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Mobilization 2/21
Writers Group- Roxanna, Friday Alexander, Jack Crawford, Aunt Dot, Alexander Hillian, Andrew Jackson Brown, Sanford Jackson, Mallard Merriman, John Shavers, Samantha Phillips, John Wesley and Runoko Rashidi


African History Articles

By Runoko Rashidi

Runoko Rashidi has joined Mobilization 2/21 and we are pleased to feature some of his articles. Runoko Rashidi is an historian, writer and public lecturer with a pronounced interest in the African foundations of humanity and civilizations and the presence and current conditions of Black people throughout the Global African Community. He is particularly drawn to the African presence in India, Australia and the islands of the Pacific.

To date he has lectured at ninety universities and has made major presentations in ten countries. He is the author of African Classical Civilizations and the editor, with Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, of the African Presence in Early Asia--the most comprehensive volume on the subject yet published. Rashidi is very active Online and is currently coordinating an educational tour to India entitled "Looking at India through African Eyes" scheduled for March 26 - April 11, 1999. For additional information contact Rashidi at or call Rashidi at (210) 648-5178.




It has been said that, "to speak the name of one's ancestors is to make them live again." Teacher, journalist and historian, Drusilla Dunjee Houston was born in Winchester, Virginia in 1876 and spent most of her life in Oklahoma and Phoenix, Arizona. As a journalist, Houston aggressively covered numerous cases of White atrocities committed against Black people in the state of Oklahoma. But it is as a bold and uncompromising historian that Houston comes to our attention here, the crowning achievement of which was the publication of the Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire: Nations of the Cushite Empire.

Wonderful Ethiopians was originally published in 1926 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma by the Universal Publishing Company and was intended as the first volume of a three volume work on African history during the ages of splendor. Wonderful Ethiopians is a pioneering work that not only contains comprehensive chapters devoted to ancient African civilizations along the Nile, but continues the survey into Asia where it examines and illuminates the strong African influence on classical Asian civilizations. One can only speculate as to the countless difficulties and vast obstacles that this Black woman must have surmounted in order to write and publish the Wonderful Ethiopians. What faith she must have had in herself. Even today such a task would hardly be simple. But in 1926, in Oklahoma City, for a sister to even suggest such an idea was quite simply audacious, and Ms. Houston is worthy of praise indeed. Wonderful Ethiopians was favorably reviewed in a number of newspapers by Arthur Alfonso Schomburg, in the Amsterdam News by J.A. Rogers, and in the Pittsburgh Courier by Robert L. Vann. In addition to "The Wonderful Ethiopians", which is still worth a serious read today, Ms. Houston was a public lecturer and the author of a syndicated column entitled the "Wondrous History of the Negro." After a fruitful, dramatic and even remarkable life, Drusilla Dunjee Houston succumbed to tuberculosis in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 2, 1941. Her profound contributions remain with us, however, and time has not diminished the glory of her deeds. [1998] Runoko Rashidi. All Rights Reserved.



At this point Egypt continues to dominate the focus of our African oriented studies. These studies have clearly demonstrated that not only were early Egypt's origins African, but that through the whole of Egypt's Dynastic Era (the age of the Pharaohs), and during all of her many periods of national splendor, men and women with black skin complexions, broad noses, full lips, and tightly curled hair, were dominant in both the general population and governing elite. In the intense and unrelenting struggle to establish scientifically the African foundations of Egyptian civilization, the late Senegalese scholar Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop remains a most fierce and ardent champion.

Dr. Diop (1923-1986) was without a doubt the world's leading Egyptologist and held the position of Director of the Radiocarbon Laboratory at the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa in Dakar, Senegal. In stating the importance of the work, Diop noted emphatically and early on that, "The history of Black Africa will remain suspended in air and cannot be written correctly until African historians dare to connect it with the history of Egypt." The solid range of methodologies employed by Dr. Diop in the course of his extensive Afro-Egyptian labors included: examinations of the epidermis of the mummies of Egyptian kings for verification of their melanin content; precise osteological measurements and meticulous studies in the various relevant areas of anatomy and physical anthropology; careful examinations and comparisons of modern Upper Egyptian and West African blood-types; detailed Afro-Egyptian linguistic studies and the corroboration of distinct Afro-Egyptian cultural traits; documents of racial designations employed by the early Africans themselves; Biblical testimonies and references that address the ancient Egyptian's ethnicity, race and culture; and the writings of early Greek and Roman travelers and scholars describing the physical characteristics of the ancient Egyptians. There is no doubt that Ancient Egypt was an African civilization.

[1998] Runoko Rashidi. All Rights Reserved.



It has been said that "History is a light that illuminates the past and a key that unlocks the door to the future." This column is designed to help redirect the history of the Global African Community from the periphery of our imagination to the center of our attention. It is devoted to a review of what Ivan Van Sertima calls, "That other African." "That other African" is not the stereotypical African savage so graphically depicted in Hollywood movies, but the African that first peopled the earth, and gave birth to and significantly influenced the world's oldest and most magnificent civilizations. This is the African that first entered Asia, Europe, Australia, the islands of the South Pacific and the early Americas, not as slave, but as master, in control of his and her own destiny. We believe that this African, whom many wish to remain invisible, is to be found wherever one truthfully seeks the origins of nations and religions. We now know, based on recent scientific studies of DNA, that modern humanity originated in Africa, that Black people are the world's original people and that all modern humans can ultimately trace their ancestral roots back to Africa. If not for the primordial migrations of early African people, humanity would have remained physically Africoid, and the rest of the world outside of the African continent absent of human life. It is with this perspective that we introduce this column to our readers. [1998] Runoko Rashidi. All Rights Reserved.




Although the island nation of Japan is assumed by many to have been historically composed of an essentially homogenous population, the accumulated evidence places the matter in a vastly different light. A Japanese proverb states that: "For a Samurai to be brave, he must a bit of Black blood." Another recording of the proverb is: "Half the blood in one's veins must be Black to make a good Samurai." Sakanouye Tamura Maro, a Black man, became the first Shogun of Japan. In China, an Africoid presence in visible from remote antiquity. The Shang, for example, China's first dynasts, are described as having "black and oily skin." The famous Chinese sage Lao-Tze was "black in complexion." Funan is the name given by Chinese historians to the earliest kingdom of Southeast Asia. Their records expressly state that, "For the complexion of men, they consider black the most beautiful. In all the kingdoms ofthe southern region, it is the same." The first kingdom in Vietnam was the Kingdom of Lin-yi. Its inhabitants possessed "black skin, eyes deep in the orbit, nose turned up, hair frizzy at a period when they were not yet subject to foreign domination and preserved the purity of this type." The fate of the Black kingdoms and the Black people of Far East Asia must be tied to increased pressure from non-Africoid peoples pushing down from northern Asia. Indeed, the subject of what might be called "Black and Yellow racial and cultural relations in both ancient and modern times" is so critical that it must be developed as a special area of study. It is of particular importance to African and African-oriented scholars and historians. [1998] Runoko Rashidi. All Rights Reserved.



Thank you for your interest in this historic tour. The trip is from March 28 to April 11, 1999. The tour cost is $3,700.00 from New York. The trip will cover eight states and seven language groups. It will encompass virtually every region in India. With Runoko Rashidi you will visit the most spectacular temples, tombs and monuments from Indian antiquity and interact with the Dalit: the Black Untouchables of India. Regular lectures by Runoko Rashidi and local experts are included. This will be a unique tour, with truly historic implications. It is the first tour of its type ever attempted. It is designed for African-Americans who want to see "India through African Eyes." For Tour information, contact Allen Travel Service (ATS) at (202 371-8740 or (800) 221-3197. To reserve your seat, a $300.00 deposit is required by November 15, 1998. Seating is limited, so do not hesitate to make your reservation.




Of the recent towering figures in the struggle to completely eradicate the pervasive racial myths clinging to the origins of Nile Valley Civilization, few scholars have had the impact of Dr. Chancellor James Williams (1898-1992). Chancellor Williams, the youngest of five children, was born in Bennetsville, South Carolina December 22, 1898. His father had been a slave; his mother a cook, nurse, and evangelist. A stirring writer, Chancellor Williams achieved wide acclaim as the author of the 1971 publication, The Destruction of Black Civilization--Great Issues of a Race from 4500 BC to 2000 AD.

Totally uncompromising, highly controversial, broadly sweeping in its range and immensely powerful in its scope, there have been few books published during the past half-century focusing on the African presence in antiquity that have so profoundly affected the consciousness of African people in search of their historical identity. Dr. John Henrik Clarke, now an ancestor and a contemporary of Dr. Williams and one of our most outstanding scholars, described The Destruction of Black Civilization as "a foundation and new approach to the history of our race." In The Destruction of Black Civilization Chancellor Williams successfully "shifted the main focus from the history of Arabs and Europeans in Africa to the Africans themselves--a history of the Blacks that is a history of Blacks."

The career of Chancellor Williams was spacious and varied; university professor, novelist, and author-historian. He was the father of fourteen children. Blind and in poor health, the last years of Dr. Williams' life were spent in a nursing home in Washington, D.C. His contributions to the reconstruction of African civilization, however, stand as monuments and beacons reflecting the past, present and future of African people.

[1998] Runoko Rashidi. All Rights Reserved.

*Runoko Rashidi is an historian, public lecturer and world traveler. He has recently completed his second educational tour of India. For information on audio and video tapes, lecture and travel schedules, contact Rashidi at:



The Arabian Peninsula was early populated by Black people. Once dominant over the entire peninsula, the African presence in early Arabia is most clearly traceable through the Sabeans. The southwestern corner of the peninsula was their ancient home. This area is today called Yemen. In antiquity this region gave rise to a high degree of civilization because of the growth of frankincense and myrrh. The city of Makkab was considered a holy place and the destination of pilgrims long before the prophet Muhammad. Muhammad himself, who was to unite the whole of Arabia, appears to have had a prominent African lineage. According to al-Jahiz, the guardian of the sacred Kaaba, Abd-al-Muttalib, "fathered ten Lords, Black as the night and magnificent." One of these men was Abdallah, the father of Muhammad.

According to tradition, the first Muslim killed in battle was Mihja--a Black man. Another Black man, Bilal, was such a pivotal figure in the development of Islam that he has been referred to as "a third of the faith."

Many of the earliest Muslim converts were Africans, and a number of the Muslim faithful sought refuge in Ethiopia because of initial Arabian hostility to Muhammad's teachings. It was this relationship which caused Muhammad to declare that, "Who brings an Ethiopian man or an Ethiopian woman into his house, brings the blessings of God there."

[1998] Runoko Rashidi. All Rights Reserved.

Runoko Rashidi is an historian, public lecturer and world traveler. For information on publications, audio and video tapes, lecture and travel schedules, contact Rashidi at:




"Let me forever be discarded by the Black race, and let me be condemned by the White, if I strive not with all my powers, if I put not forth all my energies to bring respect and dignity to the African race. --Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden

Among the most acclaimed of the early pioneer advocates of the rights of African people were Martin Robinson Delany (1812-1885) and Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912). They were intellectuals and activists whose lives personified the maxim of Kwame Nkrumah--"Thought without practice is empty, action without thought is blind."

Dr. Martin Robinson Delany has been called "the father of Black Nationalism." It was Delany, in fact, who coined the phrase "Africa for the Africans." Delany was born May 6, 1812 in West Virginia, of a free mother and a father who purchased his own freedom in 1823. Delany's paternal grandfather was an African chief; his maternal grandfather a Mandingo prince. Born in the South, Delany resorted to learning how to read and write illegally. Due to his continued desire to learn, he later settled in New York where he attended the African Free School. Between 1843 and 1846 Delany published his own newspaper--the Mystery. Subsequently, he worked with Frederick Douglass on his weekly newspaper--the North Star. In 1850, Delany entered Harvard Medical School as one of its first Black students. In 1859, he traveled to Africa, where he stayed for nearly a year, searching for a suitable location for emigration. On February 8, 1865, during the U.S. Civil War, Delany received the commission of Major in the Federal Army--the first Black man to receive such a commission.

Delany was an accomplished author. Not surprisingly, his favorite subject was history. One of his books, Principia of Ethnology: The Origin of Races and Color, With an Archaeological Compendium of Ethiopian and Egyptian Civilization, From Years of Careful Examination and Enquiry, was published in 1879, and detailed the African origins of Nile Valley civilizations.

The racial and historical consciousness of Martin Robinson Delany is apparent in the names he gave his children. One of his son's name was Ramses Placido, named after the mighty Egyptian pharaoh Usemare Ramses II and the Cuban poet and revolutionary. Other names for his children included Alexander Dumas, Saint Cyprian and Toussaint l'Ouverture. Frederick Douglass said of Delany, "I thank God for making me a man, simply, but Delany always thanks Him for making him a Black man."

Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden was born August 3, 1832 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Blyden often remarked that "I would rather be a member of this race than a Greek in the time of Alexander, a Roman in the Augustan period, or Anglo-Saxon in the nineteenth century." Blyden wrote and traveled extensively. During a visit to Egypt in 1866 he recorded that:

"I felt that I had a peculiar heritage in the Great Pyramid the enterprising sons of Ham, from which I descended. The blood seemed to flow faster through my veins. I seemed to hear the echo of those illustrious Africans. I seemed to feel the impulse from those stirring characters who sent civilization to Greece...I felt lifted out of the commonplace grandeur of modern times; and, could my voice have reached every African in the world, I would have earnestly addressed him. `Retake your fame.'"

Of Blyden, the great Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887-1940) stated that: "You who do not know anything of your ancestry will do well to read the works of Blyden, one of our historians and chroniclers, who has done so much to retrieve the lost prestige of the race."

In 1869, Blyden's essay entitled "The Negro in Ancient History" appeared in the Methodist Quarterly Review. In 1887, Blyden's most comprehensive work- -Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race--was published. A monument stands to Dr. Blyden's memory at Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, West Africa.

In spite of fact that Delany and Blyden struggled during the heart of the nineteenth century, time has not diminished the glory of their deeds. This brief essay, therefore, is intended as a tribute to those deeds with the hope that it will help to inspire the present generation of African people to continue their noble struggle.

RUNOKO RASHIDI is an historian, research specialist and public lecturer. To schedule lectures, order video and audio tapes, or other information contact Runoko Rashidi at:



CRITICAL ASSESSMENTS OF JOEL AUGUSTUS ROGERS Although Joel Augustus Rogers was largely self-trained, some of the most distinguished scholars of the twentieth century have acknowledged our debt to him. Dr. William E.B. DuBois (1868-1963), perhaps the greatest scholar in American history, wrote that, "No man living has revealed so many important facts about the Negro race as has Rogers." The eminent anthropologist and sociologist J.G. St. Clair Drake wrote that:

"No discussion of comparative race relations would be complete without consideration of the work of the highly motivated, self-trained historian Joel A. Rogers. Endowed with unusual talent, Rogers rose to become one of the best-informed individuals in the world on Black history, writing and publishing his own books without any kind of organizational or foundation support.

In April 1987, in a personal interview with me, Professor John G. Jackson (1907-1993) said that: "Rogers came from Jamaica in the West Indies. He settled in Chicago. He eventually took a job as a Pullman porter so he could visit different cities and libraries and do research. I got an interesting story about that. The story was that in a lot of large cities a lot of libraries were for whites only. Black people weren't permitted to go into them. So Rogers had to pay the Pullman conductor to go to the libraries and take out books from them. The conductor said, "Rogers, I believe you're a damn fool. But if you want to throw away your money that way, I'm willing to cooperate."

Rogers was a field anthropologist. He traveled to sixty different nations and did a lot of research and observing. He had been told when he was a child in Sunday School that God had cursed the Black man and made him inferior. Rogers wanted to prove that the Black man was not inferior."

After a short illness, Joel Augustus Rogers died in New York City in March 1966 at the beginning of the Black Studies movement. His widow, Helga M. Rogers, reported that "he suffered a stroke while visiting friends and continuing to do research in Washington." His labors, however, were not in vain. He impact was enormous, his legacy colossal, his place in history secure. Joel Augustus Rogers was a man without peer in gathering up and binding the missing pages of African history. Indeed, Rogers, in the words of Dr. John Henrik Clarke, "looked at the history of people of African origin, and showed how their history is an inseparable part of the history of mankind."

RUNOKO RASHIDI is an historian, research specialist and public lecturer. To schedule lectures, order audio and video tapes, or other information contact Runoko Rashidi at:

"THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TASMANIAN ABORIGINES: CONCLUSION" By RUNOKO RASHIDI QUEEN TRUGANINI: THE LAST TASMANIAN "Not, perhaps, before, has a race of men been utterly destroyed within seventy-five years. This is the story of a race which was so destroyed, that of the aborigines of Tasmania--destroyed not only by a different manner of life but by the ill-will of the usurpers of the race's land.... With no defenses but cunning and the most primitive weapons, the natives were no match for the sophisticated individualists of knife and gun. By 1876 the last of them was dead. So perished a whole people." --Clive Turnbull

On May 7, 1876, Truganini, the last full-blood Black person in Tasmania, died at seventy-three years of age. Her mother had been stabbed to death by a European. Her sister was kidnapped by Europeans. Her intended husband was drowned by two Europeans in her presence, while his murderers raped her.

It might be accurately said that Truganini's numerous personal sufferings typify the tragedy of the Black people of Tasmania as a whole. She was the very last. "Don't let them cut me up," she begged the doctor as she lay dying. After her burial, Truganini's body was exhumed, and her skeleton, strung upon wires and placed upright in a box, became for many years the most popular exhibit in the Tasmanian Museum and remained on display until 1947. Finally, in 1976--the centenary years of Truganini's death--despite the museum's objections, her skeleton was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea.


The tragedy of the Black aborigines of Tasmania, however painful its recounting may be, is a story that must be told. What lessons do we learn from the destruction of the Tasmanians? Truganini's life and death, although extreme, effectively chronicle the association not only between White people and Black people in Tasmania, but, to a significant degree, around the world. Between 1803 and 1876 the Black aborigines of Tasmania were completely destroyed. During this period the Black people of Tasmania were debased, degraded and eventually exterminated. Indeed, given the long and well-documented history of carnage, cruelty, savagery, and the monstrous pain, suffering, and inhumanity Europeans have inflicted upon Black people in general, and the Black people of Tasmania in particular, one could argue that they themselves, the White settlers of Tasmania, far more than the ravenous beast portrayed in American cartoons, have been the real Tasmanian devil.

Runoko Rashidi is an historian and public lecturer with a particular interest in the Black populations of Asia, Australia, Tasmania and the South Pacific. To schedule lectures, order audio and video tapes, or other information contact Runoko Rashidi:




Although it was extremely prominent, Kemet (Ancient Egypt) was only one of many great African nations where women held high positions. Makeda, for example, the semi-legendary Queen of Sheba (Saba), is thought to have lived during the tenth century BCE. This woman had all the qualities of an exceptional monarch, and appears to have ruled over a wealthy domain encompassing parts of both Africa and Arabia. She is called Makeda in the Ethiopian text known as the Kebra Negast, Bilqis in the Koran, and the Queen of Sheba in the Bible. The three of these documents provide a relatively clear picture of a highly developed state distinguished by the pronounced overall status of women. Makeda was not an isolated phenomenon. Many times, in fact, do we hear of important women in African and Arabian history; the documents they are mentioned in providing no commentary on husbands, consorts or male relatives. Either their deeds or inheritance, perhaps both, enabled them to stand out quite singularly.

Dahia al-Kahina of Mauritania was especially active in the North African resistance to the Arab invasions that occurred at the end of the seventh century. About 690 she assumed personal command of the African forces, and under her aggressive leadership the Arabs were briefly forced to retreat. The Arab invaders of Africa were relentless, however, and as the African plight deteriorated, the dauntless Kahina ordered a scorched earth policy. The effects of the devastation can still be seen in the North African countryside. According to tradition, Kahina eventually took her own life rather than admit defeat to the Arabs. With her death ended a magnificent attempt to preserve Africa for the Africans.

Queen Nzingha, also known as Ann Nzingha, was overlord of portions of both Angola and Zaire. She has been called the "greatest military strategist that ever confronted the armed forces of Portugal." Nzingha's military campaigns kept the Portuguese in Africa at bay for more than four decades. Her objective was nothing less than the complete and total destruction of the African slave trade. Nzingha sent ambassadors throughout West and Central Africa with the intent of enlisting a huge coalition of African armies to eject the Portuguese. Queen Nzingha died fighting for her people in 1663 at the ripe old age of eighty-one. Africa has known no greater patriot.

In summary, and in the words of Dr. John Henrik Clarke, "The first accomplishment of the African woman, in partnership with the man, was the creation of a functioning family unit. This major step in human development laid the foundations of the organization of all subsequent societies and institutions. In Africa the woman's `place' was not only with her family. She often ruled nations with unquestioned authority."

*RUNOKO RASHIDI is a writer, public lecturer and world traveler. To schedule lectures, order audio and video tapes or other information contact: Runoko Rashidi at:



Jai Bheem!

I bring you greetings from the Black people of America. I have now been in India for the last two weeks. I have visited Bihar in the North. I have just returned from Nagpur in Central India. And now I am at home with by Black brothers and sisters in Kerala. For the first time since I have been in India I feel that I have finally come to be with my family. I proudly salute the Kerala Dalit Panthers. I have been told that it is my job to inspire you, but instead I am the one who has been inspired by you.

Thousands of years ago the first men and the first women on this planet came out of Africa and they were Black people. Not only were the first people Black, but the people to develop the earliest civilizations in the world were also Black people. It is very important that we talk about the achievements of the past so that we can begin to give our people a sense of pride and dignity.

In India Black people built the earliest civilization. In Africa Black people built the earliest civilization. And then the White man came. In India you call them Aryans. In Africa we call them Europeans. The Aryans came and the Europeans came and they enslaved our people all over the world.

Slaves did not come from Africa. Africans were captured in Africa and enslaved and taken all over the world. In Africa Black men and women and children were hunted like animals. The people were branded with hot irons and all of our women were raped. Shackles and chains were placed on our hands and our feet, and we were taken across the ocean to America. But every step of the way African people--my people, my ancestors, Black people--fought the White man. Even when they burned us alive, even when they castrated us, wven when they hung us from trees, our people fought. And that is what I wish to talk to you about tonight--the resistance of Black people to oppression.

I am here tonight to help establish a bond between the Black people of America and the Dalits, the Black Untouchables of India, that will never be broken. Our greatest leader was a Black man named Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey to us is what Dr. Ambedkar has been to you. He is our greatest leader. Marcus Garvey organized six million African people. He organized a Black army and he taught Black people in America to be proud of themselves. But the most celebrated of all the Black organizations of America has been the Black Panther Party.

In 1966, in America an organization called the Black Panther Party was formed and it was formed to defend the rights of Black people by any means necessary. Some of the members of the Black Panther Party were sent to prison. Some of the members of the Black Panther Party were murdered. But their deeds and their accomplishments will never die. The Black Panther Party was formed over thirty years ago, but time has not diminished the glory of their deeds.

The Black Panther Party is important to us because it showed that Black men and Black women can stand up and fight for the rights of Black people. The Black Panther Party of America struck fear into the hearts of White people in America--into the hearts of the White oppressors of Black people in America. You must strike that same fear in the heart of the Brahminical forces of India.

Although Black people in America are downtrodden, we are standing up and we will never be defeated. We realize today, perhaps for the first time, both in India and in America, that nobody can save us but us. The Communist Party will not save us. The Brahmins and the Aryans will not save us. Mohandas Gandhi and the Hindus will not save us. The only ones who will save us is us.

Today in America Black people are standing up. Three years ago in the United States more than one million Black men took to the streets of the nation's capitol. One year ago two million--two million--Black women took to the streets of America to protest against oppression. This year there is a call for for three million Black youth to take to the streets of New York City in America and stand up for the interests of Black people.

I never imagined when I came to India that I would be marching in a demonstration with my brothers and sisters with their fists in the air saying "Black is beautiful! Black is strong!" When I go back to America, the fact that I have been with you will inspire our people to greater efforts, once I tell them that there is a Black consciousness movement on the rise in India.

I am here to tell you, as I stand here drenched with perspiration, that I love you and that we are one people. I am here to tell you that the Black Untouchables of India--the Dalit--and the Black people of America form one human family. Don't stop! Don't turn back. Be proud of yourselves and realize what a united people can accomplish.

We pledge our undying loyalty and our undying support to the Kerala Dalit Panthers. We will never forget you. We will never forsake you. Jai Bheem!




By 1950, general histories of the continent by White Australians almost never referenced the Aborigines at all. During this period, the Blacks, whether part or full-blood, were excluded from all major White Australian institutions, including schools, hospitals and labor unions. They could not vote. Their movements were restricted. They were outcastes in White Australia.

Today, the Blacks of Australia are terribly oppressed and remain in a desperate struggle for survival. Recent demographic surveys, for example, show that the Black infant mortality rate is the highest in Australia. Blacks have the shoddiest housing and the poorest schools. Their life expectancy is twenty years less than Whites. Their unemployment rate is six times higher than the national average. Blacks did not obtain the right to vote in federal elections until 1961. They did not gain the legal right to consume alcoholic beverages until 1964. They were not officially counted as Australian citizens until after a constitutional amendment in 1967. Today, the Blacks constitute less than two percent of the total Australian population; in the Australian state of Victoria they are virtually non-existent.

Their resistance continues, however. In January 1972, an Australian Black Panther Party was formed in Brisbane, Australia. On July 16, 1990, an Aboriginal Provisional Government was launched.

Runoko Rashidi is an historian, lecturer, research specialist and world traveler. In April 1998 he completed his second educational tour of India. To schedule lectures, join educational tours or to order audio and video tape lectures, etc., contact Runoko Rashidi at:




The subject of African bondage anywhere is one of the most sensitive historical issues, and all to often it is asserted that most, if not all, of the great international movements of African people occurred only under the guise of slavery and servitude. Obviously, as we are seeing, this has not at all been the case. The period of bondage is in fact dwarfed by the ages of magnificent African civilizations, glory and splendor, not just in African itself but throughout the Global African Community.

It was in early Iraq where the largest African slave rebellions occurred. Here were gathered tens of thousands of East African slave laborers called Zanj. These Blacks worked in the humid salt marshes in conditions of extreme misery. Conscious of their large numbers and oppressive working conditions the Zanj rebelled on at least three occasions between the seventh and ninth centuries. The largest of these rebellions lasted for fifteen years, from 868 to 883, during which time our people inflicted defeat after defeat upon the Arab armies sent to suppress the revolt. This rebellion is known historically as the "Revolt of the Zanj" or the "Revolt of the Blacks." It is significant to point out that the Zanj forces were rapidly augmented by large-scale defections of Black soldiers under the employ of the Abbassid Caliphate at Baghdad. The rebels themselves, hardened by years of brutal treatment, repaid their former masters in kind, and are said to have been responsible for great slaughters in the areas that came under their sway.

At its height the Zanj rebellion spread to Iran and advanced to within seventy miles of Baghdad itself. The Zanj even built their own capital, called Moktara (the Elect City), which covered a large area and flourished for several years. The Zanj rebellion was ultimately only suppressed with the intervention of large Arab armies and the lucrative offer of amnesty and rewards to any rebels who might choose to surrender.

African people have always defied subjugation, and the Revolt of the Blacks is in and of itself a glorious page in African history and Black resistance movements. Through the Revolt of the Blacks, a now relatively little known episode in a part of the world that many of us regard as foreign and strange, we see African people doing what we have always done--asserting our essential dignity and standing up and demanding our inalienable human rights.

[1998] Runoko Rashidi. All Rights Reserved.

Runoko Rashidi is an historian, public lecturer and world traveler. For information on audio and video tapes, lecturer and travel schedules, contact Rashidi at:

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