By Hakim Abdul-Ali
Greetings of peace to you on this amazing day, and we know by now that it’s that time of the year again when the annual Black History Month begins in the United States of America. No doubt about it, it’s a continuing celebration of and about Black struggles, triumphs, achievements, endurances and, most certainly, survivals in the bald eagle’s “his-storical” empire.
Many aware, conscious ebony souls feel that Black History Month’s solo annual February monthly recognition really is a very improper way to observe what ebony folk of color have been put through just to call America their home. I’m also of the opinion that it’s a low down dirty shame for the Motherland’s descendants in the Diaspora to have only a single designated month for observing and recognizing their ancestors’ heritage and noble culture.
Kemet, the Motherland, incorrectly called Africa by the foreign Western invaders, colonizers and exploiters, is the birthplace of “hue-mankind.” It also is the cradle of the earliest recognized form of writing known to Western man, and this is a key point I’d like to reveal to you today in my first of running “our-storical” articles concerning Afrika.
I remember in January 1999 I came across an editorial newspaper piece in the USA TODAY written by Dr. Konrad Tuchscherer about this topic. Dr. Tuchscherer was then a lecturer in African anthropology at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and laid forward some very crucial information for one and all to think about, especially considering how prevalent rampant miseducation about Afrika and Black folk is in this country and abroad.
The theory that Afrika was and is the cradle of writing was sternly put forward by Dr. Tuchscherer in a most convincing way. Quoting him from his USA TODAY editorial, he said, “The recent discoveries by archaeologists, as reported by USA TODAY, provide evidence that more than 5,000 years ago in Egypt, Africans developed their system of hieroglyphic writing, the earliest known script of ancient writing.
“We know that Africans used their advanced system, which was capable of expressing complex ideas and abstract concept, at least 150 years earlier than the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, around 3250 B.C. The less-developed system of notation used in Mesopotamia for purposes of accounting consisted of pictographs for commodities and numerals.”
Before I continue, I have to ask you a rather frank intellectual question, “Did you know? And, if you didn’t….Why not?” I pose this question to you because much “his-story,” which has been taught and developed by the oppressors of folk of color, has to be looked at with a very distrustful eye towards accepting whatever forms it has been delivered in all past and current norms as suspect at best.
It’s understood to be brainwashed is one thing, but to continue to be led astray by defective knowledge, corrupt information and unsound cognition is mortifying. And for no other reason than to call illicit programmed miseducation “learnings from the books of colonial deception,” one must objectively understand that when an oppressor teaches, he or she, more than likely, will never tell the true, real, valid legitimate truth about anything to anyone, especially, to his/her captured, victimized and enslaved populations.
I hope you’re open minded enough to understand that, no matter how indoctrinated you may be by adhering to a colonizer’s or an oppressor’s systems of miseducation values, separate mores and discrete codes of ethics, etc. This applies to all folk of color in recent “his-story,” with few notable exceptions.
Now back to Dr. Tuchscherer’s statements from his editorial. He also said, “The traditional assertion that the “idea” of writing was borrowed in Egypt from Mesopotamia has now been shown to be incorrect. We must look to Africa for the origin of the written word.”
I have to take a writing pause now and, again, politely ask you, “Did you catch what the professor just said?” I hope you did, because we need to think about all of the fibs, lies, falsehoods, myths and plain old fabrications that have been told about the Motherland and her kinfolk with a neutral mindset towards researching and seeking the “real” truth, independent of sanctioned colonial instructors and duplicitous systematic indoctrinators.
In continuing his editorial, Dr. Tuchscherer added, “In the many volumes on the subject of writing produced by (so-called) Western scholars, little credit is given to Africa for its contribution to the advance of the written word over the past 2000 years.
For example: “Phonetic writing systems were devised by the Vai of Liberia in the early 19th century and by the Bamum of Cameroon in the late 19th century.
“Beginning from the early 20th century, such writing systems are also included in scripts of the Mende of Sierra Leone, the Kpelle of Liberia, the Loma of Liberia and Guinea, the Bassa of Liberia, the Bagam of Cameroon and the Bamana of Mali.”
I’ve always understood that knowledge is useful, but it must be authentically sound and emphatically legitimate in its entirety. When looking at what has usually been (and is still) exhibited today in the plantation-type inner city school environs of most American public school systems, you may be justified in questioning how logical is the info being fed to the pliable mindsets of today’s susceptible youth.
While you ponder that reality, please comprehend Dr. Tuchscherer’s closing editorial remarks on writing in Africa. He said,”And from the middle of this (20th) century, phonetic writings are included in the scripts of the Bete of (the) Ivory Coast, the Manenka of Guinea and the Wolof of Senegal and two Fula scripts devised in Mali.
“Many more scripts are known to exist, and still others probably exist that have yet to be recorded by scholars. Africa’s contributions to the art and science of writing are indeed great. One can only hope they will in the future be accorded the recognition they deserve.”
The future is now. It’s Black “Our-Story” Month, which is, in reality, every month of the year to me and as it should be to every person of color. So, remember that before there was World “His-story,” there was Black “Our-Story.” Please know that and that “each one should teach one.” For today and always, that’s, “As I See It.”