africans in america before columbus


Nine Important African American Texts

This rediscovery by Europeans of ancient Egypt, and the disclosures of a powerful Negro-African element in the ancestry of a civilization to which Europe owed so much, came as an embarrassment. It came also at a most inopportune time. It threatened to explode a myth of innate black inferiority that was necessary to the peace of the Christian conscience in a Europe that was then prospering from the massive exploitation of black slaves. Africa was being systematically depopulated. Its empires had disintegrated. Its history had been buried. Its movement in step with other world civilizations had been abruptly halted. Only its most backward and inaccessible elements were left virtually untouched to bear false witness in later times to the scale and complexity of its evolution.
—  ivan van sertima, they came before columbus: the african presence in ancient america
They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America (Journal of African Civilizations)

They Came Before Columbus reveals a compelling, dramatic, and superbly detailed documentation of the presence and legacy of Africans in ancient America. Examining navigation and shipbuilding; cultural analogies between Native Americans and Africans; the transportation of plants, animals, and textiles between the continents; and the diaries, journals, and oral accounts of the explorers themselves, Ivan Van Sertima builds a pyramid of evidence to support his claim of an African presence in the New World centuries before Columbus. Combining impressive scholarship with a novelist’s gift for storytelling, Van Sertima re-creates some of the most powerful scenes of human history: the launching of the great ships of Mali in 1310 (two hundred master boats and two hundred supply boats), the sea expedition of the Mandingo king in 1311, and many others. In They Came Before Columbus, we see clearly the unmistakable face and handprint of black Africans in pre-Columbian America, and their overwhelming impact on the civilizations they encountered.


Every new archeological find seems to be pushing the agricultural breakthrough in Africa further and further back in time.
—  ivan van sertima, they came before columbus: the african presence in ancient america