February is World History Month
I am happy to be an alumnus of Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. Berea College was founded in 1855 by determined abolitionists and radical social reformers as the first interracial and coeducational college in the South.
The empowering educator and enlightening historian, Carter G. Woodson was also an alumnus of our beloved Berea College.
Carter G. Woodson is known as the “Father of Black History,” and it is because of his commitment to setting “his story” straight that we have Black History Month. Berea College also houses the Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education. As a previous recipient of the Carter G. Woodson Leadership Award, I have a steadfast commitment to cultural understanding. Thus, I ask the readership to understand that Black History Month is World History Month.
Black History does not begin with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
“Black” gives a global context to the discussion and forces the truly open minded to transcend the parameters of the pages of so many public school history books. Black gifts, talents, and minds have shaped the world since the beginning of time.
Out of Africa is not a movie, it is a movement. When you see the word “Kemet,” know that it means “Land of Black People.” From Africa, the world received paper, ink, pen, and the first alphabet. Through astronomy, Africans created the first calendars. Similar to the amazement of how Benjamin Banneker created an accurate almanac. Through astronomy, Africans knew of Jupiter’s moons and Saturn’s rings. Africans were sailing to Asia and the would- be Americas hundreds of years before Europeans. Some of the sailing vessels could hold 80 tons. International trade was developed without oppressive agenda of imperialism or colonialism. Columbus himself wrote in his journal that Native Americans confirmed black skinned people had come from the south-east in boats, trading in gold-tipped spears. Egyptian artifacts have been found in America. Pyramids and Olmec heads have been found in Mexico. Columbus discovered what? Or should we say Columbus destroyed what?
Aristotle claimed that Egypt was the cradle of mathematics. Some of the oldest scrolls show what is known now as the Pythagoean Theorem. And you still wonder how they built the pyramids? Ancient Africans already had steam engines, metal chisels and saws, nails, and glue. It is not a surprise that Africa showcased the most impressive palaces and universities. Ancient Africans introduced medical advancements regarding vaccinations, autopsies, dermatology, bone setting, gynecology, dentistry, the cardiovasular system, brain surgery and anethesia.
This does not include contributions to religion, law, politics, art, philosophy, hygiene, economics, or the importance of books and libraries to a community. Nor does it include the African (Americans) creation of jazz, gospel, rock and roll, or hip hop. It does not include the invention of the three signal traffic light, the mailbox, closed circuit television, the touch tone phone, laser cataract surgery, the blood bank, home security systems, microphones, video gaming consoles, gas furnaces, sprinklers, and cell phone technology.
Can you hear me now? The world is connected because of Africa and African Americans. Black History is World History.
(Steven Evans is a pastor in Clinton.)