This book is an indispensable addition to all library collections as well as a teaching tool for instructors. It is heavily illustrated (photos, maps, timelines) with useful end-of-the-chapter questions and activities for further study and includes a handy bibliography of suggested readings and an index. New in this edition is a section on the historic election of Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States. Interesting connections Obama has to past presidents are explored as well. This edition also contains enhanced discussions of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, and the historic positions both held.
1 Africa and Civilization
Africa: Home of the Human Race
The history of African Americans is many thousands of years old. In fact, it starts with the beginning of the human species. Scientific evidence such as DNA typing and the discoveries of the Leakey family in Tanzania and Kenya point to the origin of human beings, some 200,000 years ago, on the continent of Africa. These people eventually migrated to other land masses. Most scientists and paleoanthropologists now agree that Africa is the birthplace of modern humans.
Paleoanthropology is the study of bones and bone fragments of humans from the ancient past. The oldest paleoanthropologic finds that trace the history of the development of man have been discovered in Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. The Louis Leakey family began to find hominid fossils (ancient skeletal remains) in Tanzania in the Olduvai Gorge in the 1950s. In 1972, ← 5 | 6 → Richard Leakey found remains of what was then thought to be the oldest bones discovered to date. What was unique about this find was that this hominid made tools.
Then, a few years later, an Ethiopian team led by Donald Johanson discovered a fossilized skeleton, which they named “Lucy.” The evidence pointed to her existence about 3.2 million years ago. There were approximately five different kinds of humans beginning with Australopithecus afarensis, the most famous example being “Lucy,” about 2–3 million years ago. Next was Australopithecus robustus, who lived about 2 million years ago....
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