African Contributions to Civilization by Web Duboyce

I am extremely grateful for the movies and television in recent years for enlightening me  about the contributions of black people to history.

Of course,  I already knew about the importance of black men like Socrates, Scipio Africanus, and the Egyptian Pharaohs, but just recently I have learned a lot more.

I did not know, for instance, that the great Queen Elizabeth I and her mother Ann Boleyn were black.  That there were two leading black men among the Roman Legionnaires who invaded Britain.  Also among Scottish  nobles and commanders of the Persian empire armies.  And that a black man led a peasant revolt in medieval Rumania. Or that the racist Romans attacked Hannibal and the black Carthaginians out of jealousy for their success.

 SubSaharan people sure got around a lot in the old days. Given the short distance between the African and South American coasts, it is likely that they discovered America before Columbus, and the racist Portuguese stole the Africans’ navigation knowledge that allowed them to sail around the world. 

I did not know until recently that the Vikings had black queens and that some of Jane Austen’s characters in English society were black. Or that Tolkien’s wonderful Western world was integrated. Or that the brave American paratroopers liberating Europe were black and that one of the main figures in the first Afghanistan insertion was a kindly black soldier. I admit I had my suspicions about Alexander Hamilton, but I wasn’t sure.

I am happy to note that the Europeans are participating in this great movement of enlightenment along with Hollywood. Did you know that Finland has a black woman president and that one of the Three Musketeers was black and a favourite of white women and that another one married a black woman?   I did not know until recently that the most bright and dedicated British police commanders are black as are the greatest scientists.  Or that a brilliant black heart surgeon with dreadlocks was also a great philanthropist.

I expect any day to learn that Helen of Troy was black.

I am particularly glad to learn that  happy mixed-race families  are now typical in the U.S.  It means that perhaps we are finally overcoming the evil of white privilege that has marred our society for so long.



The Fleming Foundation

28 Responses

  1. Clif McGhar says:

    Indeed, you would think it would be impossible for white children today to be able to escape not only pro-black/anti-white history but also the confirmation of black awesomeness in the present when no matter what athletes do from BLM to anti-white statements they are celebrated, socially honors are given simply for being black, John Lewis deserves more recognition than Confederate generals, MLK is much more important than George Washington in celebrations. Children see whites tripping over themselves for black support, encouragement, and validation in everyday conversations and conflict.

  2. Clif McGhar says:

    Everything is black-centic,while Euro/white-centric in non-inclusive and racist. Whiteness is a disease that people of European stock cannot pray off themselves and only the behavior of kneeling to black supremacy will wash them black as charcoal. (Being washed white as snow is probably a racist phrase).

  3. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Any use metaphorical of color terms is racist, and even many literal usages. Suppose you the contest of following up the opening, “It was a dark and stormy night…..” Are you equating darkness, blackness with night, when bad things happen and crime are committed, and why does it have to be stormy?

  4. Jacob Johnson says:

    Don’t forget that since Africans have tonal languages this means that European composers learned from Africans their ability to distinguish pitch which gave people like Mozart had the ability to compose complex melody but also Western music theory is white supremacy.

  5. Clif McGhar says:

    Septimius Severus is claimed as black as well. Africans in the U.S. fought and won their own freedom despite the U.S. government. If we’re not for instances like the Tulsa Massacre, Rosewood, the burning of Harlem blacks would have naturally been just as successful if not more than whites. Somehow privilege trickles down from white elites to the white masses but it does not trickle down from the black elites to the black masses. All judges give blacks harsher sentences. Black excellence is exploited by whites (Kanye said Jews) for money. Note Whoopi Goldberg’s view of WWII atrocities. Black multi-millionaires/billionaires like Jay Z, P Diddy, and Kanye always have a white person to blame. O.J. and Johnny Cochran were oppressed by a systematically racist justice system I guess.

  6. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Septimius Severus is a rich one! His family is known to have been a mix of Phoenician and Italic. Even the fact that he lived in what is now Libya would only be useful to Afro-centrists, if Libya were assumed to be populated with Negroes, but that is not true–and it is not true today. The ruling class was principally some cross between the old Phoenician colonists of Carthage and their Roman/Italian conquerors. The natives were one or another North African tribe of people who looked a lot like Libyans today. Besides, while Severus was a powerful man, his ruthlessness hardly makes him someone you’d want to be descended from

  7. Dot says:

    It was Africans who invented the alphabet, not the Phoenicians.

  8. Michael Strenk says:

    A top candidate for next Tsar of Russia takes an immersion course in the culture of his kingdom.

    I should say that in addition to finding this video to be hilarious I also find it to be quite endearing.

  9. Dot says:

    The college I attended in Boston hired a new president. Two new majors were added, one on Social Justice, the other on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The head of these departments are Afro-American. Whether you think it’s great, fine. I find it divisive. This is the first year I did not support the college.

    Mr. Johnson, I don’t know if Africans have a tonal language or not. For sure, the Chinese language is tonal. Mandarin Chinese has 4 tones. The first is a high tone, the second tone is a rising tone, the third starts high then drops down and then high again – something like the letter v. The fourth tone starts high then goes downward.

  10. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Thanks, Dot, for the tongue-in-cheek response. There are several families of “African” (a geographical rather than a linguistic, cultural, or racial term), and of the little I have studied some certainly are “tonal,” as were ancient Greek and some Slavic languages today. In trying to learn Serbo/Croatian, I observed that women typically had a finer sense of the tonic accents, and to listen to a lady from Eastern Serbian chirping away was like hearing plainsong, while her husband was droning along in a lugubrious monotone, but, then, as Quintilian advised, it is the women who best preserve a language and pas it onto children.

  11. Michael Strenk says:

    I don’t speak a word of Vietnamese, but have had occasion to listen to the language. My experience is much the same as Dr. Fleming’s above-mentioned Serbian experience. Listening to the men speaking I was left with the impression of a somewhat ugly-sounding language, to my ear, but women speaking Vietnamese sounds beautiful and musical.

  12. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Try listening to language tapes some time, and by and large the women articulate clearly and speak with a feeling for the natural music of the language. In Modern Greek, most of the male voices are sloppy and depressing, and while it is true that Greeks often seem to clip off an unaccented last syllable, that is not very helpful for students.

  13. Dot says:

    The Phoenicians did invent the alphabet. There writing was very similar to the Greek lettering.

  14. Harry Colin says:

    Just an observation to share on language…my maternal side is Croatian with some Serbian heritage. Rather overwhelmingly, for those in my grandmother’s age group and certainly for her siblings, it was the females who spoke the language and carried it forward. The males often forgot their heritage or occasionally used a few words, often mispronouncing them with bold assurance.

  15. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    The Phoenicians did not invent the alphabet. They developed a West Semitic syllabic system without vowels, which the Greeks basically adopted and used unneeded letters (for sounds not in Greek) and used them for vowels, thus creating the first alphabet. Other writing systems in the Middle East had moved from pictograms or ideograms into characters that basically represented the sound of a syllable. So far as I know, the Phoenician system was simpler than the others, but they never took the gigantic step of trying to represent the actual sound of words.

    Imagine if I wrote my first sentence as: Th Phncns dd nt nvnt th lphbt. You see the problem.

    This is parallel to the Greek breakthroughs in mathematics and astronomy. The Babylonians had spent enormous number of hours watching the sky and recording what they saw, but they never attempted anything like a testable hypothesis of how it worked. The same is true in, for example, the calculation of the value of pi and what became known as the Pythagorean Theorem. By the way, for all the Fundamentalists reading this, if you believe the OT is inerrant, you have to accept the value of pi as straight three.

  16. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Once you realize that the Canaanites and Israelites were ethnically, linguistically, and culturally (with the partial exception of religion) the same, and that “Phoenician” is merely the Greek name for the Canaanites who lived on the short and later colonize North Africa, you will understand why some ancient historians, e.g. Sir Moses Finley, are so partial to the Phoenicians and take their side both in the conflict with the Greeks over Sicily and with the Romans in the Punic Wars. I am far from criticizing people for their ethnic loyalty.

  17. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    People who make and study intelligence tests insist that women have a higher verbal intelligence than men, who have superior mathematical and analytical intelligence. It all averages out, but the abilities are differently distributed. Why so few women have become great writer is therefore a puzzler, but I think it has something to do with comparative competitiveness. In thinking of women who were masters of language–and I don’t therefore mean good story tellers–I can name Sappho but no one since. If we confine the search to poets, whom can we name to set beside Aeschylus and Sophocles, Vergil and Catullus, Dante and Shakespeare, Baudelaire and Leopardi? Or even Donne and Dryden, Wordsworth and Coleridge, Pound and Eliot? There are certainly poetesses who wrote good poems. In English one might mention Christina Rossetti, Joana Bailie, and– but I am running out of steam. Marianne Moore and Lorine Nydecker have merits, but perhaps not so much in verbal mastery.

  18. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I should add that Sappho really does live up to her reputation. Unfortunately to appreciate her brilliance one has to know Greek, and not even standard Attic but the Aeolic dialect spoken on Lesbos. It is worth the effort.

  19. Michael Strenk says:

    Mr. Colin, From my own family’s experience I could see that the women were far more home-bound so more restricted to the company of their own kind. They mostly tended to their large families and when working for money usually did so at home by taking in laundry and doing sewing, taking in borders (often relatives or people of their own kind), raising eggs and vegetables for cash etc. The men had to face the world which, in the mines and steel mills, meant working with Irish, Scots, Welsh, Italians etc., so a common language understandable to all was necessary.

    I was asking a Greek priest recently about the Greek that is used in the service. He said that it was a medieval form rather than ancient or modern, which I take to be similar to the Old Church Slavonic of the liturgy as opposed to the modern Slavic languages. For some reason the conversation moved on to Sappho, whom I have not read even in translation, with him saying that she wrote in what was an archaic form of Greek for the period in which she was writing.

  20. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Sappho wrote in her own dialect, and the Greek liturgy is for the most part Koine like the NT, though it is generally more literate. It is not classical but a compromise literary dialect based on Attic, with some non-Attic Ionic elements. There is a good deal of fine writing in the pagan writers of Koine, e.g. Plutarch, and in the more literate Eastern Fathers. When Modern Greek was being debated in the 19th and early 20th century, there were many sound advocates of a more traditional “purifying” form, but they were beaten by the Left, who always destroy language. I am not suggesting that much very good stuff was not written in the Demotic form, only that the elimination of the Katharevusa has been harmful.

  21. Dot says:

    Few women have become great writers because they probably were in the kitchen preparing meals for the husband. In addition to Sappho, other great writers are Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emma Lazarus, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Shelley and Jane Austen.

  22. Clyde Wilson says:

    Your writer might like to know that the latest candidate for honorary blackness is Jay Gatsby. He is right–Helen of Troy can’t be far behind.

  23. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    The old wheeze that women are too busy keeping house and thus cannot write poetry or compose symphonies is simply an historical lie. Among the ancients a majority of the writers belonged to the leisured classes, and that was true in the Renaissance and since. Emma Lazarus must be one of the tackiest writers ever to pick up a pen, and Ms Alcott is dreadful. Mrs. Browning has her points, but is infinitely inferior to her husband. Mary Shelley had an interesting idea but has neither a good prose style nor a grasp of narrative. Austen is a master psychologist with great abilities, but the brilliant command of the language that might have produced poetry she does not have. Not of these writers comes within shouting distance of their male contemporaries, much less of Sappho. If I had an answer I would propose it, but I don’t. The modern female poet I have most read is the very bizarre Lorine Niedecker. Much like Sappho, she writes intensely about her tiny social world–in this case her neighbors on Lake Koshkonong, a wide spot in the Rock River. Much of her work is unintelligible, though she herself was puzzled when she discovered that her neighbors found it too difficult. “Don’t they understand,” she once complained to herself, “That everything I have written is about them.”

  24. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Is Gatsby’s promotion due to his being an outsider who falls victim to the upper class?

  25. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Back in the early 80’s, I turned on South Carolina Public Television and saw a Black professor–he may have been Caribbean–and he was describing the bar scene in Star Wars. He looked into the camera and asked, “Do you know, brothers and sisters, who all those creatures are: they are us, and that is why they can be killed…”

  26. Michael Strenk says:

    “…they are us, and that is why they can be killed…”
    I knew it! We are all out of Africa after all. That’s why so many of us were ground into hamburger, shot, gassed, frozen and starved in WWI and WWII. It’s just the MIC that’s actually white. They must be space aliens, but that’s a different track.

  27. Vince Cornell says:

    On the webpage for my diocese, there’s a featured article about the “Madonnas of Color” which discusses Brother Mickey McGrath’s interpretation of some of the statues and depictions of the Blessed Virgin Mary which have turned dark due to centuries of smoke from votive candles or deterioration of the lead-based paints used to justify the Juneteenth Madonna. Actual quote, “Mary’s blackness reminds us of the rich, fertile soil of new beginnings.”

    Meanwhile, no statement from my bishop about the FBI spying on some of his own flock because they prefer the traditional Mass. Maybe it’s because he agrees with the FBI that we’re “dangerous extremists.”

    What a time to be alive.

  28. Allen Wilson says:

    This idiotic business of the FBI spying on people who go to Latin mass when there are pedophiles and serial killers out there has gotten me to thinking about buying a copy of the Catechism of Trent or maybe a Latin Missal or both, just for spite. Then maybe I’ll be watched by FBI, CIA, NSA, GCHQ, MI-5, BATF, Gestapo, KGB, Barney Fife, Super Trooper, Buford T. Justice, Deputy Dawg, and Dudley Doo-right. Why not? And I forgot MOSSAD and Abwehr and the Keystone Kops.

    This proves that the regime has lost all common sense, is delusional, and is completely paranoid and afraid.

    Perhaps I can escape scrutiny by buying them in black leather, wearing black robes, and declaring that the universe is black, because after all, when you look out there, black is all you see aside form the stars.