3 significant events in August that shaped the early black experience in the West

August 18, 2019 at 09:01 am | History

Deidre Gantt

Deidre Gantt | Contributor

August 18, 2019 at 09:01 am | History

No one can say for sure when the first Africans crossed the Atlantic Ocean (formerly called the Ethiopic Ocean when all of Africa was labeled Ethiopia by European map makers).

In his book, They Came Before Columbus, Dr Ivan Van Sertima makes a compelling, evidence-based case for the presence of Africans in the Western Hemisphere before Europeans began to explore or colonize it.

Soon after Europeans “discovered” the vast continent’s teeming with minerals, precious metals, and a huge amount of unspoiled, fertile soil and waterways, their minds turned to conquest. Yet as the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson admitted:

“… in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour.'”

This lazy, exploitative attitude motivated a major turning point in history: the depopulation of Africa and transfer of at least 12 million Africans to the Western Hemisphere where most of us lost the memory of our ancestral identities and took on new identities as Brazilians, Jamaicans, Cubans, Colombians, Mexicans, Canadians, Americans, etc. We must always mention the massive loss of life that happened during the marches to coastal West and West-Central Africa, the imprisonment in castle dungeons, and the lengthy voyages across the sea.

Here is a brief look at three major occurrences that occurred in August and shaped the first three centuries of African presence within Europe’s conquest of the Americas.

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