Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 21:20:45 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: !*Bro. Runoko Rashidi's History Notes
Forwarded Articles - Support our historians
By Runoko Rashidi <email@example.com>, 24 August 1999
Dr. William Edward Burghardt Dubois (1868-1963)
Among the greatest scholars in American history stands Dr. W.E.B. DuBois. A towering figure, a brilliant scholar and a prolific writer, William Edward Burghardt DuBois was born February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In 1890 he graduated cum laude from Harvard University and attended the University of Berlin in 1892. In 1896 DuBois became the first Black person to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University. After teaching at Wilberforce University in Ohio and the University of Pennsylvania, he went on to establish the first department of sociology in the United States at Atlanta University.
Dr. DuBois was the author of scores of significant books, including three major autobiographies. Among his most important works were The Philadelphia Negro in 1896, Souls of Black Folk in 1903, John Brown in 1909, Black Reconstruction in 1935, and Black Folk, Then and Now in 1939. His book, The Negro (first published in 1915), significantly influenced the lives of such pioneer Africanist scholars as Drusilla Dunjee Houston and William Leo Hansberry. In 1940 DuBois founded Phylon--a magazine published out of Atlanta University. Dr. DuBois also authored The World and Africa: An Inquiry Into the Part that Africa has Played in World History, a very important work first published in 1946. In 1945 he played a major role at the historic Fifth Pan-African Conference held in Manchester, England
In addition to his literary activities and profound scholarship, at one time or another during the course of his long life, DuBois could be characterized politically as an integrationist, Pan-Africanist, Socialist and Communist. He was a founding member of both the Niagara Movement and the NAACP, and editor of the Crisis--the NAACP literary organ. In 1961, during the twilight of his life, DuBois was honored by an invitation from President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana to head a secretariat for an Encyclopedia Africana. Dr. W.E.B. DuBois died in Accra, Ghana August 27, 1963 as a Ghanaian citizen.
Dr. George George G. M. James and the stolen legacy of African people
Dedicated to Dr. Peter Dawson and Dr. Alfred M. Ligon
"The term Greek philosophy, to begin with, is a misnomer, for there is no such philosophy in existence."
Dr. George Granville Monah James was born in Georgetown, Guyana, South America. He was the son of Reverend Linch B. and Margaret E. James. George G.M. James earned Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Theology and Master of Arts degrees from Durham University in England and was a candidate there for the D.Litt degree. He conducted research at London University and did postgraduate work at Columbia University where he read for his Ph.D. Dr. James earned a teaching certificate in the State of New York to teach mathematics, Latin and Greek. James later served as Professor of Logic and Greek at Livingston College in Salisbury, North Carolina for two years, and eventually taught at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff.
Dr. James was the author of the widely circulated Stolen Legacy: The Greeks Were Not the Authors of Greek Philosophy, But the People of North Africa, Commonly Called the Egyptians--a controversial text originally published in 1954 and reprinted a number of times since. Professor William Leo Hansberry reviewed Stolen Legacy in the Journal of Negro Education in 1955, and noted that:
"In Stolen Legacy an author with a passion for justice and truth champions a startling thesis with which most of the little volume's readers--Hellenophiles in particular--will no doubt strongly disagree. In this work Professor James dares to contend and labor to prove, among others, that 'the Greeks were not the authors of Greek philosophy', that 'so-called Greek philosophy' was based in the main upon ideas and concepts which were borrowed without acknowledgement--indeed 'stolen'--by a few wayward and dishonest Greeks from the ancient Egyptians."
Stolen Legacy was written during Dr. James' tenure at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. As of today, there is not even a copy of the book in the University library. There is no statue or bust of Dr. James on the campus. There is no plaque of Dr. James adorning the campus walls. There is not even a certificate to note Dr. James' existence or that he even lived. This is at an historically Black college!
Dr. James's tragic death, under mysterious circumstances, reputedly, came shortly after Stolen Legacy's publication. To date, no significant biography of James has been presented.
Dr. J. C. DeGraft-Johnson and the Glory of Africa
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.
"Tribute to a trailblazer - the Reverend Dr. Rufus Lewis Perry"
Dedicated to the Reverend Dr. Charles Buchanan Copher
Historian, scholar and social activist Rufus Lewis Perry (1834-1895) was one of the most outstanding men of the nineteenth century. Perry was a "Race Man" and lived a life dedicated to the uplift of African people. Born a slave in Smith County, Tennessee, Rufus Lewis Perry became a Baptist minister, journalist, "Ph.D., Editor, Ethnologist, Essayist, Logician, Profound Student of Negro History, Scholar in the Greek, Latin and Hebrew Languages."
Dominant in Dr. Perry's work is the pronounced emphasis on the ancient African nation spanning both Africa and Asia identified by the Greeks and Romans as Ethiopia and known in the Biblical Table of Nations as Cush. In 1893, Dr. Perry's most comprehensive work, The Cushite, or the Descendants of Ham as Found in the Sacred Scriptures and in the Writings of Ancient Historians and Poets from Noah to the Christian Era, was published. In his conclusion to the text Perry reminded us that:
"Now what the Cushite was, certainly has some bearing on what he is, and is to be. It should inspire him with an ambition to emulate his forefathers; for if to the memory of the distinguished Negroes of modern times we add the historic facts..., it were pusillanimous in us, and dishonoring to our ancestors, to be ashamed of either our color or our name."
Rufus Lewis Perry was a remarkable man. In spite of his humble beginnings and the innumerable difficulties and staggering obstacles in his path, through his own brilliance, his determination and conviction he engaged in a noble work and embarked upon a vital mission. The Reverend Dr. Rufus Lewis Perry was a Black nationalist and trailblazer whose life and works have served as both guidance and inspiration for more than a century.
Runoko Rashidi is a writer and lecturer currently coordinating study tours to both Australia and India. For further information, to schedule lectures or order audio and video tapes contact Rashidi at: RRashidi@swbell.net or call (210) 648-5178.