A Pan African Human Rights Organisation challenging the misrepresentation of African people, culture and history in the British media.
Sun 19 February 2012
Opinion: From Black To African History Month
As Africans across America remember their history, Sabamya Jaugu explains why it is important to move from “black” to African History Month
Submitted By: Sabamya Jaugu
Every February Black History Month is celebrated because of one man. In 1926, Dr. Carter Woodson created "Negro History Week" and in 1976 in it became Black History Month. The world in general and African people, in particular, owe him a debt of gratitude.
Unfortunately, during his time period, our minds were poisoned against Africa.
This is best exemplified by the following quote.
"Number one, first you have to realize that up until 1959 Africa was dominated by colonial powers. And by the colonial powers of Europe having complete control over Africa, they projected the image of Africa negatively. they projected Africa always in a negative light; jungles, savages, cannibals,. Nothing civilized.
Naturally it became negative to you and me and you and I began to hate it. We did not want anyone to tell us anything about Africa much less call us an African. And in hating Africa, and in hating the African we ended up hating ourselves, without even realizing it, because you cannot hate the roots of the tree and not hate the tree."
Why an African History Month?
In order to compare the present African History Month proposal with the past, we must remember the conditions when Dr. Woodson created Negro History Week. Jim Crow, segregation and lynching were common. This was only a short time after the Berlin conference in 1884 that led to the partition of Africa.
Black Wall Street, also known as "Little Africa" was destroyed in 1921, and Marcus Garvey was convicted of mail fraud in 1925. The world was the recipient of the White Supremacy era of domination.
In this hostile atmosphere, in 1926, Dr Woodson almost single handed, created "Negro History Week". 1976, it was lengthened into a month-long celebration and renamed Black History Month. Britain adopted this holiday in 1987 when it emerged as part of the African Jubilee celebrations for the Marcus Garvey Centenary. Year's past and other countries such as Canada, France, Germany and Belgium joined the celebration of what is now known, as 'Black History Month.'
This was an outstanding achievement, and the Holiday served its purpose well. Obviously, the issues of Euro-centrism and Ethnicity could not be addressed in the white supremacy era.
Now its time to pass the baton and extenuate his legacy by incorporating culture and history of the motherland. To set the background for these transitions a brief encapsulation BEFORE and AFTER 1492 is necessary because the ancient geography and cultures were quite different.
In ancient history, the term 'African' would have had no meaning. People defined themselves as members of kingdoms and regions. Africa is presently recognized as the birthplace of humanity and the cradle of civilization.
The continent is now recognized as the birthplace of humanity and the cradle of civilization. We still marvel at the great achievements of Kemet, presently known as Egypt, and the most notable early civilizations, which first developed in the Nile valley over five thousand years ago.
However, even before the rise of Kemet it seems likely that an even more ancient Kingdom, known as Ta Seti, existed in what is today Nubia in Sudan. This may well have been the earliest state to exist anywhere in the world.
More importantly, the history of the motherland has been neglected in the present celebration. By substituting African and changing the narratives to substantive history from the dawn of time to the present, is African History Month's goal.
The continent continued on its own path of development, without significant external intervention until the fifteenth century. Some of the motherland's other civilizations, such as Kush, Axum, Mali, and Great Zimbabwe, flourished in the years before 1492.
In this early period Africans participated in extensive international trading networks and in trans-oceanic travel. Kilwa had established important trading relations with India, China and other parts of Asia long before these were disrupted by European intervention.
The Moors conquest of the Iberian peninsular began in the seven century and led to the occupation of much of Spain and Portugal for several centuries. The Moorish invasion re-introduced much of the knowledge of the ancient world to Europe. However, Spain expelled the Moors in 1492, the same year of Christopher Columbus voyage.
Finally, it's important to recognize two major omissions in the present celebrations. Primarily, the premise that ‘black’ history began in 1620 with the arrival of the initial enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia. Completely ignoring those enslaved in Latin American who arrived more than one hundred years earlier. Secondly, this assumption presupposes that there was no history before 1620. This cause a complete disconnects from Africa and its culture.
Western culture deliberately omits African history before 1492.
Euro-centrism distorts Africa's views of history and importance of the continent itself. It is only in the last fifty years that it has been possible to redress these distortions and to begin to re-establish Africa's rightful place in world history.
The African history month will address; ancient Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. Most importantly, history cannot be planned, however, it has a tendency to repeat itself. Therefore, it's important to learn from the past glories and bitter defeats, especially from mistakes and failures.
All the above mentioned are necessary to prepare for the future. If we continue to ignore history, then we will meander and drift. It's significant to learn African History in order to develop strategies and guidance for future generations.
It's important that African people embrace their past from their own perspective and not influenced by Euro-centrism. Additionally, accepting ethnicity as Africans regardless if we were born on the motherland or aboard.
Conclusively, from Black to an African History Month is appropriate.
Sabamya Jaugu is a retired data communication technician who has dedicated his life to helping the community in different capacities. His current quest is to gather support to revise Black History Month into an African History Month.
Click here to speak out or read (3) comments about this article
Western culture deliberately omits African history before 1492. Euro-centrism distorts Africa’s views of history and importance of the continent itself. It is only in the last fifty years that it has been possible to redress these distortions...
Nubiart Diary - Chinua Achebe & Bebo Valdes
We Remember... Professor Tony Martin
Africa in Science Fiction event to feature Pumzi screening
Press Release: 25 Years On...
Opinion: Support our footballers standing up to racism
Recent Community Articles
An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos: Stop Selling Bleaching Creams
Nubiart Diary - Reparations and Central Afrika News
Nubiart Diary - Chinua Achebe & Bebo Valdes
Nubiart Diary - African History Month
Opinion: What We Understand By “Restitution”
Dr Carter G Woodson - The Father of African-American HistoryFreeman - Dr Carter G Woodson LetterJohn Henrik Clarke: Historian, Scholar, and TeacherMalcolm XMbeki criticised for praising racist Sarkozy
Ligali is not responsible for the content of third party sites
American Holocaust by David E. Stannard
African Cities and Towns before the European Conquest by Richard W. Hull
Moors in Spain by Stanley Lane-Poole
Before the Mayflower by Lerone Bennett Jr
The Hidden History of Massachusetts
When We Ruled by Prof Robin Walker
The Debate on Colonialism, Eurocentrism and History by J.M. Blaut
Lies my Teacher Told Me by James W. Lowewen
How Europe Undeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney
Capitalism and Slavery by Eric Williams
The Log of Christopher Colmbus
A history of colonial Spanish America and Brazil by James Lockhard and
Stuart B Schwartz
Rape of Paradise by Jan Carew
Eight Euro-centric Historians by J.M. Blaut