A 22 year old ‘African’ student has emerged the best graduating student of John Hopkins University in the US. Emmanuel Ohuabunwa obtained a Grade Point Average of 3.98 out of a possible 4.0 to earn a degree in Neurosciences. Emmanuel is the first black male to make this Grade in the…
“Information about the Black reality and experience must be transmitted as broadly and as intensely as possible. Black singers must sing about it, Black researchers must identify it, Black actors must act it, Black scholars must conceptualize it, Black teachers must teach it, and Black preachers must preach it. From the cradle to the grave, we must submerge ourselves; from books, pictures and whatever source that will bring messages to our minds. Each bit of information helps to mold the keys which will open the chains that remain on our minds. -Naim Akbar”—
As a black American, I know nothing about where my family comes from. I have little knowledge of any sort of lineage, other than the fact that my ancestors were most likely slaves to somebody’s great great grandfather.
Yes, black people do have a very significant history in America. Yes, a lot of us can stake a claim on our modern American culture. Hell, some of us can even trace our roots back to some richly traditional Afro-Caribbean places.
I can’t. All I know is that one side of my family is from Louisiana and the other is from Georgia. We can speculate beyond that, but we can’t really claim any legitimate culture other than what has been established for us in relatively recent years. We can’t take part in any cultural celebrations that honor the “motherland” or whatever. We can’t reminisce about a time when our family wasn’t owned by others.
Now, this is in no way meaning to decrease the value of black American culture.
But, hasn’t there been some point in your life, fellow black Americans, that you wish that you could claim your ancestors came from some noble kingdom or tribe? A place you could call your family’s cradle?
This hasn’t really bothered me until recently, when I realized I’m the only person in my group of friends without any inkling of where my ancestors came from. Sure, I could be like, “Oh, I came from Africa, obviously!” but what the hell does that even mean? There are so many different peoples and cultures in Africa that claiming that I come from that continent could make me ANYONE.
And you know what? I can never be a part of any sort of traditional African culture. Me and my family and other like us are too far gone already. All we have is America, a country that barely accepts us even nowadays. If we tried to indulge in any other culture other than the one we’ve been forced to adopt, we would probably be ridiculed for it, and rightly so considering we know NOTHING about ANYTHING.
I know I may be reading too much into this, but I feel empty. I feel like I could see someone with my same lineage, from my same ancestral crib, and we wouldn’t recognize each other. We wouldn’t be able to connect on a familial level.