No one really knows when writing started although, it's being debated among historal scholars that the Sumerians started writing around 3400–3100 BC but, there are Notable and Well documented written languages like the Aramaic(as early as the 11th Century BCE and it's the initial language of the Bible) or the Arabic (over 1500 years old and it is the initial language of the Quaran) or the Hebrew Language(over 3000 years old).
There is an old saying that "Whoever wins the war, writes the history" and this is probably the reason why the glory of Africans are sparsely recorded in history books or taught in schools. Moreover, most of the history book you would find today are written in English language.
In most Countries of the world today, People see Dark-skinned people as lazy or less priviledged people. However, based on their origin, they are the most talented, intelligent and hardworking people in our planet. Most of the things you see around you today were either invented or hypothesized by a black man.
This article exposes some of people you ought to know but, you were never taught due to their origin.
Have you ever wondered "how old the English Language truly is?
Now let's briefly discuss about the some of the most Notable people of African origin, most of which you would be amazed at their achievement and also, You would wonder why you were not taught about them in school.
Kimpa Vita also known as Dona Beatriz (1684–1706): A phenomenal leader and prophet who changed the face of Christianity by creating Indigenous African movement,Antonianism, which taught that Jesus and other early Christian figures were from the Kongo Empire. Kimpa Vita was born near Mount Kibangu in the Kingdom of Kongo. She was born into a family of the Kongo nobility, as Kongo had been a Catholic kingdom for two centuries.
Dona Beatriz was concerned with the restoration, spiritually and politically, of the Kongo Kingdom. In her messages, she combined traditional Kongolese culture with Christianity. All of this while she was a teenager. She placed the birth of Jesus Christ within the Kongo and Sao Salvador as the biblical Bethlehem, claiming that God wanted it restored as capital. Her message became very popular. This threatened the influence of the Catholic Church and other Kongolese people. On July 2, 1706, Kimpa Vita was captured near her hometown and burned at stake with her baby (in some accounts) in Evululu as a heretic in 1706 by forces loyal to the Kongo Kingdom. She was tried under Kongo law as a witch and a heretic, with the consent and counsel of the Capuchin friars Bernardo da Gallo and Lorenzo da Lucca. What is commendable about Kimpa Vita is that she was able to mobilize a large number of Kongo to reclaim their faith and make it what they'd like it to be... All of this while she was a teenager. She died when she was 21.
Vicente Ramón Guerrero aka the "Negro Guerrero" (10 August 1782 – 14 February 1831) was one of the leading revolutionary generals of the Mexican War of Independence (1810–1821), he abolished slavery in Mexico (1829) and later served as 2nd President of Mexico. Born poor to a Black-Indian family and growing up without formal schooling, he taught himself to read and write as he trained his troops in the Sierra Madre mountains. Throughout the war, Guerrero distinguished himself in many battles. Despite having few troops, he kept the rebellion alive through an extensive campaign of guerrilla warfare. Historians refer to him as "the George Washington and Abraham Lincoln of Mexico" where he is a national hero. Unfortunately, most Mexicans do not know of his African ancestry.
Harriet Tubman was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and, during the American Civil War, a Union spy. After escaping slavery, she went back and eventually lead more than 300 Africans out of the American slavery system to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad.
In order to gain their freedom, they travelled hundreds of miles, hiding in ditches and caves in the day, sneaking through forests and fording through streams in the night.
Harriet Tubman routinely put herself in danger to guide thousands of slaves to freedom. She was ever watchful of the roving bands of Whites—called paddyrollers—who with their bloodhounds seeked out for escapees and sought to earn the bounties the captured runaways would bring.
Picture of Harriet Tubman
"Harriet Tubman was Americas most wanted, her reward for capture was $12,000 (that's $300,000 today!)"
Cathay Williams was the first and only known female Buffalo Soldier. Born into slavery, she worked for the Union army during the Civil War. During this time period, women were not allowed to enlist nor serve as soldiers, but she wanted to serve her country. On November 15, 1866, she posed as a man and enlisted into the United States Army, she served in the 38th infantry.
Picture of Cathay Williams
She was discharged honorably from the military in 1868. Though other women who disguised themselves as men were previous granted military pensions (Molly Pitcher and Deborah Sampson), Cathay Williams was never approved to receive a pension or disability even though she suffered from diabetes.
Theophilus Augustus Thompson is considered the first African-American chess player recognized in the United States. In addition to competing in tournaments, he wrote a book Chess Problems: Either to Play and Mate published in 1873.
Picture of Theophilus Augustus Thompson
Thompson was born into slavery in Frederick, Maryland on April 21, 1855. Freed after the Civil War, he worked as a house servant in Carroll County, Maryland from 1868 to 1870.
Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones Popularly known as Sissieretta Jones, (January 5, 1868 or 1869 – June 24, 1933) was an opera singer who was considered the greatest black American in her field in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She sometimes was called "The Black Patti" in reference to Italian opera singer Adelina Patti. Jones' repertoire included grand opera, light opera, and popular music. In 1892, she performed at the White House for President Benjamin Harrison, in London before the Prince of Wales and she was the first African-American to sing at the Music Hall in New York (renamed Carnegie Hall the following year).
DR. CARTER G WOODSON (December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950): He was the son of a Son of a slave, Carter G Woodson was born in New Canton, Virginia. He's biggest accomplishment was creating "NEGRO HISTORY WEEK" which later became "BLACK HISTORY MONTH". He also founded the Association For the Study Of Negro Life & History in 1915, an institution to train Black historians and to collect, preserve, and publish documents on Black life and Black people. He then founded the JOURNAL OF NEGRO HISTORY (1916), ASSOCIATED PUBLISHER (1922), and THE NEGRO BULLETIN (1937). Woodson spent his entire life working to educate all people about the vast contributions made by Black men and women throughout history.
Picture of Dr. Cater G. Woodson
Patrice Émery Lumumba (2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961) was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Forced out of office during a political crisis, He was subsequently imprisoned and murdered in circumstances suggesting the support and complicity of the governments of Belgium and the United States.
Picture of Patrice Emery Lumba
Lumumba stands as one of the world's greatest fighters for justice. Lumumba strove for nationalism in the Congo across racial, ethnic, tribal and economic lines. He also believed in the imperative of African unity.
Toni Morrison is perhaps the most celebrated contemporary American novelist and she is the first black woman to receive Nobel Prize in Literature. She made her debut as a novelist in 1970, soon gaining the attention of both critics and a wider audience for her epic power, unerring ear for dialogue, and her poetically-charged and richly-expressive depictions of Black America.
Picture of Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison has degrees from Howard and Cornell Universities. She was appointed the Robert F. Goheen Professor at Princeton University spring 1989, a post she held until 2006. Among the universities where she has held teaching posts are Yale, Texas Southern, Howard, Bard College and Rutgers.
Bob Marley(6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981): Famously knowned as the father of Reggae Music, He is considered to be one of the Pioneers of Reggae Music. A Jamaican singer, musician and songwriter Bob Marley served as a world ambassador for reggae music and sold more than 20 million records throughout his career—making him the first international superstar to emerge from the so-called Third World.
Picture of Bob Marley and Michael Jackson (Left to Right)
Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009): Famously knowned as the King of Pop Music. He was the eighth child of the Jackson family, Michael made his professional debut in 1964 with his elder brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon as a member of the Jackson 5. He began his solo career in 1971 while at Motown Records, and in the early 1980s, became a dominant figure in popular music. His music videos, including those for "Beat It", "Billie Jean", and "Thriller" from his 1982 album Thriller, are credited with breaking racial barriers and transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool. Their popularity helped bring the television channel MTV to fame. Bad (1987) was the first album to produce five US Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles. He continued to innovate throughout the 1990s with videos such as "Black or White" and "Scream", and forged a reputation as a touring artist. Through stage and video performances, Jackson popularized complicated dance techniques such as the moonwalk, to which he gave the name. His sound and style have influenced artists of various genres. Jackson is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with estimated sales of over 350 million records worldwide
William Christoper Handy: African music has influenced every genre of American music. Meet William Christopher Handy, the "Father of the Blues", Born on November 16, 1873, in Florence, Alabama, W.C. Handy was an African-American composer and a leader in popularizing of blues music in the early 20th century, with hits like "Memphis Blues" and "St. Louis Blues."
Tupac Amaru Shakur: Father of Hip-hop and Rap Music. Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper, record producer and actor. As of 2007, Shakur has sold over 75 million records worldwide.
Jimi Hendrix: Jimi Hendrix is widely considered to be the greatest electric guitarist in musical history, and one of the most influential musicians of his era across a range of genres. He expanded the range and vocabulary of the electric guitar into areas no musician had ever ventured before. His boundless drive, technical ability and creative application of such effects as wah-wah and distortion forever transformed the sound of rock and roll. Hendrix helped usher in the age of psychedelia with his 1967 debut, "Are You Experienced?", and the impact of his brief but meteoric career on popular music continues to be felt.
Katherine Dunham (June 22, 1909 – May 21, 2006): She was an American dancer, choreographer, author, educator, and social activist. Dunham had one of the most successful dance careers in American and European theater of the 20th century, and directed her own dance company for many years. She has been called the , "matriarch and queen mother of black dance".
Picture depicting the inventor of Remote Control
EDMONIA LEWIS is recognized as the first female sculptress in America. She attended Oberlin College in Ohio. A few of her famous works included bust of Abraham Lincoln, Charles Sumner and Robert Gould Shaw. FOREVER FREE (1867), a marble sculpture now at the Howard University Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., is her most famous work. Her famous THE DEATH OF CLEOPATRA is now in the National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C.
In 1895, Du Bois became the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in the subject of history from Harvard University. He then studied in Germany but ran out of funds before he could earn a post-doctoral degree. With the publication of THE PHILADELPHIA NEGRO: A SOCIAL STUDY in 1899, the first case study of a black community in the United States, as well as papers on black farmers, businessmen, and black life in Southern communities, Du Bois established himself as the first great scholar of black life in America.
Picture of W.E.B Du bois
In 1905, W.E.B. Du Bois and 29 others formed the Niagara Movement. This movement was designed to provide a more radical alternative to civil rights activist's Booker T. Washington's responses to oppression. The organization continued to fight for civil rights over a 6-year time period before disbanding. Many of its members, including Du Bois continue their works in civil rights through the NAACP.
While virtual unknown elsewhere, Medgar Evers was one of Mississippi's most prominent civil rights activists. Born on July 2, 1925, in Decatur, Mississippi. Evers fought Racial Injustices in many forms, including how the state and local legal system handled crimes against African Americans.
In 1954, he became the first state field secretary of the NAACP in Mississippi. As such, he organized voter-registration efforts, demonstrations, and economic boycotts of white companies that practiced discrimination. He also worked to investigate crimes perpetrated against blacks. On June 12, 1963, Evers was assassinated outside of his home in Jackson, Mississippi. Evers was drafted into the US Army in 1943. He fought in both France and Germany during World War II, and received an honorable discharge in 1946. In 1948, he entered Alcorn College (now Alcorn State University) in Lorman,Mississippi.
Upon graduation from college in 1952, Evers became involved in the Regional Council of Negro Leadership. His work with the RCNL was his first experience as a civil rights organizer.
Picture of Medgar Evers
He spear headed the group's boycott against gas stations that refused to let blacks use their restrooms.
Evers also worked on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, organizing local affiliates. In February 1954 with the NAACP, Evers tried to integrate the university of Mississippi. Thurgood Marshall served as his attorney for this legal challenge to racial discrimination. While he failed to gain admission to the law school, Evers managed to raise his profile with the NAACP. In May 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in the famous Brown v. Board of Education case. This decision legally ended segregation of schools. Evers also called for a new investigation to the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy who had allegedly been killed for talking to a white woman.
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. was minister of Abyssinian Baptist Church, and worked as a community activist for Harlem. He later became the first person of African-American descent from New York to be elected to Congress, and the fourth African American from the North to be elected in the Post-Reconstruction Era after Oscar Stanton De Priest. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr represented Harlem, New York City, in the United States House of Representatives (1945–71), and he was a major force in establishing civil rights for African Americans. During his congressional service, he became a powerful national politician of the Democratic Party. Re-elected numerous times, Powell served on a number of committees. He became a national spokesman on civil rights, social issues and human rights. He demanded an end to lynching in the South and Jim Crow laws. He also angered Southern segregationists, by integrating congressional restaurants, recreational facilities and press stations; critiquing anti-Semitism; and advocating for independence for African and Asian nations. He also urged presidents to support emerging nations in Africa and Asia as they gained independence after colonialism. On April 4, 1972, Powell died from cancer in Miami, Florida. His ashes were scattered over Bimini.
The Harlem community continues to remember the politician and religious leader for his advocacy of the neighborhood; among its many memorials of historic African-American figures, Harlem established an iconic state office building and boulevard in Powell's name.
Marie Van Brittan Brown received a patent in 1969, making her the first person to develop a patent for closed-circuit television(CCTV) security. Brown's system was designed with four peepholes and a motorized camera that could slide up and down to look at each one.
Picture of Marie Van Brittan
"Marie Van Brittan", a woman of African origin invented Closed-Circuit Television popularly known as CCTV, globally used for Surveillance.
Her invention became the framework for the modern closed-circuit television system that is widely used for surveillance, crime prevention and traffic monitoring.
Gwendolyn Brooks was one of the most influential American writers and poets of the 20th century. Based primarily in Chicago, IL, a center of Blues and Jazz cultures, her poems often carry a musical quality, and many catalog the black experience.
Picture of Gwendoly Brooks
Brooks was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize (which she won for her book of poetry Annie Allen). Her most famous poem is “We Real Cool”. She wrote over twenty books of poetry during her lifetime, and was honored with many awards, including serving as the Poet Laureate for the state of Illinois in 1968 and as a Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1985 to 1986.
Celia Cruz was born in Havana, Cuba on October 21, 1925. She first gained recognition in the 1950s, as a singer with the orchestra Sonora Matancera. Cruz enthralled audiences with her flamboyant attire and crowd engagement—traits that bolstered her 40-year singing career. Relocating to the United States after the ascent of Fidel Castro, Cruz continued performing live with Tito Puente, the Fania All-Stars and she recorded albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and beyond. In that time, she made more than 75 records, including 23 that went gold, and won several Grammys and Latin Grammys. She also appeared in many movies, earned a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts by the National Endowment of the Arts. Cruz recorded 23 gold records Cruz died in New Jersey in 2003, at the age of 77.
Craig Hodges was an NBA sharp shooter who won the 3-point contest three consecutive years (1990-92). Hodges played on the Michael Jordan lead Chicago Bulls, with whom he helped that that franchise win two world championships.
After one of the championships, President Bush invited the Chicago Bulls to the White House. Hodges appeared wearing a dashiki and handed the President a letter that asked him to end the injustice toward the African-American community.
Picture of Craig Hodges
After the 1992 season, Hodges' 10th NBA season and his fourth season with the team, he was released. Hodges never played in the NBA again. In 1996, Hodges filed a lawsuit against the NBA in for being black balled by all 29 teams.
The Anti-apartheid leader and South African Freedom fighter Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison.
He and other ANC leaders were sentenced to life for attempting to overthrow the government. Serving 18 of his 27 years behind bars in the harsh Robben Island prison just outside of Cape Town, the authorities tried to break Mandela's spirit with hard labor and other forms of ill treatment. Correspondence with the outside world was scarce, as Mandela was only allowed to receive and write a letter once every six months.
Over the course of his imprisonment, Mandela's fame rose as the spiritual leader of stamping out apartheid.
Picture of Nelson Mandella
He became known for staging protests and radicalizing other Black prisoners at Robben Island. Eventually, his disturbances sparked prison officials to improve the conditions. Mandela was moved to a different location and eventually put on house arrest. In 1985, Mandela was offered a chance at freedom by then-President P.W. Botha but only if he would renounce his militancy. In pure defiance, Mandela rejected the offer.
Though Dr. King walked in the radical tradition of Black liberation theology and spoke out against domestic and foreign terrorism with zeal, many in White America have rebranded him into a gentle, friendly-negro, color-blind giant whose only interest in White supremacy lied in ensuring that Black Americans could dine at its table.
Picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr
"I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. ... I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal. ~~ by Martin Luther King""
That wasn't the real Dr. King. That wasn't our Dr. King: "Be proud of our heritage…we don't have anything to be ashamed of." "Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything Black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionaries and see the synonyms of the word Black. It's always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word White, it's always something pure, high and clean. Well I want to get the language right tonight." Let's learn about the real MLK.
Dorothy West was an African American writer and social activist. Daughter of an emancipated slave, as a teenager, she moved to Harlem, New York. where she joined a group of writers, known as the New Negro movement, which became a driving force in establishing what is known as the Harlem Renaissance.
Picture of the young Dorothy West
West published her first story, “The Typewriter,” in 1926. It won second place in a contest sponsored by the Urban League's Opportunity magazine. Dorothy West traveled to the Soviet Union in 1936, taking part in a documentary about racism in America. Upon returning, West co-founded the writing journal, Challenge. Challenge was groundbreaking as one of the first publications to feature realistic portrayals of the daily life of modern African Americans, and included contributions from famous writers Margaret Walker and Ralph Ellison. West died on August 16, 1998, at the age of 91, at the New England Medical Center in Boston. At her death, she was one of the last surviving members of the Harlem Renaissance. When asked what she wanted her legacy to be, she responded with "That I hung in there. That I didn't say I can't."
In 1984, Coach John Thompson became the first Black coach to win a NCAA Basketball Championship when his Georgetown Hoyas defeated the University Houston 84-75. As head coach of the University of Georgetown, he ran a clean and successful program. With an overall record of 596- 239.
Picture of the Legendary Coach John Thompson
He won a National Championship (1984), appeared in three Final Fours (1982, 1984, 1985) and 24 consecutive post season appearances. He was named "Coach of the Year" a total of seven times. Coach Thompson had a graduation rate of 97% , 26 of his players were drafted by the NBA, 8 in the first round. Here's a list of a few players who he coached at Georgetown, Patrick Ewing,Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Jerome "JYD" Williams and Allen Iverson.
On January 8, 1999, Thompson announced his resignation as Georgetown's head coach. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on October 1, 1999.
African-American track-and-field star Tommie Smith raised a gloved fist in a salute to black unity after winning the 200-meter gold medal at the 1968 Olympics. Born on June 6, 1944, in Clarksville, Texas, Tommie Smith set multiple records for the San José State University track-and-field team in the 1960s. After winning the 200-meter gold medal at the 1968 Olympics, he and teammate John Carlos caused an uproar by delivering a black-power salute on the podium. Smith went on to become a sociology professor and track coach until his retirement in 2005.
Smith enrolled at San José State University in 1963 with the intention of continuing his three-sport path, but he never joined the football team and gave up basketball after one season. While in college, the track star also became involved in the civil rights movement, forming the Olympic Project for Human Rights with Carlos and sociology professor Harry Edwards.
Although Smith and Carlos were named to the 1968 U.S. Olympic track-and-field team, the OPHR initially advocated an African-American boycott of the Summer Games before softening its stance.
Picture of Tommie Smith during the 1968 Olympics
Smith won the 200-meter race at the Olympics in a world- and Olympic-record time of 19.83 seconds, with Carlos finishing third, but it was their time on the winners' podium that would become the iconic moment of the Summer Games. Wearing black socks and black gloves, the two men took their places, bowed their heads and triumphantly raised their fists in a show of black unity.
The fallout was harsh; with the International Olympic Committee determining that the Games were no place for such a political display, Smith and Carlos were forced to return their medals the following day and ordered to leave the Olympic village. The men were excoriated in some outlets for their "militant" exhibition and received death threats, although others offered praise for their courageous stance.
BARBARA JORDAN was an American politician and a leader of the Civil Rights movement. In 1965, She was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate since 1883 and the first southern black female elected to the United States House of Representatives. While in Congress, she worked to protect the rights of consumers students, women and poor people.
Picture of the young Barbara Jordan
BARBARA JORDAN retired from politics in 1978 and was award for her work with the PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM in 1994.
Marcus Garvey was one of the many leaders of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movement in the early 1900's. In 1914, he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), as a means of uniting all of Africa and its diaspora into "one grand racial hierarchy" and to promote social, political, and economic freedom for Blacks.
Picture of Marcus Garvey
He urged Black people worldwide to be proud of their race and return to Africa, their ancestral homeland. To facilitate the return to Africa that he advocated, in 1919 Garvey founded the Black Star Line, to provide transportation to Africa, and the Negro Factories Corporation to encourage black economic independence.
Born on March 3, 1962, in East St. Louis, Illinois, Jackie Joyner-Kersee is one of the greatest athletes of all time. She dominated the sport of Track and Field. Joyner-Kersee won a silver medal in the heptathlon at the 1984 Summer Olympics, as well as gold and bronze medals in the long jump in 1988 and 1992, respectively. Making her the first woman to earn more than 7,000 points in the seven-event heptathlon.
Picture of Jackey Joyner-Kersee
She is currently the heptathlon world record-holder, scoring 7,291 points, a record she set four times. Joyner-Kersee is also a former long jump gold medalist and word record holder. She was the first American to win gold for the long jump and Joyner-Kersee is still the American record-holder in the long jump. Joyner-Kersee's last Olympic run came in 1996, when she took home a bronze medal in the long jump at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
Joyner-Kersee was involved in various philanthropic organizations. In 1988 she established the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, which sought to help at-risk children, especially those living in her hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois. She later cofounded (2007) Athletes for Hope, which encouraged professional athletes to become active in charitable causes. In 2016 she became involved in an initiative backed by Comcast to provide Internet access to low-income families, among other aims.