Welcome to A.M.A.A.P Journey
Knowledge of one’s own cultural heritage and that of other peoples’ cultural heritage is one of the keys to understanding ourselves and others (UNESCO 2002). The Africans who were enslaved, free persons or indentured servants in the American colonies helped to develop, defend, and establish our nation and are the ancestors of the majority of present day African Americans.
It is important to learn about the history and heritage of African Americans that extends back into antiquity because throughout slavery and afterwards, people of European descent, particularly those in the United States, advanced what Herskovits called the “Myths of the Negro Past. (Drake 1990:1–14)." These myths were advanced particularly and primarily about African Americans as rationales to justify slavery, and later discrimination and segregation. Most Africans who came to North America were from West Africa and West Central Africa.
When the Portuguese first explored the West African coastline, the cultures of African societies were highly evolved and had been so for centuries. In the millennium (A span of one thousand years) preceding Portuguese exploration, three large centers of medieval African civilization developed sequentially along the west coast of sub-Saharan Africa.
The first polity (The form of government of a nation) that is known to have gained prominence was Ancient Ghana. Between 500 AD–1250 AD, Ancient Ghana flourished in the southern Sahel north of the middle Niger and middle Senegal Rivers. Boahen, bases his account of Ancient Ghana on Al-Bakri and Al-Idrisi, two Arabic scholars writing their descriptions in 1067 and in 1154 respectively, when Ghana was at the height of its power. He tells us that Ancient Ghana had a civil service, strong monarchy based on a matrilineal system of inheritance (based on or tracing descent through the female line), a cabinet, an army, an effective justice system and a regular source of income from trade as well as tribute from vassal kings (Boahen 1966:4–9).
After a few days of viewing the above information, we will continue our ride into history. Also, for daily updates and podcast on the AMAAP journey visit NJ.com and type in "Where is Miles Dean" in the search box.
We invite you to add comments on the content of this web site on our blog. In addition, we will post commentaries during this ride from guest writers as we proceed across the country.
Again we say, "Welcome ... to the journey. Our
horseback journey begins in New York "