmares Day, (Brazil), Saba Saba(Tanzania), Jomo Kenyetta (Kenya) or African day (Many African countries).
There are a number of vacant days that could be used to celebrated and honor such heroes such as;
Gaspo Yanga, (Mexico) Abdias de Nasciemento (Brazil), Malcolm X (USA), Marcus Garvey (Jamaica), Olaudah Equiano (Great Britain), Patrice Lumumba (Zaire), Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Haili Salasse (Ethiopia) and so forth. Additionally, out of over 300 kingdoms and empires certain weeks could be dedicated.
With certainty, African History month would be a positive undertaking not only enlightening the contemporary world but also, laying foundations for the future generations. Most importantly, it would mutually benefit Africans everywhere.
This is an open invitation for collaboration with activists, organizations, religious communities, newspapers, blogs, institutions; governmental agencies, and media to garner efforts to make this event a reality. Together with modern technology, the Internet, phone and teleconferencing have made global communications affordable and accessible. Additionally, and more importantly, it will help abate constant bombardment of negative media that discharges specious allegations against Africans worldwide.
As previously stated Boy and Negro was used during western domination for obvious reasons that was exposed. In the 60′s Black was substituted for Negro and now its time for another progression. The next step is to reclaim African ethnicity.
Although, Africans were forced to embrace other European cultures, it does not change ethnicity. This also applies to other cultures that migrated, for example, there are referred to by their separate ethnic group. After scores of generations, there are still reference by their own culture, such as, Chinese, Japanese, English, German and so on.
Moreover, Diaspora victim’s exact location is impossible to identify. It sufficed to say; African should be used definitively with appropriate sub-categories. Here are a few examples: African-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Mexican and African-European, and Afro-Asian. Naturally, Africans on the continent is self-explanatory; Nigerian, South African, Kenyan, Ghanaian and so forth.
Notably, when Black Africa is used, it’s presupposing that there is a White Africa. Most importantly, when referencing ethnicity, the descriptive word should ALWAYS be ” African. ” This usage is essential because it reconnects culture, at home and abroad. When examining Black closely, it’s only a color that promotes division. And also, when accepted it is an imposed division because it has no connection to land nor culture. Most significantly, when using African, it recognizes all aspects of its culture.
Once more, it removes the contention that ancient civilizations and ruins in Africa are not Black. When Africans take charge of their ethnicity, these specious allegations will be ignored. Rationally, when Black is replaced with African, it would be ridiculous saying Egypt, Carthage or Great Zimbabwae are not African, especially when their origin is located on the motherland.
One last point, every culture throughout the world defines their own ethnicity, and Africans should not be an exception. Especially, when the Japanese, Chinese or Koreans are never questioned. Significantly, these three cultures are distinctly different. Nevertheless, not one identifies themselves as being the color yellow. there are recognized as Asians.
Finally, ownership would negate the non-sense, Egypt, Carthage, Great Zimbabwe, Ethiopia or the Moorish civilizations are not African. We have rejected Negro and now it’s time to put aside Black, and reclaim African ethnicity.
Why African History Month?
In today’s world, we’ve accepted foreign cultures, different ideologies and embraced new identities. The whole dynamics of Africans, its people, and victims of the Diaspora have dramatically changed. A new geography has been created in North and South America, together with the partitioning of Africa into over fifty countries, and other Africans are scattered around the world. Consequently, modern history is a reflection of the European conquest, according to their interpretations. Therefore, it is an inherit necessity for African History Month.
By Sabamya Jaugu