Africa - Nonfiction (182 books)Saving
The roots of European racism lie in the slave trade, colonialism – and Edward Long
The book, which was written by Ramin Ganeshram and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, focused on George Washington's enslaved cook, Hercules, and his daughter Delia, as the two overcome obstacles to make a cake for Washington's birthday. Many critics argued that it displayed an overly rosy view of a slave's life, and the book was deluged with one-star on Amazon reviews. It's not the first such misstep in recent months, however; last fall, McGraw-Hill apologized after a Texas mother, Roni Dean-Burren, publicly criticized her son's World Geography textbook for euphemistically describing Africans brought to America in the slave trade as "workers. While the writer-illustrator-editor team who worked on this book come from diverse backgrounds and are steeped in historically accurate renditions of black history, the fact remains that too many Americans -- particularly white Americans -- don't grasp, or prefer not to grasp, the depth and breadth of slavery's horrors. It's not uncommon to see clueless social media posts or read obtuse comments by politicians arguing that slavery ultimately benefited African-Americans because it brought them to America, or that they were better off under slavery than they are now. Many children, and, sadly, their parents, still need to learn that slavery wasn't idyllic, a boon to their family lives, or an improvement over remaining in their homelands. In fact, slavery was often brutal and dehumanizing even when owners exhibited basic kindness.
The men, women and children, most likely from the kingdoms of Ndongo and Kongo, endured the horrific journey, bound for a life of enslavement in Mexico. Almost half the captives had died by the time the ship was seized by two English pirate ships; the remaining Africans were taken to Point Comfort, a port near Jamestown, the capital of the English colony of Virginia, which the Virginia Company of London had established 12 years earlier. Forced labor was not uncommon — Africans and Europeans had been trading goods and people across the Mediterranean for centuries — but enslavement had not been based on race. The trans-Atlantic slave trade, which began as early as the 15th century, introduced a system of slavery that was commercialized, racialized and inherited. Enslaved people were seen not as people at all but as commodities to be bought, sold and exploited. In the 15th century, the Roman Catholic Church divided the world in half, granting Portugal a monopoly on trade in West Africa and Spain the right to colonize the New World in its quest for land and gold.
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The history of British slave ownership has been buried: now its scale can be revealed
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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. Africa can therefore be credited not only with giving rise to the many scientific developments associated with Egypt, engineering, mathematics, architecture, medicine etc but also with important early political developments such as state formation and monarchy. This demonstrates that economic and political development, as well as scientific development was, during this early period, perhaps more advanced in Africa than in other continents. The African continent continued on its own path of development, without significant external intervention until the fifteenth century of our era. In this early period Africans participated in extensive international trading networks and in trans-oceanic travel.
T here is a view that discussions about modern Africa should be forward-looking. This future-facing philosophy is an admirable attempt to free the spirit and imagination of the continent from the weight of its own history and the legacies of colonialism. While there is much to commend this apparent pragmatism it is, perhaps, more viable in Lagos and Kinshasa than in London or Paris. To historians, who inevitably take the long view, the modern relationship between Europe and Africa is merely the current chapter in an enormous book. For much of the period from the 15th century till now, during which Europeans and Africans have been connected through trade, empire and migration, both forced and voluntary, Europe has viewed the people of Africa through the distorting veil of racism and racial theory. In the British case much of the jumble of stereotypes, pseudo-science and wild conjecture that coalesced to form racism arose from the political battles fought over the slave trade and slavery, during the last decades of the 18th century and the first decades of the 19th. The men who set out to defend slavery assembled a vast arsenal of new claims and old theories about black people, which they then codified, refined and disseminated through books, pamphlets, cartoons and speeches.
But even then, there are so many great books to choose from! But maybe you passed your high school U. Either way, with the right books, you can celebrate Black History Month this year by doing what you do best: reading. Black history spans across continents, cultures, and centuries. These are some of them. Click Here To Buy.