Tuesday, January 8, 2008
African American History: Did You Know...?
Here's a picture from my newest book, D IS FOR DRINKING GOURD: AN AFRICAN AMERICAN ALPHABET. This page is from "R is for African Roots and the glories that Africa once knew." Isn't it beautiful how illustrator E.B. Lewis interpreted this topic? Africa has a magnificant past of ancient empires, black pharaohs in Egypt, and cities such as Timbuktu that flourished as centers of culture, scholarship, and wealth.
Recently I've been researching the ancient walled cities of northern Nigeria for a potential magazine article. Did you know that this area was known as Hausaland because of the Hausa-speaking people who settled there? Strong walled city-states began to be developed around 1000 A.D that resembled medieval fiefs in Europe. Important trading centers such as the city of Kano connected Africa with the world as caravans arrived from all points of the compass including from the North. Those brave traders dared to cross the dangerous Sahara desert in their quest to take part in Africa's wealth, learning, and culture.
I looked at Kano on Google Earth and was delighted to see portions of its ancient city wall that still exist! The "Old City" is still famous for its bustling market, famous dye pits, and historic landmarks such as the Emir's Palace.
Posted by Nancy I. Sanders