The African Past

Considering that the term “race” is commonly used in the study of history to describe differences in biological features in human beings such as skin, hair and eye color, that come with the regional differences, it does not really matter to our understanding of the African past as many would imagine. Nevertheless, race can help us understand some hidden aspects of Africans’ past particularly in relation to slavery in the Western world (Gary 2007).

According to Professor Gary Nash (2007), there is more to the African past than could meet the eye. He is categorical that various historical facets of African civilization that manifest in artifacts during the lower Paleolithic age could not be revealed though the narrow lense of race, a sociological construct of the 19th Century.

The history scholar goes on to add that Africa is the cradle for mankind where the first hominid evolved as revealed by paleontology and archeological evidences. Fully aware of the subsequent evolutionary developments that took place in the continent from the lower Paleolithic through Middle Stone Age to the Late Stone Age, race is definitely inconsequential in the understanding of the African past.

Similarly, the term has got nothing to do with the emergence of early agriculture along the banks of Rivers Tigris and Euphrates that led to the domestication of barley, oats, sorghum, goat and cattle around 16,000 BCE.

Suffice it to say, race in itself does not serve any purpose in the history of Africa but gives it simply act as a window through which slavery of the African Americans could be brought into sharp focus in the American society. In summary, race has got no place in the African history thus does not matter to our understanding of the African past.



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