AFRICAN HISTORY VIDEOS
1188 Bishop St., Suite 1908
Atty. Andre' S. Wooten Honolulu, Hawaii 96813 Atty. Daphne Wooten Chairman/CEO (808) 256-0805 President
REFLECTIONS ON WORLD AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY CONDENSED VERSION
byANDRE' S. WOOTEN, J. D.
It is time to put emphasis on teaching a truer more complete version of African and therefore Afro- American history. For two years I taught Afro-American History as part of the Black Studies Department of the University of Washington in the late 1970's.
In the sixties I rode with brothers and sisters who took over the Reed college (Oregon) administration building and demanded that Black Studies programs be established. We understood even as students back then that you have to understand the past to make the most of the future, and even though we did not know what it was, we knew there were important things they were not teaching at the college about pre-slave trade African and World History. Public schools do not teach anything about African history other than mention the slave trade and imply that Egypt was in the middle east and not in and a part of Africa.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka`s derogatory comments on minorities in The United States a while ago, really only serves to underscore his ignorance of scholarly matters. But just because he has not been educated on the richness and depth of African History does not mean the facts did not occur.
Afro-Americans did not come into being in this world just to work on southern plantations. That whole 200 year period is but a moment in time in the total story of the modern Afro-American. It is a purpose of the A RIPE IDEA to tell the whole story.
AFRICA CRADLE OF CIVILIZATIONS
The January 11, 1988 issue of Time Magazine's cover story stated once more the scholars agree that the plains of Africa which now comprise the still growing Sahara Desert was indeed the Garden of Eden about 200,000 years ago. The January 16, 1989 issue of the Honolulu Star Bulletin had a little article about an anthropologist named Wilson who claimed his genetic research showed that the capacity for language was traced to a single woman who lived in Africa 200,000 years ago. Her descendants supplanted all other humans who lived in Asia and Europe within the next 20,000 years. The more you study history and ultimately anthropology the more you become aware of the many vast mass migrations of people which have taken place many times over the continents. Dr. Louis Leake and others have proven within the last generation that all of humanity and the first burst of civilization traces back to the Oldavai gorge of Eastern Africa, the upper Nile.
As late as 1906 A.D. fresco art work was discovered inside rock caves in the heart of the now barren Sahara which proved through carbon dating to be six to eight thousand years old. The frescos depicted people, societies and game animals thriving on the then verdant (green) plains of the Sahara desert. Ruins of ancient civilizations thousands of years old lie under the sands at Meroe, Axum, Zimbabwe, Timbuktu and other places now part of the desert.
There are even some who say the Druids, builders of Stonehing and Pics, who inhabited The British Isles thousands of years before the Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Norman conquests were dark of skin and African in origin.
Certainly one of many reasons Prime Minister Tanaka is ignorant of the vast millennia of African history is because Julius Caesar's troops burned the huge and unbelievably ancient Egyptian state library in Alexandria Egypt while Julius was wooing Cleopatra there in the third century B.C. Typically, when hollywood did the movie Liz Taylor got to play Cleopatra instead of Pam Grear or Cecely Tyson. Many of the troops who fought with Caesar in his subjugation of the British Isles in 350 B.C. were Ethiops, as was the General he left in charge when he returned to Rome. Some say one of the reasons Caesar was assassinated was because his only blood heirs were his two sons by Cleopatra, who as the saying goes was "Black and comely". What incredible but true histories, poems, genealogies, mathematical theories and astrological discoveries were destroyed by Caesar's drunken hoards that night?
It is said the Egyptian Pharaonic empire began to form around 5,000 B.C and arose to its fullest flower around 3500 B.C.. The largest Pyramids and the Sphinx were built then by warrior pharaohs who dominated the countries around Egypt at the time. Ancient Greece is the commonly accepted cradle of "Western "Civilization" and it is now very interesting to read, in the ancient Greek what the Greek writers said of the major influences upon their culture. Diodorus Sikeliotes of Sicily wrote in 50 B.C. "Now the Ethiopians (Africans) as historians relate were the first of all men" and the proof of this statement is manifestly proven in the history written in that time, which also established that the Egyptians were actually colonists send down the Nile from the Ethiopian (African) nations of the interior of Africa around 5500 B.C.. The mathematical theorems for their pyramids and their system of gods and ancestor worship they brought with them from the ancient Empires of the upper Nile and then green Sahara plains. Even today pyramids and monuments of architecture similar to the Egyptian pyramids may to seen among the growing sand dunes in Meroe 2000 miles west of Egypt in the Sudan.
Heroditus of Helicarnassus wrote 10 volumes of world histories around 450 B.C. The second one deals at length with his lengthy journey to Egypt, where all Greek scholars had to study in those days before they could call themselves truly learned. Aristotle wrote "Egypt was the cradle of mathematics". Pythagoras spent 21 years in Egypt before returning the Greece to teach geometry. The great pyramids of Gizeh was already 2000 years old then and built with exacting mathematical precision. One had but to gaze upon the exquisite solid gold mask of the boy king Tutankhamen for three seconds to know by the lips and the nose that was a "brother" in the solid gold casket. The Egyptian royal tombs were repositories of vast wealth in art, jewels and bullion. Africa is still to this day renown for her gold mines. The South African government passed a statute making illegal for a black man to own a gold mine there for the first time in 1872. Prior to that, of course Africans had mined the substance for many millennia. Mansa Munsa Emperor of Mali in 1328 A.D., which encompassed present day Senegal, Mali and Sudan carried and dispensed so much gold on his legendary pilgrimage from Timbuktu to Mecca that he caused inflation in every country he passed through. All 60,000 men in his entourage carried golden staffs, it is said. He returned to Timbuktu with architects to expand the university there, which thrived in literature, law and medicine until the Berbers sacked and razed the city in 1520 A.D.
That tradition is carried on today in several traditional African tribes. The Ashanti of Ghana have controlled the gold region of the interior of Ghana for over 400 years, and their gold mining company, Ashanti Gopld Filed Ltd. is traded on the New York Stock exchanges, as AU. The Bafokeng tribe of South Africa now control the second largest Platinum mine in the world and have diversity their economy to include shopping centers, stadiums, TC and radio stations.
WORLD HISTORY AND AFRICANS
IMHOTEP was the world's first certified multi genius. In 2980 BC., Imhotep was the chief physician, architect, priest and Chancellor to the Pharaoh Zhoser of Khemit (upper and lower Egypt).
His father was an architect named Kanofer, his mother was Khreduonkh and his wife, Ronfrenofert. Imhotep was the architect of the first of the great pyramids, the great stepped pyramid for his pharaoh Zhoser. He was the world's first great builder in boulders of stone. His fame as a healer was such that a temple was erected to him Memphis and two bas-reliefs profiles of him appear on the great temple of Amen at Karnak.
Imhotep understood the circulation of the blood 4000 years before the doctors of Europe. Homer wrote in his ODYSSEY " In Egypt the men are more skilled in medicine than any of human kind." Imhotep's fame increased with his death and when the culture of Khemit crossed the Mediterranean with the early Egyptian and Phoenician colonists of Greece in 1200 BC.. The ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA says: "The evidence afforded by Egyptian and Greek texts supports the view that Imhotep's reputation was respected in very early times... His prestige increased with the lapse of centuries and his temples in Greek times were the centres of medical teaching."
Gerald Massey, noted poet and archeologist says that early christians in Rome worshipped him as one with Christ. James Breasted, the historian said: " The child-Christ remained a starrily bejeweled blackamoor as the typical healer of Rome. A jewelled image of the child-Christ as a blackamoor is sacredly preserved at the headquarters of the Franciscan order. It was Imhotep who first quoted saying, "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die."
Ivan Van Sertima has copiously documented and photographed the African presence in Mexico and Central American dating back to at least 1200 B.C., in carbon dated skeletons and immense 10 ton exquisite 18 foot around carved stone heads, with distinctly African features found near temple ruins of the Olmec Indians in 6 different locations in Mexico and Central America. Fragments of ancient maps showing Central America were found in the ancient library of Alexandria dating back before the fall of the Pharaohs.
Heroditus wrote that the story of how the Egyptians came to the Peloponese (southern Greece) established settlements and made themselves kings over that part of Greece was so widely chronicled by other writers at that time, that he himself merely stated " the names of nearly all the (Greek) gods came to Greece from Egypt". Homer, author of the Iliad wrote: "For Zeus had yesterday to Ocean's bounds set forth to Feast with Ethiops' faultless men. And he was followed by all the gods."
THE COLONIZATION OF GREECE BY (KEMIT) EGYPTIANS
According to ancient Greek legends, Athens and Thebes were colonies founded by Egyptians and Phoenicians run out of Egypt by the southern black Pharaoh Sesosterus in 1500 B.C. at the start of the 18th dynasty, which reclaimed the Egyptian delta from Libyan and Asian invaders. Heroditus, wrote in 450 B.C.:"The temple of Athena [in Rhodes] was founded by the daughters of Danaos, who touched at the island during their flight from the sons of Aigyptos. [KHMET in Egyptian, meaning land of the Blacks]
Plutarch, in "ON ISIS AND OSIRIS" in 400 B.C. wrote: "That Osiris is identical with Dionysus who could more fittingly know than yourself, Klea? For you are the head of the inspired maidens [of Dionysus] of Delphi, and have been consecrated by your father and mother in the holy rites of Osiris."
Apuleius another Greek playwright of the 5th century B.C. wrote the GOLDEN ASS, which climax's with the goddess announcing to the hero: "Thus the Phrygians, earliest of all races, call me Pessinuntia, mother of all gods. Thus the Athenians, sprung from their own soil, call me Cecropeian Minerva and the sea-tossed Cyprians call me Paphian Venus, the archer Cretans Diana, Dictynna, and the trilingual Sicilians Proserphine; to the Eleusianians I am Ceres, the ancient goddess, to others Juno, to others Bellona and Hera and Rhamnusia. But the Ethiopians, who are illuminated by the first rays of the sun-god as he is born every day, together with the Africans and Egyptians, who excel through having the original doctrine, honor me with my distinctive rites and give me my true name of Queen Isis."
THE MIDDLE AGES
There are many medieval proofs that racism was a recent invention to rationalize barbarity of european colonialism. None the least of these is Shakespeare' "Othello", the saga of the great black Venetian General when Venice was the dominant power in Italy. The works of Alexander Dumas and Alexander Pushkin illustrate the accomplishment and popularity of Afro-European writers in Europe during past centuries. Its funny how the Dark Ages of Europe coincide with the centuries of Moorish conquest of Spain. One wonders how history would have developed if Charles Martel had not ridden up in the Alps with reinforcements for the Franks at the battle of Tours in 785 and prevented the Moors from conquering the land that later became France. There were many tales of Ethiopian and Nubian Christian knights riding with and sometimes to the rescue of European christian Knights during the crusades against the Moslems. In the courtyard of the thirteenth century cathedral in Magdeburg Germany stands a statute carved in honor of St. Maurice, the military saint in chain mail armor and Nubian from his lips and nose to the lineage cuts on his forehead. James Mitchner in his Jewish history epic the Covenant writes about the tragedy of european christian knights mistakenly warring against Ethiopian christian knights, who came to aid the christians in the Crusade against the Islamic knights.
Magdeburg is not the only medieval church to still possess centuries old art work celebrating martyred Christian Nubian or Ethiopian knights. In Herferdshire in western England lies the parish of Brinsop, where the exquisite stained glass window created in the thirteenth century prominently displays a knight with a distinctly black face.
Sometimes I think that the reason Africans were separated from their friends at the start of slavery was because there was a time when Africans were extremely organized. J.A. Rogers writes in his book, Nature knows No Color Line, that Maurus was the Greek word for African, as in Mauritania and Morocco. The Romans pronounced it Maros, and in English, Africans were referred to as "Moors" thousands of years before anyone heard of a Negro in 1700.
In 711 A.D. Moorish troops commanded by General Tarik crossed into Gibraltar and conquered all Spain and Portugal much to his King's surprise. The Song of Roland describes the 738 A.D. Sarrazin invaders of France in verses 145 and 146 as "blacker than ink with large noses and ears" and with nothing white except the teeth." They are 50,000 strong and are led by Marganice, Emperor of Ethiopia and Carthage. In the Ninth Century, the Moslem Empire stretched from Portugal through Italy to Baghdad covering both sides of the Mediterranean.
In 982 A Moorish army defeated King Otto II in Germany. Over the centuries of Moorish rule there was much intermingling of Moor and European as Mr. Rogers points out by picturing coats of arms of 495 noble European families prominently displaying Africans in them. The Moorish Kings generally observed polygamy. David MacRitchie, eminent British archaeologist says, "So late as the tenth century three Scottish provinces were wholly black and the supreme ruler of them became for a time the paramount king of Transmarine Scotland."
The original Ras Tafari Haili Salassi did indeed trace his lineage from the union of Solomon of Israel and Sheba, Queen of Ethiopia 2500 years ago. The black North African Jews for whom Senator Inoye obtained an $8,000,000 aid appropriation for their Paris refuge school,also can trace their history to the time of Soloman and Sheba. Jomo Kenyatta lived through the entire reign of the British in Kenya. In the hills of Ethiopia there still exist today orthodox christian churches built underground in the manner of the pyramids which are 2500 years old. British historian Basil Davidson has written at length on these topics and Tower Video presently is renting his six part video cassette history of Africa. Show it to your children.
Martin Bernal in Black Athena:the Afroasiatic roots of classical civilization. Vol. 1 "The fabrication of ancient Greece, 1785-1985"(London,Free Association Books, 1987., writes at length of the bleaching of Greek history during the height of the slave trade in an attempt by the imperialists to rationalize their inhuman treatment of the African in order to plunder his continent and multiply their fortunes in the "triangular trade". That trade involved selling guns,salt and trinkets in Africa at profit in exchange for slaves which were traded in the Americas at a profit for rum, sugar and cotton, which was sold in Europe at a profit for more guns etc. to finance the "Industrial Revolution".
COLONIZATION AND DIASPORA
The effect of the slave trade on the Bight of Benin, the area of Africa that is now the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon is comprehensively set for in Onwuka Dike's Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta written in 1956. Dike makes it clear that in the African system, it was possible for a slave to become King, if he was competent enough. The story of JAJA a slave who became King and lead the then Nigerians in armed resistance against the British gun boat land occupation and trade good theft practices until his capture in 1872 illustrates this. Neverthe- less after the Berlin conference of 1878 sponsored by Belgian King Leapolde, peacefully divided Africa among the European colonial sharks, the ancient African trade routes and goods of gold, diamonds, Ivory, spice, clothe, leather, sugar, rubber, etc. were seized and placed in foreign hands of the French in the North and West, British West in Ghana, East in Kenya,South in Zimbabwe and Johannesburg, Germans in Cameroon and South Africa Namibia, Portuguese in Angola and Mozambique, with Belgians in the Congo now Zaire.
In South America. where catholicism dominated, hereditary slavery did not. One was allowed to purchase one's freedom, or procreate one's way out of bondage; and the right to some individual work to that end was codified. A vast mixing and melding of African, Indian and European created the present day Brazilian.
And don't forget the Afro-Jamaican diaspora story from Nanny and Paul Bogle, Marcus Garvey to Bob Marley etc.
BORN IN THE U.S.A.
Only in protestant America was the system of slavery conceived to be irrevocable. Afro-Americans comprised fully 20 percent of the United States population at the time the new nation came into being which barred prohibition of slave importation for 20 years by constitutional edict. Men like Gabriel Prosser, Denmark Vessey and Nat Turner organized and died fighting against this inhuman system. Frederick Douglas escaped slavery and rallied the North in oratory and essay against slavery's rape of human rights. John Brown and Sojourner Truth fought the slave system with action.
Some Afro-Americans of course have always done well economically in this country. Emmanuel and Mary Bernoon opened the first oyster and ale house in Providence Rhode Island in 1736, one of the largest businesses in the city. The New York Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1768 in brother Samuel Fraunces Tavern. James Forten patented a devise for handling sails and was one of the major sail makers in Philadelphia in 1800.
Paul Cuffe built a wharf and warehouse on the Westport River in Massachusetts in 1797, and by 1806 owned a ship, two brigs and several smaller vessels. For many years he sailed the seas making voyages to Europe, Russia, the West Indies and returned brothers and sister to Africa. Benjamin Banneker, Richard Allen and Prince Hall, founder of the Masons were others who did relatively well in colonial America, despite discrimination and the erroneous preconceptions of a majority of others.
Of course the Civil War changed the original American slave based economic system at great cost to all Americans. The first grand dragon of the ku klux Klan was Nathan Bedford Forest, commanding General of the Confederacy during the Fort Pillow massacre, where he ordered the extermination of 300 black men, women and children after they had surrendered. Before the Civil War he had been one of the largest slave dealers in the south.
Many things have been about the Reconstruction period. A number of black leaders came to be political officials after the war, mostly from the union army. The first public schools in the South were created by the reconstruction governments. There were no public schools before the war in the South. It was illegal to teach blacks to read. The rich kids went to private schools, and the daddy's who ran the legislature did not waste tax dollars of educating poor white kids. No wonder the freedmen and their children put such a high premium on education. You can make something out of yourself if you get a good education.
Cinque, Touissant L'Oveture, Crispus Attucks, Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, M.L. King Jr. Jesse Jackson, Reginald Lewis. African American leaders all, of which there are many like Nelson Mandella, Robert Mugabe, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and Bob Marley who believed that "Unless all are free, none are truly free.
One of my childhood heros was A. G. Gaston of Birmingham, who founded the Booker T. Washington Insurance Co. 55 years ago. Martin Luther King Held many planning meetings for the boycott staged in Birmingham in the late 50's in Mr. Gaston's motel and it was later bombed. Recently, Mr. Gaston who is 95, sold the company worth 34 million in assets with 10 million in sales last year to his 400 employees for 3.5 million. The Deal also included the Booker T. Washington Broadcasting Co., Which owns an Am and an Fm radio station and the A. G. Gaston Construction Co. In some years, A. G. Gaston made as much or more than any brother in the country. Atty. Reginald Lewis, founder of TLC Beatrice International took that spot this year out earning even Michael Tyson and Bill Cosby with his bold leveraged buyout of Beatrice International, then selling off the Australian, Canadian and European parts to pay for the $985,000,000.00 purchase.
V.AFRO-AMERICANS IN HAWAII
Martin Luther King, Jr. fought and died to rid America of the disease of racism, which prevented some native born Americans from full citizenship and enjoying the protection of the Bill Of Rights for centuries. This same business as usual attitude contributed to the political climate which made the overthrow of Hawaii's Queen possible, and for a while made Hawaiians second class citizens in their own "aina". Dr. King fought the attitudes that contributed to the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans. The racial slurs hurled at Hawaii's Senator during the Irangate hearings indicate that Dr. King's work is not yet finished.
Dr. King's aloha for Hawaii was demonstrated in his first visit to the state in 1959 soon after statehood.
State census figures consistently ignore the 60,000 or so Afro-American military family members living in Hawaii for years while manning the defense forces of our nation in the Pacific. Many of these families remain here after their tour of duty is ended. Their families and the 25,000 or so permanent Afro-American residents in Hawaii contribute to the international diversity of our schools, economy, culture, musical and visual arts. Afro-American entertainers are consistently well received in Hawaii. Hawaiians have soul, and there is an empathy and deep level of communication which exists between the many diverse peoples.
Afro-Americans have been living in Hawaii since the early 1800's. Anthony Allen was a sailor who farmed several pieces of land in Waikiki before the missionaries landed in 1820. Betsy Stockton started the first school for non royal Hawaiians in Lahaina in 1824. The first official Hawaii state band organized by King David Kalakaua in 1834 was conducted by and Afro-American, as were most of the musicians. For many years, the official state band was staffed largely by Afro-American musicians. Ship loads of Afro-American plantation workers were brought to the islands from Tennessee in the 1890's. The descendants of these people have been blending into the local population for centuries producing respected citizens like Buttons Kaluhiokalani, Marvin Foster, Judge William Crockett, Counsel woman Hellene Hale of Hilo, and former state legislator Charles Campbell. The "official" census figures simply do not accurately reflect the total Afro-American population of Hawaii.
T. McCants Stewart in Hawaii was the first black lawyer to practice in Hawaii in 1898, moving there from New York. He later became a Supreme Court justice in Liberia, and his son practiced law in Portland Oregon and there before moving to San Francisco.
Barak Obama was born in Honolulu on August 4, 1961, went to Columbia and Harvard to become a Chicago attorney and Senator, who was elected president of the USA in 2008. The first black man so elected. A feat of social change and acceptance which occurred a lot faster than I thought it would when I graduated from Reed in 1971.
When I was born in 1948 all of Africa was colonized except for Ethiopia, which is why there are “Ras Tafarians” today everywhere. Since 1992, when South Africa’s murderous Apartheid government was finally defeated by the African National Congress, and Nelson Mandela became president of a free South Africa, the world has gradually, with some notable exceptions, like Ruanda, Bosnia, Sudan, become a less racially if not religiously explosive and exploitive place.
Indeed, in 2008, the USA even elected a black president, Barak Obama from Hawaii.
Andre’ S. Wooten, J.D.