In her remarks yesterday on the commemoration of African American history at the USA Embassy in Freetown US Ambassador to Sierra Leone June Carter Perry stated that since Carter G. Woodson first sought to bring to public attention the African American experience in 1926 by encouraging scholarly investigation of black history, Americans have observed it since then as Black American history in February every year.
She said African American contributions to the USA include some of the most profound American events, art forms, and accomplishments – the first heart transplant and the use of plasma, jazz, the first patented traffic light, the design of capital city and some of the most beautiful literature, among others.
Barrack Obama she said is the first African American President of USA who has brought with him a global background and interest in the progress of all people.
“The strides our nation is taking towards equality for everyone is truly remarkable” she boasted.
This year’s African American history month has the theme “the quest for black citizenship in Americas” which she noted gives them a sense that the contributions of people of African descent have shaped the course of history not only in the USA but beyond.
“In fact the very roots of civilization can be traced to Africa. History has often overlooked that fact – especially maligned have been the African heroine of the ancient world” she said.
She recalled that the earliest human being lived in Africa, adding that one of the great civilizations, the Kingdom of Egypt, was ruled by Hatshepsup, a woman for two years in the late 1400s B.C.E.
Though most Egyptian pharaohs were men, she recalled that Hatshepsub is widely regarded as one of the most successful Pharaohs in ancient Egypt. She established vast networks of trade, dramatically increasing Egyptian wealth.
Hatshepsud was reputed to have led a successful military campaign in Nubia, the Levant and Syria and was one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific builders.
Over 1,000 years later Egypt was led by a more widely noted woman, Cleopatra, likely of Greek origin.
She spoke about the Queen of Shaba who is often referred to as the founder of the Ethopian dynasty of Menelik, but Ethiopia has a long tradition of powerful Queens, adding that Candace was renowned as a military tactician whose prowess was responsible for Alexander the Great’s decision to refrain from attacking the Ethiopian Capital at Meroe.
Countries in the northern hemisphere like Brazil Columbia and Mexico have signs in their cultures-music, art, even cuisine that African immigrants played a significant role in the development of their societies.
“In the 20th Century, leaders in the UISA and around the world celebrated their African roots” she confirmed. She mentioned Dr Henry Lois Gates Director of the DuBois Centre at Harvard University whom she concluded has done great service in broadening our vision of the influence of African origin.
By Solomon Rogers