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“Why should I be speaking about African history… when not many of the children are of African descent… how am I going to do this justice… what’s the meaning of this?”
These are all questions that flew through my mind for weeks before the televised school presentation at Gravesend Grammar School. However, although every one of these questions may have otherwise deviated me from my objective, I was quickly returned to my path of thought by the subliminal and undeniable belief that this was the right thing to
You cannot inherit the privileges of the British Empire, which ruled over 25% of the Earth’s surface and its population, invite those people to rebuild the country when you’re in need and then wipe their story out of the history books. It’s not right and it is incredibly damaging to the self esteem of those people. More than 1/10 people in the UK descend from British subjects and much of the wealth that Britain lords over comes from African gold mines, the enforced labour of its diaspora, Indian commodities and the knowledge of all of the people of the commonwealth. Their story has to be told.
But not only this; the human story is a cooperative one. Imperialism was without a doubt, a parasite of the world and the majority of people caught in its grasp; but the human journey from hunter gatherer origins to civilisation is a triumphant and cooperative one and this story of human cooperation must also be told.
Many different people and cultures contributed to life in Britain as we know it. Chinese clocks laid the foundation for British punctuality, Indian numbers replaced Roman numerals, Muslim Arabs algebra, algorithms and alchemy revolutionised our sciences, Africans introduced inoculation, our earliest myths, mathematics, astronomy and arguably even the presence of America itself.
Jane Elliott said that you could eradicate racism today if you taught the heroic feats of brown eyed people. It’s true that racism is taught. The Medieval Arabs, Roman Empire, African civilisations and even Medieval English had a very different conception of hierarchy and ethnicity than we do today. Maybe it’s time we unlearn it.
Throughout this talk, I cover what makes humans so unique; how the Ancient Egyptians are still not outdone; the revolutionary influence of the Moors and west Africa on education and wealth; and the fight for the freedom of Africans from the grasp of Empire and colonialism.
Enjoy and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.
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