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Let’s Prayer Together; one spirit, one mind, in prayer; us, we; not I, me!

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Where two or more gather in Jesus name, Jesus is in their midst. Please, enter the Spirit and join us in Prayer. Jesus said, whatever we ask, ask it in His name, and It will be give.

Trump vs. Biden on the issues: Racial justice

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biden harris

The horrific killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May and the fury over the police shooting of Breonna Taylor in March set off massive protests across the country against racial injustice and police brutality.

Over the months that followed, new and previous supporters of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement held demonstrations from coast to coast and a new generation of Americans protested for racial equality.

Race is now at the center of the national conversation heading into the final weeks of the 2020 campaign for president, from the disproportionate impact the novel coronavirus pandemic has had on communities of color to reforms that would help address racial disparities in policing.

It has also been a complicated issue for both candidates over the course of their long careers. Former Vice President Joe Biden made history by choosing a Black woman, Kamala Harris, to be his running mate and served alongside the nation’s first Black president.

But he has also drawn criticism for his position on busing in the 1970’s to help end segregation in schools and the 1994 crime bill, which helped lead to an era of mass incarceration.

Trump set the tone for his presidency when he said Mexico was not sending its best immigrants, including “rapists,” on the day he announced his campaign. That was followed by a call to ban Muslim immigration, his perpetuation of the debunked “birther” conspiracy against President Barack Obama among other things. And he has largely ignored the sources of the racial unrest that has erupted around the country in recent months.

At the same time, Trump has claimed he is the least racist person and touted the economic opportunities he has created for African Americans during his presidency.

Here’s a look at where Trump and Biden differ on the issue of racial justice, and significant statements they’ve made related to race.

Trump’s troubles

Starting before the 2016 election and continuing into his presidency, Trump repeatedly questioned President Barack Obama’s citizenship, amplifying without evidence a racist disinformation campaign designed to call into question the legitimacy of the nation’s first Black president.

In 2015, Trump entered the presidential race saying Mexico was sending crime, drugs and “rapists” to the United States. During his first term in office, Trump continued to seek to strengthen support among segments of his mostly white base by igniting fear of the “other” through policies and rhetoric.

Nationally, roughly 10% of Black voters are planning to support Trump in 2020, according to an analysis of public polling by FiveThirtyEight, similar to the support he received in 2016. Exit polling from 2016 also shows that Trump received more support from Black voters that year than previous GOP presidential nominees Mitt Romney and John McCain.

In 2017, Trump issued an executive order instituting a travel ban from predominantly Muslim countries, a version of which was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court. Trump implemented his travel restrictions citing national security concerns from “terror-prone countries.”

When later that year, a participant at a white supremacist rally killed a 32-year-old woman when he rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump drew backlash for claiming there were “very fine people on both sides..” The driver was found guilty of first-degree murder.

In 2018, Trump, who has called himself the least racist person, depicted a migrant caravan as a violent threat to the country and called it an “invasion,” in line with the racist rhetoric he campaigned on in 2016 regarding immigrants.

He’s also targeted the four Congresswomen of color nicknamed “The Squad,” suggesting that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. and Rashida Tlaib D-Mich., all “go back” to the countries “from which they came.” Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley and Tlaib were all born in the U.S.; Omar is a Somali-American who immigrated as a refugee and became an American as a teenager.

Trump 2020: Rhetoric heats upAs the 2020 race heated up, so did the divisive rhetoric.In 2020, Trump called Black Lives Matter “a symbol of hate” and also stoked racist fears after overturning an Obama-era housing rule intended to fight racial segregation by linking funding to the reduction of housing inequality.

The rhetoric echoed a federal lawsuit from 1973, in which Trump was named with his father, Fred, and accused of discriminating against Black tenants at their housing properties in New York. The parties ultimately reached a settlement without an admission of guilt from the Trumps.

In an attempt to appeal to his base, Trump made a request in September to the Office of Management and Budget to halt anti-racism training in federal workplaces, calling it “anti-American propaganda.” He later signed an executive order expanding the ban to contractors doing business with the federal government.

The order prohibits the teaching of “divisive concepts” such as white privilege, which is the analysis of the inherent advantages a white person has in America, and systemic racism, which examines discriminatory rules, practices and customs embedded in law.

Weeks later, Trump contradicted that order with the release of his economic “Platinum Plan” for Black Americans, which includes “diversity training.”Also in September, Trump delivered a dark and racially divisive speech at the National Archives playing off of the fears and insecurities of supporters who believe calls for racial equality are “attempting to demolish” the “treasured and precious inheritance” of our nation.
He gave a warning that the “crusade against American history is toxic propaganda,” referring to critical race theory, the study of society and culture as they relate to race, and The New York Times’ 1619 Project that analyzes U.S. history through the lens of slavery. That day he signed an order to promote “patriotic education.”

In response to a national outcry over killings of unarmed Black people by police, Trump has chosen to brand himself the “law and order” president while avoiding discussions about the root cause of the protests, despite expressing sympathy for the families of some of the people killed. He’s said demonstrators protesting racial injustice are “looking for trouble” and that companies supporting BLM are “weak” and led by “weak people.”

He’s a strict opponent to calls for stripping police departments of funds and called the “defund the police” movement a “fad.”

Trump accomplishments on prison reform and economy

Trump has refused to acknowledge that systemic racism is a problem in the United States. However, in a departure from his tough-on-crime rhetoric, one of the biggest legislative achievements of Trump’s first term was signing into law the bipartisan ‘First Step Act’ in 2018, which provided the most sweeping changes to prison sentencing laws in decades, and which Trump says will “rollback” certain provisions from President Bill Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill that disproportionately affected the Black community.

More than 3,100 inmates have been released so far as part of its enactment, including Alice Johnson, a Black grandmother who was serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug arrest and was ultimately pardoned by Trump.

The president often claims that African Americans have seen the most economic gains under his leadership, but that’s misleading. According to a fact-check by the Associated Press, unemployment for Black Americans did reach a record low during the Trump administration at 5.4% in August 2019, before the pandemic struck, but much of that progress stemmed from the economic recovery from The Great Recession during the Obama administration.

The AP also cited that the median household income for Black Americans was $41,361 in 2018, below its peak of $43,380 in 2000, according to data from the Census Bureau.

When asked in June how he plans to address systemic racism in the justice system, the president said it will heal itself when the economy is strong again.

“By the way, what’s happened to our country and what you now see, it’s been happening, is the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African American community, the Asian American, the Hispanic American, for women, for everything,” Trump said in June after being asked why he doesn’t have a plan to address systemic racism. “Our country is so strong, and that’s my plan. We’re going to have the strongest economy in the world.”

Joe Biden: Legacy of Black support and some criticism

The former vice president, who made history by serving alongside the first Black president, also made history by selecting Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate, making her the first Black woman to be a major party’s nominee.

Biden has strong support from much of the Black community, with his nomination due in large part to his support in South Carolina and his success there boosted by Rep. Jim Clyburn’s endorsement.

But he’s also found himself on the receiving end of criticism from the crucial voting bloc, ranging back to his spearheading of the 1994 crime bill, which led to an increase of mass incarcerations, and most recently in May for saying “you ain’t Black” to African American voters deciding between him and Trump. He also faced backlash for comparing the diversity in African American communities to Latino communities, suggesting the former is a monolith.

During a heated exchange with Harris during a Democratic primary debate, Biden’s record on opposing federally mandated busing drew new attention. In 1977, Biden called it a “bankrupt policy.” At the debate in June, Biden claimed Harris took his record out of context and said he supported voluntary busing.

Biden also drew fire for working with segregationist Democrats while he served in the Senate. He has reiterated that he did not agree with their views and that “there’s not a racist bone in my body.”

Biden’s also expressed regret over the Obama administration’s immigration policy, calling it a “big mistake” to have deported thousands of people with no criminal records.

Biden’s plan and issue with Latino support

Unlike his opponent, however, Biden does acknowledge systemic racism and has released the “Biden Plan for strengthening America’s Commitment to Justice,” which focuses on preventing crime, eliminating racial disparities and providing second chances for those who have had contact with the criminal justice system.

Biden’s plan, which was put forward before this year’s protests, calls for an end to private prisons, cash bail and the death penalty and would expand the Justice Department’s purview to address police and prosecutor misconduct. It would also institute an independent task force to tackle discrimination.

He also supports the decriminalization of marijuana and automatically expunging records for those who have been convicted of marijuana-related offenses. Data compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) shows that Black people have been four times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession.

A pillar of his “Build Back Better” policies focuses on the economy and inclusion, specifically how he would help Black, Latino and disadvantaged communities.

While polling shows Biden with a lead over Trump among Latino voters, Biden’s campaign has acknowledged that it trails the support Hillary Clinton saw in 2016, and it has been criticized for lack of outreach to Latino communities. But the campaign has touted its diverse staff, saying 46%of full-time staff are people of color.

“We know we have work to do and we have said from the beginning,” Biden’s campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.”

Biden has embraced the concept of “Black Lives Matter” and often talks about disparities in the country, telling ABC’s Robin Roberts that there’s a “fundamental difference” between the two candidates on race.

A September 27th ABC News/Washington Post poll of likely voters shows that the equal treatment of racial groups is among the top issues in the 2020 election. When asked who they would trust more to handle that issue, 56% said Biden, while 36% said they would trust Trump.

ABC News’ Molly Nagle, Elizabeth Thomas and Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.

Redemption & Judgment, Part 3 of 4

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hebrews
Black-Hebrew-Israelites

Exodus 6:6-7 says, “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgements.”

“And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”

God Redeemed Israel

El Elohim (The Lord) spoke to Moses, wherein Moses was anointed to lead the Israelites out of bondage and toward a life of new beginnings. And though Moses was called to lead; it was God who would deliver Israel from enslavement in Egypt.

Our text says, “I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgements.”

After 430 years in bondage, God sets in motion a series of events that redeemed Israel from enslavement.

Where the text says, “I will redeem you with a stretched out arm,” the word redeem is translated from the Hebrew word ga’al, which implies a personal relationship.

In ancient cultures, the kinsman (brother/family) redeemed orphans and widows; meaning took the into their household and cared for them.

Redeem, carried the meaning of saving one’s kin from death; reclaiming property, buying back a relatives property.

The meaning of redeem is captured by Jeremiah 50:34: “Yet their Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is his name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land, but unrest to those who live in Babylon.”

God was Israel’s “Redeemer,” as they were His covenant people; i.e., His children. As sons and daughters of All Mighty God, He was their Redeemer. He delivered, liberated, saved or set them free from the grip and power of their oppressor.

The Pharaohs Are Black Kings/Leaders/Presidents

Exodus 6:1 says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”

There are colleges, universities, and scholars that have studied the Exodus, and Moses trying to prove or disprove that the events described by Moses took place.

And while there is neither the space, nor is this article written to be an exhaustive study of the subject, there is ample evidence; both biblical and historical sources that affirm that the Hebrew exodus from Egypt is a historical event.

There are many dates suggested for the Exodus, even so, I will only mention two.

The first proffers that the days of Hebrew bondage in Egypt took place during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II, and that the Exodus took place during the reign of his son Merneptah (late date for the Exodus: 1220 B.C.)

Note: Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop, who published his dissertation, completed at the University of Paris, says the Western world has falsified history with respect to the race of the ancient Egyptians. He argues that the West has invented a hypothetical white Pharaonic race that imported Egyptian civilization from Asia.

Contrarily, Dr. Diop’s research reveals that the Egyptian civilization originated in Africa, and that the indigenous Pharaohs of Egypt were Black Africans. Dr. Diop draws on archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, and other evidence to show parallels between the ancient Egyptians and Blacks from other parts of Africa.

Especially striking are the photographic similarities between Pharaoh Ramses II and the physical features and hairstyle of a modern Watusi warrior. “If the resemblance is more than coincidence, it would mean that this Pharaoh traditionally associated with Moses and the Exodus was a Black African.”

 

 

The second date suggest that the Exodus took place about 1446 B.C.; and to this point, 1 Kings 6:1 says, ” And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.”

Solomon reigned from about 970-930 B.C.; so that, if we add the 430 years the Hebrews spent in bondage in Egypt, and 40 years wandering we get 1440 B.C.

There is ample evidence that Thutmose III, was the Pharaoh at the hight of Israelite bondage in Egypt. It was during his reign that Moses was thought to have killed the Egyptian overseer and fled Egypt.

Forty years later Amenhotep II; the son of Thutmose, who was known to brag about his own skills and accomplishments, embodied the character of the pharaoh that was confronted by Moses, and compelled to free the Hebrews.

Note: A black granite statue of Thutmose III was found at Alexandra; the door jambs of the sough gate of the great solar empale at Heliopolis bear the name of Thutmose III; A black granite door jamb of Thutmose III was found near the Cairo citadel; it probably came from Heliopolis. (Charles F. Aling: Egypt and Bible History, From Earliest Times to 1000 B.C.)

Cain Hope Felder, Troubling Biblical Waters says, “Pharaoh Thutmose III, “the Napoleon of ancient Egypt” who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty by overthrowing  Hyksos rule, had a Nubian mother; he was thereby a mulatto.”

Dr. Felder says, “That the evidence suggest that, by modern standards of race, the indigenous Pharaohs of the Eighteenth to the Twenty-fifth Dynasties were for the most part probably Black.”

Wether during the reign of Ramses II’s son Mernepath, or durning the reign of Thutmoses III’s, son Amenhotep II; Moses went before Pharaoh compelling him to release the enslaved Hebrews from bondage in Egypt.

 

 

Great Judgements

Our text says, I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgements.”

El Shaddai, All Mighty God tells Moses that He will redeem the Hebrew with “great judgements. In the Hebrew text the word judgement is translated for the Hebrew word “shephet,” which has the meaning of “acts of judgement.”

The meaning is evident in Ezekiel 14:12: “For thus says the Lord God; when I send My four severe judgments on Jerusalem — the sword and famine and wild beasts and pestilence — to cut off man and beast from it.”

There is the school of thought that the ten plagues were an attack on the individual deities of the Egyptian pantheon. That being the case, it appears that the first, second, seventh, ninth, and tenth attacked individual deities, while the third, fourth, sixth, and eighth did not.

The first plague turned the Nile to blood – attacked the “Nile god, Hapi.” The second plague inundated the land with frogs – Egypt had many frog/toad deities; Hekat was the most popular; and was associated with the fertility goddess.

The seventh plague, hail and severe thunderstorms – directed against the crops of Egypt, which crippled Egypt’s economy; directed at “Re and other solar deities” who were considered responsible for agricultural productivity.

The ninth plague, darkness – attack on Egypt’s sun god Amon-Re and other less important solar deities. The tenth plague bought death to the firstborn – attacked Egypt’s living god, the pharaoh. The god-king was shown to be no stronger than his lowest subject.

The fifth plague bought disease and death to a large number of Egypt’s livestock – several deities were associated with the cow (primarily the goddess Hathor), but it is perhaps best not to view this plague as an attack on a specific deity.

The other four plagues (dust turned into insects, swarms of flies, boils, locust) are not regarded as attacks on particular gods or goddesses of ancient Egypt.

Moses, like the judgements were used by El Elohim (The Lord) to “redeem/deliver” the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt.

Exodus 12: 29-31 says, And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the first born in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock.

So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was  not one dead.

The he called for Mose and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise and go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the Lord as you have said.

Reflection: Barak Obama was not the first Black man to hold the most powerful position in the world. He stands in succession to a line of powerful Black men and women who have governed the most powerful and advanced civilizations in world history.

Dr. Felder said, “Whether we call Pharaohs Black, Afroasiatic, or Negroid does not matter. The substantive point is that they were not Caucasians.” And packed in this reality is what can be referred to as a two-edged sword.

Wether talking Rameses II, or Amenhotep II; the Hebrew people/Israelites who make up the Exodus were Africans by birth; i.e., they were Black people by modern day classifications. And so, how do we access the oppressive “Black Pharaoh.”

Our paradigm for the liberation struggle of Black people must stretch beyond a white vs. Black issue; as there are numerous ways in which people are and have been oppressed by members of their own racial and national group (Cain Hope Felder; Troubling Biblical Waters).

People are people; freedom from the bondage of this world will manifest when we as people, dedicate ourselves to helping others live better. The apostle Luke said, “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” (Luke 6:31)

Africans oppressing Africans, Americans oppressing Afro-Americans, Brazilians oppressing Afro-Brazilians, Mexicans oppressing Afro-Mexicans, Columbians oppressing Afro-Columbians, White people oppressing Black people.

The history of Egypt is endowed with meaning. And in it’s meaning, God is present liberating people from bondage, oppression, poverty and suffering driven by the greed, power, control, lust and corruption of humankind. (see part 4)

Prayer

Lord, in the name of Jesus grant us to know the wisdom of humility, and the rewards of prayer. It is impossible to know your will; it is impossible to participate in your plan. It is impossible, until You reveal it to us. Bless our eyes to see You, and bless our ears to hear You, O’ Lord. For we are Your children, who want to see, hear and obey You, O’ Lord.

The Apostle Paul said, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Lord, we humbly bow before you, confessing that you are Lord. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah! Praise you Lord, is our prayer. In Jesus name. Amen

Shalom

4,000 Years of African American History in One Post

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African History
4,000 Years, Not 400!

Most African Americans descend from the half million Africans who landed on the shores of North America as captives during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The vast majority came from Western Africa (shaded area below) whose history is a story of the rise and fall of many kingdoms and empires. In this one post we will journey through a largely untold history of African Americans from 2000 BC to 2000 AD.

PART 1
2000 BC to 500 AD
Ancient Africa

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The shaded area of Western Africa where most African American ancestors came from shows evidence of civilizations that go back to at least 2000 BC.

The descriptions in the parentheses (0) match the images on the map.

(1) Ancient Ghana Empire
In West Africa hundreds of abandoned stone settlements dating back to 2000 BC have been found near Tichitt and Walata (2000 BC-500 BC)  in an area that later became part of the Ancient Ghana Empire (300 AD – 1200 AD) in present day southern Mauritania and western Mali which ruled for 900 years from the capital city of Koumbi Selah (pictured above).

(2) Ancient Nok Civilization
The Nok Civilization (1000 BC – 300 AD) in present day Nigeria is believed to have started around 1000 BC. Excavations have found close to one hundred Nok settlements revealing terracotta sculptures from 500 BC (pictured above), pottery, and evidence of large iron furnaces also dating back to at least 500 BC.

(3) Ancient Sao Civilization
Evidence of the Sao Civilization (500 BC-1500 AD) in present day eastern Nigeria, southern Chad, and northern Cameroon, near Lake Chad has traced its history to around 300 BC based on the discovery of pottery and terracotta sculptures (pictured above) at several sites in the area. Some burial grounds show people buried in the fetal position inside large jars (pictured above) similar to some burial sites in Egypt. New excavations from the region of the Sao have revealed evidence of an even earlier civilization referred to by archaeologists as the Gajiganna – Zilum Complex dating back to  at least 1800 BC.

(4) Ancient Kingdom of Nubia
In northeastern Africa the ancient African Kingdom of Nubia (present day Sudan) actually goes back before 2000 BC. Nubia, also known as Cush, built more – albeit smaller – pyramids (pictured above) than Egypt, and eventually conquered and ruled Egypt during its 25th Dynasty (760 BC–656 BC). Although this area is not located in western Africa, some suggest archaeological evidence and written Egyptian records could prove that ties existed between Ancient Egypt, Nubia, and the Sao/Gajiganna – Zilum Civilizations.

In Summary
The Western African civilizations of Tichitt and WalataNokSao,  Gajiganna – Zilum, and the Ghana Empire were all located in the section of Africa where most African Americans would eventually come from (shaded area of map).

PART 2:
500 AD to 1500 AD
The Golden Age of West Africa

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While Europe descended into its “Dark Age” after the fall of the Roman Empire, West Africa was ascending into what many consider to be its Golden Age. The following are a few highlights about this period.

The descriptions in the parentheses (0) match the images on the map.

(5) Mali Empire
Mansa Musa was the 10th king of the Mali Empire (1200-1670) and has been named the richest person ever in the world by Time Magazine (July 30, 2015). He was mostly remembered for his wealth in gold made famous by his pilgrimage to Mecca. While travelling through Egypt on the way to Mecca his caravan spent so much gold it deflated gold prices in Egypt for the next 10 years.

Mansa Musa appears on a Spanish map (above) made in the year 1325 holding a large gold nugget. This is believed to be why European interest in the rich African continent grew. It would be another 100 years before European ships arrived on the West African coast. The Mali empire consisted of the former Ghana Empire and westward including present day Senegal and Gambia.

(6) Songhay Empire
Sunni Ali Ber was the first King of the Songhay Empire (1375 – 1591 AD) as he seized control of former Mali strongholds using his powerful military. Songhay eventually became the largest empire in pre-colonial West Africa encompassing most of the former Ghana and Mali Empires and eastward including present day western Niger.

(7) City of Timbuktu
The city of Timbuktu was an important center of commerce and education during the Mali and Songhay Empires. Timbuktu was the location of the University of Sankore founded in 988 AD (pictured above) which was famous throughout the Muslim world. National Geographic estimates that 700,000 manuscripts which are hundreds of years old have survived in present day private libraries in Timbuktu calling them “significant repositories of scholarly production in West Africa and the Sahara”.

(8) The Oyo Empire
The Oyo Empire (1400 – 1895 AD) was formed by the ethnic Yoruba population in current day southwestern Nigeria. Oyo was one of the more urbanized Empires in Western Africa. Many residents lived in cities and towns that had between 10,000 and 60,000 residents. The king’s palace (pictured above) was in the city of Oyo-Ife in the center of the empire and like other cities in Oyo was completely surrounded with a tall earthen wall with 17 gates.

(9) Benin Kingdom
Benin city (pictured above), the capital of Benin Kingdom (1180 – 1897 AD) in present day southern Nigeria was described by a Portuguese ship captain as: “Great Benin, where the king resides, is larger than Lisbon (Portugal’s capital); all the streets run straight and as far as the eye can see. The houses are large, especially that of the king, which is richly decorated and has fine columns. The city is wealthy and industrious. It is so well governed that theft is unknown and the people live in such security that they have no doors to their houses.”

Nri Kingdom
Just east of Benin was the Nri Kingdom of the Igbo people (948 – 1911 AD) (present day southeastern Nigeria) that ruled its people solely by political and spiritual influence absent any military. This type of rule by influence was very rare in the history of the world. Slavery was outlawed in Nri which became a place of refuge for people rejected from other societies.

(10) The Kongo Kingdom
The Kongo Kingdom (1400 – 1838 AD) in present day northern Angola and far western Democratic Republic of Congo established a diplomatic relationship with the Portuguese in 1485, a commercial partnership that lasted more than 200 years. The king of Kongo voluntarily converted to Christianity and encouraged conversion among its people.

There were many more kingdoms in this region including Kanem-Bornu, Jolof/Wolof, Sine, Mossi States, Borno State and others not included on the map.

PART 3:
1500 AD to 1820 AD
African Kingdoms Before Colonialism

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After the demise of the golden age empires, the western African landscape became dominated by the rise of smaller ethnic independent states some of which created their own empires. By this time Europeans had established trading relationships with many western African kingdoms and empires. Some Europeans were given permission to set up trading posts and forts on the coast while others were refused land and required approval by local kings to travel inland to trade.

The descriptions in the parentheses (00) match the images on the map.

(11) Bambara Empire
The Bambara Empire (1712 – 1861 AD) grew as a result of the fall of the Songhay Empire. The people established a capital at Segou (pictured above) and fought many wars against their surrounding neighbors including the the Mossi States to gain territory from nearby kingdoms. Although engaged in constant warfare, the central part of the empire enjoyed relative stability and prosperity as noted by first time Scottish Explorer Mongo Park. When traveling through Segou he wrote “The view of this extensive city, the numerous canoes on the river, the crowded population, and the cultivated state of the surrounding countryside, formed altogether a prospect of civilization and magnificence that I little expected to find in the bosom of Africa.”

(12) The Kong Empire
The Kong Empire (1710 – 1894) was one of the states that also rose amidst the declining Songhay Empire. Kong fought many wars conquering its neighbors and taking control of the very lucrative trade economy that existed in the area. The capital city of Kong (pictured above) later became a commercial center and known for Islamic studies.

(13) Asante Empire
The Asante State was one of the states of the Akan ethnic group that rose to prominence by conquering nearby Akan states creating the Asante Empire (1701 – 1894) in present day Ghana. This empire was run by a strict adherence to a hierarchical structure and grew rich by controlling the gold trade and improving mining techniques at its secret gold fields. The Asante divided its empire into districts run from its palace (pictured above) in the capital city of Kumasi. They fought many wars against the Kong Empire, and other Akan states (Fente, Bono, and Akym).

(14) City of Kano
The city of Kano (pictured above) was originally established as a city-state in 999 AD. Kano became part of the Songhay Empire sometime after 1450 AD transforming it into more Islamic society.

(15) Kingdoms of N’Dongo and Matamba
In the 1600s the kingdoms of N’Dongo and Matamba were ruled by Queen Nzinga (pictured above) who took over after the death of her brother. For 30 years she fought the Portuguese who conquered land in nearby N’gola (Angola) and were attempting to increase their territory for the slave trade. She was still personally leading her troops in battle against the Portuguese while in her 60s.

Although there were many, some of the other empires, kingdoms, and states during this time period were MandinkaFuloJolof/WolofSineMossi StatesFenteDahomeyAro Confederacy, and Loango.

African Slave Trade

Europeans initially purchased slaves from the existing slave markets within these African kingdoms which were traditionally supplied by prisoners of war and locals convicted of crimes. Continued contact with European slave and gun traders helped to influence an increase of conflicts between several West African states leading them into a perpetual state of war which consequently committed a growing number of prisoners-of-war to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

As the European demand for slave labor began to outstrip supply, slave raids became a more common practice across Western Africa. Raids were carried out by; groups of African and European slavers supplied with Europeans weapons; some African states who raided enemies; as well as Europeans who led their own slave raids. These practices began to depopulate the kingdoms, states, and empires of western Africa destabilizing the entire region.

PART 4
1500 to 1820 AD:
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Era

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Between the years 1500 and 1820 more than 12.5 million African men, women, and children were loaded onto slave ships heading to the Americas. Approximately 2.5 million died along the way. Fewer than 500,000 were brought to North America (probably 410,000 and another 40,000 African born captives from the Caribbean) The bulk of the African captives came from just six regions highlighted on the above map of Africa (right).



The descriptions in the parentheses (00) match the images on the map.

FROM AFRICA TO NORTH AMERICA

(16) Senegambia
(green) an estimated 61,500 or 15% of the total (present day coast between Senegal and Gambia) – Included the empires of Jolof/Wolof, Fulu, Kaabu, kingdoms of Sine, Saloum, Cayor, Mossi, and Baol. They are also descendants of the Ancient Tichitt-Walata Civilization, Ghana, Mali, and Songhay Empires

(17) Windward Coast
(gray) 65,600 or 16% (most of present day Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast)
– Included the Mandinka/Mandingo Kingdom and other smaller kingdoms.

(18) Gold Coast
(yellow) 53,300 or 13%(most of present day Ghana)
– Included the Akan States of Asante, Fente, Bono, and Akym, the Kong Empire and others.

(19) Bight of Benin
(red) 20,500 or 5% (present day Togo, Benin, and southwestern Nigeria)
– Included the Oyo Empire and the kingdoms of Benin and Dahomey and others who are descendants of the ancient Nok Civilization

(20) Bight of Biafra
(blue) 98,400 or 24% (most of present day Nigeria and Cameroon)
– Included the Kingdom of Nri, the Aro Confederacy, Kanem-Bornu Empires, and others who are likely partially descended from the Sao Civilization

(21) Congo/ Angola
(brown) 106,600 or 26% (present day Congo, Zaire, Angola, Namibia)
– Included the Kingdom of Kongo, Ndongo, Loango, Matamba, and several other nearby kingdoms

ARRIVAL IN NORTH AMERICA

African captives landed at just three regions in North America indicated on the above map of the United States (left).

(22) Georgia/ South Carolina

Over half – 234,000 or 52% – landed in Charleston, South Carolina which was the largest slave port on the North American shore. About 45% of the African captives who landed at this port were from the Congo/Angola region which were widely available in the Americas. About 20% came from the Senegambia region where many were originally rice farmers and therefore sought after for rice plantations eventuality becoming the Gullah people of the Georgia/ South Carolina coast.

Generally plantation owners from Georgia and South Carolina refused African captives from the Bight of Biafra who were largely from the Igbo ethnic group and descendants of the Nri Kingdom. It was believed that Igbos were more likely to revolt and commit suicide rather than be slaves because they had a tradition that valued freedom. Estimates of captives brought to Georgia/ South Carolina from each region:

  • 45% from Congo/ Angola
  • 20% Senegambia
  • 18% Windward Coast
  • 15% Gold Coast
  • 2% Bight of Biafra

(23) Virginia/ Maryland

In direct contrast to Georgia and South Carolina, ships that supplied captives to Virginia and Maryland got the largest percentage (36%) of African captives from the Bight of Biafra. Estimates of captives brought to Virginia/ Maryland from each region:

  • 36% Bight of Biafra
  • 17% Congo/ Angola
  • 15% from Senegambia
  • 12% Windward Coast
  • 16% Gold Coast
  • 5% Bight of Benin

(24) Southern Louisiana

The French who controlled Louisiana imported a higher percent from Senegambia and Bight of Benin before the the United States obtained the land via the Louisiana purchase in 1803. Black New Orleans reflects some of the culture of the Yoruba ethnic group who are decedents of the Oyo Empire and Dahomey Kingdom near the Bight of Benin. Estimates into Louisiana from each region:

  • 35% from Congo/ Angola
  • 20% Senegambia
  • 20% Bight of Benin
  • 10% Windward Coast
  • 10% Bight of Biafra
  • 5% Gold Coast

African captives from the Gold Coast who were largely ethnic Akan people from the Asante Empire and nearby Akan states were preferred by all slave holders. However they were not as available as Congo/ Angola captives. Akan people came from societies who practiced a strict adherence to a hierarchical power structure. Many plantation owners believed this made them less likely to revolt.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave trade was officially outlawed in 1807 although some ships sailed illegally for many years after. In the year 1700 more than half (58%) of North America slaves were born in Africa but by 1820 more than 88% of slaves had been born in America. Slaves were forcibly encouraged not to pass on their African culture and identity which helped to solidify the notion of African Americans as a slave class. The African American population in 1820 was 1.7 million, 1.5 million of which were slaves.

PART 5:
1820 to 1860
U.S. Domestic Slave Trade Era

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The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade ended in 1807 which meant it was no longer legal to buy and sell slaves across the ocean or internationally. However slavery within the United States remained legal and even experienced a huge expansion during this time. In 1820 there were 1.7 million African Americans in the country and 1.5 million of them were slaves mainly concentrated in the Atlantic states and southern Louisiana.

Between 1800 and 1820 two events occurred changing the geography of slavery in America: the invention of the cotton gin and that Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas joined the union as slave-holding states. This lead to a surge in the domestic slave trade resulting in an increase of slaves from VA, MD, GA, SC, and Southern Louisiana being sold to MS, AL, TX, AR, and northern Louisiana.

During the length of the entire slave trade approximately 835,000 slaves were sold between plantations within the United States. A failed attempt by slave-holding states to preserve slavery by seceding from the United States resulted in the Civil War and the final abolition of slavery in America in 1865.

The descriptions in the parentheses (00) match the images on the map.

(25) Results from six different DNA studies show evidence that African Americans are on average 21% European. The widespread sexual exploitation of African American women during slavery is cited as a major reason for this as female slaves were considered property allowing for atrocities such as widespread rape to go unpunished.

Contrary to popular belief, so far DNA evidence reveals that African Americans are only 2% Native American. This contradicts what many African Americans have been told by older generations as an explanation for fair skin within most Black families. The stories of Native American Ancestry were very common and may have been an attempt to conceal the shame of the widescale rape of their ancestors.

The 1860 US Census, in its last official Census count before emancipation counted just under 4.5 million African Americans in which 4 million were slaves.

PART 6:
1865 to 1940
Black Settlements/ First Great Migration

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Black Settlements
After emancipation a large percentage of newly freed African Americans remained on plantations as sharecroppers. However thousands of African American men and women opted, instead, to flee from their former plantations and created, occupied, and governed hundreds of new independent Black towns and settlements. Most Black settlements were unincorporated communities but about 80 Black towns were officially incorporated during this time.

A group of Black Settlements were located in Maryland and others were scattered throughout the deep south such as Grambling LouisianaTuskegee Alabama, and Mound Bayou Mississippi. But Oklahoma and Texas were home to a concentration of more than 70 Black settlements and towns. There was even a Black town as far west as California. In 1910, 89% of all African Americans still lived in the South, and 80% of them in rural areas.

The descriptions in the parentheses (00) match the images on the map.

(26) Mound Bayou, Mississippi
Mound Bayou, Mississippi 
exemplified the will and determination of formerly enslaved men and women who built these towns. In 1887 ex-slave Isaiah T Montgomery and his cousin Benjamin T. Green purchased undeveloped land on a rail line in the Mississippi Delta. With the help of twelve other freed slaves they cleared the land and erected the town of Mound Bayou. Like other Black towns Mound Bayou had grown into a self-sufficient city in the early 1900s with its own businesses including a cotton mill, four cotton gins, a bank, a public school system, a private school system, and a technical college. The State of Mississippi and the surrounding White residents resisted by bending laws to close down the Bank and trying to force Mound Bayou farmers to buy supplies from White suppliers. In response Mound Bayou businessmen went to court to reopen the bank and local farmers created a cooperative business for their supplies.

(27) Oklahoma Black towns and settlements

In Oklahoma from 1865 to 1920 more than 50 independent towns and settlements were created mostly on former Native American land opened up for settlement by the federal government. More Black towns and settlements were created in Oklahoma than any other state, thirteen of which still exist today. Boley, Oklahoma (pictured above) was the largest of these towns with over 4,000 residents in 1911. Boley had a nationally chartered bank, its own electric company, public and private schools, and two colleges. Just as he did with Mound Bayou Mississippi, Booker T. Washington visited, wrote, and talked about Boley in his speeches.

By 1910 African Americans who stayed behind on the old plantations began to grow frustrated with the system of sharecropping which had become in many cases, just another form of slavery. Also new Jim Crow legislation was being passed in the South further restricting many of the civil rights enjoyed briefly after emancipation. Rather than move into Black towns, a larger number of African Americans began moving North in what is now known as the First Great Migration into cities such as ChicagoDetroitSt Louis, and New York. There they created flourishing Black communities. Between 1910 and 1930 more than 1.5 million African Americans made this journey.

(28) Harlem, New York
Harlem, New York
 was an example of progress in the urban Black communities in northern cities. In 1904 real estate investor and savvy businessman Philip A. Payton, Jr. created the Afro-American Real Estate Company. With the help of Black investors from the National Negro Business League, he purchased two apartment buildings in Harlem and evicted its White tenets replacing them with Black tenants. This forced White owners to sell nearby buildings to Payton at much lower prices than they were originally worth. He continued to move Black renters into the buildings he owned and into others that he later leased, making Central Harem onto the Black community that later would be the home of the Harlem Renaissance. This is why Payton is sometimes acknowledged as the father of Harlem. Similar communities sprung up in cities of all sizes across the country in places such as Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia and even in southern cities like Atlanta, Memphis, Birmingham, and Raleigh North Carolina.

Between emancipation and World War II, Black communities around the country were often plagued with Jim Crow legislation and race riots from neighboring White communities. In the South this occurred frequently when tensions between the races boiled over and often resulted in White mobs indiscriminately lynching African Americans, and in many cases, burning down and destroyed Black communities. In the North tensions often flared because of job competition and housing but had similar results.

(29) Black immigrants
Between 1899 and 1937 more than 140,000 Black immigrants came through United States ports mostly from the Caribbean or West Indian islands of the BahamasJamaicaBarbadosSaint Vincent, Saint LuciaGrenada, and Dominica. Popular destinations were New York, Boston, and Florida. At one point close to one third of Black Central Harlem was from the Caribbean. Black Caribbeans tended to be overrepresented as Black business owners and members of the middle class. At times, this caused tension between them and the African American population. Another wave of about 40,000 Black immigrants entered the United States from the Caribbean during World War II as laborers working wherever they were needed for the war effort. Second and third generation Black Caribbeans usually integrated with African Americans but also identified strongly with their Caribbean or West Indian heritage.

The Great Depression of the 1930s sealed the fate of many Black settlements that were unable to survive economically. Residents abandoned many of these communities to find work, food, and shelter elsewhere. Few settlements survived on their own and others were annexed by nearby cities. The depression also slowed down the migration from the South. Despite these setbacks the African American population of the United States in 1940 had grown to 12.9 million.

Oklahoma Towns Video: http://www.okhistory.org/historycenter/blacktowns/ssjones.mp4

PART 7:
1941 to 1970
The Second Great Migration

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After the Great Depression, millions of African Americans began escaping the Jim Crow South again. More than 5 million African Americans moved to cities in the North and on the West Coast in what is known as the Second Great Migration. This migration tended to follow the pattern of the First Great Migration along the rail lines; therefore, one may find that certain cities in the North have Black populations that come from the same areas in the South. This is why so many African Americans in New York have family in VirginiaGeorgiaNorth and South Carolina while many others from Detroit have family in Alabama, and those in Chicago tend to have roots in Mississippi.  For most, the South was considered their homeland because they could no longer trace their African identity; it had long been erased during the institution of American slavery.

The descriptions in the parentheses (00) match the images on the map.

(30) The 1950s marked the beginning of the Civil Rights era. African American life in Montgomery, Alabama had become typical of the Jim Crow South. However, in 1955 a woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a White man as required by Montgomery city ordinance. This sparked the famous Montgomery bus boycott headed by Rev Martin Luther King Jr. where 40,000 Black bus patrons in an economic protest, refused to ride the bus for 381 days until the system was integrated after a Supreme Court decision. Despite the hard fought gains in civil justice, African Americans were still leaving the South in large numbers.

(31) Migrating North: Detroit

As African Americans moved north, the Black population in many northern cities like Detroit exploded during and after World War II due to available industrial jobs. Between 1940 and 1950, more than 66% of the Black population in Detroit was born outside of the area, with most born in the South. Although there were no Jim Crow laws in Detroit, from 1950 to 1970 racial segregation in the metro area increased as the White population moved to suburbs. It was during this time period that Detroit was said to have one of the largest Black middle-class communities in the nation and Motown Records brought Detroit international fame.

(32) Moving West: Los Angeles

In 1940, Los Angeles had a black population of 63,774; more than all other western cities combined. During the 1940s about 140,000 African Americans began arriving from the South and Midwest to fill jobs in the newly opened factories. By 1960, Los Angeles had the fifth largest black population in the US, larger than any city in the South. This also had an affect on Hollywood which began producing more well-meaning Black films like ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ and television shows like I, Spy, Julia, and The Bill Cosby Show which offered a more three-dimensional portrayal of African Americans in entertainment than in previous decades.

The industrial North and West Coast also provided union jobs for laborers and brought many African American families into the middle class became able to afford to send their children to college. By 1960, 40 percent of all African Americans lived outside the South, and 75% lived in cities.

The Civil Rights Era

lasted from the 1950s through the 1960s. During this period, millions of African Americans from Montgomery, Alabama to Chicago fought for civil rights to gain the privilege to vote, desegregate the schools, end housing and job discrimination, and end the policy of “separate but equal” public and private services. The success of the protests and the new legislation was almost overshadowed by widespread rioting that occurred in dozens of cities in the North and on the West Coast. The effect of the Civil Rights era would lead to dramatic changes for Black America in the coming decades.  By 1970,  47 percent of all African Americans lived outside the South and more than 80 percent lived in urban areas. In 1970 the African American population was 22.6 million.

PART 8:
1970 to 2000
The NEW Great Migration

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After the civil rights era the African American population began a noticeable split. Black consumers started spending more of their money at White owned businesses resulting in the demise of many Black owned businesses. Also, many Middle class and upwardly mobile African Americans who would have opened businesses were, instead, taking advantage of newly available education and employment opportunities within corporate America and the government. These combined factors added to the lack of business and job creation from within the Black community because getting a good job was viewed as more attainable and financially stable than creating a business.

With the end of housing discrimination policies White suburbs all across America began to experience an increase of African Americans. Most suburbs remained overwhelmingly White while some in large cities became majority Black middle class neighborhoods.

(33) For example during this suburbanization period (1970-2000) many middle class African Americans left the city limits of Detroit. By 2000 African Americans made up almost half of the total population growth in the Detroit suburbs. From 1990 to 2000 the Black population in the city of Detroit decreased for the first time in history. Poverty in the city increased and became more concentrated. The city lost much of its tax base and more than half of its total population and today it is widely used as the prime example of urban decay. This same pattern was repeated all across America. As of 2002, ninety percent of the Black population in metropolitan Detroit resided in either Detroit or four of its suburbs.

(32) Growing Black Middle – Class

During the 1980s the southern half of Suburban Atlanta became a big destination for African Americans from across the country who were looking for a good neighborhoods near the fast growing city of Atlanta. Suburban Black middle-class neighborhoods began filling undeveloped land all throughout the southern half of Metro Atlanta in DeKalb, South Fulton, and Clayton Counties. Because of the lack of job development in the southern suburbs most still had to commute downtown or to job centers on the opposite side of Atlanta (north).

Despite this many have considered the Atlanta Metro to be the New Black Mecca, allegedly replacing Harlem as the African American center of business and culture and beginning to eclipse Los Angeles and New York as the center of African American entertainment. The Atlanta metropolitan Black population would become the second largest in the nation by 2010 with 1.8 million African Americans surpassing Chicago and coming in second to New York.



Majority Black middle-class suburbs also sprung up outside of other major cities including Washington DC (Prince George’s County, Maryland), Dallas (DeSotoCedar Hill), Chicago (Hazel Crest), Charlotte, and St Louis (Black Jack). Despite having large concentrations of Black middle-class residents, these communities still lacked an economic base of business development to help support infrastructure, job growth, health and community services, as well as other basic forms of commercial development. They were often located too far from areas with job and infrastructure growth and required lengthy commutes.

(34) For example while the Black Suburbs of DeSoto and Cedar Hill were growing south of Dallas, corporations were busy creating jobs and expanding infrastructure north of Dallas. (33) The Black suburbs of Prince George’s County MD was expanding east and further southeast of Washington DC, while most corporate business development was growing north of DC and west of DC in Virginia. The same pattern exists in Chicago, Houston, St Louis, and other cities which placed the biggest corporate investment on the opposite side of the metropolitan areas from the Black middle class.

As the Rust Belt cities of the old industrial age such as DetroitClevelandMilwaukee, and Pittsburgh, etc. continued to decline during the 80s and 90s, middle-class African Americans who did not move to local suburbs began migrating to suburbs of sunbelt cities like AtlantaCharlotteHouston and Phoenix which offered more job opportunities and a better quality of life.

Black Poverty

The flight of the Black middle class left behind even poorer more isolated and less educated Black communities in traditionally Black neighborhoods with crumbling infrastructures in cities and towns all across America. By 2014 23% percent of Black families and 37% of single-parent Black families lived below the poverty level. They were vulnerable to a growing drug epidemic and the so-called “War on Drugs” which lead to a wave of mass incarceration policies including “tough on crime” legislation passed on every level of government. The result was an increased use of heavy handed policing particularly focused on Black men.

As a result an alarming number of Black men have been removed from the workforce and deemed unemployable because of drug related non-violent felony crime records. Before 1960 African Americans were more likely to be married than Whites but by 2010 only 32% of African Americans were married compared to 52% of all Americans. This greatly affected the extremely poor and a large number of now single income middle-class Black families who actually had been surviving only a pay period away from the poverty line.



For many African Americans the era between 1970 and 2000 will be seen as a time of advancement and prosperity; for many others it will be viewed as a time of cyclical poverty and mass incarceration of Black men who, as a result, were less able to help lead their poorer communities. At the same time they became less of a factor in the future of middle class Black families. From 1970 to 2000 the Black population grew from 22.6 million to 36.4 million.

Density of the Black Population in 2000

After 2000
(36) Between 2000 and 2014 more than 1 million immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa came to the United States mainly from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This was the largest number of Africans coming to the U.S. since the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Most have settled in metropolitan areas of New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Houston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Dallas where they tend to be dispersed in non-Black neighborhoods. African immigrants tend to have a higher than average socioeconomic status and are literally the most educated of all immigrants to the United States from anywhere else in the world. In 2013 an estimated 3.8 million or 8.7% of the Black population were foreign born from Africa and the Caribbean. This number is expected to rise to 16% by 2060.

The Great Recession
The economic recession of 2008 set African American families back more and longer than others. Some of the highest home foreclosure rates happened in the majority Black middle-class suburbs. African Americans are the only group that has not recovered fully from the recession.

Recent Rise in Activism

With the help of mobile phone videos, social media, and nationwide protests, a resurgence of a 1960s style civil rights movement began in 2015. This movement is mainly focused on ending police brutality, discrimination, and mass incarceration. A much smaller lesser-known economic movement of Black business ownership, support, and job creation is also underway. So far, this initiative has failed to gain steam and yield community-impacting results with the majority of the African American community.

Conclusion
African Americans have a history that goes back four thousand years, not “four hundred years” – which is a frequently used phrase when discussing Black history. That means for at least 3,600 years our ancestors controlled the societies, governments, militaries, and economies, of Western Africa. All of this took place before 400 years of being sold across the ocean, enduring slavery, mass rape, racial oppression. The last 400 years have forcibly merged the Black population into one people whose knowledge of its own history had been lost and forgotten.

Since the end of slavery African Americans have gone to great lengths to become a part of the American Dream – with many successes as well as many failures. Today African Americans have failed to fully integrate as a whole into American society and have yet to create an economic job creation engine that will sustain Black communities. Despite the growth of the Black middle-class Black wealth remains very low ($5,600) compared to that of White Americans($113,000). Today African American families are more fragile than ever because they are more reliant on single parental incomes, have few investments, and own few assets.

African America – A Powerful Nation
Despite all of this the African American population boasts a spending power of more than 1 trillion dollars annually. If Black America were its own nation it would be a nation of 45 million and would rank 31st in size on earth with a life expectancy higher than 103 other countries. Substituting income for GDP, it would have a GDP higher than all South American countries, all African countries, and higher than most Asian countries. The chart below created using GapMinder’s Socio-Economic World Map shows you what that would look like.

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Therefore the African American community is positioned above most other populations in the world with a unique opportunity to gather its strengths and build a stronger community with not only a great history but also a greater future.

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Many Major Corporations That Got Rich From The Slavery Of Blacks In USA, Still Exist Today

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slave haling cotton

When slavery of Blacks in the USA is discussed, we are ofter carried away with the gorry details and the dehumanization of Africans who were stolen and taken to America to be enslaved.

But we ofter forget to discuss the                                                                      tremendous wealth which was created                                                                          off the backs and sweat of enslaved Africans.

Out of the sweat of these dehumanized Africans, came the tremendous wealth that America enjoys today.

And this is seen through the various Corporations that benefitted from the enslavement of Africans.

This article points to a few of these corporations and how they exploited kidnapped, sold, and enslaved Africans to create wealth, and how they are still existing till this date.

“The enslavement of African people in the Americas by the nations and people of Western Europe, created the economic engine that funded modern capitalism.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that most of the major corporations that were founded by Western European and American merchants prior to 100 years ago, benefited directly from slavery.”

-Culled from The Atlanta Black Star

According to the NBC News, a Steve Wing aged 71, read the signage found near a sculpture commemorating the slave trade. This memorial is dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people and those terrorized by lynching and by Jim Crow segregation in America. As conceived by the Equal Justice Initiative, the physical environment intends to foster reflection on America’s history of racial inequality.

This is why manifesting reparations is equally as important for Black people in America as ending the system of racism and white supremacy. Because Equality and equity are not the same thing, Black America is long overdue for a fair share of equity.

Many Major Corporations That Got Rich From The Slavery Of Blacks In USA, Still Exist Today

Did you know that trillions of dollars and entire empires were built from the labor and ingenuity of Black people in America?

There can never be justice in America until the descendants of the people who earned America’s enormous amount of wealth, get their share. If “Black lives matter” then America’s largest banking institutions and corporations should repay black people in America.

America would not have accumulated the wealth and power it has without centuries of exploiting black labor for white wealth. The companies mentioned below are just a few of the major American corporations that profited From slavery.

– J.P. Morgan Chase, Investment Banking Company (Profited from slavery).

“J.P. Morgan Chase filed a disclosure statement with the city of Chicago on January 20 acknowledging that between 1831 and 1865, two of J.P. Morgan Chase’s predecessor banks; Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana accepted approximately 13,000 slaves as collateral for loans and ended up owning approximately 1,250 of them as a result of defaults.”

– Culled from The New York Sun –

-Lehman Brothers, Banking Investment Company (Built Wealth From Cotton Harvested By Slaves).

“The Lehman family members were Alabama cotton brokers. In 1850 they founded Lehman Brothers Investments, acquiring their capital and wealth by investing and trading in cotton. Three sons moved to New York City in 1858, where they later helped to establish the New York Cotton Exchange in 1870.”

– Culled from Workers.org 

-Wachovia Bank built wealth from slavery profits (now owned by Wells Fargo)

Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia issued a 111-page report to comply with a Chicago ordinance that requires companies that do business with the city to disclose whether they profited from slavery, which ended in the United States in 1865.

”On behalf of Wachovia Corporation, I apologize to all Americans, and especially to African-Americans and people of African descent,” said Ken Thompson, Wachovia chairman, and chief executive officer, in the statement released late Wednesday.

He further said “We are deeply saddened by these findings. Historians at the History Factory, a research firm specializing in corporate archival work, found that the Georgia Railroad and Banking Company and the Bank of Charleston institutions that ultimately became part of Wachovia through acquisitions of owned slaves, Wachovia said in the statement.

Records revealed that the Georgia Railroad and Banking Company owned at least 162 slaves and that the Bank of Charleston accepted at least 529 slaves as collateral on mortgaged properties or loans. The Bank of Charleston also acquired an undetermined number of people when customers defaulted on their loans.”

– Culled from CNN Money 

– New York Life Insurance Company Had Policies That Reimburse Slave Owners For Dead Slaves

“New York Life, the nation’s third-largest life insurance company, opened in Manhattan’s financial district in the spring of 1845. The firm possessed a prime address-58 Wall Street and a board of trustees populated by some of the city’s wealthiest merchants, bankers and railroad magnates. Sales were sluggish that year. So the company looked south.

There, in Richmond, VA, an enterprising New York Life agent sold more than 30 policies in a single day in February 1846. Soon, advertisements began appearing in newspapers from Wilmington, N.C, to Louisville as the New York-based company encouraged Southerners to buy insurance to protect their most precious commodity: their slaves.

Alive, slaves were among a white man’s most prized assets. Dead, they were considered virtually worthless. Life insurance changed that calculus, allowing slave owners to recoup three-quarters of a slave’s value in the event of an untimely death.”

– Culled from The New York Times –

In conclusion, if Black people in America were to be paid reparations for their suffering and enslavement, these corperations are to be called into account, as well as the government.

By

Obiwuru Igbo

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Women lead in Sudan’s clamour for good governance

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Sudanese people

The protests in Sudan from 2018 to 2019 represented a return, rather than a sudden rise, of women’s leadership, organization and mobilization.

Women were visible leaders on the frontlines of the protests, through music, poetry and speeches.

They organized and coordinated times and locations. They provided food, shelter and necessary resources for other protesters. They were also victims of physical brutality, tear gas and death.

News outlets estimated that upwards of 70 per cent of protesters were women.

The most recognizable example was of Alaa Salah, dressed in a white gown and large, golden earrings, whose video clip of her standing on top of a car leading a chant with a densely packed crowd of protesters went viral and was used in several international media outlets.

Since the famous photo of her on the car was taken and shared across social media, Ms. Salah has spoken to the United Nations Security Council, given many other interviews and paused her intent to continue schooling in favor of advocating for a better Sudan.

 

Alaa Salah, Civil Society Activist and Community Leader from Sudan

Alaa Salah, Civil Society Activist and Community Leader from Sudan, addresses the Security Council meeting on Women and peace and security.

 

The transitional constitution guarantees 40 per cent representation to women in the 300-seat parliamentary body the Transitional Legislative Council, which is 120 seats, an increase from the previous representation quota of 25 per cent in the former regime.

However, despite some successes, Ms. Salah, among others, has made it clear that political change must include equal representation. As Ms. Salah stated at the United Nations, “There is no excuse for [women] not to have an equal seat at every single table.”

Historical context

The Sudanese Women’s Union (SWU), formed in 1952, represents a strong example of women fighting for political change. The SWU strove to create positive changes in women’s lives by reducing female illiteracy, ending pay and job discrimination and gaining the women’s right to vote. Universal suffrage and the right to maternity leave were some of the group’s greatest accomplishments.

However, dictators later curbed the momentum by limiting and co-opting women’s representation through political quotas, outlawing women’s non-governmental organizations and jailing the opposition. This all occurred despite the president of the SWU, Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim, becoming the first woman voted into parliament in Sudan in the 1960s.

What has changed

Following several months on the streets, Sudanese protestors achieved one of their biggest goals in August 2019 – the agreement for the creation of a transitional, civilian-majority government.

The transitional constitution guarantees 40 per cent representation to women in the 300-seat parliamentary body the Transitional Legislative Council, which is 120 seats, an increase from the previous representation quota of 25 per cent in the former regime.

Women in El Fasher, North Darfur, march for “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence”, an annual campaign beginning on the International Day to End Violence Against Women
Women in El Fasher, North Darfur, march for “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence”, an annual campaign beginning on the International Day to End Violence Against Women. UN Photo/Albert González Farran

 

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, sworn in last August, appointed four women to cabinet: Foreign Minister Asma Mohamed Abdalla, Minister of Labor and Social Development Lena el-Sheikh Mahjoub, Minister of Youth and Sports Wala’a Essam al-Boushi and Minister of Higher Education Intisar el-Zein Seghayroun.

There have also been changes in legislation that affect the lives of women across Sudan. The government has repealed a repressive public order law policing how women act and what they wear and was one of the countless tools meant to discriminate and repress women.

The death penalty for apostasy was repealed. Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been outlawed and the execution of children has been banned. Women no longer need the consent of their husband or male guardian to travel with their children.

However, Mariam Yahya, a victim of Sudan’s apostasy laws and discrimination towards women, points out that “there is still a long way to go.”

Progress amid challenges

Despite some progress in Sudan towards achieving human rights and democratic values, challenges remain.

The economy, which had already been struggling under former president Omar al-Bashir, has not recovered under the new administration, and the restrictions and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have only made conditions worse.

Protesters have returned to the streets to voice their displeasure over the current conditions and the pace of economic reform, while remnants of the old regime are also pushing back against the reforms.

For Sudan’s women, the march for equal representation continues, to both fill the 120 seats in the transitional council and to prepare for the 2022 elections.

A UN-funded mapping exercise earlier this year to promote political participation and identify and later train potential candidates found over 1,000 women willing to represent their communities, despite barriers ranging from patriarchal systems and lack of training, to travel expenses and childcare needs.

By:
Jaxson Cooper

UN launches 2020 Class of 17 Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals

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UN Youth Leaders

The United Nations today announced the names of the latest class of 17 Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mariama Djambony BadjiMariama Djambony Badji, Senegal

On a biennial basis, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth recognizes 17 young changemakers who are leading efforts to combat the world’s most pressing issues and whose leadership is catalyzing the achievement of the SDGs.

“As the UN marks its 75th anniversary during unprecedented times, the 2020 Young Leaders for the SDGs are a clear example of how young people are leading the way in shaping a more sustainable and inclusive future for all,” said Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. ”Despite being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, young people around the world continue to demonstrate immense resilience, resourcefulness and leadership in finding innovative solutions to recover better and achieve the SDGs.”

These young leaders — between the ages of 18 and 29 years old — represent the diverse voices of young people from every region of the world, and are collectively responsible for activating millions of young people in support of the SDGs. This group will come together as a community to support efforts to engage young people in the realization of the SDGs both through strategic opportunities with the UN and through their existing initiatives, platforms and networks.

Satta SheriffSatta Sheriff, Liberia

2020 Young Leaders for the SDGs are:

Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, Nigeria

More information on the 2020 Young Leaders for the SDGs, including the full profiles of the Young Leaders and their commitments to advancing the SDGs, is available at un.org/youthenvoy/about-the-young-leaders-for-the-sdgs.

About the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

In 2017, the UN Secretary-General appointed Jayathma Wickramanayake of Sri Lanka as his Special Envoy on Youth and as the youngest senior official in the history of the organization.

Ms. Wickramanayake’s mandate is to harmonize the UN system efforts on youth development, enhance the UN response to youth needs, advocate for the development needs and rights of young people, as well as to bring the work of the United Nations on youth closer to them. The Envoy on Youth also acts as the advisor to and the representative of the Secretary-General on youth related matters.

European Development Days (EDD) Young Leaders Programme 2019 (Fully-funded  to Brussels) | Opportunity Desk

 

For more information, follow @UNYouthEnvoy on social media.

Why at 79, Joseph Ligon who has been in prison since 16, turned down offer to be released

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Joseph Ligon

Ligon was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1953, at 16 years old, alongside three other boys in connection with the stabbing deaths of the two men and the injury of the eight others. Ligon, despite his conviction, maintains that he did not kill anyone as he stabbed only one person, who survived.

At 83, Ligon is now said to be the oldest and longest-serving juvenile lifer in the world, having served 68 years in prison. His co-defendants have either died or received commutations but when he got the chance to be released, the white-haired man turned it down.

In November 2016, he became eligible for a new sentence following a Supreme Court decision banning life without parole for juveniles. However, when the offer of 50 years to life in prison that would make him immediately eligible for parole was put to him, he declined on principle.

79-Year-Old Man Serving Life in Prison for Murder Rejects Parole: 'He's Been in Long Enough' | Inside Edition

“His view is: He’s been in long enough,” Bradley Bridge, an attorney with the Defender Association who represents Ligon, told the court at the time. “He doesn’t want to be on probation or parole. He just wants to be released.”

Ligon, of course, would like to go free, but he apparently didn’t want the kind of freedom that would require him to remain under the control of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

That same Pennsylvania, he claims, has not done anything good for his family after it locked him up.

“My baby brother was murdered in South Philadelphia. My father was murdered in Pennsylvania,” Ligon said. “My brother Jesse was married to a woman, and her brother was murdered in Pennsylvania and her father was murdered in Pennsylvania. There has just been so much crime in Pennsylvania within my family.”

Besides, Ligon said he would like to join his sister and niece in New Jersey, but parole would require him to stay in Pennsylvania, which he is against.

Ligon, who remains mostly illiterate, grew up on a farm in Alabama. He never attended school until he was 13 when his family moved to Philadelphia. It was in Philadelphia that he joined the gang who got involved in the drunken stabbing spree. Identified by his accomplices as the killer, Ligon said he was told to plead guilty and he didn’t know that would mean life in prison. He was also not present at his own sentencing.

Joe Ligon — Juvenile-in-justice.com

In May 2017, Ligon was re-sentenced to 35 years to life but rejected his new sentence for the second time. “He does not want the sentence the judge gave him,” Bridge was quoted by CBS Philly. “He figures that after 64 years in prison, he’s been in enough time.”

“I want to get out– no parole and no probation,” Ligon told the judge.

Reports said he wanted the judge and prosecutors to reduce his sentence to “time served.”

“He’s a good guy and he deserves to come home just like anyone else deserved to come home,” George Peterson, who knew Ligon for 20 years inside Graterford and now released, said.

“Being in jail so long, I think he got used to that life,” said Peterson. “If had an opportunity to come home—I think he could adjust to this life too.”

But there have been instances where men leave on parole and end up back inside the prison on a minor violation, and this is what Ligon wants to avoid, Bridge said in 2017.

“If he gets out he never wants to come back.”

 

Mildred Europa Taylor

MILDRED EUROPA TAYLOR

Netflix Wants the Oscars to Consider Delroy Lindo For a Best Actor Nomination for ‘Da 5 Bloods’

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 Delroy Lindo

The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony isn’t slated to roll out until its new date of April 25, 2021. However, chatter has already begun on who might be up for a nomination. It was recently announced that streaming giant Netflix is gearing up to promote a nominee of their own for the distinctive award.

In a scoop given to Variety, Netflix revealed its decision to campaign actor Delroy Lindo, the star of Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” for lead actor in the upcoming Academy Awards. In the film, Lindo plays Paul, a Vietnam War veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who travels back to Vietnam to search for the remains of his fallen squad leader.

Lindo has been a pillar in film and television for four decades, with more than 40 screen credits. He has also had two career SAG nominations as part of a cast ensemble for his work in “Get Shorty” and “The Cider House Rules.” However, the 67-year-old is an unsung hero despite having standout roles in films like “Malcolm X.”

It may come as a surprise to some, but movies from streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime are still eligible for an Oscar. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to allow any film to be considered for an award as long as it had a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles theater.

However, critics and strategists have mixed feelings about where the actor should campaign for the Oscars. According to the report, many felt the film was more of an ensemble with no definitive lead.

The film also stars Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and the late Chadwick Boseman. However, as the movie follows the soldiers on their journey back to the Southeast Asian country, Lindo’s character, Paul, takes center stage with more screen time than his co-stars as the focal point of the story.

Still, his race to an Oscar would be met with some stiff competition. Lindo would be facing off against other Hollywood veterans, including Anthony Hopkins for his role in “The Father,” and Gary Oldman for “Mank.” Both Hopkins and Oldman have taken home the trophy previously. Others are sure to enter the race in the coming months, seeing as preliminary voting doesn’t occur until Feb. 1, 2021.

Abyssinia and the Ethiopian Empire: The Ancient History of a Struggling Nation

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Ethiopian mural

The Horn of Africa is a region with a unique identity and vibrant history. Close to the Arabian Peninsula, it always stood out from the rest of the African continent. Today, the Horn of Africa is home to the modern nations of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia, comprising some 115 million people.

Throughout centuries of rich history, Ethiopia has managed to persevere and preserve its identity, despite many pressures. Once known as the Ethiopian Empire, or Abyssinia, which existed from 1270 to 1974, it is one of the longest surviving empires in history and is defined by its distinctive character and a past filled with defining moments.

Today we’ll be stepping back in time, as we recount the ancient and modern ages of the venerable Ethiopian Empire.

Ancient Origins of the Ethiopian Empire: The Rise of Aksum

The earliest origins of the Ethiopian Empire reach back before 1270. The story begins with the Kingdom of Aksum , also known as the Aksumite Empire , an ancient kingdom of great import in the classical world. Aksum was located in today’s northern Ethiopia, and flourished from about 80 BC to 825 AD.

Taking its name from its key city, the capital called Axum, its strategic location played a crucial role in the trading routes of the ancient world, particularly between ancient India and the Roman Empire. In time, Axum grew in power and importance, and eclipsed the neighboring and older Kingdom of Kush.

The importance of Axum was well portrayed by the famous Persian prophet Mani, who said:

“There are four great Kingdoms on Earth: the first is the Kingdom of Babylon and Persia; the second is the Kingdom of Rome; the third is the Kingdom of the Aksumites; the fourth is the Kingdom of the Chinese .”

To the Greeks and the Romans, the Kingdom of Aksum was well known, as it was to the Arabs and the Persians as well. Aksum ascended to great heights thanks almost exclusively to trade. Commerce was the key factor that helped Axum evolve to become the capital of an empire.

This can safely be ascribed to its proximity to the Red Sea and its trade routes, since all it had to do was successfully facilitate the growing need of the Greeks and the Romans for African goods. A major export of Axum was elephant ivory, which was a highly sought after commodity in the Mediterranean, Levant, and Persia.

Aksumite traders established far-reaching caravans that would travel into the African interior in order to procure more ivory. As Axum was located at key crossroads for trade traffic, it only sped up its prosperity. In time, Axum became the hotbed for a rising civilization with a unique character fed by a proper amalgam of indigenous African cultures infused with South Arabian character, as well as plenty of influences from the classical world of the Mediterranean.

The Book of Aksum is a collection of 15th century documents from St. Mary’s Cathedral of Aksum which gives crucial information about Ethiopian history. (Dmitry Chulov / Adobe Stock)

The Book of Aksum is a collection of 15 th century documents from St. Mary’s Cathedral of Aksum which gives crucial information about Ethiopian history. ( Dmitry Chulov / Adobe Stock)

A Crucial Trading Power Rises

The name Ethiopia to describe the Aksumite Empire appears as early as the 4 th century, and one popular explanation for the name is that it comes from Greek: Αἰθιοπία (Aithiopia). This is a compound word that roughly translated means “burnt face” or “red brown”. This term was used early on by Herodotus to denote this particular region of Africa. This Greek word was later loaned to the Amharic language of the region as ʾĪtyōṗṗyā.

More precisely, the name Aethiopia was used in Greco-Roman inscriptions for a long time and denoted specifically the region of ancient Nubia. However, in the 15 th century Ethiopian church book, known as the Book of Aksum , it is stated that the name stems from a legendary biblical figure known as Ityopp’is, a son of Cush (Kush).

It was Ityopp’is who allegedly founded the city of Axum. Ethiopia was also known as Abyssinia in English historiography and elsewhere. This term stems from the Ethiopian Ge’ez language and their pronunciation of Aethiopia: Habashat.

The people of the Aksumite Empire began using the designation “Ethiopians” only around the 4 th century AD, when the Aksumite King Ezana conquered Nubia. Around this time the Aksumites also came in contact with Christianity. This occurred with the arrival of the two brothers and Christian Missionaries, Frumentius and Edesius, who managed to enter the royal Aksumite court and convert it to Christianity. Ethiopia (Aksum) was thus the second country to officially adopt Christianity in world history. The first one was Armenia in 301 AD.

Aksum began to enter a gradual decline in the 6 th and 7 th century AD, due to religious rivalry, Jewish persecution of the Christians and the rise of Islam. Around this time the use of the name Ethiopia becomes prevalent.

Ethiopia was one of the earliest nations to adopt Christianity. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities and a center of pilgrimage. These rock-cut monolithic churches are dated back to somewhere between the 7 th and 12 th century AD and were declared a world heritage site in 1978. ( yurybirukov / Adobe Stock)

Struggling Between Religions: The End of the Aksumite Empire

One of the first acts in the empire’s fall came in 520 when King Kaleb led a campaign against the Jewish Himyaritic King Dhu Nuwas who was persecuting Christians in  Yemen. Although the Axumite forces won the conflict and secured Christianity in Yemen (at least until the advent of Islam), the years of battle over-extended Axum’s wealth and manpower. Its position as an economic and trading power was diminished, but it still remained active to an extent.

As the first major Islamic power, the Rashidun Caliphate rose to prominence and conquered Egypt and the Red Sea around 646 AD. Aksum became economically isolated, but even so it remained firmly Christian.

Oral history holds the Aksumite Empire was eventually defeated by the Hebrew Queen Yodit (also known as Gudit or Judith), around the early 900’s AD. This defeat brought the end to the centuries old Aksumite Kingdom and all its rich history. During her 40 year reign of Aksum, Yodit conducted numerous pogroms against the Christian populace, burning churches, crucifying people, and forcefully converting the citizens, all as part of her campaign to terminate Christianity in an apparent act of revenge.

During this period, a great deal of Axumite heritage is said to have been destroyed. Yodit’s reign ended around 960, when she and her successors were overthrown by an Agaw Lord called Mara Takla Haymanot. The Agaws were a Cushitic ethnic group of the region. This lord married the female descendant of the last Aksumite monarchs, and thus established a new lineage known as the Zagwe Dynasty This new dynasty ruled over a smaller region than Aksum, and remained Christian, although still largely isolated.

The Adal Sultanate invaded the Ethiopian (Abyssinian) Empire in what came to be known as the Abyssinian-Adal War which lasted from 1529 to 1543. (Public domain)

The Adal Sultanate invaded the Ethiopian (Abyssinian) Empire in what came to be known as the Abyssinian-Adal War which lasted from 1529 to 1543. ( Public domain )

The successful Zagwe Dynasty was eventually overthrown around 1270 AD. This happened with the emergence of a rebellious Lord named Yekuno Amlak, who claimed he descended from the Aksumite Kings of old, and ultimately, from Solomon. Most likely due to the political circumstances of the time, Amlak succeeded in receiving substantial aid from the Sultanate of Shewa, a small Muslim Kingdom that established itself in Ethiopia and competed with the Zagwe.

This was one of the rare times that an alliance between Muslims and Christians occurred. Yekuno Amlak succeeded in establishing the Ethiopian Empire and becoming the head of the ruling Solomonic Dynasty, which remained in power until 1974. Not long after, relations with the neighboring competing Muslim sultanates deteriorated, and conflicts occurred sporadically for centuries afterwards.

One of the completing sultanates that managed to stay in power was the Ifat Sultanate. In the early 14 th century AD, the famed Ethiopian Emperor Amda Seyon I invaded Ifat and defeated it. But the descendants of Ifat managed to return to the region at a later date to establish a new and more powerful regional entity, known as the Adal Sultanate, a Muslim Somali Kingdom. This power would prove to become a huge threat for the rising Ethiopian Empire.

The Adal Sultanate invaded the Ethiopian (Abyssinian) Empire around the year 1529, led by the Somali Imam and General Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi. This came to be known as the Abyssinian-Adal War, which lasted from 1529 to 1543.

The very first conflict occurred almost at once, in 1529, when the invading Adal forces met a sizeable Ethiopian army in open battle. Both sides suffered immense casualties, but the upper hand went to the forces of Imam Ahmad. Even so, he decided not to pursue further, and the invasion was in a passive state for about two years.

After defeating the last Zagwe king, Yekuno Amlack established the Ethiopian Empire and became the head of the ruling Solomonic Dynasty which remained in power until 1974. (Public domain)

After defeating the last Zagwe king, Yekuno Amlack established the Ethiopian Empire and became the head of the ruling Solomonic Dynasty which remained in power until 1974. 

The Return of the Solomonic Dynasty

The next string of victories for the Adal forces came around 1531. The first occurred in the Battle of Antukyah, followed by the Battle of Amba Sel soon after. Both resulted in decisive Muslim victories. The Adal forces relied heavily on early firearms and cannons, which worked with great effect against the Ethiopian forces, oftentimes instilling great fear in the common soldier.

Eventually, the forces of Imam Ahmad penetrated deep into the Ethiopian highlands, and conducted heavy sacking of the empire. The latter was eventually occupied and annexed by the Adal Sultanate, which united the territories with those of modern-day Somalia. This occupation of Ethiopia lasted for 14 years.

Around 1543, the guerilla warriors of Ethiopia received aid from the Portuguese Empire, whose navy provided crucial military support. At the time, the Portuguese were involved in the Ottoman-Portuguese conflicts which lasted from 1538 to 1559. Since the Adal Sultanate received aid from the Ottomans, the Ethiopians aided by the Portuguese.

With the Portuguese help, the Adal forces were gradually defeated, culminating with a decisive Battle of Wayna Daga that caused the collapse of Adal forces and the death of Imam Ahmed.

A new challenge for the Ethiopian Empire occurred in the 16 th and 17 th centuries, with the increasing migrations of the Oromo peoples of southern Ethiopia. This Cushitic ethnic group progressively migrated north and eventually became involved with the imperial politics. A direct consequence of these migrations was a loosened grip of the empire on its faraway provinces as the latter gained more independence than usual.

It was not until the reign of the Emperor Iyasu I the Great of the Solomonic dynasty , who reigned from 1682 to 1706, that the things were once more consolidated and returned to prosperity. His successor, Iyasu II, took this power one step further and allowed the Ethiopian Empire to flourish.

Emperor Tewodros II committed a grave error, by imprisoning several British representatives in 1868, which led to serious reprisals from the British and his subsequent suicide. (Public domain)

Emperor Tewodros II committed a grave error, by imprisoning several British representatives in 1868, which led to serious reprisals from the British and his subsequent suicide. 

Vying for Power and Facing the Modern Age

Where there is power and wealth, there is also crisis. For Ethiopia, this crisis era emerged around 1769 and lasted until 1855. It is known as the Zemene Mesafint , or the “Era of Princes”. During this period the empire was largely divided and decentralized, with numerous regional ras (dukes or lords) competing for influence and power over the emperor.

This unstable period was only brought to end with the rise to power of the famed Emperor Tewodros II. The charismatic ruler once more stabilized the Empire of Ethiopia and became a favorite of the people.

Later in his rule though, Tewodros committed a grave error. Seeking to force the British to give him military aid, the Emperor imprisoned several British representatives in 1868, an event that caused a serious reprisal from the British. This response from Queen Victoria became known as the Punitive Expedition to Abyssinia, which resulted in the burning of the Fortress of Magdala and the subsequent suicide of Emperor Tewodros II.

As the result of this British involvement, the throne of the Empire passed on to Yohannes IV, an Ethiopian noble who claimed connection to the Solomonian Dynasty. His rule marked the rise of the modern era of Ethiopia and is defined by his victory over the Ottoman Egypt.

The cover of Time Magazine, from November 3, 1930, features Haile Selassie I, the last emperor of Ethiopia.

The cover of Time Magazine, from November 3, 1930, features Haile Selassie I, the last emperor of Ethiopia.

The Last Emperor of an Ancient Lineage

The Ethiopian Empire managed to survive for many centuries, in fact well into the 20 th century, making it one of the last surviving empires of the world. Its last emperor was Haile Selassie I , a member of the Solomonic Dynasty and one of the defining figures of modern Ethiopian history who could trace his lineage to the 10 th century BC. His series of political and social reforms greatly modernized the country.

Alas, the last emperor was deposed in 1974 by the pro-Soviet Marxist-Lenininst military dictatorship known as the Derg (Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia) which ended the monarchy, murdered Haile Selassie, and brought communism to Ethiopia.

The Aksumite Empire, and the subsequent Ethiopian Empire, are not often a burning historical subject – and unjustly so. The ancient, far-reaching, and endlessly important history of these powerful entities are filled with thrilling and world-defining events, many of which are connected with some of the most powerful empires of the ancient times.

The stubborn and inspiring fight for survival of a Christian nation surrounded by Islam is unique on the African continent, and the endurance of the centuries-old Solomonic dynasty into the 1970’s is nothing short of thrilling for any history enthusiast.