White Scientists Are Slow Learners
By Kwaku Person Lynn, Ph.D. <[log in to unmask]>
When scientists of Afrikan descent publish a remarkable finding
that establishes Afrika and its descendants in an important role
in world development, many scientists of European descent will
deny those gains with several nefarious claims. ("Robbing Native
American Cultures: Van Sertima's
Afrocentricity and the Olmecs" by Bernard de Montellano, Warren
Barbour and Gabriel Haslip-Viera. Current Anthropology Vol. 38,
1997) The general motivation behind this action is usually doubt,
jealousy, envy and sometimes racism: the belief that Afrikan
people did not and cannot do anything of significance in science.
Academia can be one of the most egotistical and biased venues
in the professional world, especially when a person of color
has the ability to codify information that changes American history.
A recent article in the Los Angeles Times, "Earliest Writing
in Mesoamerica Takes a Leap Further Back in Time" (December 6,
2002) stated, "The discovery, which is being published today
in the journal Science, is triggering a sharp debate among Mesoamerican
researchers about the origins of civilization in the region."
The region is the Americas; the people who established the first
civilization were called Olmecs.
The disturbing factor here, when Professor Ivan Van Sertima,
born in Guyana, South America, a linguist, anthropologist and
currently teaches at Rutgers University, published his book as
long ago as 1976, "They Came Before Columbus – The African Presence
In Ancient America," which firmly stated, supported with tons
of evidence, that the Olmecs were the "mother" civilization of
the Americas, no one paid attention. Almost three decades later,
the LA Times article reads, "The new find provides support for
the controversial idea of a "mother" culture—that the Olmecs
developed most of the concepts and passed them on to succeeding
civilizations in much the same way that the Greeks formed the
foundations of European culture." The first part of that statement
is correct, but again, Afrikan scholars who stated this decades
ago are slighted in the latter part. They have been saying and
proving for many decades that Afrikans in the Nile Valley were
the teachers of the ancients Greeks, a discussion for another
time. The shocker is when the article states "The new find,"
compared to when Van Sertima published his book.
The difficulty and hesitancy many scientists of European descent
had with Van Sertima is that he showed, through various categories
of evidence, that
the Olmec civilization was not only America's first, but was
a very Afrikan-influenced civilization, which left its mark on
all succeeding American civilizations. No one could fathom the
idea that Afrikans were in the Americas almost a 1000 years before
the Europeans, primarily through Christopher Columbus, who never
set foot on American soil, north or south.
Some of the physical evidence used in Van Sertima's investigation
were the pyramids found in Mexico, and other parts of the Americas.
No one could deny the existence of the pyramids that were fashioned
after the pyramids in Kemet (Egypt). Even the LA Times article
mentioned "The Olmec built a large pyramid atop the dome that
can be seen for long distances. 'It's an imposing site,'" said
archeologist Mary E.D. Pohl of Florida State University. In La
Venta, America's first built pyramids were found: a true pyramid
and a step-pyramid. On the arms of the true pyramid were huge
Africoid stone heads. In Tres Zapotes, a large Africoid stone
head was found with the seven-braided Ethiopian hairstyle, the
domed helmet and earplug, found only in the Egypto/Nubian area
of the Nile Valley.
One of the most convincing pieces of evidence is the Piri Reis
map, drawn in 1513, found in Alexandria, outlining the coasts
of South America and West Afrika. It contains fairly accurate
latitudinal and longitudinal relationships between the Atlantic
coastlines of West Afrika and South America. Europeans only discovered
longitude in the 18th century, verifying that Afrikans had sailed
there previously. Hundreds of Afrikan statues and artifacts were
found in Mexico. There were several linguistic similarities.
The Mandinga voyages, as documented by Van Sertima, "The court
tradition of Mali and documents in Cairo tell of an African king,
Abubakari the Second, setting out on the Atlantic in 1311," heading
towards the Americas. He had hundreds of ships. (See They Came
Before Columbus) Afrikan fruits and vegetables were in the Americas,
while American fruits and vegetables were found in Afrika. This
suggests back and forth travel. Afrikan sarcophagus (coffins),
mummies prepared the same way as those in Kemet (Egypt), added
with the three currents, 100 miles off the coast of West Afrika,
brings anything caught in them to the Americas, are convincing
sources of evidence to solidify an Afrikan presence in the America's,
dating back to some 1200 B.C.E.
Based on these various items of evidence, along with much more,
Van Sertima was able to conclude that; one, the Olmecs were America's
"mother" civilization, and two, that it was a heavily Afrikan-influenced
civilization, which is the primary reason the scientific world
wanted to ignore his findings. The European world and its media
machine would rather promote the myth that Columbus discovered
America, which is still taught in
primary schools across America. Fortunately, on July 7, 1987,
Van Sertima appeared before a congressional committee to present
evidence that Afrikans had contacts with Native Americans almost
a thousand years before the Europeans, and that Columbus did
not discover America. The committee ultimately decided to change
the terminology from Columbus' "discoveries" to Columbus' "voyages,"
though this has not been widely publicized.
So why have scientists of European descent, and educators, ignored
all this? Why has it taken so long for them to discover that
the Olmec's were the mother civilization of the America's? Perhaps
the biggest question has yet to be asked, how long is it going
to take these same scientists to realize that Afrikans were intimately
involved in establishing the first civilization of the Americas?
Or are they just slow learners?
Kwaku Person-Lynn is the author of On My Journey Now - The Narrative
And Works Of Dr. John Henrik Clarke, The Knowledge Revolutionary.
E-mail: [log in to unmask]