Toomer Family BLOG

Our goal is to celebrate ALL Toomer family members today and yesterday. This blog will include history, genealogy, and reunion news. Additionally we will share our talent in poetry and prose, along with spotlight news on family members.

Monday, March 13, 2006

African History: More than Plight

Black history month in 2006 was much different than others. Usually, it is a wonderful time to enhance my knowledge of my people. Each year I look for a subject that I want to know more about. Or, I may read something, or see a program on TV that reminds me, Hey I really do not know much about such-in-such. Some times the subject is small and narrow, other times it is big and requires more than 28 days. Toomer DNA test is a biggie!
Unfortunately, here in America we have become very stale and self centered in our celebration of Black History month. First it seems like the only historical time period of focus is American slavery and American civil rights. Of course, these are very important topics. We have given some time to the plight of some African countries, but there is so much more to our history than plight.
We must realize that February is BLACK History. Black people are global people and we all have similar, yet unique experiences. In the Americas alone we have blacks in every part, Canada, Latin America and South America. What about European Africans?

I have been blessed to have a mother who taught me about my history and encourage the afrocentric. (Even though she would not let me get an afro when I was a kid. She had one, I just did not understand. Maybe you can comment on that Mom.) Additionally I attended Lawnside Middle School, where, if you did not learn anything else, you learned about black people. I remember having a conversation with my Mom, shortly after transferring to Lawnside. I told her that we never learned about white people. She told me that since I knew about the whites, now it was a good time for me to learn more about the blacks. And boy did I. Mr. Walter (Butch) Gaines, Mrs. (Aunt Helen) Morales, and Dr. Clark come to my mind first when I think of the impact that Lawnside had on my education of Africans in America. In essence they taugh me more about myself.
First Toomers I want to ask you:
What do you know about the lives of African people
before the slave trade?
You may ask, How do I begin to learn more?
READ.
Yes it is that simple. Use your local library. They will have books within the county system on African Studies. Also, if they do not have a particular book, you can give them an author and a title and they will retrieve the item for you via interlibrary loan. Use the internet. There are tons of pages on African Studies. Try to stick with notable web sites like academic and historical institutions, so that you get accurate information.
You may ask, What should I study first?
The Three Great Kingdoms.
Ghana, Mali, and Songhay are considered the three great kingdoms of West Africa. This is a good place to start. Get an overview of what was going on in Africa before the continent was invaded. Visit the family web site and view the Toomer Resource.
If you would like to share resources, add a comment. We can learn from one another. (I know that the Toomer family has more than a few former dashiki, kofi hat wearing, black power baby boomers* with deep African knowledge. Dust off of those dust jackets and let us know what is in your library. * They have a new term for baby boomers. You guys are now called baby geezers. Honest. I did not make this up. Imagine. You are now the age of Edith and Archie Bunker. But to me you guys look really great. They say that 50s, 60s are the new 40s, 50s. How did it feel to receive you AARP card in the mail? Really, I am not laughing.) Enjoy learning about yourself.

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