On 27 June, I visited Winona State University, to give a talk I had mentioned on this blog. I spoke about Africans and American Americans, highlighting issues and challenges that have faced them historically, and which continue to influence their relationships.
I started with a discussion of the centrality of Africa as the cradle of the human race, the place where language, technology, and literature originated and evolved. The current division between Africans and African Americans did not exist then. It was the result, primarily, of the Atlantic slave trade, which led the two populations undergoing separate histories. That is the origin of the vexed relationship we witness today between Africans and African Americans.
Fortunately, I have learned about these problems over the years through my involvement with Pan African organizations in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. During my talk, I referred to what I wrote in a blog post regarding misconceptions and stereotypes that Africans and African Americans hold about one another.
I emphasized that Africans and African Americans need to learn about each other's history. Africans need to learn about the African American experience, from the time of slavery, through the civil rights era, to the present time. Likewise, African Americans need to learn about the experience of Africans. Africans through the slave trade, colonialism, and neo-colonialism.
Africans and African Americans need to learn about the struggles that have defined the black experience in Africa and in the Diaspora, manifested in movements such as Pan-Africanism, anti-colonialism, and the civil rights movement. Without this serious and enduring effort to educate themselves, the relations betwen Africans and African Americans will continue to be unnecessarily problematical.