Various combs from Nigeria
Edo or Otua?
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Cambridge
Professor Ahmed Baba of Songhai (October 26, 1556 – 1627)
The Songhai Empire ruled about two thirds of West Africa, including the lands now called Mali, Mauritania, Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, Northern Nigeria and Niger. When the Empire collapsed, due to an Arab and European invasion in 1591 AD, its intelligentsia were arrested by the conquerors and dragged in chains across the Sahara. One of these scholars was Professor Ahmed Baba. The author of 60 books, Professor Baba enjoyed a very high reputation. Amongst the Songhai, he was known as “The Unique Pearl of his Time”. In a Moroccan text from the period, the praise for him was even more gushing. He is described as “the imam, the erudite, the high-minded, the eminent among scholars, Abu l-Abbas Ahmed Baba.”
In Morocco, the Arab scholars petitioned to have him released from jail. He was released a year after his arrival on 9 May 1596. Major Dubois, a French author, narrates that: “All the believers were greatly pleased with his release, and he was conducted in triumph from his prison to the principal mosque of Marrakech. A great many of the learned men urged him to open a course of instruction. His first thought was to refuse, but overcome by their persistence he accepted a post in the Mosque of the Kerifs and taught rhetoric, law, and theology. An extraordinary number of pupils attended his lectures, and questions of the gravest importance were submitted to him by the magristracy, his decision always being treated as final.”
Despite this adulation, Baba was careful to credit his learning to the Almighty and thus maintained his modesty. A Moroccan source tells of an audience he obtained with Al Mansur. It appears that the scholar gave the sultan something of a dressing down. Baba complained about the sultan’s lack of manners, his ill treatment received during his original arrest, the sacking of his private library of 1600 books, and the destruction of the Songhai Empire. We are told by the Moroccan author that Al Mansur “being unable to reply to [any of] this, put an end to the audience.”
The professor was detained in Morocco for a total of 12 years. Eventually he received permission from Al Mansur’s successor to return to Songhai. Just before his departure across the desert, he vowed in the presence of the leading scholars of Marrakesh who had gathered to give him a send off, “May God never bring me back to this meeting, nor make me return to this country!” He returned to a devastated Timbuktu and died there in 1627. today the only public library in Timbuktu, the Ahmed Baba Institute (which stores over 18,000 manuscripts) is named in his honor.
Hunwick, J.O. (1964), “A New Source for the Biography of Ahmad Baba al-Tinbukti (1556-1627)”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 27: 568–593.
The case was brought by a 26-year-old Black university student who was born in Germany and is a German citizen. The ruling was made October 29 by the Higher Administrative Court for the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Koblenz………..
In 1903, after 20 years of colonization, 712 European women lived among 3,970 European men in German South-West Africa. What to do? Rape. Although rape by German men of Herero and Nama women was common, prior to 1904 not a single case of a white man raping an African woman came before a German court. This became particularly acute in the attempted rape, and then murder, of Louisa Kamana. Louisa Kamana was married to the son of Chief Zacharias. The two gave a ride to a German settler, who, that night, “made sexual advances” on Louisa Kamana. She refused. He killed her. The Court acquitted him. The case was appealed, and the settler was given three years in prison. Rape and murder of Herero women were common occurrences. The case only went to trial because a Chief’s family was involved, and no one among the Herero thought three years made up for a Herero woman’s life and dignity. That’s the story of the genocide as well. Women and children were targeted. When the Herero were ‘allowed’ to escape into the Kalahari Desert, it was assumed most would die. It was also assumed more women and children would die. That assumption was correct. The German authorities explained that Herero women and children had to die because they carried dangerous diseases. Meanwhile, the German press shrieked that Herero women were ‘black amazons swinging clubs and castrating their foes’. And so good riddance.
In 1903, after 20 years of colonization, 712 European women lived among 3,970 European men in German South-West Africa. What to do? Rape. Although rape by German men of Herero and Nama women was common, prior to 1904 not a single case of a white man raping an African woman came before a German court. This became particularly acute in the attempted rape, and then murder, of Louisa Kamana.
Louisa Kamana was married to the son of Chief Zacharias. The two gave a ride to a German settler, who, that night, “made sexual advances” on Louisa Kamana. She refused. He killed her. The Court acquitted him. The case was appealed, and the settler was given three years in prison. Rape and murder of Herero women were common occurrences. The case only went to trial because a Chief’s family was involved, and no one among the Herero thought three years made up for a Herero woman’s life and dignity.
That’s the story of the genocide as well. Women and children were targeted. When the Herero were ‘allowed’ to escape into the Kalahari Desert, it was assumed most would die. It was also assumed more women and children would die. That assumption was correct. The German authorities explained that Herero women and children had to die because they carried dangerous diseases. Meanwhile, the German press shrieked that Herero women were ‘black amazons swinging clubs and castrating their foes’.
And so good riddance.
Abram Petrovich Hannibal (1696-1782)
- Believed to be born in Born in either Senegal or Eritrea, he was brought to Peter the Great as a gift.
- Abram studied math and languages in Paris, fought in the French military and returned home to become commanding general of the Russian army.
- He was the maternal great-grandfather of Alexander Pushkin, one of the most revered figure in Russian culture.
Sold into Turkish slavery, Abram Petrovich Hannibal was brought as a black servant to Czar Peter I, known as Peter the Great. He became one of the royal favorites, a general-in-chief and one of the best educated men in Russia. His great-grandson was Alexander Pushkin, the famous Russian writer who later glorified the deeds of his black ancestor in his book, The Negro of Peter the Great.
It is believed that Hannibal was born on an unknown date around 1696 in the principality of Logon in present day Cameroon or South west Eritrea. Abducted by a rival tribe, Hannibal was sold to Turkish slave traders who brought him to Constantinople in 1703. As an eight-year-old boy he came to the court of Peter the Great who adopted him immediately. Being the Czar’s godson, Hannibal assumed his name, Petrovich, and became his valet on Peter’s various military campaigns and journeys. When the Czar visited France in 1716, Hannibal was left behind in Paris to study engineering and mathematics at a military school. Two years later, he joined the French army and fought in the war against Spain. In January 1723, Hannibal finally returned to Russia.
To Hannibal’s misery, his protector Peter the Great died in 1725, leaving the black artillery lieutenant in the dependence of the royal advisor Prince Menshikov, who–due to his dislike for Hannibal–assigned him to Siberia and later to the Chinese border where his task was to measure the Great Wall.
Hannibal’s fortunes changed in 1741, when Empress Elisabeth took the throne and Hannibal was allowed to officially return from his exile although in fact he had done so clandestinely in 1731. Five years after his illegal return, he married his second wife Christina Regina von Schöberg, the daughter of a Swedish army captain, who bore him eleven children. One of his sons named Osip was the grandfather of the poet Alexander Pushkin.
Although it had been his wish to retire, Empress Elisabeth did not want to abandon Hannibal and his engineering skills. He was made commander of the city of Reval between 1743 and 1751 and by 1760 had been promoted to the rank of a full general. During his military career he oversaw various projects such as the construction of the Ladoga Canal and Russian fortresses. Abram Petrovich Hannibal died on April 20, 1781, as one of the leading pioneers of his country and probably the first outstanding engineer in Russian history.
Hugh Barnes, Gannibal: The Moor of Petersburg (London: Profile Books, 2005); Allison Blakely, Russia and the Negro: Blacks in Russian History and Thought (Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1986); N. K. Teletova, “A.P. Gannibal: On the Occasion of the Three Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Alexander Pushkin’s Great-Grandfather,” Under the Sky of My Africa: Alexander Pushkin and Blackness, Ed. Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy, Nicole Svobodny, and Ludmilla A. Trigos (Evanston, Northwestern University Press, 2006).
But I thought black people didn’t exist in European history. or something.
yes! clearly this must be some sort of hopeful fanfiction.
This is clearly fanfiction, all Africans were living in gated communities, never venturing outside until the Europeans and/or Arabs came to “civilise” us. *mschw*
Why Che’s daughter fights to preserve his image as idealistic revolutionary
Forty-five years after Che Guevara’s death, his daughter, Aleida, talks with Tracy McVeigh of London’s Guardian about growing up in the shadow of a world-famed leader. She has the eyes of her father, a gaze that became an emblem for the 20th century. She also has his deep sense of social injustice, but Dr Aleida Guevara has always had to share her “papi” with the world. While she doesn’t mind the……..
Don’t forget to check our sister blog The Black Me
Africa’s Oldest Known Boat8000 years ago, in the region now known as Nigeria. ”Africa’s oldest known boat” the Dufuna Canoe was discovered near the region of the River Yobe. The Canoe was discovered by a Fulani herdsman in May 1987, in Dufuna Village while digging a well. The canoe’s “almost black wood”, said to be African mahogany, as “entirely an organic material”. Various Radio-Carbon tests conducted in laboratories of reputable Universities in Europe and America indicate that the Canoe is over 8000 years old, thus making it the oldest in Africa and 3rd oldest in the World. Little is known of the period to which the boat belongs, in archaeological terms it is described as an early phase of the Later Stone Age, which began rather more than 12,000 years ago and ended with the appearance of pottery.The lab results redefined the pre-history of African water transport, ranking the Dufuna canoe as the world’s third oldest known dugout. Older than it are the dugouts from Pesse, Netherlands, and Noyen-sur-Seine, France. But evidence of an 8,000-year-old tradition of boat building in Africa throws cold water on the assumption that maritime transport developed much later there in comparison with Europe. Peter Breunig of the University of Frankfurt, Germany, an archaeologist involved in the project, says the canoe’s age “forces a reconsideration of Africa’s role in the history of water transport”. It shows, he adds, “that the cultural history of Africa was not determined by Near Eastern and European influences but took its own, in many cases parallel, course”. Breunig, adding that it even outranks in style European finds of similar age. According to him, “The bow and stern are both carefully worked to points, giving the boat a notably more elegant form”, compared to “the dugout made of conifer wood from Pesse in the Netherlands, whose blunt ends and thick sides seem crude”. To go by its stylistic sophistication, he reasons, “It is highly probable that the Dufuna boat does not represent the beginning of a tradition, but had already undergone a long development, and that the origins of water transport in Africa lie even further back in time.”Egypt’s oldest known boat is 5000 years old.P. Breunig, The 8000-year-old dugout canoe from Dufuna (NE Nigeria), G. Pwiti and R. Soper (eds.), Aspects of African Archaeology. Papers from the 10th Congress of the PanAfrican Association for Prehistory and related Studies. University of Zimbabwe Publications (Harare 1996) 461-468.ISBN: 0908307551
“Before the Middle Ages, public baths were very common, as was the general public regularly taking time to bathe in one way or another… However, over time, more and more restrictions appeared. Eventually, Christians were prohibited from bathing naked and, overall, the church began to not approve an “excessive” indulgence in the habit of bathing. This culminated in the Medieval church authorities proclaiming that public bathing led to immorality, promiscuous sex, and diseases…
For most lower class citizens, particularly men, this resulted in them completley forgoing bathing. During this time, people tended to restrict their hygienic arrangements to just washing hands, parts of the face, and rinsing their mouths. Washing one’s entire face was thought to be dangerous as it was believed to cause catarrh and weaken the eyesight, so even this was infrequent…
Amazingly, this complete lack of personal hygiene in most of Europe lingered until around the mid-19th century.”
Egyptian Queen (by Kristi Bowman Design)
Temple-Kom-Ombo_18-11-2000_J (by HeyWayne)
Roy Bryce-Laporte, Leader of Black Studies at Yale, Dead at 78
Roy S. Bryce-Laporte, a sociologist who led one of the nation’s first African-American studies departments, at Yale University, and did research that advanced understanding of blacks who came to the United States voluntarily rather than as slaves, died on July 31 in Sykesville, Md. He was 78.
His brother, Herrington J. Bryce, said that the cause was undetermined, but that he had had a series of small strokes.
Professor Bryce-Laporte was named director of Yale’s new department of African-American studies in 1969, when colleges and universities were recruiting black students and searching for ways to include their culture, history and other concerns in the curriculum.
Students participated in the selection of Professor Bryce-Laporte. One of them, Donald H. Ogilvie, praised him as “not all academician and not all activist,” adding that Professor Bryce-Laporte was “still angry.”
Professor Bryce-Laporte taught a core course in the new program, “The Black Experience: Its Changes and Continuities,” which spanned the history of New World blacks from pre-slavery recruitment in Africa to 20th-century slums. He emphasized that black studies must address hot-button topics like racial stereotyping while retaining academic rigor.
“Black studies is the way by which respect is to be given to blacks and to knowledge about blacks,” he said in an article in The New York Times in 1969.
In an interview on Tuesday, the Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who has written influentially on the black experience, said that as a Yale freshman he was inspired by Professor Bryce-Laporte to become a professor himself. “A different model was available to me,” he said.
Professor Gates said Professor Bryce-Laporte had urged students to involve themselves in activities like writing for the college newspaper and joining secret societies as steps to acquiring influence in the larger society. He said Professor Bryce-Laporte told students, “You’ve been chosen, you’ve been blessed.”
Sidney W. Mintz, chairman of the committee that created Yale’s black studies curriculum, called Professor Bryce-Laporte “the first manager of the futures” of the outstanding black students drawn to Yale. He advised them to cultivate discipline, no matter how eager they were to change the world.
“You have to be adults,” he said, according to Professor Mintz, now research professor of anthropology at Johns Hopkins University.
Yale’s program went beyond that of some colleges by studying blacks in the entire Western Hemisphere, an approach that meshed with Professor Bryce-Laporte’s research focus Read More…
Story Courtesy of the New York Times
Photo Courtesy of Colgate University
Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid on his throne
Yusuf Ali Kenadid was born into a Majeerteen Darod family, the uncle of Osman Yusuf Kenadid, who would go on to create the Osmanya writing script for the Somali language. He was also the founder of the Sultanate of Hobyo in the 1880s.
An April 24, 1851 poster warning colored people in Boston about policemen acting as slave catchers.