African History is Human History

African History is Human History

Djinga King-St. Louis, RCSD Director of African & African American Studies (after a seminar at the Wilson Foundation Academy, 2014) from On Afro Centric charter schools and making learning relevant for students of color


see On Afro Centric charter schools and making learning relevant for students of color

Tomorrow, Friday, February 17th, the Rochester City School District and its community of educators will observe Black Lives Matter at School: A Day of Understanding & Affirmation. 

The day of education, dialog and action will “actively engage a significant number of educational communities throughout Monroe County in activities which support understanding and affirmation of Black Lives.” This day is meant as the beginning of ongoing conversations and actions.

Last year, we spoke with the Director of the RCSD’s Department of African & African-American Studies, Djinga King-St. Louis.  In On Afro Centric charter schools and making learning relevant for students of color, we discussed whether Ms. King-St. Louis supported Afrocentric schools.  As she said, “Personally, instead of more Afro Centric charter schools, I would like to see more Afro Centric ideas infused into public schools.”

Today, George Payne , a graduate of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, philosophy teacher at Finger Lakes Community College and the founder of Gandhi Earth Keepers International, argues that “racism will not begin to go away until the true history of African civilization is taught to all children.”

African History is Human History

Where were the first recipes crafted? Where were the first instruments made? Who engineered the first tools? Who developed the first trails and roads? Who invented magic and the rituals of theology? Who were the first stargazers? Who were the first poets and philosophers? Who were the pioneers of exploration? Who were the first medicine men and shamans? Who started farming and fishing long before agriculture? Where did all knowledge emanate from? It was not Beverly Hills or Boston. It was Africa.  It is the origin of human consciousness.

Tragically, in America today, this history is too often ignored, suppressed, co-opted, or generally misunderstood by most white people. The result of this denial breeds the most perverse forms of social inequality. The African- American male lives 5 years less than the average white American male. 1 in every 15 African- American men and 1 in every 36 Hispanic men get incarcerated in comparison to 1 in every 106 white men. Unarmed black people get killed at 6x the rate of unarmed whites. And, for every level of educational attainment, black Americans have unemployment rates that are similar to or higher than those of less educated white Americans.

W.E.B. Du Bois once wrote:


from On Afro Centric charter schools and making learning relevant for students of color

Strange, is it not, my brothers, how often in America those great watchwords of human energy – “Be strong!” “Know thyself!” “Hitch your wagon to a star!’”– how often these die away into dim whispers when we face these seething millions of black men? And yet do they not belong to them? Are they not their heritage as well as yours?

How would our nation change if whites saw Iraq as the genesis of religion rather than Rome? What if our gods were looked for in Calcutta rather than California? What if our future prosperity is with Shanghai rather than Sixth Avenue? What would that look like?

As I see it, racism will not begin to go away until the true history of African civilization is taught to all children. This is not about observing a special month. This is not about affirmative action. This is not about playing the race card. This has nothing to do with appealing to a constituency. This is not about political correctness. This is not about anything other than ending racism. The only way that racism is going to end, is when all children learn where humankind originated from. It is that simple. Human civilization began somewhere. To not know this in depth is to be lost in the world as an orphan of missing time.

 George Payne 


RCSD’s Djinga King-St. Louis on Afro Centric charter schools and making learning relevant for students of color

Tavis Smiley joins the conversation with Northeast Prep media students

School segregation and some satire

51 years ago when Malcolm X was assassinated 5 days after his prophecy in Rochester. And his Speech to Mississippi Youth

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


Like what you see on our site? We’d appreciate your support. Please donate today.

Featured Posts