African History: Past, Present, Future
John Henrik Clarke Lecture
African people can have a Golden Age or another Age of Continued Despair, depending on how they view themselves in relationship to the totality of history and its ironies. The cruelest thing slavery and colonialism did to the Africans was to destroy their memory of what they were before foreign contact. Africans have not dealt forthrightly with invaders, slave traders and colonialists, who came among African people as guests and stayed as conquerors. The strongest thing about African people is their respect for the humanity of other people and the hospitality they have shown to strangers. In most cases, Europeans and Western Asians have come into African societies as guests and stayed as conquerors. Africans have never had a strong armed force. They assumed that they did not need one because they had no intention of conquering other people.