This Is Our History

Shirley Anita St Hill Chisholm was born in 1924 in Brooklyn, New York. Her family moved to the United States from Barbados in the 1920s. When she was five, she moved to Barbados to live with her grandmother where she was taught to have a strong sense of self. She returned to the U.S in 1934.

Chisholm attended Girl’s High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant and then went to Brooklyn College where she gained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She met Conrad Chisholm in the late 1940s and married in 1949. In the 1950s she worked as the director of different childcare centers and began volunteering to different political groups like the League of Women Voters.

She ran for a New York State Assembly position in 1964. She won. She served from 1965 to 68. She became the first African American woman elected to Congress in 1969 and served until 1983.

 In 1972, she started her campaign to run for president and became the first African American woman to run for a major party’s nomination. She became the first woman to appear in the presidential debate. She retired in 1983 and spent her time teaching at universities around the country. She died in 2005.

Book of the Quarter

Destiny’s Dilemma

An African American woman moved home to take care of her dying mother giving up the opportunity to experience a world beyond segregation. Zoraida Hughes Williams finds that some things have changed about her hometown of Fort Worth, Texas while some have stayed the same, like Hell’s Half Acre, an area where saloons, prostitution and gambling runs wild. Like most of the residents, she wants to keep her head down and stay away from trouble, but it comes in the unlikely form of an Anglo Baptist preacher. He messes up everything and almost gets them killed.

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Art of the Month

Common Era history would have you believe that there is no history from the continent of Africa that would require chronicling.

I disagree.

There is rich valuable information that can be determined from this history. It just needs to be presented so that each individual can make up their own minds.

We have established through a biblical context that people of African descent have been viable since history keeping began. After walking the road with Jesus and Simon of Cyrene, we move to another part of the continent and a little later in time.

Between the 2 and 3rd Century AD, the Kingdom of Aksum (which is now present-day Eritrea and northern Ethiopia) traded gold and ivory into Middle East, India, and China. This was a wealthy civilization that thrived for centuries. They also exported frankincense, myrrh, emeralds, salt, and live animals. It established economic strength, noted in the image as the coin, which held the image of its leaders.

Meanwhile a tribe of about 4,000 people in 200 AD grew to about 26,000 by 800 AD in a settlement in Northern Nigeria. They developed a method to grow rice using tools made of iron. This system would become a game changer later in history. It is noted in the image as white mountain. The other mountains represent gold and copper which were also items other nations wanted.

Different tribes throughout the continent of Africa would gather their natural resources and trade them with countries around the world. Although many of the tales will never be told, Africans began globalization by 150 BC as notes from Chinese Courts tell of ambassadors from Ethiopia bringing goods.

By 1000 AD, Madagascar was part of the route to trading with China through the town of Kilwa on Tanzania. Archeological digs in the town reveal Chinese porcelain.

Stereotypes of people from African countries show them as primitive uneducated people who didn’t know how to manage their own lives, less alone build booming economies.  For a very long time they have been the innovators that make the world a better place.