Against the Odds: Scholars Who Challenged Racism in the Twentieth Century

By Benjamin P. Bowser; Louis Kushnick et al. | Go to book overview

1
A World Libertarian
John Glover Jackson

One of the most important writings in the series of books and pamphlets that kept Africa alive as an essential part of world history was Willis Nathaniel Huggins and John Glover Jackson's Introduction to African Civilization (1937). By the turn of this century, slavery, colonialism, and long internal conflict had reduced Africa to a shadow of its past glory. Two centuries of European exploitation of African labor and the belief that Africans were inferior led prominent European and American scholars to literally write Africa out of history. The centrality of Africa to the ancient world and the abundant written evidence of Africa's influence were systematically omitted from classic texts and authoritative world histories. Where developments and events in Africa could not be ignored, they were attributed to Europeans or Asians. By the turn of the century, the prestige of the American university community was solidly vested in the omission of Africa from world history.

Educated and non–university affiliated scholars such as Gerald Massey (Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World [1907]), Willis N. Huggins and John G. Jackson (An Introduction to African Civilization), and others kept the truth alive. The many university scholars who are now researching and writing to properly put Africa back into world history and the study of civilization owe a great deal to these men, who devoted their lives with little support or recognition for keeping the evidence alive and for showing its potential.


The Interview

I grew up in New York City. My family was from Aiken, South Carolina, and had been directly involved in South Carolina's Black Reconstruction in the 1870s. During holiday visits, they told stories about those days that seemed at odds with what I later read about that period. The difference between what I had learned from my family and what was written led me to write an unpublished history of Black Reconstruction in South Carolina.

History was not my initial love. If I had had the opportunity, I would

-20-

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Against the Odds: Scholars Who Challenged Racism in the Twentieth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Against the Odds *
  • Introduction - Moving the Race Mountain 1
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 1 - A World Libertarian 20
  • 2 - Portrait of a Liberation Scholar 27
  • 3 - A Lifetime of Inquiry 41
  • 4 - The Career of John Hope Franklin 63
  • 5 - The Work and Reflections of St. Clair Drake 86
  • 6 - Blending Scholarship with Public Service 111
  • Notes 122
  • References and Further Reading *
  • 7 - Some Personal Reflections of Hylan Lewis 123
  • 8 - An Architect of Social Change 147
  • Notes 156
  • References *
  • 9 - The Person, Scholar, and Activist 158
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 10 - Vindication in Speaking Truth to Power 193
  • Notes *
  • 11 - A. Sivanandan as Activist, Teacher, and Rebel 227
  • References 242
  • Conclusion - Of Jim Crow Old and New 243
  • Notes *
  • References *
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