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Early America Revisited is a vigorous defense and amplification of Ivan Van Sertima's classic work, They Came Before Columbus. The book makes a carefully balanced case for an African presence in America before Columbus' voyages. At the same time, the work in no way denies the importance of the Columbus voyages for opening up the New World to Europe, and hence changing the economic and political map of the world for all time. Van Sertima's critical cutting edge is that there is an anthropological and ethnographic dimension to the process of discovery, one in which black Africans of non-European origins played a central role. He marshals literary and pictorial evidence and shows its authenticity to be beyond question. The impact of these early discoveries is of far more than historical interest. They serve as a basis to examine anew the study of culture contacts between civilizations, and in so doing, offer a serious base to a multifaceted re-examination of earlier hypotheses of influences in both directions.
Early America Revisited provides anthropological evidence about the physical presence of Africans in pre-Columbian America. It is also the study of how two peoples and cultures can lead to cross-fertilization. The borrowing of artifacts and ideas does not mean that the outsider is superior to the native, or that indigenous cultures are insignificant. Van Sertima contends that such relationships can be unpleasant as well as pleasant, conflictual as well as consensual. But, whatever the character of the interaction, its very existence merits awareness.
This book is likely to engender disputes and disagreements. But there is no question that it will enrich the study of a wide range of subjects, from archaeology to anthropology, and result in profound changes in the reordering of historical priorities and pedagogy. It should be of wide interest to social scientists, historians, and all those for whom the question of race and culture is a central facet of their own work and lives.
Jacqueline L. Patten Van Sertima, who is responsible for the photographic materials in this volume, has had her work exhibited at the Museum of the City of New York, the National Urban League, Columbia University, and many galleries across the country. Her publications include The Black Photographers Annual and Black Photographers.
|1||The Mandingo Voyages||1|
|2||Physical and Ritual Evidence of Egyptian-Nubian Contact in the Time of the Ramessides||31|
|Egyptian-Nubian Contact with the Olmec c. 1200 B.C.||31|
|3||Egyptian Contact with South America||115|
|4||Reply to My Critics||135|
|Interview for "Our Time" (Part One)||143|
|Interview for "Our Time" (Part Two)||153|
|On the Find of Nicotine in the Mummy of Ramses II||165|
|Notes on Correspondences between Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Mexican Pyramids||173|
|Notes on Correspondences between some Nubian and Mexican Pyramids||177|
|Conversations with Von Wuthenau||181|
|Ignorance of the Surviving Pictorial Document as Displayed by Conventional Anthropologists||185|
|Plants and Transplants||187|
|Fade from Black - The Significance of the Skeletal Evidence||189|
|On Dating of the First Contact and Nature of Its Influence||191|
|"The Mumblings of De Montellano"||193|
|More on "The Mumblings of De Montellano"||199|
|Concerning the False Accusation that I Claimed Africans Founded the First American Civilization||201|
|An Appeal for Change in Our Methodologies and Approaches||203|
|History as a Guide to Modern Political Action||205|