|Posted by African History Month on January 9, 2014 at 8:05 PM|
Dear African Communities,
2014 is the year a global coalition of African and African-American groups are collaborating to honor their respective celebrations from all the different African communities worldwide and consolidating these events into one forum. This is a normal process undertaken by all other ethnic groups who celebrate their documented history and accomplishments. It is imperative that Africans rewrite their history, starting from the beginning of time to the present, so that it reflects the African viewpoint wherever African communities exist in the world.
Allow us to introduce ourselves, in presenting a case for an African History Month (AHM). The principal is based on one of Marcus Garvey's philosophies, “Africa for the Africans, those at home and those abroad." Our history, accomplishments and the numerous contributions to society are some of our most valuable resources. By using the same principle, it also applies to African history, which must be presented universally. Marcus Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) at the turn of the twentieth century. Its purpose was to free Africans from colonialism in Africa and all African communities worldwide through political independence, economic solvency and many other associated programs which became known as African Nationalism.
The honorable Marcus Garvey's ideals were continued by the late Carlos Cooks, who was a young leader in Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Carlos Cooks was born on June 23, 1913 in the Dominican Republic and died May 5th, 1966 in Harlem, which is located in New York City. During his 52 years, he administered the Advance Division of the UNIA after Garvey's deportation. A short time later, he founded the African Nationalist Pioneer Movement (ANPM). As the leader of the ANPM, Carlos Cooks kept Garvey's UNIA red, black, and green flag continually displayed on the corner of 125th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York City, during his nightly presentations. The ANPM spearheaded a drive to keep his legacy alive for over 20 years, teaching the principles for a liberated Africa for all Africans, which is known as “African Nationalism.” Carlos Cooks coined the phrase “Buy Black”, advocating self-determination and economic solvency in the African communities everywhere worldwide. This was a time, when referencing ”Africa” or "Black" was persona non Grata in all communities and the western controlled media.
It is from these humble beginnings one of Carlos Cook’s disciples, Sabamya Jaugu, developed the African History Month concept. This concept would consist of a perpetual celebration of the motherlands' culture and history and including the accomplishments by victims of the Diaspora that are scattered around the world. The African History month will be using the ideals of Marcus Garvey to elevate their consciousness so that they can be aware of its grandeur past and its tremendous future potential. Not to be confused with the present “Black History Month”, because it is a different entity. Moreover, we must give homage and acknowledgement to the lifelong work of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of the 1926 initiative to honor heroes, heroines and events of former slaves in the United States called “Negro History Week” and later in 1987 adopted by Linda Bellos in the United Kingdom, “Black-British History Month.
Most importantly, we must root out the inferiority complexes planted in our minds by our oppressors. These complexes are embedded within the culture and as a result a large segment of the African-American communities are convinced to disassociate themselves from the motherland. We have an ancestral duty and responsibility to develop and nurture concepts that will lead to universal acceptance of African history from the dawn of civilization to the present. These concepts will restore a sense of self-pride, honor, and glory to Africans and their descendants everywhere. There will be a perpetual celebration within an “African History Month”. This initiative is designed to help correct the distortions and misconceptions falsely embedded in our way of thinking. The case for an African history month can be exemplified by the following quote:
“We were trained to despise ourselves and all of Africa. We felt that Africans were either primitive or semi-primitive, that they had no science and made no significant contribution to civilization. We did not realize that we were looking at a looted Africa, a shatter Africa. We did not realize that there were two Africa's, Africa before and after the Holocausts. ” Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, African Historian
Unfortunately, this quote, which is over fifty years old, is still valid. During the seventeen, eighteen and nineteen centuries, history was written by Europeans. History that was purposely laden with distortions and misconceptions and then integrated into their respective cultures to justify and maintained their dominance. This also created the presumption that Africans had no history before contact with Europeans. Consequently, it's more important than ever that those global communities learn from their own perspective. A good beginning is ancient and medieval empires, kingdoms and civilizations before and after the Diaspora. Mindfully, there were over 300 kingdoms and empires at both ends of the continent, some lasting only a few centuries others flourished for millenniums.
Within African History month, “MONTH” will represent every month in the year. In other words, it will begin January first and ends December thirty-first. Of major significance, existing celebrations, and holidays will still be honored. Realistically, it would allow different African-Americans and African communities worldwide to learn and respect each other's culture. Furthermore, among the AHM topics would include kingdoms, empires and civilization historical events, heroes and heroines who have been neglected in western culture. Just think of the benefits between cultures, if these celebrations were consolidated under one global platform instead of individual.
Consider that there will be specific days, weeks and months honoring all aspects of African history worldwide. Surely, this would be an excellent opportunity to learn about our neglected history. It is sufficed to say that there is an inherit necessity to learn medieval and ancient history that has been deliberately hidden for so long. This is feasible because of modern technologies, such as: E-mail, Blogging, Publishing, social median networking, as well as, telephone and video conferencing.
Mindfully, there is a plethora of African kingdoms and civilizations to choose from. Among them is Nubia, in the north, Ethiopia and the Kilwa city states on the east coast, along with the great Zimbabwe in the south together with West African medieval kingdoms. And also, the untold history of successful slave and maroon rebellions, in addition, to the Trans-Sahara slave trade which began in the 8th century and existed until the late 16th century. It was the first slave trade. It lasted longer and impacted more slaves, than the Atlantic slave trade ever did.
Rightfully so, both existing black history months, of Dr. Carter G. Woodson in February and Linda Bellos in October, will be continued as usual. Let us consider the benefits of a universal platform that would be on par with world history or any other ethnic group, which has no time constraints. Likewise, African History Month will start on the first day of each year; to honor the successful Saint Domingue (Haiti) Revolution on January 1, 1804, which was the only time in history, where African slaves, not only won their independence but became a republic and freed themselves from slavery. African history month would end with the celebration of Kwanza the last week in December.
Additionally, during the year, two other days requires special attention. One is the victory at Adwa, Ethiopia on March 4, 1896, which represents the only African country to win their independence on the battle field. More importantly, their culture which includes their own traditions, religion, language and written script were maintained.
The other is honoring Marcus A Garvey's birthday, August 17, whose accomplishments must recognize him as one of the greatest leaders in the twentieth century. By 1922, Marcus Garvey’s organization the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) had 6 million members around the world, and this feat has never been duplicated. Most importantly, he had the clairvoyance to identify that African-American and African social and economic issues are similar and should be addressed universally.
Naturally, the remaining days, weeks and months will be used accordingly. This would be a glorious task for the African communities on the motherland as well as the Diaspora and everywhere else to participate in populating this ever on going platform. This fine undertaking will plant the seeds for the future generations to harvest. This can be best expressed by the following two quotes.
“Africans and persons of African descent must assume the primary responsibility and leadership in historical research….if we are to continue to leave practically all important historical research and writing concerning the black race to the white man, then we must be prepared to accept, uncomplainingly, the white man's point of view.”
Chancellor Williams, African Historian
“History is not everything, but it is a starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are but, more importantly, what they must be.”
John Henrik Clark, African Historian
We are seeking collaboration from the African, and Diaspora communities. Once again, existing celebrations, and holidays will still be honored. In order to make African History Month a reality, please contact us for further information. Those organizations that annually celebrate and honor, heroes, and historical events during the year, these events will continue, but under one platform to benefit Africans on the motherland, victims of the Diaspora and others that are scattered around the world.