Dodson examines black experience at Conscious Lyrics lecture

POSTED: 02/28/11 12:11 PM

St. Maarten – The study of the slave trade has reveled remarkable facts of the history of the global black experience of the people living in the Americas and particularly the Western hemisphere. This is one of the assertions Howard Dodson, a historian, made Saturday in a lecture he delivered at the University of St. Martin.
Dodson was the feature speaker at the 20th Black History Month lecture organized by the Conscious Lyrics Foundation. Instead of speaking of the role of the national library and government archives and the way digital archives can be used to store and retrieve material going forward, as organizers requested, Dodson gave a summary of the global black experience.
He told the audience that studies on the topic have revealed that 10 million roughly Africans survived the Middle Passage making the majority versus the one million Europeans who crossed the Atlantic between 1492 and 1776.
“This means that the majority of people who settled in the Western Hemisphere were Africans and I can thus conclude that the history books that are being written do not tell the entire truth of the Africans who settled in this Hemisphere,” Dodson said.
Roughly 200 million people of African descent now live throughout the Americas. Many of them live in Brazil, which is second to Nigeria in terms of the largest African population in the world.
“The United States of America still believes that they have the largest African American population. We claim that there are about 35 million in the black churches, which is far from the truth. What should also be noted is that in the midst of slavery the enslaved Africans made their own history even though they were exploited and oppressed,” Dodson said.
The historian uses the terminology “enslaved Africans” because being a slave is a condition. He used as an example the situation in the United States of America that in 1830 and 1860 over 27,000 persons who were enslaved ran away each year and mentioned that when a person is a slave they will not have the “mindset to do that.”
“To survive the enslaved Africans adapted to the conditions that they were under since they were faced with the dilemma of redefining themselves and as a result had to adopt a common language which was the language of the colonizer,” Dodson said.
The information about the global black experience was well received by the teachers who attend the event and they feel it should be taught to the students so that they can understand the importance of their history and how it came about.

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