ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

Home   ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)

Google
 

Following upon the publication of They Came Before Columbus, and equally momentous, in 1979

Dr. Van Sertima founded the Journal of African Civilizations which quickly gained "a reputation

for excellence and uniqueness among historical and anthropological journals.

 

 

Writings of Runoko Rashidi

 

Introduction to African Civilizations / African Presence in Early Asia / Introduction to the Study of African Classical Civilizations

 

*   *   *   *   *

A Tribute to Ivan Van Sertima

By Runoko Rashidi

We have come to reclaim the house of history. We are dedicated to the revision of the role of the African in the world's great civilizations, the contribution of Africa to the achievement of man in the arts and sciences. We shall emphasize what Africa has given to the world, not what it has lost.—Ivan Van Sertima

 

With absolute certainty it can stated that, due to his consistent and unrelenting scholarship over the past twenty-five years in the rewriting of African history and the reconstruction of the African's place in world history, particularly in the field of the African presence in ancient America, Ivan Van Sertima has cemented his position as one of our greatest living scholars. Indeed, during this turbulent and exciting period, he has been in the vanguard of those scholars fighting to place African history in a new light.

Simply put, Van Sertima's clarion call has been: "We shall follow the trail of the African in Europe, in Asia, and in every corner of the New World, seeking to set the record straight. This is no romantic exploration of antiquities. It is a search for roots."
 
Ivan Van Sertima was born in Kitty Village, Guyana, South America on January 26, 1935. He was educated at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University where he graduated with honors. From 1957 to 1959, he served as a Press and Broadcasting Officer in the Guyana Information Services. During the decade of the 1960s, he broadcasted weekly from Britain to both Africa and the Caribbean. He came to the United States in 1970, where he completed his post graduate studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Dr. Van Sertima began his teaching career as an instructor at Rutgers in 1972, and remained Professor of African studies in the Department of Africana Studies until recently.
 
Van Sertima is a literary critic, a linguist, and an anthropologist, and has made a name for himself in all three fields. As a linguist, he is the compiler of the Swahili Dictionary of Legal Terms, based on his field word in Tanzania, East Africa in 1967. As a literary critic, he is the author of Caribbean Writers, a collection of critical essays on the Caribbean novel. He is also the author of several major literary reviews published in Denmark, India, Britain, and the United States. He was recognized for his work in this field by being requested by the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy to nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature from 1976 to 1980.

The cornerstone of Dr. Van Sertima's legacy will probably be his authorship of They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America.  According to Van Sertima:

The African presence in America before Columbus is of importance not only to African and American history, but to the history of world civilizations. The African presence is proven by stone heads, terra cottas, skeletons, artifacts, techniques and inscriptions, by
oral traditions and documented history, by botanical, linguistic and cultural data.

 
They Came Before Columbus is a groundbreaking historical work and a literary hallmark. The ideas and themes presented in They Came Before Columbus were not novel. Indeed, many people had written on the African presence in pre-Columbian America before Van Sertima, notably Leo Wiener, Kofi Wangara, R.A. Jairazbhoy, Legrand H. Clegg II, and Floyd W. Hayes III, but Van Sertima's book was the first such work of its type written by an African to comprehensively address the subject. In his own words, Van Sertima notes that:

What I have sought to do in this book, therefore, is to present the whole picture emerging from these disciplines, all the facts that are now known about the links between Africa and America in pre-Columbian times.

They Came Before Columbus has now gone through more than twenty printings. It was published in French in 1981, and in the same year was awarded the Clarence L. Holt Prize, a prize awarded every two years "for a work of excellence in literature and the humanities relating to the the cultural heritage of Africa and the African diaspora." In 1979 Dr. Chancellor Williams received the Clarence L. Holte prize for the Destruction of Black Civilization.
 
Following upon the publication of They Came Before Columbus, and equally momentous, in 1979 Dr. Van Sertima founded the Journal of African Civilizations which quickly gained "a reputation for excellence and uniqueness among historical and anthropological journals. It is recognized as a valuable information source for both the layman and student." The late St. Clair Drake described the Journal of African Civilizations as "one of the most important events in the development of research and publication from the perspective of Pan-African scholarship." Van Sertima set the tone early on when he stated that:

The destruction of African high-cultures after the massive and continuous invasions of Europe left many Africans surviving on the periphery or outer ring of what constituted the best in African civilizations. New facts that challenge this image create such
consternation and incredulity that an extraordinarily emotional campaign is mounted by some of the most respected voices in the scientific establishment to explain away the new data.
 
That drift of dynastic Egypt from Africa has now dramatically slowed. Recent archeological finds have caught up with the mythmakers. More and more the history of Africa is being reconstructed upon the basis of hard, objective data rather than upon the self-serving speculations and racist theories about the black barbarians

From 1979 the Journal of African Civilizations published works by and about many of the world's finest Africanist scholars in a series of magnificent anthologies. These works include Blacks in Science, Nile Valley Civilizations, African Presence in Early America, Black Women in Antiquity, Egypt Revisited, Egypt: Child of Africa, African Presence in Early Europe, Golden Age of the Moor, African Presence in the Art of the Americas, Great Black Leaders, Great African Thinkers (coedited with Larry Obadele Williams), and African Presence in Early Asia (coedited with Runoko Rashidi). In 1998 Transaction Press produced produced Van Sertima's newest text—Early America Revisited—the definitive statement on the subject.
 
On July 7, 1987 Dr. Van Sertima appeared before a Congressional Committee to challenge the Columbus myth. In November 1991 he defended his thesis in an address to the Smithsonian Institute. In this arena Ivan Van Sertima has emerged as an undefeated champion.
 
Ivan Van Sertima. They Came Before Columbus (video)

Make liberal use also of The Global African Presence 

*   *   *   *   *

Dr. Ivan Van Sertima: The Afrikan Presence in Ancient America

Ivan Gladstone Van Sertima (26 January 1935 - 25 May 2009) was a historian, linguist and anthropologist

at Rutgers University in the United States.[1] He was noted for his controversial Afrocentric theory

of pre-Columbian contact between Africa and the Americas.

Ivan Van Sertima was born in Guyana, South America. He was educated at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London University) and the Rutgers Graduate School and holds degrees in African Studies and Anthropology. From 1957-1959 he served as a Press and Broadcasting Officer in the Guyana Information Services. During the decade of the 1960s he broadcast weekly from Britain to Africa and the Caribbean. He is a literary critic, a linguist, an anthropologist and has made a name in all three fields.

As a literary critic, he is the author of Caribbean Writers, a collection of critical essays on the Caribbean novel. He is also the author of several major literary reviews published in Denmark, India, Britain and the United States. He was honored for his work in this field by being asked by the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy to nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature from 1976-1980. He has also been honored as an historian of world repute by being asked to join UNESCO's International Commission for Rewriting the Scientific and Cultural History of Mankind.

As a linguist, he has published essays on the dialect of the Sea Islands off the Georgia Coast. He is also the compiler of the Swahili Dictionary of Legal Terms, based on his field work in Tanzania, East Africa, in 1967.

He is the author of They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America, which was published by Random House in 1977 and is presently in its twenty-ninth printing. It was published in French in 1981 and in the same year, was awarded the Clarence L. Holte Prize, a prize awarded every two years "for a work of excellence in literature and the humanities relating to the cultural heritage of Africa and the African diaspora."

He also authored Early America Revisited, a book that has enriched the study of a wide range of subjects, from archaeology to anthropology, and has resulted in profound changes in the reordering of historical priorities and pedagogy.

Professor of African Studies at Rutgers University, Dr. Van Sertima was also Visiting Professor at Princeton University. He is the Editor of the Journal of African Civilizations, which he founded in 1979 and has published several major anthologies which have influenced the development of multicultural curriculum in the United States. These anthologies include Blacks in Science: ancient and modern, Black Women in Antiquity, Egypt Revisited, Egypt: Child of Africa, Nile Valley Civilizations (out of print), African Presence in the Art of the Americas (due 2007), African Presence in Early Asia (co-edited with Runoko Rashidi), African Presence in Early Europe, African Presence in Early America, Great African Thinkers, Great Black Leaders: ancient and modern, and Golden Age of the Moor.

As an acclaimed poet, his work graces the pages of River and the Wall, 1953 and has been published in English and German. As an essayist, his major pieces were published in Talk That Talk, 1989, Future Directions for African and African American Content in the School Curriculum, 1986, Enigma of Values, 1979, and in Black Life and Culture in the United States, 1971.

Dr. Van Sertima has lectured at more than 100 universities in the United States and has also lectured in Canada, the Caribbean, South America and Europe. In 1991 Dr. Van Sertima defended his highly controversial thesis on the African presence in pre-Columbian America before the Smithsonian. In 1994 they published his address in Race, Discourse and the Origin of the Americas: A New World View of 1492.

He also appeared before a Congressional Committee on July 7, 1987 to challenge the Columbus myth. This landmark presentation before Congress was illuminating and brilliantly presented in the name of all peoples of color across the world.

*   *   *   *   *

Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance

By Marshall Stearns and Jean Stearns

Marshall Stearns, who taught college English, specializing in Chaucer, loved jazz, thought about jazz, taught about jazz, wrote about jazz, and, as the foundation of all this, took jazz seriously. His The Story of Jazz became a standard work in its field, and he then went on to document the dancing that went with the music. With his wife Jean, he spent seven years doing research, not only in libraries but among the living archives of dancers' memories. They conducted interviews with every jazz dancer they could find, at a time when jazz dancers seemed to be members of an endangered species.

Now, thanks to Da Capo Press, Jazz Dance is again available, as a paperback ($16.95), augmented with a new foreword and afterword by Brenda Bufalino, artistic director of the American Tap Dance Orchestra.

Although the book takes its subject only up to 1966when Marshall Stearns died of a heart attack shortly after the manuscript was completedit's still essential reading for anyone interested in jazz, in dance, and in the American musical theater.FindArticles

*   *   *   *   *

 

Lynchsong

              By Lorraine Hansberry

I can hear Rosalee
See the eyes of Willie McGee
My mother told me about
Lynchings
My mother told me about
The dark nights
And dirt roads
And torch lights
And lynch robes

The
faces of men
Laughing white
Faces of men
Dead in the night
sorrow night
and a
sorrow night

1951

Source: AmericanLynching

*   *   *   *   *

Writer Lorraine Hansberry's sober eulogy of the death of Willie McGee weighed heavy on the hearts and minds of the American Left. On May 8, 1951, a crowd of five hundred lingered outside the courthouse of Laurel, Mississippi, to witness the execution of yet another black man convicted for allegedly raping a white woman. His 1945 lightning trial resulted in a guilty conviction delivered in less than two and a half minutes by an all-white, male jury, setting off a heated five-year legal struggle that drew national headlines. Despite an aggressive appeals defense team who attempted every legal maneuver in the book, the US Supreme Court ultimately chose not to intervene. With the legal lynching of the Martinsville Seven in February, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg's conviction in March, followed by the execution of McGee in May, 1951 was a bad year for Left-leaning lawyers (Parrish 1979; Rise 1995). Most discouraging, national news sources like the New York Times and Life magazine red-baited the "Save Willie McGee" campaign and—as Life reported—its "imported" lawyers (Popham 1951a; Life 1951). Few felt McGee's passing with as heavy a heart as his chief counsel, thirty-one-year-old Bella Abzug.

Before Abzug became a representative in Congress and a leader in the peace and women's movements, she confronted the Southern political and legal system at the height of the early Cold War. Retained in 1948 by the Civil Rights Congress (CRC)—a New York-headquartered Popular Front legal defense organization—the novice labor lawyer honed her civil rights . . .

Source: https://Litigation-Essentials.LexisNexis

*   *   *   *   *

The Eyes of Willie McGee

 A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South

By Alex Heard

The Slave Ship

By Marcus Rediker

*   *   *   *   *

Kamau Daoud performs Live with The Pan Afrikan People's Arkestra / Kamau Daoud recites his poem written for Horace Tapscott

Kamau Daaood - Liberator Of The Spirit (for John Coltrane)

*   *   *   *   *

AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

*   *   *   *   *

Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson, III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson's stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who've accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela's rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela's regime deems Wilderson's public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson's observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid's last days.Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        

Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)

 

 

 

 

 

 

posted 5 February 2008

 

 

 

Home Black Librarians  Transitional Writings on Africa    Tributes Obituaries Remembrances

Related files:   African Libraries Project  Runoko Rashidi       The Black Presence in the Bible: A Selected Bibliography  Delany and Blyden  Tribute to Ivan Van Sertima  Runoko in Budapest   Niger and the National Museum   

 Photos of Global African Presence  Runoko in Papua New Guinea   Runoko Rashidi Speaks in Nigeria  Those Missing Noses in Kemet Sculpture    African Genesis Media Group    Nomads of Niger

An African Gathering in Senegal