The African Americans

Search for Truth and Knowledge

By Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Jr.

Part Six: The African American's African Heritage Revisited

New scientific discoveries have forced the world to re-evaluate its once narrow negative view of Africa and African Peoples. This re-evaluation has produced a new perspective on Africa and its importance to world history. It has given us deep insights into the true role of African peoples, ancient and modern, in human history.

The traditional view held is that both plant and animal domestication throughout Africa, Europe and Western Asia are derived from the original development of these techniques in the Near East of Fertile Crescent about 10,000 years ago. New discoveries, however, have revealed much earlier food producing complex and cattle rearing complex in Africa. More and more evidence supports the fact that food production in Africa was the result of indigenous innovations and not a response to external stimuli. Nile Valley Fayum food production now has been placed at 15.000 B.C. and not 5,000 B.C. as previously thought. New cattle bone finds in Kenya are dated to 13,000 B.C.

Africa has a longer span of prehistory than any other part of the world. As a result of the recent archeological discoveries there is little doubt that the first man-like creatures or hominids first evolved on the continent. In fact, the hominid evolutionary process leading to modern man (Homo Sapiens) has been traced back through various fossil finds to over four million years ago. During most of that time Humanity is found only in Africa.

In 1871, Charles Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man that it is "more probable that our early progenitors lived on the African continent than elsewhere." Over the next fifty years various scientific discoveries supported his theory on the evolution of Human Family. These initial finds of hominid fossil evidence were discovered in Europe and Asia which gave the world so-called Peking Man and Java Man. Up to that time these were the earliest known remains of Humanity. Then in 1925 archaeologists uncovered at Taung in the Cape Province of South Africa the skull of a young adult (australopithecine). This African fossil evidence has been followed by other discoveries in East and South Africa over the past several decades which have uncontestably established the primacy or firstness of African Humanity. After 1959, the discovery in Olduvai Gorge dominated the attention of the world and established Africa's role at the head of the Human Family.

The African continent is a treasure trove of ancient history. From the sands and rock outcroppings of the Sahara Desert in the North to the caves of South Africa, from the Nile River Valley to the Congo River and the lakes of Central Africa, from the Highlands of the Ethiopian plateau to the depths of the Olduvai Gorge in East Africa, the continent is continuously yielding from its soil the scientific and archeological evidence of the evolving and unfolding drama of Human history. This historical evidence is found in the bits of bone and fossil remains of Humanity's ancient African ancestors.

It can be seen in various kinds of stone tools uncovered from its soil, made by the world's oldest toolmakers. It is clearly recorded in the rock and cave paintings and shattered pottery pieces, scattered all over the Continent, by the world's first artists who captured early human conduct.

This unfolding saga of the Human experience in Africa scientifically reveals and points to a series of startling discoveries in Olduvai Gorge in Tanganyka and Kenya that scientifically support the belief that early Humanity originated in East Africa millions of years ago and then spread with his tools and early culture to Asia and Europe. In the Congo River Basin and Great Lakes of Central Africa archaeologists unearthed the remains of the Ishongo people who lived some 8,000 years ago and used a counting system inscribed on bone, the earliest recorded in the world of mathematical notation.

Fortunately, this new understanding of Africa's place in history has been supported by the latest scientific discoveries so that scholars and researchers are able to systematically destroy the persistently held view of Africa as the "Dark Continent" and Africans as savages who contributed nothing to Human development.

CONTENTS | Previous Part | Next Part
The Leonard Jeffries Virtual Museum | The Masters Museums Directory
FRONTal View: An Electronic Journal of African Centered Thought
NBUF Homepage | DuBois Learning Center Homepage