Early America Revisited (Paperback)
Product Descriptionby Ivan Van Sertima
Early America Revisited is a vigorous defense and amplification of Ivan Van Sertima's classic work, They Came Before Columbus. The book makes a carefully balanced case for an African presence in America before Columbus' voyages. At the same time, the work in no way denies the importance of the Columbus voyages for opening up the New World to Europe, and hence changing the economic and political map of the world for all time. Van Sertima's critical cutting edge is that there is an anthropological and ethnographic dimension to the process of discovery, one in which black Africans of non-European origins played a central role. He marshals literary and pictorial evidence and shows its authenticity to be beyond question. The impact of these early discoveries is of far more than historical interest. They serve as a basis to examine anew the study of culture contacts between civilizations, and in so doing, offer a serious base to a multifaceted re-examination of earlier hypotheses of influences in both directions.
Early America Revisited provides anthropological evidence about the physical presence of Africans in pre-Columbian America. It is also the study of how two peoples and cultures can lead to cross-fertilization. The borrowing of artifacts and ideas does not mean that the outsider is superior to the native, or that indigenous cultures are insignificant. Van Sertima contends that such relationships can be unpleasant as well as pleasant, conflictual as well as consensual. But, whatever the character of the interaction, its very existence merits awareness.
This book is likely to engender disputes and disagreements. But there is no question that it will enrich the study of a wide range of subjects, from archaeology to anthropology, and result in profound changes in the reordering of historical priorities and pedagogy. It should be of wide interest to social scientists, historians, and all those for whom the question of race and culture is a central facet of their own work and lives.