World history encompasses Black history, extending far beyond the borders of the United States and across various diasporas globally. However, it was the dark shadow of colonialism that disrupted the progress and advancement of African civilization, severing the Black race from its roots. Systemic oppression, stemming from the slave trade, shaped a narrative that often overshadows the rich history that predates this tragic period.
Who were Africans before the slave trade?
Delving into the untold parts of Black history become imperative. Without a deep understanding of our past, moving forward remains a challenge. The Sankofa bird, a cultural symbol, beckons us not merely to acknowledge history, but to also embody its essence. As a race, we must take actionable steps to go back, recover, reclaim and restore our heritage.
Top 3 reasons to explore Black history:
Breaking chains of misconception
If you believe Black history begins with slavery, historian Ivan Van Sertima reminds us that our history did not begin in chains. Explore the presence of Africans in ancient America before Christopher Columbus arrived, as documented in the book, “They Came Before Columbus.”
Beyond Hollywood’s lens
Relying solely on movies for Black history education falls short. Hollywood’s primary goal is entertainment, not education. Discover the significance of Haitian independence celebrations each year in the documentary “Liberty in a Soup,” honoring ancestors who fought for freedom triumphing in victory over the French.
Thinking globally, acting locally
Black history extends far beyond well-known events like the Civil Rights movement. Challenge yourself to learn historical events before 1960 and explore global perspectives at museums and historical societies. Think globally, act locally, and broaden your understanding.
The time is now!
No opportunity should be wasted to turn the page, sharpen our pencils, and begin writing a different chapter of Black history – one that illuminates the Black race in a positive light. The narrative goes beyond victimhood; it is a celebration of resilience, strength, and the indomitable spirit that defines Black history across continents and centuries.
Brittany Wilkins is an author, Black history educator and founder of Historians Connect. She hosts a Black history podcast called “The Coin: Black History on the Other Side.”