Thursday, October 31, 2019

Black History: Malians and Moors in America before Columbus

The Columbus Map from 1490
We all know and understand that Columbus DID NOT discover America, despite what we were taught in school.  As my Dad would say, there were people already living there.  

Columbus had maps which some people say he bought from the Moors, others say he bought them from the Vikings.  He was NOT searching for a route to the East via the West; he knew exactly where he was going.  He landed first in the Bahamas, and subsequently in Hispaniola, which is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  On his third voyage, Columbus landed in what is now Trinidad

It would have been easy for Columbus to obtain maps, hanging around the ports, in particular Bristol, while waiting for Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to finance his venture.  He would have met many other sailors and heard tales of their adventures. 

The Columbus Map was drawn in Columbus's studio in 1490.  See above.  By Bartolomeo and Christopher Colombus - This image comes from Gallica Digital Library and is available under the digital ID btv1b59062629/f1 Public Domain.    

It is said that his sailors were required to keep quiet about the maps on pain of having their tongues cut out.  

There is a great deal of evidence that many peoples had visited the Americas prior to Columbus's "discovery" of them. 

Malians/Mandinkas from West Africa were among the peoples who travelled to the Americas.  The Moors from North Africa are also said to have sailed to the Americas.  Africans had sailed there from 100,000 BC and stayed for tens of thousands of years. 

The Carthiginians from the country now called Tunisia, in North Africa, also travelled and produced a gold coin which showed the Americas on the reverse. 

The Chinese, Japanese and Vikings are also said to have travelled there, as are other Europeans. 

The Malians brought elephants with them, and a Malian inscription found in Arizona states that "the elephants are sick and angry".   

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Friday, October 25, 2019

Black History: Lupita and the Warrior Women

Black History the Dora Milaje
People all over the world enjoyed the Black Panther movie. The film broke loads of box office records – and so it should have. As Lupita Nyong'o states, Black Panther was one of the highest-grossing films of all time.  I personally have seen it three times – so far. 
Black Panther featured the Dora Milaje – an army of women warriors whose responsibility it was to protect the King – the Black Panther.

These women were amazing – beautiful, fierce, brave – they showed incredible courage and skill.  Lupita Nyong'os character was not a member of the Dora Milaje - she played a spy who was also fierce and beautiful, and who also displayed some very impressive fighting. In the end, she put on the Dora Milaje armour and fought the battle for control of Wakanda.  

Last night, Lupita presented a programme on Channel 4 as part of their Black history season.  She discovered actual, historical African warrior women who had the job of protecting the King. It is online for the next 30 days, so I urge you to watch it if you have not done so already, or even if you have.  

Black History Walks gave a presentation last year about the historical basis of the Black Panther movie, in which Brother T. gave several examples of warrior women in Africa, who protected their monarchs.

In Dahomey, now known as Benin, Lupita discovered an historical army made up of thousands of women warriors - the Agoji.  The Agoji were press-ganged into serving, went through rigorous training and were required to obey the King.  They fought the European powers, particularly the French, who had invaded and occupied the area (and many other territories around the African continent).  

Although the knowledge about the existence of this female army is inspiring, we learned that they were also required by the King to invade other territories, notably the Yoruba territory in what is now Nigeria.  They abducted many men and women, and some of the women were enslaved in Dahomey.  Both men and women were also sold into Transatlantic slavery under the orders of the Kings.  Thus, it is also a shameful history.  

Again, watch it while it is still available online.   

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Young Woman Shot by Cops inside Her Own Home

This 28-year-old Black woman, Atatiana Jefferson, was shot by the police in her own home and died instantly.  A neighbour, James Smith, had reported seeing something, and now the neighbour is blaming himself.  No, it seems to me that the fault lies squarely with the police.  

This is one more reason why we need nonviolence and Nonviolent Communication (NVC).  NVC is changing lives all over the world.  And this is one more reason why I hold the annual Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence.  

CBS News say this is causing "outrage", and of course, it is.  

Jefferson's family are demanding answers.  

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