“A List of Children’s Books to Help Introduce the Youth to the Meanings, Symbols and Purpose of Kwanzaa”
“Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya” by Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Kadir Nelson is our featured book of the week due to the works of art created by Mr. Nelson for the children’s book and its ethnic theme. Below you will find a summary of the books contents, sample images from the book and much, much more. Learn more about this amazing book!
I know Columbus day has passed us by but I couldn’t help but post a link to this classic work by the late Dr. Ivan Van Sertima. This will be our featured book for this week and is one I think all people should read. A summary of the book’s contents is below for all who are not familiar with its contents.
A celebrated classic, They Came Before Columbus, deals with a number of contacts — both planned and accidental, between Africans and Americans in different historical periods. Evidence for a physical/cultural presence of Africans in Early America is methodically examined.
Dr. Van Sertima reveals to us a compelling, dramatic and superbly detailed documentation of the presence and legacy of black Africans in ancient America.
With his considerable scholarship, Van Sertima examines the facts of navigation and shipbuilding, the sources of latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates, the scores of cultural analogies found nowhere else except in America and Africa, African languages and the transportation of plants, cloth and animals from Africa to the Americas. And from the diaries, letters and journals of the explorers themselves; from Carbon-14 dated sculptures found in the Americas; from the Arabic documents, charts, maps from the recorded tales of the griots to the Kings of Mali; from dated skeletons found as recently as 1975, the author builds his pyramid of evidence.
In addition to a scholar’s fastidiousness, Van Sertima has the skill of a novelist, and with it recreates some of the most powerful scenes history has to offer: the launching of the great ships of Mali in 1310 (200 master boats and 200 supply boats); the sea expedition of the Mandingo king himself in 1311, and many others, equally as vivid.
It is the marriage of these twin crafts–the artist’s and the scholar’s–in the book that makes it possible for us to see clearly the unmistakable face and handprint of black Africans in Pre-Columbian America, and their overwhelming impact on the civilization they found here.
- Random House, NYC
For those who interested in reading a more in depth review of the book, please read Femi Akomolafe’s review: They Came Before Columbus Book Review
Learn More About Dr. Sertima
For those who are interested in learning more about Dr. Ivan Van Sertima I would encourage you to visit some of the links below:
Dr. Ivan Van Sertima (Wikipedia)
Dr. Ivan Van Sertima (Journal of African Civilizations)
I have also included a video of Dr. Sertima lecturing on this subject below!
Lecture: Afrikan Presence In Early America
Additional Reading Materials
This video is a trailer for the book “Change Has Come” by Kadir Nelson. It is a book that commemorates the achievement of our 44th President. The book features illustrations by Kadir Nelson, an award winning African American artist and illustrator based in San Diego, California and the words of Barack Obama.
Official Product Description
The black and white images throughout are personal reflections, uniquely felt and rendered by award winning artist Kadir Nelson. They are accompanied by the uplifting words of Barack Obama and commemorate the movement and the moment that have changed our history. It’s a celebration of the power of inspiration. It’s a celebration of how far we have come and how determined we are to look ahead. It’s a celebration of pride, hope and joy personally felt and publically shared. Most of all it’s a celebration of the 44th president – a new president and a new chapter in the American story.
Purchase the Book at: Amazon.com
Featured Book of the Week (May 11, 2009 – May 17, 2009)
Title: Forgotten Lives: African Americans In South Dakota
Author: Betti Vanepps-Taylor
Purchase the book at: Amazon.com
This book looks very interesting. I personally plan on reading it this summer. We always hear about African American in the south, east and western areas of the United States of America but history teaches us very little about the prominent African Americans in the Great Plains states. We don’t make up a large percentage of the population in those states but like they say, it’s the quality not the quantity that matters.
Let me know what you think about this book. Both your initial impressions and, if you decide to read it, what you think about the book afterwards. A description of the book from the publisher/author is below:
Throughout South Dakota’s history, African Americans have been vastly outnumbered by their white and American Indian neighbors. Underreported as well, they have been misrepresented by historians, journalists, even census-takers. However, from the first African Americans to visits the Northern Great Plains as fur traders in the early 1800s to twentieth-century voting-rights advocates or professionals recruited after World War II, African Americans have pioneered here. They have participated in the state’s successes and failures and contributed to its rich history.
In Forgotten Lives, Betti VanEpps-Taylor teases these South Dakotans’ stories out of newspaper accounts, census records, early social histories, and oral histories. Her insights into the lives and communities of this small but vital minority span two centuries and focus on the well known as well as the local. Prominent figures such as York, who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition, and Oscar Micheaux, the acclaimed filmmaker, fit neatly into the timeline, alongside less-famous laborers, river men, soldiers, seamstresses, business owners, miners, lawyers, homesteaders, midwives, doctors, and town leaders. Their stories offer much to twenty-first-century Americans still struggling to come to grips with their racial history.