1. Title 1
LOG IN!
LOG OUT

The Standing on the Shoulders of Giants "Teach & Learn" Black History Curriculum​​

Specially designed for Parents, Teachers, Homeschool, or Independent Study, grades 5+

Where Black
History Lives!​

Intro Unit: The Politics of Education - Enlightenment or Propaganda?

Intro Unit, Class 1: African History  – The Missing Pages Of World History

  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
  7. Managing Director
  8. Managing Director
Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, students 
will be able to:
  • Define the terms propaganda and enlightenment.
  • Recognize the political nature of education, specifically as it relates to African history. 

  • Understand the importance history plays in how a race or group functions as a people. ​​

  • Understand the syllabus, class format and class expectations.

Class Overview: Why Africana Studies? by Dr. John Henrik Clarke

Class Assignment
Read/View/Complete the following:

Activity 1: Review User's Guide (5 min)
Activity 2: Read Intro Unit Overview (15 min)
Activity 3: Read Why Africana History? (this page, 20 min)

Activity 4:  Word Association (10 min)

Activity 6:  World History Timeline (10 min)​
​​​​​
(1:35 hour)​

Africa and its people are the most written about and the least understood of all of the world's people. This condition started in the 15th and the 16th centuries with the beginning of the slave trade system. The Europeans not only colonized most of the world, they began to colonize information about the world and its people. In order to do this, they had to forget, or pretend to forget, all they had previously known about the Africans. They were not meeting them for the first time; there had been another meeting during Greek and Roman times. At that time they complemented each other. The African, Clitus Niger, King of Bactria, was also a cavalry commander for Alexander the Great. Most of the Greeks' thinking was influenced by this contact with the Africans. The people and the cultures of what is known as Africa are older than the word "Africa." According to most records, old and new, Africans are the oldest people on the face of the earth. The people now called Africans not only influenced the Greeks and the Romans, they influenced the early world before there was a place called Europe.
When the early Europeans first met Africans, at the crossroads of history, it was a respectful meeting and the Africans were not slaves. Their nations were old before Europe was born. In this period of history, what was to be later known as "Africa" was an unknown place to the people who would someday be called, "Europeans." Only the people of some of the Mediterranean Islands and a few states of what would become the Greek and Roman areas knew of parts of North Africa, and that was a land of mystery. After the rise and decline of Greek civilization and the Roman destruction of the city of Carthage, they made the conquered territories into a province which they called Africa, a word derived from "afri" and the name of a group of people about whom little is known. At first the word applied only to the Roman colonies in North Africa. There was a time when all dark-skinned people were called Ethiopians, for the Greeks referred to Africa as, "The Land Of The Burnt-Face People."
If Africa, in general, is a man-made mystery, Egypt, in particular, is a bigger one. There has long been an attempt on the part of some European "scholars" to deny that Egypt was a part of Africa. To do this they had to ignore the great masterpieces on Egyptian history written by European writers such as, Ancient Egypt. Light of the World, Vols. I & II, and a whole school of European thought that placed Egypt in proper focus in relationship to the rest of Africa.
The distorters of African history also had to ignore the fact that the people of the ancient land which would later be called Egypt, never called their country by that name. It was called, Ta-Merry or Kampt and sometimes Kemet or Sais. The ancient Hebrews called it Mizrain. Later the Moslem Arabs used the same term but later discarded it. Both the Greeks and the Romans referred to the country as the "Pearl Of The Nile." The Greeks gave it the simple name, Aegyptcus. Thus the word we know as Egypt is of Greek Origin. Until recent times most Western scholars have been reluctant to call attention to the fact that the Nile River is 4,000 miles long. It starts in the south, in the heart of Africa, and flows to the north. It was the world's first cultural highway.

Intro Unit, Class 1: African History  – The Missing Pages Of World History

Why Africana Studies continued

Thus Egypt was a composite of many African cultures. In his article, "The Lost Pharaohs of Nubia," Professor Bruce Williams infers that the nations in the South could be older than Egypt. This information is not new. When rebel European scholars were saying this 100 years ago, and proving it, they were not taken seriously.

It is unfortunate that so much of the history of Africa has been written by conquerors, foreigners, missionaries and adventurers. The Egyptians left the best record of their history written by local writers. It was not until near the end of the 18th century when a few European scholars learned to decipher their writing that this was understood.

The Greek traveler, Herodotus, was in Africa about 450 B.C. His eyewitness account is still a revelation. He witnessed African civilization in decline and partly in ruins, after many invasions. However, he could still see the indications of the greatness that it had been. In this period in history, the Nile Valley civilization of Africa had already brought forth two "Golden Ages" of achievement and had left its mark for all the world to see.

Slavery and colonialism strained, but did not completely break, the cultural umbilical cord between the Africans in Africa and those who, by forced migration, now live in what is called the Western World. A small group of African-American and Caribbean writers, teachers and preachers, collectively developed the basis of what would be an African Consciousness movement over 100 years ago. Their concern was with Africa, in general, Egypt and Ethiopia, and what we now call the Nile Valley.

Our own great historian, W.E.B. DuBois tells us,

"Always Africa is giving us something new . . . On its black bosom arose one of the earliest, if not the earliest, of self-protecting civilizations, and grew so mightily that it still furnishes superlatives to thinking and speaking men. Out of its darker and more remote forest vastness came, if we may credit many recent scientists, the first welding of iron, and we know that agriculture and trade flourished there when Europe was a wilderness."

…Egypt and the nations of the Nile Valley were, figuratively, the beating heart of Africa and the incubator for its greatness for more than a thousand years. Egypt gave birth to what later would become known as "Western Civilization," long before the greatness of Greece and Rome.

Dr. DuBois tells us further that,

"Nearly every human empire that has arisen in the world, material and spiritual, has found some of its greatest crises on this continent of Africa. It was through Africa that Christianity became the religion of the world . . . It was through Africa that Islam came to play its great role of conqueror and civilizer."

This is a part of the African story, and in the distance it is a part of the African-American story. It is difficult for depressed African-Americans to know that they are a part of the larger story of the history of the world. The history of the modern world was made, in the main, by what was taken from African people…

History, I have often said, is a clock that people use to tell their political time of day. It is also a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. History tells a people where they have been and what they have been. It also tells a people where they are and what they are. Most importantly, history tells a people where they still must go and what they still must be…

There is no way to go directly to the history of African-Americans without taking a broader view of African world history.

For African-Americans, Carter G. Woodson led the way and used what was then called, Negro History Week, to call attention to his people's contribution to every aspect of world history.  Dr. Woodson, then Director of the Association For the Study of Negro Life and History, conceived this special week as a time when public attention should be focused on the achievements of America's citizens of African descent.

The acceptance of the facts of African-American history and the African-American historian as a legitimate part of the academic community did not come easily. Slavery ended and left its false images of Black people intact.

Early white American historians did not accord African people anywhere a respectful place in their commentaries on the history of man. In the closing years of the nineteenth century, African-American historians began to look at their people's history from their vantage point and their point of view. Dr. Benjamin Quarks observed that "as early as 1883 this desire to bring to public attention the untapped material on the Negro prompted George Washington Williams to publish his two-volume History of The Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880. The first formally trained African-American historian was W.E.B. DuBois, whose doctoral dissertation, published in 1895, The Suppression Of The African Slave Trade To The United States, 1638-1870, became the first title to be published in the Harvard Historical Studies. It was with Carter G. Woodson, another Ph.D., that African world history took a great leap forward and found a defender who could document his claims. Woodson was convinced that unless something was done to rescue the Black man from history's oversight, he would become a "negligible factor in the thought of the world. " Woodson, in 1915, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodson believed that there was no such thing as, "Negro History. " He said what was called "Negro History" was only a missing segment of world history. He devoted the greater portion of his life to restoring this segment.

Africa came into the Mediterranean world, mainly through Greece, which had been under African influence, and then Africa was cut off from the melting pot by the turmoil among the Europeans and the religious conquests incident to the rise of Islam. Africa, prior to these events, had developed its history and civilization, indigenous to its people and lands. Africa came back into the general picture of history through the penetration of North Africa, West Africa and the Sudan by the Arabs. European and American slave traders next ravaged the continent. The imperialist colonizers and missionaries finally entered the scene and prevailed until the recent re-emergence of independent African nations.

Africans are, of course, closely connected to the history of both North and South America. The African-American's role in the social, economic and political development of the American states is an important foundation upon which to build racial understanding, especially in areas in which false generalization and stereotypes have been developed to separate peoples rather than to unite them. Contrary to a misconception which still prevails, the Africans were familiar with literature and art for many years before their contact with the Western World. Before the breaking-up of the social structure of the West African states of Ghana, Mali and Songhay and the internal strife and chaos that made the slave trade possible, the forefathers of the Africans who eventually became slaves in the United States, lived in a society where university life was fairly common and scholars were held in reverence.

To understand fully any aspect of African-American life, one must realize that the African-American is not without a cultural past, though he was many generations removed from it before his achievements in American literature and art commanded any appreciable attention. Africana, or Black History, should be taught every day, not only in the schools, but also in the home. African History Month should be every month…

The late Dr. John Henrik Clarke was a pre-eminent African-American historian, author of several volumes on the history of Africa and the Diaspora. He taught in the Department of Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Originally published in THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Magazine (1997).

Intro Unit: Class List

INTRO UNIT: CLASS 1 - African History: The Missing Pages of World History
INTRO UNIT : CLASS 2 - The Miseducation of the Negro
INTRO UNIT: CLASS 3 - The Psychological Effects of Racism on Blacks and Whites
Begin!
Begin!
Begin!
INTRO UNIT: CLASS 4 - The Struggle Continues...The Ongoing Battle Against Racist Propaganda In Public Schools
Begin!