African heritage matters to gifted and talented minds of men and women who believe prior generations of human life mattered in and of African heritage. Men like Paul Cuffee (Kofi) when free and able to do so certainly traveled to and from Africa, and the Madison Hemings' Story is certainly evidence that Africa was never eradicated in human memories and interests. A lack of details did not mean a lack of curiosity and wonder.
Enlightened and educated believers of African heritage have morally refused to believe or accept dominating societal propaganda by famous racist historians like Arnold Toynbee (image on right) that they were generated from "conditions of nothingness" in Africa, having contributed nothing of value to human existence there or elsewhere.
Thousands of functional scholars in the 19th and 20th centuries helped refute racist notions Africans were nothing more than property or potential property, somehow not human beings worthy of personal liberty.
Our approach has been to begin with the birth and lifespan of Jesus (about 30 years) as a method and means by which to measure and track the new beginning in the Philosophy of Life that he propagated. Philosophically, that approach has allowed for scholarly analysis of African heritage that can be reasonably documented, such as teachings of Jesus researched and reported by Greek scholars like Origen. We are satisfied that such new testament research does not negate Africa or peoples living therein as nothing matters.
We think such an approach affords concentration on functional matters, and avoids nonsense put forth in the Semite old testament biblical references about mythical persons such as "Ham and his descendents cursed by God to be bearers of water and hewers of wood for others blessed by same mandate." As Adolph Hitler's psychologist Dr. Goebbels proved true, repetition of lies matter, "just keep saying it and people will begin to believe."
Many Black preachers and their congregations do indeed believe they are descendents of Ham because their bibles and preachers say so; as did the dynamic industry of Africans, Christians, Jews, and Arab slave traders, shippers, buyers, breeders and otherwise owners believed and propagated.
It matters a lot that youth should know the recent storied existence of men like Paul Cuffee (Akan name is Kofi) a ship owner in Massachusetts whose roots and pursuit of goodness were clearly the west coast of Africa.
Likewise with Denmark Denmark (name derived from a slave castle established and operated in Accra, Ghana by kingdom of Demark.)
These lead-ins to DNA heritage allow us to reason that slave era Akans of Ghana were far more akin to the Philosophy of Jesus than most historians care to realize. Whether called Christians or not there exist nearly a thousand years of cultural beliefs to:
1. Love God (called by many names)
2. Honor thy father and mother (especially ancestors) seen and heard.
3. Doing unto others (at least kingdom, clan and family)
It is no small wonder that so many African-American believer scholars like Dr. Dubois and Robert Edward Lee, 1920-2010 were attracted to live and learn in Ghana that Akans and others therein West Africa had a rich heritage spanning many centuries embracing the functional philosophy of life espoused by Jesus.
And, both were known to publicly sing the gospel songs along with men like N'Krumah and King in worship functions learned long ago at places like Fisk and Lincoln Universities and Morehouse College. All espoused the functional faith they were more than descendents of slaves in America.
Yet critics in places like Time Magazine decided such men were pawns of Karl Marx who the entire world knew did not embrace God or Jesus. True to their moral heritage, many writers held dear their ancestral beliefs that Africans were less than deserving because the God of their fathers said so to be heard and held sacred. The culture of writers always matters.
African historian John Coleman DeGraft-Johnson was born in Accra, Ghana on March 21, 1919. He was educated initially at Mfantsipim School, in what was then called the "Gold Goast" (the country later to be known as Ghana.) After spending his first two years at the University of Edinburgh studying medicine, he discontinued his medical training to study Commerce and Economics.
He graduated Bachelor of Commerce in June 1942, Master of Arts with Honors in Economic Science in June 1944 and Doctor of Philosophy in December 1946.
DeGraft-Johnson's published works include "The African's Contribution to Civilization" and "The Empire of Monomotapa," but he comes to us here as the author of the classic work, African Glory: The Story of Vanished Negro Civilizations. Originally published in 1954 on the eve of the modern African independence movement, African Glory was reprinted in 1986 by Black Classic Press with an Afterword and Supplemental Bibliography by Dr. John Henrik Clarke.
Dr. Clarke wrote that "DeGraft-Johnson's book was published when a restless generation of African people, both in Africa and abroad, was looking for a non-colonial history of Africa, from an African point of view." Dr. Clarke concluded that "It can be said, without exaggeration, that there now exists a renaissance of writing of African history by writers of African descent. Dr. J.C. DeGraft-Johnson set this renaissance in motion."
African Glory contains chapters devoted to Carthage, the early North African Church, the Arab conquest of Africa, the Mali and Songhai Empire, and the Moors. On the Moors, DeGraft-Johnson noted that "The Conquest of Spain was an African conquest. They were Mohammedan Africans, not Arabs, who laid low the Gothic kingdom of Spain." Today, more than four and a half decades since its initial publication, African Glory still provides a vivid and dynamic connection to the African past.
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