Table of Contents
Through Imperialism it is evident that the Germans army killed thousands of black people based on racial discrimination. There were scattered sites in the whole world where the genocide and massacre of the black people had taken place. There was slavery that was justified by both the church and the state by assuming that the slave would transform them to become not only hard working but also become Christians. The black people were useless and needed to be exterminated and therefore thought that the black people cannot be civilized. In Tasmania, Australia, the Europeans thought that the people were cultureless and Godless. Racism was further witnessed here as the new white settlers massacred, kidnapped, raped and killed any black people they came across with. This could have happened if the timely intervention of a new emperor had not taken place.
The new European emperor was not racist and hence came out openly to try and stop the killing of the black people. He decreed that if a white killed a black he would be hanged and the same would happen to the blacks who killed a white. The chapel that was later built was deemed as factory that was meant to transform the so called scavengers to become Christians and hence regarded as civilized. The common ideology that the European settlers seemed to operate with was inequality is the proper way to run a society which stipulates that men should rule women, those who know should rule those who do not know (Racism: A History  - 2/3, n.p.).
Race has no genetic basis. What make us different is not the genes carried by one particular race but it how they behave in different conditions. According to an experiment carried out by Vivian Cheung and Richard Spielman from white blood cells from 60 European and 82 Asian descents. The possible 25% difference only tells us about some physical characteristics such as long hair and skin color.
Race justifies social inequalities as natural. The white normally considered they were more civilized since they were believed to have a culture and religion which they believed in and the blacks did not have. This is what led to the tendency of the white to rule the black. Skin color is only skin deep. The skin of covering the body is very thin compare to the body volume and this relationship applies to the “thinness” of skin color in comparison to the value of the person carrying it. Skin pigmentation developed mainly to help the body balance the amount of vitamin D and folate needed so that those closer to the equator would have darker skin to ensure folate sufficiency.
Racism based on the skin color is the most common type of racial discrimination despite the fact that skin color is just a body structural adaptation for the synthesis of important minerals in the body. I believe that if all people would d understand that skin color is neither influenced by nor does it influence other traits possessed by an individual and therefore it will be erroneous to charge who people are based on their skin color (RACE - The Power of an Illusion, n.p.).
Africana better tells the story of African American people since the black people’s history is global in that the first civilization of the world and the first human light’s consciousness were in Africa. According Clarke, the Dark Ages affected only Europe and noted that some African nations were more established than Europe. Hence, there is more history that cannot be ignored when studying about the origin of the African American people (Clarke, n.p.).
Starting classes in Africa enables one to get accurate information about African people through oral historians or bands such as griots. The griots were able to trace the history of ancient Africa through tracing family tree to a given village by giving accurate detailed accounts of the life of ancient Africa’s ancestors (CHAPTER 6 LESSON 3: African Griots, n.p.).
Dr. Clarke talks learning of Negroes as one faced with a lot of challenges in the film “A Great and Mighty Walk’’ The film gives a detailed account of John Henrik Clarke and his exposure to various huddles and manifestations brought about by racism. He talks about his own extraordinary story, Africa and that of African American people with passion both in his own home as well as in schools. He was born in Alabama and aimed to go to school, get married and have a family. Although Clarke never finished high school in the formal way, he however managed to chat his way to in education achieve a PhD. Dr. Clarke says that he is principally self trained.
The renowned historian and author talks about his growing interest in Pan- Africanism, failures of civil rights movements, his critical assessment of Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March and also his close friendship with Malcolm X. On civilization, his argument is that it was never brought by any colony or conquering power but they did actually interfered with or destroyed the African civilization which they never understood. This colonialists and conquerors then took ideas from Africa to their ancient Greece and Rome. His narration shows how the black Africans were conspiringly removed from the civilization of Nile’s history. He proudly points out that some African leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Garvey and Du Bois helped promote the issues of Africa not only in the U.S. but also in the world at large (John Henrik Clarke - A Great and Mighty Walk, n.p).
The homids, which are members of the human family and the African apes which are believed to have existed about 5 to 10 million years ago are said to be the ancestors of humans. Theses earliest ancestors of humankind commonly known as ape man are historically referred to as Australopithecines. The Australopithecus first example found in South Africa’s limestone cave near Taung in 1925 were small, had long arms, prominent skulls but their brains were small. Australopithecus then developed into different species with some developing powerful teeth and jaws and were referred to as ‘robust’ while others were built lightly hence known as ‘gracile’.
It took three major stages which are Homo Habilis, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens for man to become current humankind.
The Homo Habilis is believed to have existed by around 2.5 million years ago.. If at all Homo Habilis developed from the Australopithecus, then it is through the ‘gracile’ and not from the larger jawed species, robust. Using its now improved brain capacity, Homo Habilis would now manufacture some simple tools out of stone such as pebbles. This technology can be seen in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. About 1.5 million years ago, a species believed to be a human ancestor Homo erectus evolved. Taller, with larger brain and more robust than Homo Habilis, Homo erectus produced better tools such as a characteristic hand axe known as ‘Acheulian’. Its fossils have been found in China with the axe being discovered in Europe and Asia. Homo erectus in other continents is believed to have left Africa. Lastly, Homo sapiens are believed to have evolved 120,000 years ago and is the most advanced of the modern human beings. Homo sapiens either developed in Africa first or moved to other places between 100-200,000 years meaning that modern people are all African descents or Homo sapiens developed simultaneously in different parts of the world (BBC World Service, n.p.).
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The flooding of the Nile for several months deposited the valley with fertile soil which enabled farmers to have a large surplus in their harvest which were put in large government stores. It is believed that about 1.8 million people were supported by these fertile sediments by approximately 300 BC. In which a key population is believed to have settled in a southern part of Egypt known as Aswan. This way they were saved the task of preservation and reduced wastage. The rise and fall of the Nile Valley was used by officials for tax calculations of peasants. For a long time, it was not possible to accept that these black people finally built a great civilization in the Nile valley.
It is a result of the Nile River that led to the establishments of the great Egyptian dynasties though the settlement of different groups of people who scattered themselves along different points on the valley. This was how the “nomes” or divisions believed to have given rise to the political structure of Egypt. Therefore, the claims that deny the ability of black people to have built such a great civilization in the Nile valley are baseless and therefore those who argue that way should revisit history. For instance, the claims of Charles Seligman (1873-1940) that Egypt’s ancient civilization was brought about by the ‘Hamites’ a race he believed came from Asia cannot be substantiated. The reason for such claims was best known to the colonialists from Europe who wanted to create avenues to look for colonies by discrediting Africa (Nile Delta, n.p.).
Islam’s aim of coming to East African coast was to continue the dialogue that was going on between the East coast people and traders with Persian Gulf and Oman. They were monotheistic hence worshipped one God. As a modernizing influence, Islam strengthened government powers, broke down ethnic loyalties and imposed order among different orders. Islam had an influence over people through its reforming movements and dynasties were being clashed by this religion and at the same time succeeding each other. The ability of Islam to gain power was partly by monitoring and securing all the possible trade routes which lead to gold producing areas in Sub-Saharan Africa. This seemingly powerful religion continued to strengthen until it finally dominated by the end of 11th century’s last quarter, it was able to control the Mediterranean world. It tolerated traditional values such as polygamy (BBC World Service | The Story of Africa, n.p.)
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The Christian religion was characterized by antislavery crusade and carried the Europeans interest to colonize Africa. It played the role of destabilizing the status quo through empowering some with new opportunities but at the same time ensuring the power of others was undermined. The Christian missions introduced formal education and also hope for the unfortunate in the society. It was an agent of great change since unlike Islam, it sought to abolish female circumcision, marriage to more than one wife and many other denials to culture and ceremonies this made it difficult for Africans to join Christianity. (BBC World Service, n.p.).
From 500 to 1700 A.D. Mali and Ghana kingdoms were very rich due to possession of gold, salt and slaves which they traded across Africa. From history, Ghana has been called the “land of gold’. It is thought to have been formed by the combining of the Soninke clans under Dinga Cisse who was believed to have semi – divine status. Its main religion was Islam and for that reason there were many schools that were managed by Muslims (BBC World Service, Pg 80). The kingdom of Mali rose due to the decline of Ghana under the leadership of dynamic Sundiata of the Keita clan. It was so large during its time only coming second in the world after the Asian Mongolian Empire. The kingdom of Mali’s territory comprised all the Kingdom of Ghana and even greater territories. It was so large during its time only coming second in the world after the Asian Mongolian Empire. After expanding its trade in many ways, Mali ended up controlling the gold trade of Ghana. It got its significant wealth from the Bure goldfields and it exports its gold dusts to as well as its agricultural produce to the north. During that time money was not yet functioning as it is today but the kingdom did use the cowrie shells for taxation and as a trading currency. The main religion in Mali was Islam which played an important role in government and administration. The history of Mali and Ghana refutes the common stereotype that Africa has always been backward and uncivilized before and during the interaction of Africa with the Europeans (BBC World Service | The Story of Africa, Pg. 82).
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The contradictions found within the Declaration of Independence and Jefferson cannot be reconciled since Jefferson’s two arguments about the status of the black being inferior to the white. He talks about all people are created equal, have same rights which are inalienable as the white and yet he dies owning 200 slaves. To some extent, he believes that whether the blacks are originally distinct or time and experience made them distinct, they are inferior to the whites on the basis of body and mind endowments. Therefore, inequality is inevitable in not only human beings but also in other living things. This however has always been misunderstood by many people especially the whites during the colonial era who abused other people because of their skin color. Jefferson is described as one who values ideal society where each person is expected to respect the rights of others (Thomas Jefferson on the African Race, n.p.).
The contradiction in the declaration for Independence is that all political connection between the United States of America and United Kingdom be totally dissolved. At the same time, the independent States declares to contract alliances, obviously with other likeminded and independent nations. The contradiction arises by the failure of the declaration to specify the alliances. That means America believes that even after becoming independent, it will need other partners to build itself economically and politically. What America refers to is the freedom she needs to manage her own affairs of whatever manner from its former colony whether economically or politically. Hence, there can be reconciliation in this contradiction (Declaration of Independence, n.d.).
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The vignette of America is a short historical documentary which provides meaning and provisions of the U.S. Constitution and also how the government operates within the boundaries dictated by the constitution. The highlights of the video footage are a summary of the legislative operations, the executive powers and the judicial roles which form the branches of the government. Although the footages show recent events and activities, they are all done in accordance with the constitution.
The central thesis of the U.S. Constitution Vignette states that is the solemn oath which states that (Transcript of the Constitution of the United States, n.p.):
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The constitution establishes the main objective of the United States of America which is to remain united and also promote unity in the world at large. The constitution is to ensure that everybody gets justice in all its systems of governance by promotion of human rights of all individuals, groups and institutions. It is to ensure that there is peace and tranquility within its borders and also ensure that this benefits its citizens who are in other countries. The constitution will ensure the general welfare of her of her people by providing all the basic needs and suitable environment to live in. That America shall be a free country and therefore her citizens will enjoy the blessings of this liberty and also for her posterity. The constitution is thus a nationally ordained, respected and secured document (U.S. Constitution Vignette, n.p.).
The institution of slavery was peculiar by the manner in which it admitted the people it wanted. Millions of Africans were admitted into this institution involuntarily unlike many institutions where admission is done on the consent of whoever is admitted. As a result, for instance, many of the slaves fled from the slave ports, others ran away from their owners, others cast themselves into the ocean, feigned sickness while others formed maroon societies. The slave owners would use advertisements to pursue the runaways by using law enforcement officers, hunters and kidnappers. The word “peculiar’’ is an appropriate way for reviewing slavery since all that happened to the slaves was simply inhuman. There is no better way than describing the whole scenario as weird and unfortunate
The slavery was so rampant to an extent slaving vessels were constructed specifically for carrying or maximum number of slaves. The slaves were not considered as human beings since they were traded for manufactured goods from Europe and transported to Brazil and the Caribbean where they were sold. In this case, they were as speechless and defenseless as the goods which they are exchanged for. However, there were also slave informers who supported their mutiny. Hence, the slaves would organize to fight the whites for their liberty but when the plan backfired, they would all be hanged after torture. In most cases, there were hardly any further successes as the captures of the slaving vessels were again caught by more sophisticated white people’s machinery (African American Odyssey: Slavery--The Peculiar Institution, N.p.).
Equiano is known mainly from his autobiography. He wrote that he was born in an African village, Essaka which is now located on the Eastern part of Nigeria. He was then captured and sold as a slave when he was eleven. Later he bought his own freedom and went on to establish himself through several business ventures.If this is what Equiano is narrating from the first person point of view then I would believe that the narrative is true and not the scholars who suspect that he was born in south Carolina (Marable & Mullings, Pg.9).
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First-hand narrative is sometimes exaggerated for it is only the speaker who is the witness of whatever took place. If there is any error in the narrative, the whole of the narrative becomes unreliable and cannot be trusted for our future generation. Again, this type of slavery narrative carries with it the challenge consistency in that it so difficult to remain focused in one narrative since many more events took place during this main narrative. The narrator is always tempted to swerve from one episode to another which may easily lead toconfusion. I would still prefer first-hand narrative for reliability, relevancy and for more information purposes. The second–hand narrative may be more objective than the first hand narrative but may not be reliable since most of the information must have got lost or some clips altered hence loosing originality (Equiano, n.p.).
Referring to enslavers, he spoke the importance of doing charity and showing love to all mankind since all are the made by God's hands and in his image. He also challenged them to have sympathy with their fellow men when they are in trouble. He said that sympathy is not confined in towns, states, kingdom or color but in the whole earth over which Christ is King. To slavery he pointed out that the daughters and sons are dragged with iron and yoke of slavery and cruelty. Speaking prophetically, Hall said that a day will dawn in West India Islands and God will have their hearts conditions changed so that Boston and the world will know that he has no respect for persons. He finally called an end to slavery and asked each party to stretch forth their hands and reconcile.
The Free masons played a role of serving other fellow men, doing charity and showing love to all mankind as Hall had already taught them five years before on the parts and points of Masonry. They also practiced treating all people equally for all people are the work and image of God. In so doing they contributed in the fight against slavery and racism. They will again be required to be in the forefront in showing sympathy to all fellow men when they are in trouble. The masons will also provide comfort for the families of those who had lost their beloved ones by encouraging them to hope in God ( Marable & Mullings, Pg.18).
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The Africans in America saw hope when the Ethiopian Church / African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1892 by Mangena M. Mokone who also opposed racial discrimination as well as segregation in churches. In January 1893, the church was recognized by the Transvaal government and the church continued growing. Rev. Mokone's actions were strong statements against paternalism and the church grew to cut across ethnic boundaries (Mokone, n.p.).
After the establishment of the AME church, Richard Allen, a born a slave in Philadelphia, joined it at the and immediately started organizing and leading local meetings. He later influenced his master to convert to Methodism hence buying his freedom. Under his influence, independent Free African Society was established which was the first beneficial and mutual assistance eagerly desired by African American. The AME church founded by Allen in 1816 had contributed greatly to his further accomplishments such as being able to sponsor the first national black American convention in 1830. It is noticed in some pamphlet that at that time stating that the methods were no people, and then they were now people and this had often been a serious weight upon that writer's mind. Another sign of hope in the fight against slavery was the General conference held in 1784 In Baltimore. It was the unique and spectacular since it became the first one to have ever been held in America and most importantly it was to be graced by European preachers, Rev. Dr. Coke, Thomas Vassey and Richard Whatcoat (Marable & Mullings, Pg.20-25).