Before The Slave Trade: African World History in Pictures by Robin Walker
About the Book
It is to be expected that for most readers early Black history is a new and unfamiliar subject. Our focus is NOT on the usual topics of discussion, i.e. Mary Seacole, Malcolm X, the man who invented the traffic lights, or the Slave Trade. Our focus is much larger. This book was written to tell a much bigger and far more important story.
We discuss the role of Black men and women in the development of high cultures in Africa before the coming of the Europeans. Chapter 1 presents a series of snapshots of Africa as it was when the kidnapping and mass enslavement of Africans began. The subsequent chapters introduce the role of Black men and women in the origin and evolution of high cultures that have shaped the world.
We discuss the role of Black people in the early history of Nubia, Ancient Egypt, Carthage and the Moorish Empire. In short, we refute the view that the African was peripheral to the development of civilisation. We further show the role of Black people in the ancient civilisations of the East. We highlight the critical role of Blacks in the early history of Palestine, Arabia, Iraq, Iran, India and Pakistan (i.e. Phoenicia, Arabia Felix, Sumer, Elam, and the Indus Valley). Finally, we show the role of Africans in the ancient and mediæval history of Central America.
Accompanying the text are a series of photographs, many of them rarely used, that are vital in driving home the main point of the book. That is, the history and achievements of the African is something to learn from and be inspired by. It is not a legacy to be ashamed of.
The book contains a Glossary of words used throughout the book, and also a Chronological Table. It is always a good idea to cross check facts and dates against the Table
BeforeThe Slave Tradeprovides novices to Black History and teachers of Egyptology or African Civilisations with key photographic images as visual proof of the greatness of the Black past. Such visual resources are always necessary and it is important that such resources are readily accessible, especially as teaching material.
The book bridges the immense gap between what scholars know about the early history and achievements of Black people and what the general public knows. This gulf has unfortunately remained constant for over a hundred years.
The book serves as both an introduction and a supplementary volume to our much larger work When We Ruled. There is almost no overlap between the two books but they complement each other well.
The book shows the role of Black men and women in the development of high cultures in Africa before the coming of the Europeans. It also shows the role of Black men and women in the origin and evolution of high cultures that have shaped the world, such as Ancient Nubia, Ancient Egypt, Carthage, and the Moorish Empire. Challenging the view that the African was peripheral to the development of world civilisation, it also shows the critical role of Black people in the ancient civilisations of the East (i.e. Phoenicia, Judah, Arabia Felix, Sumer, Elam, and the Indus Valley). Finally, the book discusses the role of Africans in the ancient and medieval history of Central America.
Before The Slave Trade is an essential resource for the teacher, researcher or student of Black History, African World Studies or Egyptology.
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Black History Studies Publications (1 Sep 2008)
Robin Walker, or ‘The Black History Man,’ is a noted scholar of Medieval African History. Growing up in the 70’s, Walker believed that “the only thing black people contributed to world culture was to be slaves.” It was during the 90’s, after obtaining an economics degree from LSE Walker gained deeper understanding of Ancient African Civilisations having been inspired by Chancellor Williams’ book The Destruction of Black Civilization.
Since then Walker has worked tirelesslyto disseminate knowledge, lecturing in African World Studies, Egyptology and Black History at universities and conferences across the UK and authoring 16 books. In 1999 he wrote Classical Splendour: Roots of Black History and Sword, The Seal and Koran in 2000. But arguably, Walker is best known for his 2006 textbook When We Ruled, heralded as an update to the Chancellor Williams text that inspired him. An incredible text shattering the myth that high civilisation only existed in Egypt. In 2008 he authored Before the Slave Trade, a pictorial companion to When We Ruled. In 2011 and 2012, he wrote a series of e-book lecture-essays on a wide variety of topics ranging from The Black Musical Tradition to the Equinox. Walker’s latest piece Everyday Life in an Early West African Empire (with Siaf Millar and Saran Keita) is available on Amazon. Walker’s collection of writings are invaluable insights into Ancient civilisations for Africans worldwide.
When and why did you begin writing Before the Slave Trade?
In Summer 2006 a colleague invited me to help in teaching a course on Ancient Egypt entitled African Perspectives on Egypt. While planning the programme and reading material for the course, I realised what was missing. I realised that someone needed to write a book that contained the photographic evidence that proved that Ancient Egypt belonged to Africa – a book that contained the authentic portraits of the different pharaohs. Professors Cheikh Anta Diop and Ivan Van Sertima made much headway in their respective books, but they did not publish all the evidence in one place. I began Before the Slave Trade to fulfil this need.
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