I have become quite blasé about Black History Month over the last few years. It’s not that I don’t consider it important, but in reality, it’s not something we really own.
I believe that we as a people need to invest our time and energy learning about our various histories, beginning in Africa and then in the lands, or islands of the Diaspora where we were forced to emigrate. We need to acknowledge, understand and appreciate first and foremost, that there were a variety of cultures in Africa before the invasion of the Arabs and Europeans and that there are also a variety of cultures within Africa today. The same can be stated about the variety of cultures throughout the African Diaspora.
Once we come to the realization that although we are not homogeneous in thought, beliefs, values and culture… and not fear but appreciate this… and focus on the fact that as African people we do have a shared experience, historical as well as contemporary that we can build a sense of unity upon, then I believe Black and African history will be significant to us. Then it won’t be just an Eurocentric based illusion to pacify the African/Black savages, a trinket given once a year, in the shortest and coldest month of the year, as a penance to sooth the European conscience. Then it will be something we own daily, as we educate and enlighten ourselves daily, as we educate and enlighten our sons and daughters daily, as we educate and enlighten our family and community daily.
It is in this spirit that I share these articles by John Henrik Clarke with you entitled, “The African’s Influence in the New World”. It’s a lecture he gave in London England in 1986. It is presented in a 3 part series in the African Executive webzine.