Friday, April 30, 2010


African “Renaissance Man” Writing System

No known alphabet was ever invented by a European."

King Ibrahim Njoya, distinguished ruler, intellectual, and inventor, was 17th in a long dynasty of kings that ruled over Bamum and its people in western Cameroon dating back to the 14th century. He succeeded his father Nsangu (hn-SAH-hn-goo)[1] and ruled from the year 1889 until his death in 1933. He was succeeded on the throne by his son, Seidou Njimoluh Njoya.

Njoya's mother, Njapdunke, initially acted as regent until he reach majority. His own official rule was further delayed because his father's head was held by an adversary people. By tradition the head or skull of an ancestor is of ceremonial importance to the Bamum. The Germans would aid him in recovering the head and this, along with their allowing him relative independence, caused him to have generally good relations with them. Although an additional factor seems to have been a belief that fighting the Germans would prove counterproductive to his people. Hence he rejected the resistance proposals of Rudolf Duala Manga Bell.[2]

He also initially tried to adapt Western, and particularly German, ways to his society. In one experiment the uniforms of his soldiers were influenced by an idealized version of those worn by the Hussars. This experiment met with disfavor from Germans who either felt mocked or intimidated by Africans trained and dressed in a German-influenced manner.[3] He also studied Christianity for a time, possibly converting to it and also to Islam at a different point. After this he ultimately created his own religion that mixed Christianity, Islam, and Bamum traditional religion.[4]

Later his relations with the French would prove more negative and he died in exile in Yaounde.

The Shumom people are the people of Cameroon in West Africa. Their country is located between Nigeria in the West, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo Brazzaville in the South and Chad and Central African Republic in the North. Within Cameroon, the land of the Shumom people is located in the northern part. It is a land of massif plateau and mountains, valleys and vast forested land, a part of the great equatorial forest of West and Central Africa. Foumban is the administrative capital of the district.

In the beginning of the 20th century or perhaps earlier, the people of Cameroon were able to accomplish one of the most remarkable African achievements of the century: the invention of a self-sustaining and selfgoverning writing system and a printing device to document the histories of the people.

Sultan Ibrahim Njoya, whose father was killed resisting the German invaders, led the invention. The invention that started in the late nineteenth century (I 895 or 1896) was completed by the beginning of the 20' century in 1903. By the time of the Germans arrival, the writing system was in use in conjunction with the Bamum language, which is a tonal language, which means the meanings of a word will vary depending upon the tone with which the sound of the word is uttered. The system went through seven stages of development.

The first stage had over five hundred pictographs and the last stage has had only 35 syllographs, graphs designed to represent all the phonetic and tone sounds in the Bamum language of the Shumom people.

The first version of Shü-mom writing by Ibrahim Njoya (1897)


King Ibrahim Njoya developed a writing system called Shü-mom. He used it to compile pharmacopœia, design a calendar.

From a calendar written in 1897 by Ibrahim Njoya

Also, label maps that hold administrative records and legal codes—he even used to write a “Kama Sutra-like” book! Saki Mafundikwa correctly refers to him as a “Renaissance Man”—and most of these achievements took place under German Colonial rule! However, the French form of domination was less “tolerant”:

Detail from the Shü-mom syllabary by King Ibrahim Njoya, ruler of the Bamum (Cameroon, 1880–1931)

King Njoya opened a school in Fumban where many are trained to become literate and promote leaming in their own language. Several manuscripts and documents were produced, including the histories, laws and customs of the people and their neighbors. Two systems of writing were taught at the school: the Royal and the popular scripts.

King Ibrahim Njoya, ruler of the Bamum (Cameroon, 1880–1931) and inventor of Shü-mom writing, surrounded by other kings.

Not long after he had built a magnificent palace, the French took control of Cameroon. Their power was threatened by his achievements. They destroyed the printing press that he invented, destroyed his libraries, and burned many of the books he had written. The French soldiers threw Bamum sacred objects into the street. And finally, in 1931, they sent him into exile in the capital of Yaoundé where he died a broken man in 1933. Over the years, Njoya’s son and his heir Seidou Njimoluh quietly worked to preserve his heritage.



Ibrahim Njoya is credited with developing the Bamum script, a syllabic system for writing in the Bamum language. Prior to his reign at the end of the 19th century, the long history of the Bamum people was preserved primarily through oral transmission from one generation to the next in the manner of the African Griot tradition. This was largely true of many other African civilizations of the time. Recognizing the inherent danger of important historical facts being omitted or corrupted, he set out to establish a means of written recording of Bamum history. When his work was completed, his alphabet, called, A-ka-u-ku, contained 73 signs.

Njoya is also credited with having invented a hand-powered mill for grinding corn.

Palace built by King Ibrahim Njoya in 1917 His grandson, Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya, a present-day Sultan in Cameroon and the latest ruler in the Bamoun Dynasty, has established a school in the magnificent palace built by his grandfather, in which schoolchildren are once again learning the Bamum script developed by King Ibrahim Njoya.


Tragically the most important documents are taken away by colonial masters out of Cameroon and they are housed in the French and British Museums. The Germans and later the French did not want to see the flourishing of a literary tradition among the Bamums. Not only they killed or exiled their leaders; they also violently banned the use of Shumom, thereby condemning the people to colonial dark age.

The remarkable accomplishments of the Cameroonians is in line with the long and glorious traditions of the inventions and use of writing systems, perhaps beginning with the hieroglyphics of the Ancient Egyptians whose earliest pictographic writing now dated to be 3400B.C.

The Shumom writing system was invented and used in such a participatory democracy where all the members of the society are asked by the king to participate in the project. King Njoya, the able and visionary leader, ordered his constituency to contribute symbols for the writing system.

Shü-mom “Vowels

In so doing not only he succeeded in ensuring a wide range of ideographic ideas to choose from, but he also paved the way for eventual acceptance of the system by the whole nation. This process combined with mythology would place the system as permanent cultural asset and legacy of the people.

King Njoya mythologized the invention of the Shumom writing system as follows:

"When King Njoya was asleep one night he had a dream. A man came and before him saying: 'Oh King, take a wide, flat piece of wood and mark on it a man's hand. Then wash the board and drink the water.' The king took a plank and made a mark as the man directed, and handed it to that man who also made a mark thereon and returned the plank to the King. In the dream there were many people sitting around, all schoolboys, and they had paper in their hands. They all made marks thereon and passed on what they marked to their neighbors.

"When it was daylight the King took a wide plank and marked thereon a man's hand. He then washed the plank with water and drank it, as the man in the dream directed. The King now summoned many of his courtiers and told them to mark out many things and to give names to all these things so that the result would be a book. In this way man's speech could be inaudibly recorded.

"Njoya asked whether the populace would be able to understand this silent speech. His courtiers replied: 'No, if things are done as you wish, no one will be able to interpret these marks.' Njoya asked whether it would not be as well to carry out his suggestions, and they replied: 'It is no use, no one will understand the meaning of these marks.' Njoya said to them: 'Go, sleep and ponder over the matter till it become clear.'

"The next day he summoned all his courtiers again and asked them, saying: 'What now do you think about this matter, this book business?' They replied that if he did as he suggested no one would be able to interpret the marks. Njoya said he agreed with them, and told them to leave the matter with him and he would try, and if the problem were too much for him he would abandon it. Nevertheless his courtiers were to make many signs, all different, and to bring them to him. He also made many signs.

"The King now collected all these signs, and called in Moma and Isiah (two Mohammedan Mallams) to help him plan. Five times he consulted with these two and by then he understood enough. When Njoya consulted with them again the problem was solved. Then he called together many of his courtiers and taught them the signs. Many people leamt and King Njoya was very pleased."2

King Njoya's magnum opus in the royal script ran to 1,100 pages and its replica is now with the Pitt-Rivers Museum of Oxford. The published text regarding the writing system was the combined works of MDW Jeffreys and Madam Dugast of France in 1950 under the title: L'Ecriture des Bamum and it was published in France.

King Njoya had also successfully surveyed and produced a map of his nation. This is also a remarkable feat by itself. Just imagine the natural and progressive development of the people of Cameroon without the rude and violent and destructive intervention of European colonialism!

The African Writing Systems Website Project presents the original and the final forms of the Shumom writing system. The original pictographs are truly magical with their artistic renderings of the lives and imaginations of the people. It was a joy reproducing them in their entirety.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. recently wrote an interesting piece for the New York Times called, "Ending the Slavery Blame Game." In the piece, Gates argues that the fight for reparations is convoluted and some what mitigated by the fact that African elites participated in the slave trade.

Sorry Dr. Gates, but I must respectfully (or perhaps not so respectfully) disagree.


Exerts from his article......


Ending the Slavery Blame-Game - By Professor Henry Gates.

Queen Njinga, the brilliant 17th-century monarch of the Mbundu, waged wars of resistance against the Portuguese but also conquered polities as far as 500 miles inland and sold her captives to the Portuguese. When Njinga converted to Christianity, she sold African traditional religious leaders into slavery, claiming they had violated her new Christian precepts.

Sankofa's rebuttal...

She compromised, until she could free her people eventually. They both agreed, Zhinga would convert to Christianity help the Portuguese with the slave trade, also, help to control a war like clan jaga. Portuguese wouldn't remove their troops from Mbdunda. Didn't recognized Ngola kingdom in Angola. During the war the Portugese government meeting, The Queen stated ...

She would release them when they release her people from Brazil.

More from Pro. Gates......

Some Africans were driven to this only by the unprecedented profits offered by greedy European countries.”

GATES ARTICLE IN NY TIMES QUOTES.....Ghana exported slaves and used the profits to import gold.


The Complete version of truth is.....

Until March 1957, Ghana was known to much of the world as the "Gold Coast". The Portuguese who came to Ghana in the 15th Century found so much Gold between the rivers Ankobra and the Volta that they named the place Mina – meaning Mine.

The Gold Coast was later adopted by English colonists. The French, impressed with the trinkets worn by the coastal people, named the area to the west “Cote d’Ivoire,” or Ivory Coast.

Ghana was also the site of the Empire of Ashanti which was perhaps the most advanced black state in sub-Sahara Africa. It is said that at its peak, the King of Ashanti could field 500,000 troops

ELMINA CASTLE ...Where Africans were kept until their time to be transported to the New World.

In 1481, King John II of Portugal commissioned Diogo d’Azambuja to build Elmina Castle, which was completed the next year.

Did Africans devise a map or plan to capture slaves and imprison them in Elmina?


How and why would Ghana want to sell slaves for gold , when they were known as the GOLD COAST?


Bottom Line.......................................



More exerts from Dr. Gates article.............
The historians John Thornton and Linda Heywood of Boston University estimate that 90 percent of those shipped to the New World were enslaved by Africans and then sold to European traders


In order for this to have happened, there would have been africans on every corner of Africa. There is no way of knowing, even an estimation number would proven to be way off .

IT'S AMAZING.... how a Professor of Harvard hasn't done the full research on the slave trade and Zhinga full story. Most people I find read half of the Truth - THEN RUN AWAY WITH IT. .... mind wrenching.

Gates also does the reparations discussion a serious disservice by reducing it to a "blame game." The fact that African slaves built America for free then in turned sold as Branded Cattle on WALL STREET.....This is not about blaming anyone, it's about "Reality"

Seek out the truth of Alkebulan (Africa) history for yourself. I kinda thank NY Times for highlighting Mr. Henry Louis Gates article because, it caused me to further investigate the truth.

I am under the assumption that by "ending the slavery blame game," Gates is arguing that we should stop blaming the U.S. government and white America for the rape, murder, castration, lynching and beating of our ancestors.

What Gates is revealing to us is nothing but a "smoke screen".

Monument to the Gate of No Return on the Slave Road at Ouidah. A slave who passed this point was not coming back.


Monument marking the location of the Tree of Forgetfulness.

The belief was that if a male walked 9 times around the tree (or a female 7 times) then their memories were erased ready for their future as slaves.


Did Africans coined a TREE OF FORGETFULNESS and make Africans march around this tree, in hopes Africans would forget themselves and their history? NO

Did America enslave Africans for many (Hundreds) of years? Yes.

Even after the law to end slavery past, didn't parts of the South refused to cooperate?

This bronze shows how noisy slaves were trained to be silent.

This is what they want us to forget!

Did they profit from it? Yes.

Did they repay those they enslaved? No.

Also, tell me where was Pro. Gates comments when the Jews got reparations for slavery?


In my opinion reparations can be in many forms, educational scholarships, paid training, etc... there are many avenue's we all can explore. Engaging solutions to our community needs.


Monument to the Tree of Return. Walking 3 times around this tree would bring the slave's spirit back to Africa after death.



Even responsibility of the slave trade, should NOT fall on Africans.


March 2, 1807

The U.S. Congress sought to end international slave trade by passing an act to make it unlawful “to import or bring into the United States or the territories thereof from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, with intent to hold, sell, or dispose of such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, as a slave, or to be held to service or labour." Domestic traffic in slaves was still legal and unregulated.


The first shipload of African captives to North America had arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, in August 1619, and the first American slave ship, named Desire, sailed from Marblehead, Massachusetts, in 1637. In total, nearly 15 million blacks were transported as slaves to the Americas. The African continent, meanwhile, lost approximately 50 million human beings to slavery and related deaths. Despite the federal prohibition and because the slave trade was so profitable, an additional 250,000 slaves would be imported illegally by the time the Civil War began.





Sunday, April 25, 2010

BLACK WALL STREET - Little Africa 1921

Many of Blacks that resides in the U.S., dont realize that there is so much history of Blacks conquest for Independence. A Conquest for Their Own Economy, A Thriving Community of Businesses.

As a whole on many levels developing and building a strong economy within their own little town. Only to have it attacked and burned to the ground. In hopes that the Black Community will never rise to that threshold, risen above racism, poverty again.

This story which is a True account in US history. Is one that should be a Memory in all our minds, and taken as a lesson to thrive and rise up again, like the Pheonix from the ashes.

What We as a people have to realize is..... in order to rise above flood waters, even in this day and time, we need an Economy of our own. Our brothers and sisters knew this. In order to be perfectly "Free" WE CAN NOT REMAIN Depended on others.

Even though the military and others were sent to wage war against this "Thriving Independent Black Commmunity"


I believe this is a solution to our problems.

Read and pass this on.......................

Spirit Of Sankofa*



The Date Was June 1, 1921, “BLACK WALLSTREET”

The name fittingly given to one of the most affluent All-BLACK Communities in America, was bombed from the air and Burned to the ground by mobs of envious Whites.

In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving Black Business District in northern Tulsa lay smoldering — a model Community destroyed and a major African-American economic movement resoundingly defused.

The Night’s Carnage left some 3,000 African Americans Dead and over 600 Successful Businesses Lost.

Among these were 21 Churches, 21 Restaurants, 30 Grocery Stores and 2 Movie Theaters, plus A Hospital, A Bank, a Post Office, Libraries, Schools, Law Offices, a half dozen Private Airplanes and even A Bus System.

As could have been expected, the impetus behind it all was the infamous Ku Klux Klan, working in consort with
Ranking City Officials and many other Sympathizers.

The best description of BLACK WALL STREET, or Little Africa as it was also known, would be to compare it to a mini – Berverly Hills.

It was the golden door of the BLACK Community during the early 1900’s, and it proved that African Americans
could create a successful infrastructure.

That’s What BLACK WALLSTREET, Was All About.

The Dollar circulated 36 to 100 Times, sometimes taking a year for currency to leave the Community.

Now a Dollar leaves the BLACK Community in 15-minutes.

As Far As Resources, there were Ph.D.’s residing in Little Africa, BLACK Attorneys and Doctors.

One Doctor was Dr. Berry who owned the Bus System. His average income was $500 a Day, a hefty pocket change in 1910.

It was a time when the entire State of Oklahoma had only 2 Airports, yet 6 BLACKS, Owned their own Planes.
It was a very Fascinating Community.

The mainstay of the Community was to educate every child.

Nepotism was the one word they Believed in. And that’s what we need to get back to.

The main thoroughfare was Greenwood Avenue, and it was intersected by Archer and Pine Streets.

From the First Letters in each of those Three Names you get G.A.P. And that’s where the renowned R&B Music
Group The GAP Band got its name. They’re From Tulsa.

BLACK WALLSTREET was a prime example of the typical, BLACK Community in America that did businesses, but it was in an unusual location.

You See, At The Time, Oklahoma was set aside to be a BLACK and Indian State.

There were over 28 BLACK Townships there. One third of the People who traveled in the terrifying “Trail of Tears” along side the Indians between 1830 and 1842 were BLACK People.

The Citizens of this proposed Indian and BLACK State chose A BLACK Governor, A Treasurer from Kansas named McDade.

But the Ku Klux Klan said that if he assumed Office they’d Kill Him within 48 hours. A lot of BLACKS owned Farmland, and many of them had gone into the Oil Business. The Community was so tight and Wealthy because they traded Dollars hand-to-hand, and because they were dependent upon one another as a result of the Jim Crow Laws.

It was not unusual that if a Resident’s Home accidentally Burned down, it could be rebuilt within a few weeks by Neighbors.

This was the type of scenario that was going on Day-to-Day on BLACK WALL STREET.

When BLACK’s intermarried into the Indian Culture, some of them received their promised ‘40 Acres and A Mule‘
and with that came whatever Oil was later found on the Properties.

On BLACK WALLSTREET, A lot of Global Business was conducted, The Community flourished from the Early 1900s until June 1, 1921.

That’s when the Largest Massacre of Nonmilitary Americans in the History of this Country took place, and it was lead by The KU KLUX KLAN.

Imagine walking out of your front door and seeing 1,500 Homes being Burned. It must have been amazing.

Survivors we interviewed think that the whole thing was planned because during the time that all of this was going on; White Families with their children stood around the borders of their Community and watched The Massacre.

The looting and everything — much in the same manner they would watch a Lynching. The Riots weren’t caused by anything Black or White. It was caused by jealousy. A lot of White Folks had come back from World War I and they were poor.

When they looked over into The BLACK Communities and realized that BLACK Men who Fought in The War had come Home as Heroes, and that helped to trigger the destruction.

It cost the BLACK Community everything, and not a single dime of restitution – No Insurance Claims – has been awarded the victims to this day. Nonetheless, they rebuilt.

We estimate 1,500 to 3,000 People were Killed and we know that a lot of them were Buried in Mass Graves all around the City. Some were thrown into the river.

As a matter of fact, at 21st Street and Yale Avenue, where there now stands a Sears Parking Lot, that corner used to be a Coal Mine. They threw a lot of the Bodies into the Shafts.

Beulah Smith and Kenny Booker, Two Elderly Oklahomans, lived through one of the Worst Race Riots in U.S. History, a rarely mentioned 1921 Tulsa Blood Bath that officially took Thousands of African-American Lives.

The Tulsa Race Riot Commission

Formed two years ago to determine exactly what happened, will consider next week the Controversial Issue of what, if any, Reparations should be paid to the Known Survivors of the Riot, a Group of less than 100 that includes Beulah Smith, now 92, and Kenny Booker, 86.

‘The Gun Went Off, The Riot Was On‘

On the Night of May 31,1921, mobs called for the Lynching of Dick Rowland, A Black Man who shined shoes, after hearing reports that on the previous Day He had Assaulted Sarah Page, A White Woman, in the elevator she operated in a downtown building.

A Local Newspaper, printed a Fabricated Story that Rowland tried to rape Page. In An Editorial, the same newspaper said a Hanging was Planned for that Night.

As Groups of both Blacks and Whites converged on the Tulsa Courthouse, a White Man in the Crowd Confronted an Armed Black Man, A War Veteran, who had joined with other Blacks to protect Rowland.

A Fabricated Newspaper Story Triggered The Violent Riots that left Hundreds, if not Thousands, Dead. Comm. Member Eddie Faye Gates told CNN what happened next. “This White Man,” she said, Asked The Black Man, “What Are You Doing With This Gun?”

“I’m going to use it if I have to,” the Black Man said, according to Gates, “and (the White Man) said, ‘No, you’re not. Give it to me,’ and he tried to take it. The gun went off, the White Man was Dead, The Riot Was On.”

Truckloads of Whites Set Fires and Shot Blacks on sight.

When the smoke lifted the Next Day, more than 1,400 Homes and Businesses in Tulsa ’s Greenwood District, a prosperous area known as the “Black Wall Street,” lay in ruins.

Saturday, April 17, 2010



Now that Black History Month has come to a close, it’s definitely not time to go into hibernation until next year. Black History is vital to the Black Community. If it wasn't it wouldn't be in the stage of being white washed more than it is now. It is time for Blacks to see the Importants of "Origins". ESPECIALLY THEIR OWN.

Right wingers in Texas omit minorities from textbooks. ...

Battles are in progress to erase the efforts that has been made, in educating our Children and Our People. Years of sincere efforts, by our studied Historians springing forth the awareness to "KNOW THY SELF"!. Try to visualize this!

Now there is a real threat that things may be in reverse mode. There is a concerted effort in Texas to drag the history books back about 50 years. And portrayals of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement are on the chopping block.

A detailed article by Mariah Blake in the Washington Monthly lays out how Christian conservatives have taken over the Texas State Board of Education board and are busily rewriting history.

Texas has an outsized impact on the rest of the country when it comes to textbooks because it's so big. Because of its huge purchasing capacity, publishers work to meet standards set by the Lone Star state’s board of education, then will sell those same books to everybody else for the next 10 years.

As the Washington Monthly reports:

While they concede that people like Martin Luther King Jr. deserve a place in history, they argue that they shouldn't’t be given credit for advancing the rights of minorities. As (one board member) put it, “Only majorities can expand political rights in America’s constitutional society.” Ergo, any rights people of color have were handed to them by whites—in his view, mostly white Republican men

Whether you are a parent or not have kids in public schools, the prospect of Texas conservatives determining what students across the country learn or more importantly, don't learn, is cause for concern.

Ask yourself--- Are American students taught enough about the role of Blacks in American history?

The attempt on strickening Black History /whitewashing literature, can not extract Blacks from the BIBLE.

Ham was one of Noah's three sons, Shem and Japhet were the other two. Noah's descendants repopulated the Earth after the Great Flood. Ham's descendants are traced to the families of Africa.

Ham (Khawm) in Hebrew means BLACK, HOT AND BURNT. Ham had four sons, CUSH (Ethiopians / Cushites), MIZRAIM (Egyptians / Khemet), PHUT (Ancient Libyans or Somalian), and CANAAN (Canaanite, the original inhabitants of the Land of Israel) Genesis 10:6-19.

All four of Ham's sons and their descendants settled in and around the Continent of Africa. This includes the so called "Middle East" that is also a part of the Continent of Africa.

Let us begin with the story of Jacob's second Youngest son Joseph, and his time in Egypt. Joseph was one of the twelve sons of Jacob (Yaaqob in Hebrew). Jacob sired Joseph in his old age, and he was clearly his favorite son. This caused Joseph's brothers to become jealous of him. Ultimately, their jealousy resulted in Joseph being sold by Arab merchants as a slave.


Gen.10:8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, the first mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter whom the LORD blessed. (God’s Word Translation)
10 The first cities in his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Accad, and Calneh in Shinar Babylonia. 11 He went from that land to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah,

We know that Nimrod was the son of Cush. Babylon had two elements in her population in the beginning. The northern Accadians and the southern Sumerians were both Cushites. The finds of recent explorations in the Mesopotamian valley reveal that these ancient inhabitants were black, with the cranial formation of Ethiopians. The art, science and culture of the earlier unmixed Chaldeans was Cushite.

Rawlinson speaking in his Ancient Monarchies decided that the ruins of Chaldea show Cushite origin. The names of Chaldea and Ethiopia are linked in a way to render any other interpretation impossible. The great city of the earlier period was Niffer a corruption of Nimrod. The language of the ruins is radically different from the Semitic tongue of the Assyrian empire.

Over the course of time Joseph became Viceroy of Egypt and was second in command to Pharaoh in authority. There was a famine in Canaan, where Jacob and his sons lived. (Pharaoh had a dream which Joseph interpreted. His dream told of the forthcoming famine and gave Egypt an opportunity to prepare by storing food.) So, Jacob sent his ten sons to Egypt to buy bread. When Joseph's ten brothers came into Egypt they were brought before him. Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn't recognize him (Genesis 42:1-8). Since the biblical Egyptians were a black-skinned people, Joseph had to be black-skinned also.

If he were white skinned, as over half the world's Jews are today, his brothers would have recognized him easily among the black- skinned Egyptians, or they would have been very curious as to why this white-skinned Hebrew was ruling in Egypt. But his brothers just thought Joseph was another Egyptian. The ancient Egyptians of Joseph time were indeed what we know today as black skinned. This is a fact attested to by many.

Gerald Massey, English writer and author of the book, Egypt the Light of the World wrote, "The dignity is so ancient that the insignia of the Pharaoh evidently belonged to the time when Egyptians wore nothing but the girdle of the Negro." (p 251) Sir Richard Francis Burton, a 19th century English explorer, writer and linguist in 1883 wrote to Gerald Massey, "You are quite right about the "AFRICAN" origin of the Egyptians. I have 100 human skulls to prove it." Scientist, R. T. Prittchett, states in his book The Natural History of Man, "In their complex and many of the complexions and in physical peculiarities the Egyptians were an "AFRICAN" race (p 124-125).

The Ancient Greek historian Herodotus, who visited Egypt in the 5th century B.C.E., saw the Egyptians face-to-face and described them as black-skinned with woolly hair.

Anthropologist, Count Constatin de Volney (1727-1820), spoke about the race of the Egyptians that produced the Pharaohs. He later paid tribute to Herodotus' discovery when he said: "The ancient Egyptians were true Negroes of the same type as all native born Africans.

That being so, we can see how their blood mixed for several centuries with that of the Romans and Greeks, must have lost the intensity of it's original color, while retaining none the less the imprint of its original mold. We can even state as a general principle that the face (referring to The Sphinx) is a kind of monument able, in many cases, to attest to or shed light on historical evidence on the origins of the people."

The fact that the ancient Egyptians were black-skinned prompted Volney to make the following statement: "What a subject for meditation, just think that the race of black men today our slaves and the object of our scorn, is the very race to which we owe our arts, science and even the use of our speech." The testimony of the ancients, the Bible, many Egyptologists, along with archaeology confirms that the Egyptians during biblical times were a BLACK-SKINNED PEOPLE.

This is important to know, as we continue, we will see that the bible on multiple occasions describes the ancient Hebrews as looking like the Egyptians. Next, in Genesis chapter 50 verses 7-11, scripture will describes ALL the Hebrews as looking like the ancient Egyptians. After Jacob (who's name was changed to Ysrayl - Israel) died in the Land of Egypt, all the Hebrews and Egyptians went down to the Land of Canaan to bury him (He asked his son to bury him in the Land of Canaan with his forefathers Genesis 49:29-30). Verses 7-8 state that all the elders of Pharaoh's house and all the elders of the Land of Egypt along with all the Hebrews (except for their small children) went down. VERSE 9 says,

"It was a very great company." VERSE 11 says, that the Canaanite saw the funeral procession and said "THIS IS A GRIEVOUS MOURNING TO THE EGYPTIANS". But remember this was a mixed multitude of Hebrews and Egyptians going to bury a HEBREW, and the Canaanite identified them both as Egyptians. WHY? Because the Canaanites saw a great company of black-skinned people who were all probably dressed according to the customs and fashions of Egypt, and they all looked liked native (black) Egyptians.

If the Hebrews were a white-skinned people, as we have been led to believe, the Canaanite who were familiar with both the Hebrews and Egyptians would have acknowledged them both by saying, "THIS IS A GRIEVOUS MOURNING TO THE EGYPTIANS AND HEBREWS." The scripture goes on to say that the Canaanite named the place where they saw this great mourning for a HEBREW Abel Mizraim which means the meadow of Egypt/Mizraim or Mourning of the Egyptians. Now let's go to the most famous story, of the Hebrews sojourn in Egypt, which would be the story of Moses.

Many years after the death of Joseph, His brothers and all that generation that entered Egypt during the time he was viceroy. The Hebrew population in Egypt grew tremendously. Because of this, they were no longer looked upon as friendly neighbors.

Pharaoh decreed that all Hebrew males are killed at birth (Exodus 1), this brings us directly to the story of Moses. Moses was born a Hebrew - Israelite from the tribe of Levi (Exodus 2:1-3). He spent 40 years in the House of Pharaoh (Acts 7:23) and from the time he was an infant, passed as the Pharaoh's grandson (Exodus 2: 6, 10). This was during the same time that Pharaoh ordered all Hebrew males under the age of two to be killed. So, if Pharaoh, was a black-skinned descendant of Khawm / Ham, which he was, it would of course follow that Moses was black-skinned also.

Many Scholars say the Pharaoh who was on the throne of Egypt at the time of Moses' birth, was Pharaoh Seti I. He was the father of Rameses II, the Pharaoh of the oppression, also known as Rameses the Great. George Rawlinson, an English author wrote a book entitled History of Egypt. On page 252, he gives a description of Seti I. He states: "SETI'S FACE WAS THOROUGHLY AFRICAN. HE HAD A STORMY FACE WITH A DEPRESSED FLAT NOSE, THICK LIPS AND HEAVY CHIN.”

Moses had to have the same physical characteristics because again, he was raised in the house of Pharaoh, as the grandson of Pharaoh, when Pharaoh ordered all other Hebrew males to be killed at birth. If the Israelites were a white-skinned people, how could Moses the Hebrew survive (secretly) in the house of Pharaoh among black-skinned Egyptians for 40 years, and not be noticed.

Furthermore, after giving the decree (himself) to kill all Hebrew males, how could Pharaoh face and rule over his people, if he knowingly had one living in his house with all the rights and privileges of his own family? Moses survived 40 years in the palace of Pharaoh because he was a black-skinned man just as the Egyptians were. Just as the Canaanite couldn't tell the Hebrews from the Egyptians. Pharaoh couldn't either, or Moses would have been killed instantly.

These forces cannot write Blacks out of history, we just need to learn more Ourselves and treat it like it is OUR LOST TREASURES!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Why study the history of Mathematics in Africa S. of the Sahara?


Why study the history of mathematics in Africa south of the Sahara?

There are many reasons which make the general study of the history of mathematics both necessary and attractive (see e.g. Struik, 1980). There exist important additional reasons which make the research on the history of mathematics in Africa south of the Sahara indispensable.
African countries face the problem of low 'levels' of attainment in mathematics education. Math anxiety is widespread. Many children (and teachers too?) experience mathematics as a rather strange and useless subject, imported from outside Africa. One of the causes thereof is that the goals, contents and methods of mathematics education are not or not sufficiently adapted to the cultures and needs of the African peoples, as stresses the first Secretary-General of the AMU Commission for Mathematical Instruction (Eshiwani, 1979, 346; cf. Eshiwani, 1983; Jacobsen, 1984). Today's existing African educational system is "unadapted and elitist" and "favours foreign consumption without generating a culture that is both compatible with the original civilization and truly promising" (Ki-Zerbo, 1990, 4; cf. El-Tom on mathematics education and the selection of élites, 1984, 3).

The delegates to the Vth Conference of Ministers of Education and those Responsible for Economic Planning in African Member States declared that educational policy should be designed to "restore to their rightful status the African cultural heritage and the traditional social and human values that hold potential for the future " (MINEDAF,1982, 41). The mathematical heritage of the peoples of Africa has to be valued and African mathematical traditions should be 'embedded' into the curriculum (Cf.e.g. Ale, 1989; Doumbia, 1984, 1989b, Gerdes, 1985a, 1986a, 1986b, 1988d, 1990c; Langdon, 1989, 1990; Mmari, 1978; Njock, 1985; Shirley, 1986a, 1986b). And as this scientific legacy of Africa south of the Sahara is little known, research in this area constitutes a challenge to which an urgent response is necessary (Njock, 1985, 4). Also African-Americans and minorities of African descent all over the world feel the need to know their cultural-mathematical heritage (Campbell, 1977; Frankenstein & Powell, 1989; Zaslavsky, 1973, etc.; Ratteray, 1991). More generally, both in highly industrialised and in Third World countries it is becoming more and more recognised that it is necessary to multi-culturalise the mathematics curriculum in order to improve its quality, to augment the cultural confidence of all pupils and to combat racial and cultural prejudice (cf. e.g. D'Ambrosio, 1985a; Ascher, 1984; Bishop, 1988a, b; Joseph, 1987; Mellin-Olsen, 1986; NCTM, 1984; Nebres, 1983; Zaslavsky, 1989a, 1991).

Broad conception of 'history' and 'mathematics'

Most histories of mathematics devote only a few pages to Ancient Egypt and to northern Africa during the 'Middle Ages´. Generally they ignore the history of mathematics in Africa south of the Sahara and give the impression that this history either did not exist or, at least, is not knowable / traceable, or, stronger still, that there was no mathematics at all south of the Sahara (cf. Lumpkin, 1983; Njock, 1985). "Even the Africanity of Egyptian mathematics is often denied" (Shirley, 1986b, 2). Prejudice and narrow conceptions of both 'history' (cf. Ki-Zerbo, 1980, General Introduction) and of 'mathematics' form the basis of such (eurocentric) views (cf. Joseph, 1987, 1991).

At the 17th International Congress of Historical Sciences, Humphrey (1990, 4) stressed that "Any narrow definition of science in modern terms would make it difficult for us to understand its origins and the variable forms it has taken in different cultures". In the case of mathematics, authors like Ale, D'Ambrosio, Ascher & Ascher, Bishop, Doumbia, Gerdes, Njock, Shirley and Zaslavsky consider 'mathematics' as a pan-cultural phenomenon and propose a broad conception, including counting, locating, measuring, designing, playing, explaining, classifying, sorting...

Pioneer study

Zaslavsky's ' Africa Counts ' is a pioneer work in the area of the history of mathematics south of the Sahara. She offers her book as "a preliminary survey of a vast field awaiting investigation" (1973a, vi). Her task was not an easy one: in face of "the inadequacy of easily accessible material... ", she had to search "the literature of many disciplines - history, economics, ethnology, anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, art and oral tradition - ..." (1973a, vi).
She used a broad perspective on mathematics; her study deals with, what she calls, the 'sociomathematics' of Africa: she considers "the applications of mathematics in the lives of African people, and, conversely, the influence that African institutions had upon the evolution of mathematics" (1973a, 7). The concept of sociomathematics may be considered a forerunner of the concept of ethnomathematics. It is ethnomathematics as a discipline that studies mathematics (and mathematical education) as embedded in their cultural context - the (development of) different forms of mathematical thinking which are proper to cultural groups, like ethnic, professional, and age groups.

For the (possible) relationships between ethnomathematics and the history of mathematics, see (in general) D'Ambrosio (1985b) and (in the case of Africa) Shirley (1986b) and Gerdes (1990e).
The application of historical and ethnomathematical research methods has contributed, as will be shown, to the knowledge and understanding of the history of mathematics in Africa, or, at least, of some further mathematical elements in African traditions, in addition to the information gathered in ' Africa Counts '.

The beginnings

Zaslavsky presented as early evidence for (proto-)mathematical activity in Africa a bone dated at 9000-6500 B.C., dug up at Ishango (Zaire). The bone has what appear to be tallying marks on it, notches carved in groups. The bone's discoverer, De Heinzelin, interpreted the patterns of notches as an "arithmetical game of some sort, devised by a people who had a number system based on 10 as well as a knowledge of duplication and of prime numbers". Marshack, on the contrary, explains the bone as early lunar phase count. Their views, summarized in (Zaslavsky, 1973a, 17-19), are reproduced recently in (Fauvel & Gray, 1987, 5-7). Later, the dating of the Ishango bone has been reevaluated, from about 8000 B.C. to 20,000 B.C. (Marshack, 1991). Zaslavsky (1991b) raises the question "who but a woman keeping track of her cycles would need a lunar calendar?" and concludes that "women were undoubtedly the first mathematicians!".

Bogoshi, Naidoo & Webb report in 1987 on a still much older "mathematical artefact": "A small piece of the fibula of a baboon, marked with 29 clearly defined notches, may rank as the oldest mathematical artefact known. Discovered in the early seventies during an excavation of Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains between South Africa and Swaziland, the bone has been dated to approximately 35000 B.C.". They note that the bone "resembles calendar sticks still in use today by Bushmen clans in Namibia" (1987, 294).
A research project looking for numerical representations in San (Bushmen) rock art has recently been started by Martinson (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa). From the surviving San hunters in Botswana - "the oldest pattern of life found in the world today..." - , Lea and her students at the University of Botswana have collected information. Her papers describe counting, measurement, time reckoning, classification, tracking and some mathematical ideas in San technology and craft. The San developed very good visual discrimination and visual memory as needed for survival in the harsh environment of the Kalahari desert (Lea, 1987, 1989, 1990a, 1990b).


The middle and upper reaches of the Niger River have played an important role in West African history. This area in Western Sudan was a base for the camel caravan routes crossing the Sahara to the Mediterranean, while a black nation is reputed to have existed there from around the 3rd or 4th centuries A.C.
The Mali Empire flourished in the 13th century, with the city of Timbuktu on the banks of the Niger River as an intellectual, artistic and religious center. The Songhai Empire reigned in the 15th century, followed notably by the Bambara Kingdom in the 17th and 18th centuries. From the latter half of the 16th century, Mali experienced a period under Moroccan control in its north party.
In the 19th century the French army advanced into the region, making Mali a part of French West Africa from 1898 to 1960. Mali became an autonomous republic within the French Community in 1958, formed the Mali Federation with Senegal in April 1959, and gained independence in its own right on September 22, 1960.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Black Scientist

The contributions of blacks in the field of science have been a missing chapter in the narrative of America’s scientific and technological advancement. From the beginning, African Americans were part of America’s scientific endeavors: Benjamin Banneker produced the blueprint for Washington DC; Norbert Rillieau, chemical engineer, revolutionized the sugar industry by building a refining system; Elijah McCoy whose name became synonymous with high-quality (The Real McCoy) patented more than fifty inventions used by the railroad companies; Grandville T. Woods, invented the trolley car system and helped invent the light bulb, telegraph and telephone systems; Lewis Latimer produced the drawing for the telephone and wrote the world’s first book on electric lighting; Jan Matzeliger, revolutionized the shoe industry with the invention of the shoe lasting machine, and Garrett Morgan invented the gas mask and traffic signal. The conditions under which blacks created and invented helps to better appreciate the contributions of African American to science and the advancement of America.


Understanding the properties of substances or matter and how to make practical use of them is the essence of chemistry, whether the study takes place in a formal laboratory or not. The effectiveness of folk medicines used for centuries by traditional Africans and African-American practitioners throughout the world is recognized today.

Even before they were exposed to western science and medicine, many African cultures used natural versions of aspirin, kaolin (an effective cure for diarrhea), and herbal treatments for skin infections. African doctors had discovered effective herbal remedies for several diseases; the Zulu alone had found medicinal application from over 700 plants. African captives brought their scientific knowledge with them to America, and during the slavery period, several emerged as proficient in healing and medicine.

The abolition of slavery allowed African-Americans to begin earning mainstream respect for their work in the laboratories of modern science. In the late 19th century, George Washington Carver emerged as a pioneer in agricultural research. He found dozens of uses for chemicals he extracted from peanuts and potatoes. His research led to the development of hundreds of products, including ink, shampoo, and peanut butter. He later became a vocal supporter of growing peanuts as a source of protein. During the 29th century, several African-American chemists have made important offerings in physical, organic, nuclear, and analytical chemistry.

Lloyd A. Hall, president of the Griffith Chemical Company, discovered important food preservatives. Percy L. Julian developed a way to remove and prepare soybean products as cortisone, to treat arthritis, and an extract used in the treatment of glaucoma. Julian registered more than 130 chemical patents during the course of his career.

Dr. Jane Wright

Other African-American chemist includes Jane Wright, (shown) former director of the Cancer Research Foundation, who formulated mithramycin, a drug that has proved promising in fighting cancer. William A. Lester Jr., a theoretical chemist who did research on the troubles of high-velocity molecular collisions, was chosen to manage the National Resource for Computation in Chemistry. James A. Harris helped to discover Rutherfordium (atomic number 104) and Hafnium (atomic number 105).

Since 1916, when St. Elmo Brady became the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry, Blacks have played an increasingly important role in laboratories and lecture halls. Current data indicates that African-Americans comprise nearly 4 percent of Ph.D. students in chemistry.

From George W. Carver,
to Ralph G. Gardner, to Dr. Shirley Jackson, to Mark Dean the number of Black chemists and scientist is increasing.