Printer Friendly

The Admiration and Complementary Africana Historical Scholarship of W.E.B. Du Bois and Joel Augustus Rogers.

"Now Toynbee's word carries great weight. He's often called the world's
greatest living historian. Yet there are numerous facts to disprove
him." (1)
Joel Augustus Rogers, Pittsburgh Courier, 1952
I am quite frank: I do not pretend to "love" white people. I think that
as a race they are the most selfish of any on earth. I think that the
history of the world for the last thousand years proves this beyond
doubt, and it is more than proven today by the Salvation Army tactics
of Toynbee and his school of history. Current history has tried
desperately to ignore Africa and its contribution to civilization.
Honesty and clarity in historical writing and research is certainly
gaining, but it has not prevented the study of Negro history. (2)
W. E. B. Du Bois, "Whites in Africa After Negro Autonomy" 1962


Introduction

This work provides an introduction to the Complementary Africana Historical Scholarship of W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) and Joel Augustus Rogers (1880-1966) via their mutual admiration. Du Bois was a sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor, while Rogers was an author, journalist, historian wherein his research spanned the fields of history, sociology, and anthropology. Hence, this work will illustrate why Du Bois praised Rogers for his research and popularizing the historic contributions of people of African descent in Africa and throughout the African world. Rogers expressed much respect for Du Bois' scholarship in World's Great Men of Color, Vol. II (1947) and Du Bois' validation of Rogers' writing in 1924 became a prolegomenon to what he wrote about Rogers in 1947.

Hence, Rogers was very grateful that Du Bois endorsed his scholarship; and during the early 1950s, when Du Bois was persecuted by the U.S. Government, Rogers through his Pittsburgh Courier column "Rogers Says" came to Du Bois' defense against charges of him being subversive and un-American; and much more. Specifically, in four themes, this work will engage Du Bois and Rogers in relationship to (1) Du Bois' eventual recognition of Rogers' novel From Superman to Man (1917) in 1924, (2) Rogers' courageous public defense of Du Bois against U.S. government harassment and persecution, (3) Du Bois and Rogers answer to Arnold J. Toynbee's falsification of African history, and (4) their collective effort to work against the lack of interest in Africa and belief in ingenuity of people of African descent. (3)

-0-0-0-0-

On July 20, 1946, The Chicago Defender reported that a number of writers had gathered in the library of Lewis H. Michaux's National Memorial Bookstore in Harlem, New York to honor the appearance of Shirley Graham's biography about Paul Robeson, entitled Paul Robeson: Citizen of the World (1946). At this invitation only event, the names of W.E.B Du Bois (1868-1963), Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964), Bucklin Moon (1911-1984), Dr. Lawrence D. Reddick (1910-1995) along with others lauded Graham for her new book about Robeson; which was timely because Robeson would soon be persecuted by the United States government for his support of the decolonization of Africa, and for being suspected of being a member of the Communist Party. At this gathering The Chicago Defender also mentioned that the Africana historian and Pittsburgh Courier journalist Joel Augustus Rogers (1880-1966) attended and congratulated Graham (in 1951 became Du Bois' second wife: Shirley Graham-Du Bois).

Rogers book World's Great Men of Color: 3000 B.C. to 1946 A.D Volume I appeared during the same year, and he had during his lifetime previously to Graham's celebration, traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and North Africa to conduct historical and biographical Africana research. Prior to 1946, Rogers had conducted more personal international archival Africana historical based research than any other person of African descent during his lifetime; Rogers was able to uncover valuable obscure historical facts and popularizing Africana history from antiquity to the modern era (history covering Africa, Asia, and the Western hemisphere). Rogers without any research assistants or any institutional financial support, spent over forty years conducting research visiting famous museums, libraries, art galleries, antiquarian bookstores, cathedrals, and mosques. The tenacity Rogers showed in conducting research was impeccable and on par with any academic twentieth historians who had research assistants to help them with their scholarship. (4)

In looking back at Graham's celebration at the National Memorial Bookstore, it is quite interesting that two of the most celebrated twentieth century Africana historian-intellectuals to write pioneering and prominent history were brought together in celebration of a work about Robeson. Although Rogers or Du Bois appear to have never have mentioned publically in their own writings about if they had ever spoke to each other at the event, it would not be unreasonable to assume that they did not speak to each other considering that they both shared the same interest about the writing of Africana history that revealed how the different life experiences of people of Black African descent in Africa (especially Africa south of the Sahara) and throughout the African Diaspora were intertwined with Europe and Asia, from antiquity down through the modern era. It is amazing that both Du Bois and Rogers were present at the same event in 1946, because respectively, it was during that era that both worked on and produced some the most influential scholarship about people of African descent that has stood the test of time in the historiography of Africana history and biography. (5)

Du Bois' The World and Africa: An Inquiry Into The Part Which Africa Has Played In World History was published in January 1947, and is without a doubt one of the most important pieces of scholarship in re-conceptualizing the historical relationship and image of Africa in relation to world history produced in the twentieth century. Du Bois' work complemented Rogers' magnum opus two volume World's Great Men of Color: 3000 B.C. to 1946 A.D. (1946-47) which also does the same thing through the writing of biographical figures in Africa and throughout the African world. Du Bois wrote and revised The World and Africa between1945-1946, and it is in this work that he praised Rogers for his research and for popularizing the contributions of people of Black and Brown skinned people of African descent in Africa, and throughout world. (6)
I have learned much from James {sic} A. Rogers. Rogers is an untrained
American Negro writer who has done his work under great difficulty
without funds and at much personal sacrifice. But no man living has
revealed so many important facts about the Negro race as has Rogers.
His mistakes are many and background narrow, but he is a true
historical student. (7)


According to Rogers, after Du Bois made this statement, he was attacked by an unnamed African American scholar who was more than likely so Westernized in his conceptualization of history that he could not fathom that Du Bois would appreciated the tireless research Rogers did throughout his life in excavating unknown historical and biographical information about people of African descent in Africa, Europe, Asia, and throughout the Western Hemisphere. In reflecting back about conducting historical research, Rogers said, "When Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois said years ago that 'no man had revealed so many important facts about the Negro' as myself, he was attacked by a certain Negro scholar." This statement was made in reference to Du Bois in relation to explaining how careful and meticulous he tried to research and write Africana history. (8)

Thus, it is the contention of this Africana historian that many American intellectuals today really don't think about consciously or unconsciously; or try to understand the hardships that many African American historians had to endure in order to conduct archival research in the United States during the first part of the twentieth century. The frustration and hardship of being denied access to archival primary sources, or at best limited time if allowed at all in conducting research at leading repositories, museums, museum reading rooms, and libraries throughout America has not been given its due attention by past or present scholars. Furthermore, scholars such as Rogers, Du Bois, and other Black historians often did archival research without any institutional or very limited support that many leading American scholars receive today. The fact that due to virulent American racial segregation aimed at crippling African Americans aspirations, both men did not always have the privilege of unrestricted access to special collections at various prominent libraries at Ivy League universities or prestigious liberal arts colleges, and thus, it is amazing that they accomplished the type of pioneering quality research they did during their lifetime. (9)

What Du Bois admired about Rogers is his urgency to counter early twentieth century scholarly racism concerning the writing of history without any institutional financial support. The thought of waiting for outside funding was not a luxury or option for most African American historians or intellectuals committed to race advancement during the first part of the twentieth century. If Rogers waited around to get external funding for the type of Africana archival research he conducted about Black African descent world biography or race-mixing which was not in vogue in the academy, it would have never been accomplished.

In 1950, Rogers reflected back about the independence to write history; he believed that prestigious politics against the type of history he wrote, determined who received money from the Julius Rosenwald Fund in comparison to other prominent scholars who received funding:
The foundation replied (I have the letter somewhere), that it didn't
give money for what I was doing. The same year, however, it gave $1,000
to one of its Negro favorites for a vacation in Japan. Please note I'm
not kicking. I'm glad I didn't get it, because I gained strength, not
to mention independence, by being on my own. I've been carrying on for
thirty five years without white support. I've dug up my material,
assembled it, published it, and sold it to pay the printer. The
Carnegie Institution gave Gunnar Myrdal $209,000 for preparation of his
"American Dilemma." And he had a host of helpers. My "World's Great Men
of Color, 3000 B.C. to 1946, A.D.," which I hold is a bigger
undertaking, I did alone. While Myrdal's is largely opinion, mine is
historical research through tens of thousands of books and articles.
There was also vast research on the portraits, some 150 of them. And I
hold that my book has greater ultimate social value. Treating as it
does of the deeds of great Negroes, 200 of them, it is a sort of
Plutarch, whose "Lives" have been an inspiration for 2000 years. Yet
the white critics ignored my book and because they did, snooty Negro
scholas {sic} did, too. The same was true, too, of my "Sex and Race"
(Three Volumes) which I did alone and published myself, and which used
as and authority in the printed brief to the Supreme Court in jim crow
on dining cars. Now get this straight. I'm not complaining. I love my
work. One must when one carries on in any field with financial reward
for thirty-five years. But due principally to letters from, and
interviews with, Negro students and youths, I feel that something must
be done to lift Negro history from the low level to which it is being
held. (10)


What is even more remarkable about Rogers' research is the amount of personal sacrifice, time, and personal financial expenses he put into conducting tri-continental research without any paid research assistants. Furthermore, Rogers to the best of his ability was very meticulous in finding unexposed Africana archival sources that he needed to write Sex & Race Volumes I, II, III (1940-1944): World's Great Men of Color, Volumes I & II (1946-1947); Nature Knows No Color Line (1952); and other notable writings that included his journalism for African American newspapers such as the Pittsburgh Courier, New York Amsterdam News, Philadelphia Tribune, Baltimore Afro-American, and the Norfolk Journal, between 1923-1966. (11)

In answering some American scholars (that included closed minded African American academics) that tried to dishonestly exaggerate and persuade public opinion that Rogers claimed that virtually everything of importance in society or anyone of great stature in world history was African or had African DNA in their ancestry, Rogers countered that the history he wrote corrected "Nordic" imperialist history.
Nordic writers have been claiming for so long everybody and every
people--black and white--have ever done anything worthwhile as white
that when the Negro historian tries to get the facts straight, he is
regarded as a liar or an imbecile. It is as if someone, who has been
wearing a suit of yours so long that one day when you try to put it on,
he not only calls you a thief but has the world believing you one. (12)


In addition, Rogers in Sex And Race: Why White And Black Mix In Spite Of Opposition, Volume III, emphasized the tremendous effort he went through to find archival sources that were ignored or never found by American and European scholars who tried to manipulate and criticize his work as not worthy or scholarly, this was contextualized alongside his views about the famous British Historian Arnold J. Toynbee:
To get those little known facts I have traveled tens of thousands of
miles in many lands; consulted books and printed matter so vast in
number that were I try to say how many I would sound like a Munchausen;
visited the leading museums of many of the civilized lands, and engaged
in research in their libraries and ever going to great pains to get my
facts as humanly correct as possible. In short, I felt I have looked
into books and dug up buried knowledge that many college professors or
doctors of philosophy do not know exist... (13)


Du Bois' own analysis about the propaganda of "Nordic" history definitely aligned with Rogers' assessment of the writing of Africana and World history when he wrote the preface to Black Folk Then and Now: An essay In the History and Sociology of the Negro Race (1939). Du Bois clearly understood the power and influence that canonical Western historians possessed in shaping the imagination of Africa, and especially the image of African people south of the Sahara. In an unapologetic historical analysis of writing history, Du Bois railed:
I do not for a moment doubt that my Negro descent and narrow group
culture have in many cases predisposed me to interpret my facts too
favorably for my race; but there is little danger of long misleading
here, for the champions of white folks are legion. The Negro has long
been the clown of history; the football of anthropology; and the slave
of industry. I am trying to show here why these attitudes can no longer
be maintained. I realize that the truth of history lies not in the
mouths of partisans but rather in the calm Science that sits between.
Her cause I seek to serve, and wherever I fail, I am at least paying
Truth the respect of earnest effort. (14)


In direct contrast to Du Bois' admiration for Rogers' research and writings, Rogers expressed much respect for Du Bois' scholarship when he stated in World's Great Men of Color, Vol. II (1947) that Du Bois was the first African American to "write books of scholarly merit." Rogers' statement about Du Bois' writings is without a doubt valid concerning the race problem in America in relation to civil and human rights and is especially on point concerning the writing of world history. Rogers asserted, "His writings are rich in poetic quality and emotional appeal and in ecstasy, indignation, and biting sarcasm. His logic is often irresistible and he is at all times a superb master of the English language." (15)

W. E. B. Du Bois Coming Late to J. A. Rogers' From Superman in 1924

Rogers' life-long admiration and acquaintance with Du Bois extended back to at least 1924. In 1917, when Rogers self-published his first book/novel From Superman to Man (FSM) while living in Chicago, he sent copies to leading African American intellectuals to read. While some scholars initially responded to Rogers' literary racial chef-d'oeuvre that dealt with vindication of the inferiority of Black people against early twentieth century white supremacist thought. Unfortunately, Rogers never heard back from Du Bois and must have felt snubbed because Du Bois initially was one of the leading intellectuals that never replied back to inform him what he may have thought of the novel. In 1923, Du Bois received a letter from James A. Reeves of Seton Hill College that stated. "It is a pleasure to send you under separate cover a copy of J. A. Rogers' 'From Superman to Man.'" Based on this very brief letter; Reeves had mentioned FSM to Du Bois earlier when they met in Pittsburgh. One could make the argument that by 1923, Du Bois should have read FSM since it did receive enough attention between Black intellectuals, Black radicals, and white liberals living in Chicago and New York City. For example, the Caribbean-born New York Black radical Hubert H. Harrison (1883-1927) reviewed it multiple times in his booklet, When Africa Awakes 1920, and in Marcus Garvey's newspaper the Negro World in 1920 and 1922. But apparently, Du Bois never read it. One month after Du Bois' colleague Mary White Ovington (1865-1951) of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) gave a positive review of FSM for the Philadelphia Tribune. On June 23, 1924, Du Bois received a letter from L. F. Coles. This letter is very illuminating in the sense one had to wonder what Du Bois thought about it after he read

it, and the fact that Reeves the year before had sent FSM to him to read, after more than likely in Pittsburgh telling Du Bois it was something he needed to read. (16) Hence, Coles told Du Bois:
I have always looked upon you as a great leader and in fact as one of
the most fearless, persistent and indefatigable champion of human
rights, but I would shirk a wonderful duty were I to fail to call to
your attention to the fact that Mr. Roger, wrote "Where {sic} [When]
Nature Leads" a very remarkable book and later from "Superman to Man",
and I have yet to see any comment in the Crisis on these books. I have
always thought it was your duty to apprize the public with information
with reference to Negro literature, in fact, you should be the one to
appraise it and to give that appraisement to the public. This you have
failed to do for some reason best known to yourself. Some persons are
foolish enough to believe that it is on an account of jealously, I do
not hold this view, but I do believe the books are worthy of being
mentioned in the Crisis. (17)


After FSM was serialized in the Pittsburg Courier and in the New York Amsterdam News in the month of August 1923, Du Bois finally in the September 1924 issue of The Crisis: A Record Of The Darker Races, let the world know what he thought of FSM:
J. A. Roger's {sic} "From Superman to Man" has come to our attention
much later than we could wish. Meantime the little book of one hundred
and twenty-eight pages has had a wide circulation and much influence.
It might be called "The Conversations of a Pullman Porter with His
Various Passengers" The porter is running west from New York to
California and shows wide reading and apt retort. The person who wants
in small, compass, in good English and in attractive form, the
arguments for the present Negro position, should buy read and recommend
to his friends, "From Superman to Man." (18)


Du Bois' validation of Rogers' writing in 1924 became a prolegomenon to what he wrote about Rogers in 1947. Rogers was very grateful that Du Bois endorsed the first book he ever wrote, and thus, he sent him a letter that explain the following. "May I express my warmest, thanks for your kind expression regarding my book. I know that this will go far toward giving it added circulation. I am sorry that the copy I sent to the Crisis in 1917 missed your notice. The book appeared in the month America entered the war, and in those stirring days a good many less important things escaped all respective our attentions." Du Bois must have been very impressed with Rogers and for sure, he kept up with what Rogers published. For example, in 1938, Du Bois received a letter from M. L. Piatt of Sacramento, California, who asked about the names of famous men and women who had at least part "Negro" that were not living. In response, Du Bois referred Piatt to Rogers' booklet World's Greatest Men of African Descent (1931) and gave him Rogers' home address to contact him.

By this time in 1938, the fact that Du Bois gave Piatt who he did not know Rogers' home address suggest that Rogers and Du Bois must have at least been very cordial with each other at that point, even if they did not interact with each often based on their own career demands, and it suggests that Du Bois thought Rogers' biographical work along with World's Greatest Men & Women of African Descent (1935) which was a working antecedent to his magnum opus World's Great Men of Color worthy of reading. (19)

Rogers' Courageous Public Defense of Du Bois Against U.S. Government Harassment and Persecution

During the early 1950s, when Du Bois was persecuted by the U.S. Government, Rogers through his Pittsburgh Courier column "Rogers Says" came to Du Bois' defense against charges of him being subversive and un-American. Rogers believed that Du Bois spent most of his life fighting injustices and worked toward promoting peace. It is here in these columns that Rogers revealed, "I base my belief on his writings, I have been reading him for forty years and have probably read him more than any other living writer." Rogers' belief in Du Bois is one of the reasons why Du Bois appreciated Rogers support in the Pittsburgh Courier during his U.S. Government harassment. In his autobiography, Du Bois explained the different responses of African Americans to the horrible dilemma he faced, and the fact most of African American leadership turned their backs on him or blamed him for being in the predicament he faced. Despite the very disappointing reaction, Du Bois said, "But beyond this, editors like Percival Prattis of the Pittsburgh Courier, Carl Murphy of the Afro-American, and columnists like Marjorie Mckenzie, J. A. Rogers, and others, showed a courage and real intellectual leadership which was lacking elsewhere." Besides the open newspaper support by Rogers to defend Du Bois against unreasonable government provocation, Rogers also worked with New York (Harlem) Public School Teacher Alice Citron (1908-1988) of the National Committee and Associates of Peace Information Center to help defend Du Bois from intense U.S. Government persecution. Rogers' public defense of Du Bois caught the attention of many Pittsburgh Courier readers. For example, J. P. Black of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after congratulating Rogers said, "I have been wondering what has happened to the so-called leaders of our race like Walter White, A. Philip Randolph, Mary McLeod Bethune and Dr. Ralph Bunch and others. Do they not appreciate the tremendous sacrifice of Dr. Du Bois?" (20)

In his quest to research and write Africana history, Rogers mastered reading six different languages that included Germany, Spanish, Portugal, and French; he was sort of a Renaissance man; and a voracious reader who read world history, literature, art, music, etc. Yet, once again Rogers informed us that Du Bois was the only person living during his lifetime that he read the most in his life. "Dr. Du Bois, I've been reading him for forty-five years and throughout his writings I've found deep love for his native land." This was a profound compliment to say the least. It would explain exactly one of the reasons why Du Bois was included in Rogers' World Great Men of Color, Volume II a year after both men encountered each other in celebration of Graham's biography about Robeson.

In 1951, Rogers believed that the U.S. Government punished Du Bois for his earlier activism against white American racism and European colonialism in Africa. "One other thing that makes me feel Du Bois is being persecuted and that revenge is being sought for his activities of long before is that America is the home of propaganda for other lands." (21) In addition, to his activism, Rogers agreed with many other American intellectuals and activists during his era that Du Bois' editorial and writings for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples' organ The Crisis: A Record of The Darker Races was profound, militant, and stirred the spirit of manhood:
But he continued to speak out fearlessly. Under his able editorship,
the Crisis became the first magazine of real merit among Negroes. And
it was not only one of agitation. Its sub-title was: A Record of the
Darker Races, and it lived up to it. It carried articles of historical
and scientific information and excerpts of current opinion, native and
foreign, on the race question, as well as portraits and illustrations.
It gave light as well as heat and probably did more than any other
Aframerican periodical or newspaper of its time to raise Negroes to a
higher intellectual and more self-respecting level. In fact, no Negro
publication of its time came near it in all-around worth. As edited by
Du Bois from 1910 to 1933, it was the best all-round magazine of
information on the Negro. There has been nothing like it since. (22)


One can see the profound admiration that Rogers had for Du Bois when many of the African American intelligentsia turned their back on Du Bois and Robeson when they were persecuted by the U.S. Government for their association with the Communist Party; and most important their willingness not to be intimidated through the "life of the mind" to form their own ideological struggle against domestic and international white American imperialism. Unfortunately, for Rogers his support of Du Bois was questioned in 1925. Although, Rogers later in life acknowledge that he read Du Bois most of his life while living in America, there was a moment in time, he partially distanced himself from Du Bois while traveling to England in 1925. While working overseas as a journalist for the Pittsburgh Courier and The New York Amsterdam News, Rogers arrived in London and was told by a friend to his surprise that investigators from Scotland Yard were inquiring about his whereabouts. When Rogers voluntarily went to Scotland Yard, he was told by British inspector William Brust that he was being questioned about being a Bolshevik agent because of his alleged association with an unnamed individual in New York City. Through the New York Amsterdam News, Rogers revealed that he thought they were going to ask him about any African American Communists he may have known, or even the Jamaican Black nationalist Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), however, to his great surprise he was asked about Du Bois who he was told was a dangerous man. In reply to Brust, Rogers told him:
This, as I said, was news to me, for not only had I hitherto not
regarded Du Bois as dangerous to white world domination, but the fact
is that, although I lived not so many blocks away from him I have the
slightest possible personal acquaintance with him. I am further
associated with the Messenger, which opposes most of Du Bois' policies.
(23)


In 1925, it is interesting that Rogers told Brust that Du Bois was not a threat to white world domination, yet it was Du Bois original scholarship, committed activism towards democracy, and writings in the NAACP's The Crisis: A Record Of The Darker Races magazine that put many Europeans and white Americans on alert that he should be taken seriously concerning exposing racial hate and fighting for civil and human rights. This is what Rogers realized about Du Bois by 1947, in World's Great Men of Color, Volume II:
His editorials in the Crisis stirred the spirit of manhood in those
Negroes capable of be stirred and made them militant. At the same time
they drew the continuous fire of the white exploiters of the Negro in
the South and their Northerner sympathizers and even of those white
liberals who felt that Negroes ought to be less insistent on their
rights and be more grateful to white America for all the good it was
believed it had done for them. (24)


Interesting enough what Rogers did not write about in World's Great Men of Color II is that when he came back from Europe in 1925, he contacted Du Bois at the NAACP to ask to have an interview with him about his troubling experience at Scotland Yard. Although Du Bois wrote Rogers back that he would be glad to talk to him. It is not clear based on extant letters if they actually met with each other face to face. What is known is that Rogers wanted to write about his troubling experience with detectives at Scotland Yard in the Crisis. "There is more that I would have like to add--for example to show that Scotland Yard so far as I know, did not suspect you of Communist activities." Du Bois declined Rogers proposed article because it was too personal, and that other African American weeklies had covered the story. Du Bois, instead, wanted Rogers to write about "Europe and the black man or Europe and the colored races" which he felt the Crisis readers would be more interested in. (25)

In 1951, Rogers perfectly understood and stated in the Pittsburgh Courier that since the appearance of The Suppression of the African Slave Trade (1896), Du Bois became the foremost champion of African American struggle in the United States; and like many other African Americans, he was an American citizen first fighting against aggressive white American racism that continuously tried to deny African Americans their humanity at every level of the federal government. Furthermore, Rogers explicitly stated, "For nearly sixty years Du Bois has carried gallantly on. Now at 83, he sees his goal no nearer.

Some progress has been made as a result of his fight, but it has been little, and that little, like salt water, has made him thirstier." Although Rogers did not personally endorse turning to Russia as an alternative to getting way from American racism, he knew that Du Bois accomplished all he could do in fighting white American racism. Rogers sympathized with Du Bois' lifelong struggle to fight American domestic and international white supremacy. Furthermore, Rogers made a valid point when he put forth the follow analysis concerning what Du Bois could expect living in America towards the end of his life. "It must have been clear to him that even if he carries on to a hundred along the old lines, he can expect little. Frustrated, no doubt, he has been turning to Russia as a last hope." (26)

Rogers must have been irate when at the age of eighty-three; Du Bois was handcuffed by Federal authorities. One can only speculate that the U.S. Government did that to humiliate and break the spirit of Du Bois, because of his political beliefs. Rogers believed that if Du Bois had went to prison, many Americans should have spoken out to support him:
Any imprisonment of Dr. Du Bois will be the last straw. If convicted,
he will be guilty, as Mr. Prattis says, only "of a technical violation
of one of the most malicious laws of our times." I hope that every
lover of right and justice will rally to the aid of one who has fought
so long, so unflinchingly to help make this nation what it claims to be
and is not. (27)


Today, many African-Americans, continental African intellectuals and activists, and progressive white liberals who understood what Du Bois symbolically stood for in American history concerning fighting for human rights; would seriously understand that the persecution of Du Bois for his political activism and intellect is without a doubt an infuriating embarrassing moment in American history. The fact, that the American government publicly humiliated Du Bois at the age of eighty-three in spite of the fact he fought for racial equality and democracy for African Americans and people of African descent in Africa and throughout the world is very disturbing. It was most disheartening and humiliating that Du Bois had to suffer this type of viscous U.S. Government harassment and racism so late in his life. In looking back at the totality of Du Bois' life in America, Rogers raised the question of what type of life would he had led if he had been born in Europe. Would Du Bois have been concerned with other issues besides race? Is it possible Du Bois would have become an intellectual that could have he focused on other issues in life revolving around "the life of mind" concerning the arts, literature, history, or politics? Rogers believed that Du Bois would have been a great intellectual that would have achieved the highest honors in public life in Europe:
Du Bois is an able and cultured speaker and had he lived in France, he
might have been awarded France's highest intellectual honor--election
to the French Academy. The American race problem is considered a minor
issue in world affairs and those who devote themselves to its solution,
as Du Bois, however great their ability, do not receive commanding
recognition, except they play the game of the whites, as did Booker T.
Washington. Had Alexander Dumas lived in America, he might have used
his genius in attacking the race problem instead of concentrating on
novels that brought him world fame. As it was, however, Du Bois
attained enough prominence to make his work feared by the exploiting
colonial powers in Africa. (28)


Du Bois' revolutionary historical writings were not constrained only to modern economic, social or political problems that people of African descent in Africa or throughout the world faced through Western domination; but also to the maligned history about Africa to the present. The World and Africa is a perfect historical case-study of Du Bois' mastery of reconciling the past to the present in making one think about the future of Africa. In addition, Du Bois throughout his life, through scholarship or public lectures, like Rogers was not afraid to expose bias or racist scholarship projected on Africa or her progeny throughout history. In the end, Rogers understood why Du Bois left the United States when he wrote in the Pittsburgh Courier in 1961, "If after 70 years of fighting Du Bois sees the old injustice triumphant, he can hardly be blamed if he feels it's time for a change." (29)

Du Bois and Rogers Answer to Arnold J. Toynbee's Falsification of African History

In 1949, Du Bois received a letter from Isabel Aiken, a student at Bloomfield College in New Jersey that stated she read Arnold J. Toynbee's A Study of History abridged version and could not accept his analysis that Black people had never made a positive contribution to any civilization. After speaking to her college professor, it was decided that she should do some research and write Toynbee, but also they both decided that she should write Du Bois first since they figured he may have already answered Toynbee's scholarship. Apparently at that point, neither Aiken nor her college professor had ever read The World and Africa. (30) Du Bois' immediately responded to Aiken one week later, and his response is worth reading concerning Toynbee's pedigree, and his view about Black people. Du Bois elucidated the following:
Naturally I do not agree with much he has written, but it is based on
such wide reading and travel and is so voluminous that it is difficult
for one who has not devoted himself very largely to his writings to
venture any complete criticism. First of all, we know that Taynbee
{sic} Toynbee is an Evangelical minister and his rather naive,
religious bias colors all of his work. This prevents him from being a
real scientist. Vast conclusions, such as he reaches, cannot be based
even upon the wide research which he has made. They can only be come to
definitively when sociology is grown up; when we have had so
definitivelythorough-going a system of study and measurement of the
acts of men that we can approach something like scientific knowledge
and the formulations of approximate laws governing or at least
influencing the actions of men. Failing this, a man like Taynbee {sic}
Toynbee can only come to conclusions which are colored by his up
bringing in England and his knowledge of white people and lack of
knowledge of colored and black people. It is perfectly natural for him
to assume that practically all civilizations and certainly the leading
ones are white civilizations. I do not pretend to be as broad a student
of history as Mr. Taynbee {sic} Toynbee, but his conclusions in that
matter, seem to me, to be simply ridiculous and far beyond the clear
facts. (31)


In The World and Africa, Du Bois mentioned concerning ancient Nile Valley civilization that "Arnold Toynbee's Study of History definitely regarded Egyptian civilization as 'white,' or European! The Egyptians, however, regarded themselves as African. The Greeks looked upon Egypt as part of Africa not only geographically but culturally, and every fact of history and anthropology proves that the Egyptians were an African people varying no more from other African peoples..." Du Bois made it clear that the reason why a British historian like Toynbee could come to the conclusion he came to concerning the representation and writing of ancient Nile Valley civilization and African history was directly related to the European controlled international enterprise and African civilization rupture of the enslavement of West and Central African people by European slave-traders to the Americas. (32) Hence, Du Bois wrote:
There can be but one adequate explanation of this vagary of
nineteenth-century science: it was due to the slave trade and Negro
slavery. It was due to the fact that the rise and support of capitalism
called for rationalization based upon degrading and discrediting the
Negroid peoples. It is especially significant that the science of
Egyptology arose and flourished at the very time that the cotton
kingdom reached its greatest power on the foundation of American Negro
slavery. We may then without further ado ignore this verdict of
history, widespread as it is, and treat Egyptian history as an integral
part of African history. (33)


Both Du Bois and Rogers understood that many leading authorities of the early twentieth century did not comprehend Black African people in the Nile as innovators of civilization, nor did they even consider ancient Egypt as part of Africa. In Toynbee's A Study of History his civilizational evaluation listing Egyptian civilization as "White (Mediterranean)" separated from rest of Africa became one of the strange paradox in human nature about African history that Du Bois articulated in The World and Africa. In a piece that supported Du Bois' critique of Toynbee's falsification of history concerning Africa, Rogers in 1954 wrote a column in the Pittsburgh Courier entitled "Rogers Says: Toynbee History Charge Is False." In this piece Rogers criticized people who did not see the need of history in their own life; he wrote "There are those who will say, 'What's the use of history? Give me the here and now." Rogers believed the highest form of ignorance that placed an individual's thought close to an animal was when that individual only cared about today with no regard from the life experiences of history, and no regard in how that shaped the future. Rogers contextualized history that related history to one's personal life. "Just as the further back you can go in your own experiences, the better when you have to solve a personal problem, so the further back humanity can go in its history, the greater the progress." Rogers pointed out the realization for those African Americans who shunned history that their descendants were going to learn in public schools that "largely white imperialist history" was detrimental to their own lives. (34) It is at this point that Rogers criticized Toynbee's A Study of History originally published in 1934 to prove his point about the type of history that was projected on American Americans, hence he wrote:
In his "Study of History" (1939) sic [1934], he says that the black man
has made no contribution to civilization. "When we classify mankind by
color, the only one of the primary races... which has not made a
creative contribution to civilization to any of our twenty-one
civilizations is the Black Race" he says. He adds, "Within the first
6000 years the Black Race has not helped create any civilization." Of
course, this is absolutely false. But the belief has become so fixed
that even a conscientious scholar as Toynbee, who is anti-racist to
boot, accepted it without investigation. Why is this falsehood kept
alive? To discourage black folk and make them content with what is
handed them. In short, to keep them at a stage where their labor can be
had as cheap as possible. How discouraging the above from Toynbee could
be to a young Negro who didn't have facts to offset it! (35)


For Du Bois and Rogers, historians like Toynbee saw no historical worth in people of African descent in Africa or in the history of Western civilization. In fact, Du Bois put it best when he said, "The great difficulty is that most white men do not believe in the humanity and ability of the black race; they have not seen independent Negro countries with initiative; they do not believe them possible."

That type of pervasive modern thinking had to have had a serious influence in the writing of history coming from men in the British and American academy. Rogers and Du Bois were persuaded that Toynbee's outlook about people of African descent needed to be answered immediately. Toynbee's The Study of History become so popular in England and the United States during the 1930s and 40s that it landed him on the cover of Time magazine, March 17, 1947. Toynbee fame as a historian appeared on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and many book reading Americans found Toynbee's historical analysis about world history as gospel based on his British academic credentials, and the celebrity exposure he received by the American press. What is disconcerting is that if you were an African American and read the column in the Times about Toynbee, you would have come across in mass popular culture that Africa was not included in Toynbee's twenty-six civilizations that he spoke about to the Times journalist who interviewed him. (36)

Furthermore, one would have learned that Toynbee shattered historical determinism and materialism by inserting "God" as the "active force in history." Something, that Rogers and Du Bois would have vehemently disagreed with based on the fact if "God" is the driving force in history and allowed many of other "races" to build wonderful civilizations then why were Black African people from Africa south of the Sahara disregarded from history since "God" equally created them? Other questions that must be raised and what both Rogers and Du Bois thought about and wrote in their lives, and Toynbee is the following: What was it like during the early twentieth century for a person of African descent no matter what age, whether living in colonial British Africa, the United States, or British Caribbean to go school public schools taught by "Westernized" Black school teachers that honestly believed Africa was not on par with Europe or Asia concerning making a creative civilization of any kind? What was it like to hear constantly throughout one's life that they should be glad that Europeans especially the British encroachment into Africa brought civilization to Black African people who were lost without their Westernized Christian "God" and education? Toynbee's face on Time magazine and what he said for the "hundreds of thousands" to read made Africa and people of African descent nonentities, and thus, helped to reinforce the highest form of white supremacist deliberation within modern United States civilization. Toynbee's academic celebrity-celebration must be contextualized in that context, and make one understand why Toynbee needed to be answered by Rogers, Du Bois, or any other erudite person of African descent. What is most disconcerting about Toynbee is that he actually did not believe the so-called 'Black Race" was incapable of making a positive or creative contribution to civilization. He just did not see any historical positive contribution from the way he read and interpreted world history. In A Study of History, Toynbee postulated that:
If every primary race except one has made a creative contribution to at
least one of the twenty-one civilizations which have emerged up to
date, we must infer that the capacity for civilization is not a
monopoly of any fraction or fractions of the human family, but is the
universal birthright of Mankind; and there is no warrant for supposing
that one particular fraction--the Black Race--has been born without
this birthright and is con-genitally incapable of civilization just
because it has failed to make one of these creative contributions so
far. (37)


After making this statement, Toynbee a few pages later, cautioned against projecting a biological or genetic underpinning for the inability of the so-called "Black Race" in being inept throughout world history, writing:
If those who despair of the capacities of the Black Race were right in
their thesis that a failure to make any creative contributions to the
twenty-one civilizations during the first six thousand years of the
existence of the species is proof of an inherent and incurable
incapacity, then it would be impossible to explain how other races,
which still have their savage and their barbarous representatives
today, have also produced the creators of all the civilizations that
have emerged hitherto. (38)


Although Rogers and Du Bois did not live to see the year 1967, it would have been very interesting to know what they would have said if they had read the publishers Thames and Hudson book entitled Cities of Destiny edited by Toynbee. Cities of Destiny surveyed cities throughout world history that included Athens, Alexandria, Venice, Florence, Rome, Cordoba, Tenochtitlan, Isfahan, New York, London and other marvelous places divided into three parts--The City-State; Capital Cities; and Megalopolis. In the introduction of this work, Toynbee mentioned ancient Egypt in the connection of Sumerian civilization. As Du Bois pointed out earlier in The World and Africa, the ancient Egypt that Toynbee explained in Cities of Destiny is not the one that is predicated on the notion that Black and Brown African skinned people that originated beyond Upper Egypt from the South of ancient (Nubian-Cushite) Ethiopia. The type of scholarly notion of the origin of ancient Egypt originated from Black and Brown skinned African people originating from ancient Ethiopians (Nubia region) would have been intellectual blasphemy to Toynbee and his ilk such as the famous British Historian Hugh Trevor-Roper (1914-2003). Trevor-Roper in a series of lectures given at the University of Sussex in October 1963 and televised by BBC television underpinned Toynbee's notion of African people never making a contribution to civilization in the 1930s; and although Trevor-Roper became a life-long critic of Toynbee's analysis of history, he made the following comments to British students:
It is fashionable to speak today as if European history were devalued:
as if historians, in the past, have paid too much attention to it; and
as if, nowadays, we should pay less. Undergraduates, seduced, as
always, by the changing breath of journalist fashion, demand that they
should be taught the history of black Africa. Perhaps, in the future,
there will be some African history to teach. But at present there is
none, or very little: there is only the history of the Europeans in
Africa. The rest is largely darkness, like the history of pre-European,
pre-Columbian America. And darkness is not a subject for history. (39)


Based on Trevor-Ropers own analysis, he would have never accepted the historic scholarship of Rogers and Du Bois that was antithetical to the status-quo of Black-and Brown skinned African people being considered non-entities in ancient Nile Valley civilizations outside of that of being considered enslaved, because Black African people were considered to have had no engagement with scientific, agricultural, and technological ingenuity in the evolution of ancient world history. Still today in 2018, just like their professional antecedents during the turn of the twentieth century in the United States and Europe many professional academics trained in the fields of history, classics, archeology, and especially Egyptology do not accept or entertain as valid or plausible that Black-and Brown skinned Africans from the Upper Egypt or ancient Ethiopia (ancient Nubia-Cushite region) were progenitors of ancient Egypt. Such teaching or belief is totally dismissed as historical intellectual dishonesty that threaten the fabric of Western education in the United States and United Kingdom, and is considered teaching fabricated feelgood history to people of Black African descent. Many major leading scholars considered the idea of the foundation of ancient Egypt originating from Black Africans as heresy and intellectual blasphemy; and based on the modern academic scholarship published within the last thirty years, it is evident many status quo academics who are persuaded they are liberal and progressive will continue to seriously dissuade the notion of an ancient Egypt origin (derived from a Black African--ancestral descendant from ancient Cushite/Ethiopia origin) (440)

Throughout Cities of Destiny, not one major city from Africa south of the Sahara is mentioned in connection with great cities of ancient and modern civilizations, which begs the question. Did Toynbee throughout his life ever hear even on a cursory level about the West African civilizations of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay? Is it possible that such a preeminent British historian could have never heard of the Kingdom of Monomotapa in South Africa? Is it possible for Toynbee, a very well read historian of world history who also visited Africa south of the Sahara before he edited Cities of Destiny to still come away and not see any creative or positive contributions by African people south of the Sahara to the ancient or modern world? Not only did Toynbee visit the country of Nigeria, he wrote a book about his travels entitled Between Niger and Nile (1965). As late as 1966, the year Rogers passed away, Toynbee put forth the notion that African people south of the Sahara did not develop any creative civilization equivalent to "the Fertile Crescent in South West-Asia" particularly Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) because the geography of Africa south of the Sahara was cut off by the Sahara, plateau and fen and forest that ran parallel to the Sahara.

Because of this geographical barrier, Toynbee believed that Africa south of the Sahara did not have civilization intercourse between other civilized communities; and was the last region of the world to come into contact with civilization through the acceleration of Western technology that halted the 5,000 year hindrance. Or as he writes, "Except on the northern fringe between desert and forest, the peoples of Tropical Africa had been debarred by their physical environment from taking part in the stimulating intercourse of that had propagated civilization elsewhere after having first called it into existence in 'Iraq." (41)

Is it possible that while in Nigeria, Toynbee never heard native Nigerians talk about the African civilization of Benin? The same civilization that British forces in 1896 led an expedition which resulted in the looting of priceless bronze art items and ivories that are currently displayed at the British Museum? It is hard to believe that Toynbee who warned other scholars about being prejudice against the "Black Race" untapped capacity in making creative and serious contributions to making a respectable civilization did not have some major biases throughout most of his life concerning "Black People" especially African people south of the Sahara in their intellect, artistic creativity, and scientific ingenuity! Clearly, unlike Rogers and Du Bois, Toynbee through his canonical Western bias framework from the 1930s through the early 1960s did not see the vestiges of ancient and modern civilization in people of African descent below the Sahara. (42)

Another point to consider in Cities of Destiny is that Toynbee included the magnificence city of Cordoba in Spain. It would have been interesting to know publically what Toynbee would have thought about the Black or Brown skinned ex-enslaved African Muslim Zarik Ibn Ziyad who both Rogers and Du Bois mentioned in their respective scholarship leading some North (Black Africoid) African Muslim Moors into Spain in 711 A.D. In a letter to Rogers dated December 15, 1933, the renown female Turkish nationalist, novelist, and champion of women's rights Halide Edib Adivar (1884-1964) wrote Rogers concerning race relations and the historic role of individuals of African descent in her country of Turkey. She informed Rogers that from what she knew, two of the greatest figures in the religion of Islam were Bilal, a faithful friend of Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abdullah, founder of the religion of Islam; and Tarik-bin-Ziad, leader of the Islamic Moors army that raided and defeated the Visigoth army in Spain in 711. Regarding Tarik, Edib Adivar said, "He also was a slave and became a great general in Islam and was the conqueror of Spain as the commander of the Moorish Army which invaded Spain." After informing Rogers that the Rock of Gibraltar was named after Jebel-u-Tarik (The Mount of Tarik), and that one the greatest Turkish classics was written about Tarik by the celebrated poet Abudul-Hak-Hamid. Edib wrote, "I do hope that some time the biographies of these great figures will be written in English." (43)

Edib Avdivar's wish still has not come to fruition. In the year 2018, there is still no full length scholarly English biography about the herioic Tarik Ibn Ziyad. Which is inexcusable to say the least. The Moors as a whole were intermixed with predominate Black and Brown skinned African people (some resembling different varieties of African people in the Sahara and south of the Sahara), especially Berbers, and Arabs in Northern Africa. The marvelous civilization that the Muslim Moors created in Spain between the eighth and fourteenth century had a serious cultural and intellectual impact upon Medieval and Renaissance European civilization. Would Toynbee have conceded that Cordoba was the home of many unmixed Black and Brown skinned African Muslims? Would this not mean they help make a positive or creative contribution to evolution of civilization in Europe of all places? Lastly, Toynbee's last piece of scholarship entitled Mankind and Mother Earth: A Narrative History of the World that he finished before passing away in 1975, was posthumously published in 1976. Once again, a work that surveys world history and is very inclusive of religions such as Islam and the ethnicities of people in Asia and Central America, but once again, missing from Toynbee's narrative of having an impact on world history are civilizations from Africa south of the Sahara. What is most interesting about Toynbee's The Study of History volumes and his neglect to include or elaborate about the importance of African civilizations in other works is that three years before he passed away, he finally wrote that he found African civilizations worth writing about. In the 1979 edition published by Oxford University & Thames and Hudson illustrated edition, Toynbee put forth, concerning the evolution of his research "In the year 1961, I was able to survey thirty-one: and I have now been able to add the African civilizations." (44)

Apparently Toynbee's reading of Basil Davidson's The Africans: an entry to cultural history (1969) and other progressive works modified Toynbee's position about Africa south of the Sahara in creating civilizations independent of Europe or Western Asian influences. In 1987, Davidson put forth the notion that scholars working in the field of Egyptology were not interested in "Africanising" their work. Essentially they were not willing to consider that ancient Egypt was founded by Black and Brown skinned African people. Yet in reading Toynbee's 1979 last illustrated edition of The Study of History, there is not any specific reference to any particular African civilization. Toynbee's analysis is very vague in just mentioning geographical areas in Africa. This is very problematic to say the least, because Toynbee from 1934 to 1972 "hundreds of thousands" of people on both side of the Atlantic Ocean read or were aware of The Study of History or Toynbee's Time Magazine interview. And in fact in 1956, the renowned anthropologist Ashley Montagu (1905-1999), who Rogers endorsed in the Pittsburgh Courier concerning Montagu's Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race, said that The Study of History was the most famous and widely discussed book of its era. "Toynbee is already, and will be for some time to come, a power in the world to reckon with." Montagu, moreover, emphasized that seven thousand sets of the ten-volume work had been sold by 1955. According to Montagu, The Study of History had its widest appeal in the United States, this cannot be overlooked, and it became "inescapable" to the book reading public, outside of the academy. (45)

In contextualizing the importance of Rogers and Du Bois scholarship, one should not be quick to be dismissive of Toynbee's thought about Black people. Even though later lay and academic scholarship by Africans and Europeans challenged and corrected Toynbee's scholarship, it cannot be denied that his thought was not isolated to the modern era. And interestingly, Rogers pointed out in Sex & Race and the Pittsburgh Courier that Toynbee was not prejudice against Black people, and that like Rogers, Toynbee also spoke out against European colonialism and Western hegemony against people of color. Nevertheless, even in Toynbee's critique of Western domination in Africa, and by his own admission, he had surveyed new civilizations that included the "Black race" in Africa, however, he still penned in a way that may have one think that Africa had no civilization nor history. In the December 5, 1964, Saturday Review Toynbee declared: "Until as recently as the inter-war years 1919-1938. Africa seemed to be a continent that was having no history and that had no prospect of having any for a long time to come because it was an annex of Western Europe." Even though Toynbee critiqued Western hegemony in Africa, he is a perfect example of many scholars in the academy yesterday and today who are not racist against Black people, but cannot imagine for one moment a Hannibal Barca of Carthage who is always depicted as European, as possibly being a person of mixed African descent. One would have to question this since Hannibal's mother family and ethnic heritage is shrouded in mystery. (46) In complaining against the representation of Hannibal in the modern era Rogers complained:
Before the invention of the doctrine of white superiority, about 1600
A. D., Hannibal was known as a black man... On the other hand, there
are several genuine coins of Hannibal which show him as an unmixed
African. Babelon, noted authority of coins, says, "The Negro of the
coins in question has a definite characteristic which leaves no doubt
of the ethnographic intention of the engraver; he has rings in his
ears; a flat nose, thick lips and hair arranged in rows of knobs...;
(47)


Rogers sided with Du Bois about ancient Egypt the same year The World and Africa appeared in 1947, when he criticized Toynbee. Du Bois postulated that illustrious civilization ancient Egypt was founded by Black and Brown skinned African people who buried their ancestors to face the geographical region they came from past Upper Egypt in their Black ancestral home of Cush/Ethiopia. Rogers explained that ancient and modern honest men such as: Herodotus, Aristotle, Constatin Francois Volney and others, described the physical characteristics of the ancient Egyptians as something that Toynbee and his ilk could never grasp.

In addition, these men and women not only were Black and Brown skinned African people, they influenced the thoughts of ancient Greek and Romans men who were at awe of an ancient Egyptian civilization that was in decline by the time they came into contact with an Egyptian civilization that was a remnant of its earlier civilization of splendor. Rogers asserted in the same vein of Du Bois, "Now Egyptian civilization is largely the mother of present white civilization." In addition, he added, "In short I can without being dogmatic that Toynbee is 100 percent wrong about 'Blacks' contribution." As far as Rogers was concerned, Toynbee's mindset of Black people devoid of any civilization creativity instantly became part of what he had earlier contextualized and characterized as the American "Slaveholders Blackout;" the mendacious art of debasing people of African descent to justify the enslavement of them in the United States during modern era. In historicizing Toynbee within this tradition, Rogers declared "Using the Bible as their authority, they painted such an awful picture of Negro ancestry that even some of the Virginia aristocrats had a lively time side-stepping charges of being touched with the tar brush." The "Slaveholders Blackout" became so pervasive during the colonial and revolutionary era and was validated by the actions, temperament, and slaveholding interest of American Presidents like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. (48) Hence, Rogers wrote:
With this as typical of the spirit of the time anything about the
achievements of the Negro was simply out of the question. Indeed, any
history that did not paint Africans as cannibals and savages who had
been dragged out of Africa to save their souls would be almost
downright atheism. Solemn-faced divines from Massachusetts to Georgia
pounded the Bible at the command of the tobacco-growers to prove that
the Negro "was descendent of Ham and this doomed to be a hewer of wood
and drawer of water for the white race, forever"... In short, the black
man was entirely cut off from his past and liberally dosed with white
religion to make him a cross of something between a faithful dog and a
grinning mule. The American slaveholder did not stop there. Like the
average white southerner today he was an ardent propagandist abroad of
his doctrines of white superiority... In short, the American slave
holding interests made such a thorough black-out of everything
favorable to the Negro in literature that now, centuries later, it
functions as almost brand new. (49)


Rogers' analysis concerning the falsification of African history connected to prominent men in high places in the United States government; distorted American Christian dogma taught in churches and enslaved African people on southern plantations; and the fabrication of the African written throughout American literature complemented Du Bois' own analysis. Du Bois affirmed in The World and Africa that peoples of African descent in the Western Hemisphere especially in the evolution of the United States were separated into two types of individuals "Human Being & Negroes."

Du Bois looked at this as a Western civilization aberration and contradiction in the writing of history and human behavior in world history. The Western scientific and historical projection of an endemic African inferiority justified New World plantation slavery and later European colonization in Africa that paved the way for elite White Americans and Europeans to live in luxury. Opulence living tied to African degradation, humiliation, and the denial of Black African history encouraged leading academics authorities who had the last and final say about humanity to erase the memory of ancient Black and Brown skinned Egyptians and their southern ancestral Black skinned Ethiopians. All of sudden because of the latest cutting-edge discoveries in Egyptology in the Nile Valley, Egyptologist found that many the people unearth in the tombs were not Black anymore! (50) Du Bois in his timeless analysis reasoned:
The attitude of scientists toward these questions has thus been colored
almost entirely by their attitude toward modern Negro slavery. The
Frenchman Volney called the civilization of the Nile valley Negro after
his visit. But such a barrage of denial from later men met him that he
withdrew his earlier conclusions, not because of further investigation,
but because of scientific public opinion in the nineteenth century.
Reisner unearthed a civilization of black folk in Ethiopia, but
hastened to declare that they were not Negroes! Reisner was born in
sight of Negro slavery in America and never forgot it. (51)


Toynbee's intellectual bias that reinforced and influenced white supremacist notions during the twentieth century is one of the reasons why Rogers and Du Bois' scholarship should have been celebrated by African Americans and continental African people as an alternative to Toynbee's pervasive anti-Black African scholarship. Rogers and Du Bois' respective scholarship exonerated and humanized people of African descent throughout the African continent.

Rogers and Du Bois scholarship charted the lives of influential men and women who came out of Africa to influence events in world history at an intellectual, cultural, and high artistic level that most Americans, especially African Americans during the modern era never learned in public schools or vaguely knew about before they died. What is even more disturbing today in the beginning of the twenty-first century is that in major cities across America like Cincinnati; Portland; San Francisco; Detroit; Chicago; Denver; Seattle; New Orleans, etc., public schools and the increasing privatized charter schools are essentially bankrupt in what is historically taught about the history and contemporary experiences of people in Africa, Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. Rogers was no stranger to this type of phenomenon that was all so pervasive during the first part of the twentieth century. In the New York Amsterdam News, Rogers with justification, complained about an occurrence that left him essentially speechless concerning the teaching of history to African Americans students in Harlem. He wrote:
Recently I spoke to the history class of one of our Harlem high schools
where the attendance is all colored. It was the music room. On the
walls were about twenty-five portraits of great musicians and singers.
To my surprise--and it takes a lot to surprise me--I noted that all
were white. Not a sign of Coolridge-Taylor, who ranks among the great
composers of the century; nor of Brindis de Salas nor Bridgetower,
immortal violinists. Among the singers, Paul Robeson, who draws a
larger gathering of the London elite than any other artiste in England,
today, was totally missing. So was Roland Hayes, the greatest living
interpreter of the love songs of the great masters. (52)


Since 1865, each year, thousands upon thousands of African American high school students essentially learned nothing substantial about their heritage in America or linked to Africa which Du Bois warned about in Souls of Black Folks in 1903, "--a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world." Rogers understood this similar phenomenon growing up in Jamaica. In 1948, Rogers explained that Toynbee's Study of History which had disparage Black people, had won the Carey-Thomas award. Rogers elucidated that through dangerous-skewed Christian teaching he listened to as a child in Jamaica, he was told as a prolegomenon to Toynbee's view point that Black people never made any contribution to ancient or modern civilization nor were capable which meant they were destined to be servants to white people. "My greatest handicap was not color prejudice but the junk--racial, religious, political--that was fed to me when I couldn't help myself. Later, I lost an immense amount of time tossing that rubbish out of my head." Moreover, in reflecting about the harm a Toynbee type of education had on him and the struggle to shake it off later in life, Rogers boldly proclaimed and warned, "Parents who permit their children to be given such misinformation these days are little short of criminal, for, mistake it not the doctrine of Negro 'inferiority' is still triumphant in the American educational system. We find it even in the highest quarters." (53)

In relation to these current problems, Du Bois and Rogers spoke about obtaining a fruitful education about African history, one can argue that if both Du Bois and Rogers were alive today, they would find reasons to still point to Africa and her progeny as a source of inspiration for many young people of African descent in the Western Hemisphere to study, research, and write about. In the opening lines of the forward of The World and Africa, Du Bois put forth the following statement:
Since the rise of the sugar empire and the resultant cotton kingdom,
there has been consistent effort to rationalize Negro slavery by
omitting Africa from world history, so that today it is almost
universally assumed that history can be truly written without reference
to Negroid peoples. I believe this to be scientifically unsound and
also dangerous for logical social conclusions. Therefore I am seeking
in this book to remind readers in this crisis of civilization, of how
critical a part Africa has played in human history, past and present,
and how impossible it is to forget this and rightly explain the present
plight of mankind. (54)


Du Bois informed us that The World and Africa was not so much a history of people of African descent compared to making a valid statement of their "integral role in human history from prehistoric to modern times." An integral African history that in the twentieth century was sadly dismissed, laughed at, or made to feel of shamed of because of the Toynbee's "colonial slave holding dogma" projected on peoples of African descent by many Western educators in Europe and the Americas. An indoctrination that Rogers labeled as a false narrative that even other men (even through their own condescending racism) through their writings and experiences throughout European, Islamic, and Latino history would make one question Toynbee's validity. (55) Thus, Rogers wrote:
I can cite at least a hundred white writers, ancient, mediaeval and
modern who have made statements that flatly contradict Toynbee. To name
a few: Herodotus, Aristotle, Strabo, Ammianus, Procopius, Al-Jahiz, Ali
Ibn Abd Allah, Volney, Jacob Bryant, Godfrey Huggins, Rawlinson and
Wilkinson, Gerald Massey, Frobenius, Schure, Fabre d' Olivet, E.
Balfour, Henry M. Stanley, David Livingstone, Sir Harry Johnston, J. P.
Widney, Felix Du Bois, Riva-Palacio, C.C. Marquez, Amos Dorsey, and so
on. Is it possible that these scholars and many more are all wrong and
Toynbee, alone is right? (56)


Working Against the Lack of Interest in Africa and the Belief in the Ingenuity of People of African Descent

As mentioned earlier Du Bois wrote in The World and Africa, Rogers labored to research without funds and difficulty, yet one has to ask the question for both men. What was it like at certain times in both men's life to question or experience the frustration of indifference by African Americans or peoples of African descent to the writing of Africana history that came about because of a "Toynbee" type of Western indoctrination; and the materialistic distractions of American civilization that influenced many African Americans and others to be dismissive about the importance of learning Africana history.

Although Rogers knew many Black people throughout his lifetime who appreciated his research, he did at various times in African American newspapers write about Black people that irked him about their Western indoctrination, dismissive attitudes, and unbelief about Africana history and literature. For example, in 1943, while traveling throughout New York City, Rogers overheard a conversation between two young Black women concerning a recently published book that one of the women liked. To Rogers dismay, one of the young women who was a public school teacher had traveled extensively throughout Europe boasted that no book written by a Black person was worth reading. Furthermore, it would be four or five generations before a book written by a Black person would be worth reading. The other woman in response shockingly said. "Be that as it may, someone has to keep on trying." (57) In response to this Rogers replied in the Pittsburgh Courier:
The teacher who said that no Negro had ever written a worth-while book
was evidently trained in one of those colleges where all knowledge,
like our sugar, salt and flour, are whitened out until only a
constipative, mind-clogging product remains. If not, she would have
known that human history begins with "Negro" history. Negroes, as
knownthey're known in the white world today, were writing great books
when European were still cannibals and cavemen, as for instance
Ptahhotep, and Lokman. (58)


After listing more notable people of African descent that included the "Father of Russian Literature" Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (1799-1837), Rogers emphasized that the woman who was a public school teacher was not rare. "There are also Negro college professors, who because of their entirely white training, share pretty much the same view. As Dr. Carter G. Woodson, eminent historian, once wrote, 'It took me about 30 years to get over my Harvard education.'" In 1934, Rogers before he wrote his major historical works in the 1940s questioned his life's work in researching and writing published Africana history in relation to the attitudes of African American academics. "I have sometimes wondered why the Negro colleges and universities have ignored my researches all these years, at least I have had no encouragement or support from them... To get recognition one must belong, I suppose, or have a string of titles." In addition to what Rogers complained about, Du Bois put forth thirteen years later the following concerning the general American and European historic and scientific attitude towards African history. "I still labor under the difficulty of the persistent lack of interest in Africa so long characteristic of modern history and sociology." Lack of interest in Africa was not anything Du Bois had never experienced in the United States, Du Bois definitely understand what Rogers experienced concerning an African American woman putting forth that Black people may never writing anything worthwhile in comparison to white Americans or Europeans.

In a speech given in 1958, Du Bois remembered that this was a pervasive American civilization problem: no belief in the ability of Black people to produce excellent literature, and the lack of interested in Africa among many African Americans in the early twentieth century. In reflecting back about the history of the Pan African movement, Du Bois explained that African Americans internalized anti-Africa propaganda, did not understand African problems, knew few African people, and begrudged any movement of African Americans to go to Africa. (59) He stated:
This contradicted the insistence in College and Church at that time
that Africa had no history and this its inhabitants were the lowest
barbarians. Thus the average American negro at the beginning of the
century had a dim view of any connection with Africa. On the other
hand, personally, I knew something of Africa. I had written in 1915 a
book on the Negro in the home University of Liberia. The publishers at
first hesitated about bringing it out since its conclusion were so at
variance with all standard authorities. At the
time------(applause)------at the time, there was not in this nation a
single University which gave a course of study on Africa. (60)


One cannot underestimate this African phenomenon in the early twentieth century and what historians like Toynbee wrote during most of the twentieth century. The two are not mutually exclusive concerning the image of Africa and African people in the United States and the writing of history. This is why the historical scholarship of Du Bois during the twentieth century was pioneering as it attempted to answer the viscous lies projected on Africa, especially different people in Africa south of the Sahara. Du Bois' The World and Africa built upon his earlier seminal works The Negro (1915) and Black Folk Then & Now (1939), and became an "African Point of View" a historical classic that is to this day, still worth reading. Although, we have new sources and scholarship to draw upon concerning the writing of African history, Du Bois' analysis in The World and Africa is timeless. Yet, Du Bois was not just satisfied with The World and Africa and in the way he left in 1947, the same year Toynbee appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

In 1955, Du Bois was working towards revising The World and Africa and gave it a new title This Africa and How It Arose, Whither It Goes. The unpublished manuscript was not completed, but Du Bois was still working on it in 1961 while living in Ghana at the age of ninety-three. In looking back at Du Bois and Rogers' scholarship, the former Howard University Africanist historian William Leo Hansberry (1894-1965) put it best in summing up the contribution that Du Bois made in the context of working side by side with the unfairly unacknowledged work of Rogers. (61)
Although Du Bois' achievements in the latter respect may have their
limitations, they were, nevertheless in terms of the African story as a
whole, the most inclusive and influential publications of the kind that
had found their way into print up to the time they appeared--they are
indeed still--along the tireless, if yet widely unappreciated labors of
Joel A. Rogers--exceptionally useful guideposts to, and compendiums of,
much little known knowledge about Black Africa's past. Had William
Edward Burghardt Du Bois been free, or inclined, to limit his efforts
to prying out and piecing together the surviving remnants of the torn
and tattered annals detailing the story of Ageless Africa's pristine
past, he might well have turned out to be an African Homer and
Herodotus rolled into one; for he was by temperament and talent not
only a potentially epic poet but a pre-eminent historian as well. (62)


Notes

(1). J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: Research Disproves Theory That Blacks Contributed Little" (Pittsburgh Courier, January 12, 1952)

(2). W. E. B. Du Bois, "Whites in Africa After Negro Autonomy" in David Levering Lewis ed. W. E. B. Du Bois: A Reader, (New York: Henry Holt & Company), 686-687. W. E. B. Du Bois, "Whites in Africa after Negro autonomy 1962" (W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries)

(3). Undated picture of J. A. Rogers courtesy of Thabiti Asukile. The author of this essay is indebted to Philadelphia Scholar-Activist Anthony Monteiro and African American historian Sterling Stuckey for influencing his notions and enquiry over the last twenty years about the importance of Du Bois' lifetime historical work concerning the writing of Africana/World history. The author would also like to thank the scholar Itibari M. Zulu for his scholarly insights concerning framing this essay and future writings.

(4). Shirley Graham, Paul Robeson: Citizen Of The World Foreword by Carl Van Doren, Illustrated With Photographs (New York: Julian Messenger, Inc, 1946). Columnist Unknown, "Shirley Graham Writes New Work On Robeson." (The Chicago Defender, National Edition, July 20, 1946). On the one hand, during his lifetime Rogers' very informative African diasporic scholarship was not appreciated by many parochial-minded scholars in the American academy because he did not possess a Ph.D., and the type of scholarship he wrote about concerning "Africana Biography," "race-mixing," and "miscegenation" which was not in vogue between 1920s and 1950s. On the other hand, it is amazing today how many young Americans especially African American youth have never heard of Rogers although he dedicated his Africana biographical scholarship as an inspiration mainly to youth of African descent throughout the world. See, World's Greatest Men of African Descent (1931); World's Greatest Men and Women of African Descent (1935); Sex and Race, Volumes I, II, and III (1940, 1942, 1944); World's Great Men of Color: 3000 B.C. to 1946 A.D., Volumes I & II (1946, 1947); Nature Knows No Color Line (1952); and Africa's Gift to America (1958).

(5). I use the terminologies "Africana" and "Africana history" which I have appropriated from the influential scholarship of James E. Turner's explanation of Africana Studies in 1984 as a legitimate field in the American academy. In agreement with Turner, I believe that the writing of Africana history should be committed to the interpretation and revelation of the total Africana phenomenon of the historic black and brown-skinned (that cover a variety of colors within the black and brown skinned-continental African experience) evolving from antiquity in the Nile Valley in Egypt and the sub-Saharan historically extending down through the modern era in sub-Saharan Africa and the African Diaspora (wherever peoples of African descent reside in the world). Turner explained that Rogers was part of rich intellectual heritage concerning the evolution and contribution to Africana Studies. See, James E. Turner, "Africana Studies and Epistemology: A Discourse in the Sociology of Knowledge" in Discourse on Africana Studies James Turner and Paradigms of Knowledge. Editor. Scot Brown (Diasporic Africa Press: New York, 2016), 167-184. Also see, Johnathan Fenderson "Introduction: Black Intellectual Insurgency--James Turner And The Discipline of Africana Studies" in Discourse on Africana Studies James Turner and Paradigms of Knowledge, 94-110.

The designate "Africana" was also used by the Aframerican historians Carter G. Woodson and W. E. B. Du Bois in the first part of the Twentieth Century in their pursuit of putting together an Africana Encyclopedia. Du Bois in 1909 and Woodson who started his scholarly project in 1921. Both men were never able to complete these ambitious arduous projects but nonetheless they saw the historic phenomenon and contemporary experiences of Black-Brown people of African descent through the rubric of an Africana titled historic paradigm. See, letter from W. E. B. Du Bois to George Washington Ellis [fragment], March 9, 1909 (W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries). Notes on Encyclopedia Africana letterhead, 1909 (W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries). Circular letter from Carter G. Woodson to the promoters of the Negro Encyclopedia, October 22, 1932 (W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries).

Unfortunately, the term "Africana" surprisingly was used at the turn of the twentieth century in a disparaging way of identifying South Africans by European colonial settlers. See, Itibari M. Zulu, "Africana Studies: Post Black Studies Vagrancy in Academe" (Journal of Pan African Studies, Volume 5, Number 7, October 2012). In addition, at Harvard University, The African Department of The Peabody Museum appropriated the term in their Westernized scholarly works concerning Africa. See, Harvard African Studies I, Varia Africana I (Cambridge: Peabody Museum of Harvard, 1917). It is amazing in contrast to South Africa on the one side of the world in the United States Aframericans in the twentieth century that included historians like Arturo A. Schomburg (1874-1938) and John Henrik Clarke (1915-1998) have been openly identified with the term "Africana." In fact, the Aframerican singer Ethel Water (1896-1977) was the star of the Musical entitled "Africana." See, Rouzeau Edgar, "HARLEM LIBRARY: Has Greatest Collection of African Books Knowledge..." (Baltimore Afro-American, April 11, 1936). Arthur Schomburg, "Who's Who: Arthur A. Schomburg" (Baltimore Afro-American, May 16, 1935). John Henrik Clarke, "Why Africana History" (The Black Collegian, 1977). Ethel Waters in Africana Musical Advertisement, Pittsburgh Courier, January 21, 1928. p.9. The African American scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Ghanaian scholar Kwame Anthony Appiah also used the term "Africana" in 1999 and 2004 in putting together the "Africana" The Encyclopedia Of The African & African Amerian Experience." This author of this essay is in the process of investigating what was the earliest use of the term "Africana" by Aframericans and why they used it in the first place especially by Aframerican historians who wrote about African history and anywhere where people of Black-Brown African descent reside outside of Africa.

(6). Du Bois' lifetime historical scholarship of Africa can be traced through the evolution of his earlier works The Negro (1915) and Black Folk Then and Now (1939) both precursors to The World and Africa. See, W. E. B. Du Bois, The Negro (New York: Henry Holt, 1915); W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Folk Then & Now: An essay In the history and sociology of the Negro race (New York: Henry Holt, 1939).

(7). W. E. B. Du Bois, The World and Africa: An Inquiry Into The Part Which Africa Has Played in World History (New York: Viking Press, 1947), xi.

(8). J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: Many Doubt Negro History" (Pittsburgh Courier, February 12, 1955). Du Bois also praised Rogers' From Superman to Man (1917), initially he did not write any review of the novel until 1924. In 1961, Rogers wrote that "Dr. Du Bois then editing the Crisis gave it highest praise." See, J. A. Rogers "History Shows" (Pittsburgh Courier, July 29, 1961).

(9). The access for many African American scholars to institutional funding in today's era is something that needs to be addressed further in order really appreciate what Rogers' accomplished while conducting archival research by himself in the United States, Northern Africa, and Europe between the 1920s and late 1950s. Today, in academia, you have some American scholars (no matter what their ethnic background) who will not think about conducting any type of archival research unless they are funded with prestigious fellowships or grants by their respective universities or awarded some type of prestigious fellowship from an outside American institution dedicated to higher learning. Some scholars would rightfully complain if they do not get any type of funding that they would not be able to do the type of research necessary to write that next scholarly book or articles needed for advancement in academia. This is what made Rogers' domestic and international research even more remarkable.

(10). J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: The Tragedy of Negro History Is That White Writers Ignore the Fact" (Pittsburgh Courier, December 2, 1950). Swedish born Gunnar Myrdal (1898-1987) economist and sociologist was considered one of the leading scholars of his era. Myrdal's two volume An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, received critical acclaim by many American academics. According to the New York Times: "Myrdal once said, 'not a study of the Negroes but of the American society from the viewpoint of the most disadvantaged group.' The predicament, he wrote, was the conflict between the ideals that white Americans proclaimed and their betrayal in daily life. He held that this was particularly true in the South, where, he argued, discrimination was due less to bias than to a failure of the courts and the police to enforce the Constitution." In 1974, Myrdal co-received along with Austrian-British economist Friedrich August von Hayek (1899-1992) a Nobel Peace Prize in Economic Theory And International Disciplinary. See, "Gunnar Myrdal, Analyst Of Race Crisis, Dies" (New York Times, May 18, 1987).

(11). The late anthropologist St. Clair Drake (1911-1990) believed that Rogers' research complemented the scholarship of the prominent African historian Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) and Du Bois. Drake believed Rogers through solid scholarship along with considerable speculation based on Anthropological photograph research put together an interesting and informative view of race-relation from antiquity to the modern era. Drake also believed that Rogers' scholarship provided valuable information for students and most important provided leads for further research which amazingly today many scholars have not followed up on. See, St. Clair Drake, Black Folk Here And There: An Essay in History & Anthropology, Volume I (Los Angeles: Center for Afro-American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles) 98-99.

(12). J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: Negroes As Well As Nordics Just Won't Believe The Truth" (Pittsburgh Courier, February 8, 1941).

(13). J. A. Rogers, Sex And Race: Why White And Black Mix In Spite Of Opposition, Volume III (New York: J. A. Rogers, 1944), vi.

(14). W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Folk Then and Now: An Essay In The History And Sociology Of The Negro Race (New York: Henry Holt And Company), ix.

(15). J. A. Rogers, World's Great Men of Color Vol. II: 3000 B.C. to 1946 (New York: J. A. Rogers, 1947), 593 & 596.

(16). Letter from James A. Reeves to W. E. B. Du Bois, April 16, 1923. W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. Mary Ovington White, "Book Chat" Review of From Superman to Man, May 10, 1924. For Hubert Harrison's review of J. A. Rogers' From Superman to Man see, Jeffrey B. Perry ed., Hubert Harrison Reader (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press), 299-305.

(17). Letter from L. F. Coles, to W. E. B. Du Bois, June 23, 1924. W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

(18). W. E. B. Du Bois, "An Array Of Books" From Superman to Man Book Review (The Crisis: A Record Of The Darker Races, September 1924, Volume 28, Number 5).

(19). Letter from J. A. Rogers to W. E. B. Du Bois, August 29, 1924. Letter from M. L. Piatt to W. E B. Du Bois October 28, 1938. Letter from W. E. B. Du Bois to M. L. Piatt, November 7, 1938. W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

(20). J. A. Rogers, "W. E. B. Du Bois I Being Persecuted for His 'Sins' Dating Back to 1896." (Pittsburgh Courier, March 17, 1951). W. E. B. Du Bois, The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last decade of Its First Century (New York: International Publishers, 1968), 370. W. E. B. Du Bois, In Battle For Peace, New Introduction by Herbert Aptheker (New York: Kraus-Thompson Organization, 1976), 74. Letter from J. A. Rogers to National Committee to Defend W. E. B. Du Bois and Associates in the Peace Information Center, November 29. 1951. W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. Alice Citron Oral Histories Interview 1981, Communist Party Oral Histories, Tamiment Library, New York University. W. E. B. Du Bois, In Battle For Peace: The Story of My 83rd Birthday, The Oxford W. E. B. Du Bois, Edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Introduction by Manning Marable (New York: Oxford University, 2007), 50-51. "What The People Think: Prattis, Cayton, Rogers Hailed For Du Bois Stand" (April 28, 1951, Pittsburgh Courier).

(21). Rayford Logan, "Joel Augustus Rogers" in Dictionary of American Negro Biography ed. Rayford Logan & Michael Winston (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1982), 531. J. A. Rogers, "W.E.B. Du Bois Is Being Persecuted for His 'Sins" Dating Back to 1896" (Pittsburgh Courier, March 17, 1951). J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: Some Consider The Study of Negro History As Purely 'Impertinence'" (Pittsburgh Courier, February 12, 1944). J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: Considering Jim Crowism, Imprisonment of Dr. Du Bois Would Be the Last Straw" (Pittsburgh Courier, March 24, 1951).

(22). Rogers, World's Great Men of Color Vol. II, 595.

(23). Unknown Columnist, "Du Bois Considered 'Dangerous' by England" (The New York Amsterdam News, August 19, 1925). "According to Rogers he was trailed from New York to Plymouth by a detective who continued on the S.S. Washington to France. This alleged Secret Service man, he says made friends with him the second day out and brought up the subject Communism several days later."

(24). Rogers, World's Great Men of Color Vol. II, 595.

(25). "Letter from J. A. Rogers to W. E. B. Du Bois, November 23, 1925"; "Letter from W. E. B. Du Bois to J. A. Rogers, November 24, 1935"; Letter from J. A. Rogers to W. E. B. Du Bois, December 2, 1925"; Letter from W. E. B. Du Bois to J. A. Rogers, December 18, 1925". W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

(26). J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: W. E. B. Du Bois Is Being Persecuted for His 'Sins' Dating Back to 1896" (Pittsburgh Courier, March 17, 1951). Although Rogers admired Du Bois' life achievement he did not endorse African Americans embracing Russia as place to go as an alternative to leaving the United States: "Personally, I think he's mistaken. Russia has no color prejudice, it is true. But Russia is not alone in this respect. There's France. Even the English in England are far ahead of America in this, so we cannot accept Russia for its lack of color prejudice, alone. It is a dictatorship and those of us who believe in speaking freely, right or wrong, have no chance under it than under fascism." In direct contrast to his view about Russia Communism Rogers admired the USA Communist Party. "At the same time, I'm very grateful to the American Communists for the fight they have waged on behalf of Negroes, whatever was that motive."

(27). J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: Considering Jim Crowism, Imprisonment of Dr. Du Bois Would Be the Last Straw" (Pittsburgh Courier, March 24, 1951). P. L. Prattis (1895-1980) was a very influential Pittsburgh Courier journalist from 1936-1961. He also work for the Associated Negro Press from 1923 to 1935 and for a short time for the New York Amsterdam News before joining the Pittsburgh Courier as city editor until 1940, along with being executive editor and editor-and-chief. For more information about the history of the Pittsburgh Courier and Prattis, see, Mark Whitaker, Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance (New York Simon and Schuster, 2018).

(28). Rogers, World's Great Men of Color Vol. II, 596. Rogers gave the highest adoration to Alexander Dumas pere (1802-1870) in World's Great Men of Color Vol. II. Alexander Dumas pere is the son of the Haitian born General Alexander Dumas (1762-1806) the renowned highly decorated Black General that served in Napoleon Bonaparte French Army. Dumas pere is the author of famous literary works such as The Chevalier Harmenthal, The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Black Tulip. Concerning Dumas pere, Rogers said: "A self-trained writer, he produced more literature than anyone who ever lived, earning with his pen more than ten million dollars in the currency of our day." Rogers, World's Great Men of Color Vol. II, 372.

(29). J. A. Rogers, "History Shows" Pittsburgh Courier, December 9, 1961.

(30). Letter from Isabel Aiken to W. E. B. Du Bois, March 14, 1949. W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. Arnold J. Toynbee 1889-1975 a Professor of History at the London School of Economics became one of the most prominent-controversial British historians during the twentieth century. Toynbee specialized in International history and published exceedingly historical and international studies throughout his career at the London School of Economics. Toynbee's twelve volume The Study of History (1934-1961) initially published by Oxford University was at the outset lauded and later by other professional historian severely criticized for Toynbee's theories of cyclical rise and fall of civilizations around the world and his philosophical views of world history.

(31). Letter from W. E. B. Du Bois to Isabel Aiken, March 21, 1949. W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. Based on extant documentation in the W. E. B. Du Bois papers it is clear that Du Bois read Toynbee's A Study in 1939 when he took personal notes about subjects on different pages concerning volumes one through three.

"Toynbee vol. I-III, 1939" W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. For a historical scholarly review of Toynbee's A Study of History see, Alexander Hutton, "'A belated return for Christ?' the reception of Arnold Toynbee's A Study of History in British context, 1934-1961" (European Review of History, Volume 21, Number 3, 405-424), Routledge, Taylor & Francis College, 2014.

(32). Du Bois, The World and Africa, 99.

(33). Ibid.

(34). Arnold J. Toynbee, A Study of History, Volume I (New York: Oxford University Press, 1948, fourth edition), 232-3. Toynbee's views about the ancient Egyptian race and origin was influenced by Grafton Elliot Smith (1871-1937) an Australian born British anatomist, and controversial self-trained archaeologist/anthropologist/Egyptologist. Paul Crook, Grafton Elliot Smith, Egyptology & the Diffusion of Culture, A Biographical Perspective (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2012), vi-vii. J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: Toynbee History Charge Is False" (Pittsburgh Courier, October 2, 1954).

(35). Rogers, "Rogers Says: Toynbee History Charge Is False" (Pittsburgh Courier, October 2, 1954).

(36). Letter from W. E. B. Du Bois to Albert Schweitzer, July 31, 1946. W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. "Historian Arnold J. Toynbee: Our civilization is not inexorably doomed" (Time: The Weekly Newsmagazine, March 17, 1947, Vol. XLIX, No. 11), 71-79, 81. Toynbee also asserted in the column that "Only one transfiguring Savoir has ever appeared in human history: Christ--the highest symbol of man's triumph through ordeal and death."

(37). Arnold J. Toynbee, A Study of History, Volume I (New York: Oxford University Press, 1948, fourth edition), 233.

(38). Toynbee, A Study of History, Volume I, 236-7. Twenty years later after the first of edition of A Study of History in 1934, Toynbee in the 1954 abridgements of A Study of History still claimed, "The Black races alone have not contributed positively to any civilization--as yet. The White races hold the lead,..." See, Arnold J. Toynbee, A Study of History, Abridgement of Volume I-VI by D. C. Somervell (New York: Oxford University Press, 1954), 54.

(39). Hugh Trevor-Roper, The Rise Of Christian Europe (London: Thames & Hudson, 1965), 7-9.

(40). Arnold J. Toynbee, ed., Cities of Destiny (London, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1967). Arnold J. Toynbee, Between Niger and Nile (London: Oxford University, 1965).

(41). Arnold J. Toynbee, Between Niger and Nile (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965). Arnold Toynbee, Change and Habit: The Challenge Of Our Time (New York: Oxford University), 94-95.

(42). Annie E. Coombes, Reinventing Africa: Museums, Material Culture and Popular Imagination (New Haven: Yale University, 1997), 7-28. Toynbee would have to have known about Benin civilization in West Africa since it made such headway during the turn of the twentieth century in academic circles especially anthropology and in the public sphere through middle-class newspapers and scholarship connected to museums throughout England. Coombes' scholarship in how Benin art that is currently displayed at the British Museum was debated within the context of a Benin civilization suffering from degeneration and savagery, and it's the same reverenced and praise for its priceless ivories and bronze art that many British speculated could not have been made by the people it was looted from during the punitive expedition of Benin City in February 1897. A civilization that historically was admired by other European explorers in that region before the British looted Benin City. This author has actually saw one of the many Benin bronze art looted by British soldiers during the late nineteenth century at the British Museum in the late 80s and early 90s. In fact, at that time, it was the one first pieces of art displayed as you walked through the main doors of the British museum. Because of Toynbee's Catholic religious background and support of missionaries, combined with the negative projected stigma of Benin practicing human sacrifices to the public in journals and newspapers it is not unreasonable to assume that he would have viewed Benin as barbaric and not qualified it is a progressive civilization on par with anything in Europe between the fifteenth and seventeenth century.

(43). J. A. Rogers, Sex And Race: Negro Caucasian In All Ages and All Lands, The Old World, Volume I, (New York: J. A. Rogers, 1940), 286. Du Bois cited part of the letter Halide Edib Adivar wrote to Rogers in The World And Africa. Du Bois, The World and Africa, 183-184.

(44). Arnold J. Toynbee, Mankind and Mother Earth: A Narrative History of the World (New York: Oxford University, 1976). William H. McNeil biography of Toynbee is worth reading in learning about Toynbee embracing Catholicism and how that shaped his life. See, William H. McNeil, Arnold J. Toynbee: A Life (New York: Oxford, 1989). Arnold Toynbee, A Study Of History: A new edition revised and abridged by the author and Jane Caplan 507 illustrations 90 in colour 23 maps in chart (London: Thames & Hudson, 1972, reprinted 1979), 491.

(45). Basil Davison, "The ancient world and Africa: whose roots?" (Race & Class, XXIX, 2 (1987). J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: Dr. Ashley Montagu's New Book Explodes All Fallacies About Race Superiority" Pittsburgh Courier, July 24, 1943. Rogers believed that Montague's book should have been read by everyone especially Black people who he felt would benefit from seeing more clearly how extremely unjust their condition, treatment, status concerning exploitation in the United States and throughout other countries. One of the real ironies about Montague's views about race from the 1940s to the late 1990s is that he felt in the 1990s certain Black leaders learned from Hitler how to incite hatred towards white Jews. Montagu of Jewish descent formerly known as Israel Ehrenberg bemoan that, "It is understandable in the light of the unspeaking wrongs that have been committed, and continue to be committed, against blacks, that many blacks should so easily fall victim to the demagoguery of unscrupulous leaders." It is intriguing that Montagu never reference any of Rogers' work about race, but did consider Du Bois a friend and collaborator between Black and Jewish people because of his work in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Ashley Montagu, Man's Most Dangerous Myth: the fallacy of race Sixth Edition (London: Altamira Press, 1997), 37. Toynbee, A Study Of History: A new edition, 71. M. F. Ashley Montagu, Toynbee and History: Critical Essays and Reviews (Boston: Porter Sergeant Publisher, 1956), vii.

(46). J. A. Rogers, Sex & Race: Why White and Black Mix in Spite Opposition Volume III (New York: J. A. Rogers, 1944), vii. For a scholarly review of Toynbee's critique of the Western Imperialism and response to it by other scholars consult, Ian Hall, "'The Toynbee Convector': The Rise and fall of Arnold J. Toynbee's Anti-Imperial Mission to the West" (The European Legacy, Volume 17, Number 4), 455-469. 2012. It should be mentioned that Toynbee was very well read and judicious concerning the problems that African encountered concerning European Colonialism. Although one may not agree with all of his analysis concerning European Colonialism moving into Neo-Colonialism it did keep abreast current events in Africa. See, Arnold J. Toynbee, "Africa: Birth Of A Continent" (Saturday Review, December 5, 1964, p. 27-29).

(47). J. A. Rogers, "History Shows" (Pittsburgh Courier, October 15, 1960).

(48). J. A. Rogers, Rogers Says, "Toynbee Is 100 Percent Wrong About Creative Contribution Of Blacks to Civilization" (Pittsburgh Courier, August 9, 1947). J. A. Rogers, "The Suppression of Negro History" (The Crises: The Record of the Darker Races, Volume 47, Number 5, May 1940), 136.

(49). Rogers, "The Suppression of Negro History", 136. "The Slaveholder Blackout" was also a major concern for Rogers concerning Hollywood backing white supremacist thought concerning the erasure of black people in antiquity. Rogers rightly complained: "Egypt the Mother of Western civilization, is increasingly claimed as white. The latest is the multi-million dollar Hollywood film, "The Egyptian." The millions who see it will believe the ancient Egyptians were white. Yet, Akhenaton, Pharaoh of the film, as seen in portraits and from his skull, was "pure" Negro. His Queen, Nefertiti, is also white, even though in the novel (p. 386) she is said to be of "black blood... the blood of injustice and treachery." See their portraits in this week's "Your History." J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: Whites Got Off To Poor Start" (Pittsburgh Courier, October 9, 1954).

(50). Du Bois, The World and Africa, 99, 116-117. The Du Boisian scholar Sterling Stuckey in his treatment of Du Bois in Slave Culture Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America personally backs Du Bois' historical analysis of ancient Egypt undeniably being founded by Africans from Ethiopia and that they were an "integral part of African civilization." See, Stuckey explains that a during his visit to both the British and Cairo museums in the Spring of 1972 "to his amazement" that one could shockingly see the black presence in the facial features of statues located in the Egyptian section. Sterling Stuckey, Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America, 25th Anniversary Edition (New York: Oxford University, 2013), 311, 453.

(51). The World and Africa, 118-119. Du Bois also reasoned that when Buddha "portrayed as black and curly-haired," appeared all throughout Asia, leading authorities made no effort to "investigate or explain" this historic-geographical phenomenon. Rogers in the appendix of Sex & Race Volume I, devoted an entire section of different encyclopedic and monograph comments about the representation of ancient Buddhas. See, J. A. Rogers, Sex And Race: Negro-Caucasian Mixing In Ages and Lands (New York: J. A. Rogers, 1940), 265-268. Famed Egyptologist & Archeologist George Andrew Reisner (1867-1942) (A.B. 1889, Ph.D. 1893) is considered one of the founding fathers of modern American scientific archeology and Egyptology who conducted pioneering excavations in the Nile Valley. In 1905, Reisner's field work in modern day Sudan (ancient Nubia) was supported by Harvard University & the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and in 1910 he became Archeological Director of the Nubian Archeological Survey by the Egyptian Government. Reisner did not in any way possible believe because of his contemporary racist beliefs that came out in the classroom when he taught at Harvard University, thought it viable that ancient Egypt or Ethiopia (Nubia) had Black Africans in their regions in North Africa that made any worthy contribution to any Nile Valley ancient civilizations. "Ethiopia was in habited by a race, dark skinned it is true, but easily distinguished from the true negro." George A. Reisner, "Recent Discoveries in Ethiopia" The Harvard Theological Review (Volume 13, Number 1, January 1920), 23.

Resiner once had a confrontation with the late Howard University African Historian William Leo Hansberry (1894-1965) who was an African American student studying African history at Harvard under Reisner. Hansberry challenged Reisner in class that Nile Valley Civilizations were founded by Black Africans based on his meticulous study of history that was ignored by many historians, classics, and anthropologists. An infuriated Reisner in front of other classmates told Hansberry, "I do not believe Negroes founded these great civilizations. You are a brilliant student Hansberry, but you are a product of our civilization." James G. Spady, "Dr. William Leo Hansberry: The Legacy of an African Hunter." Current Bibliography on African Affairs, 3(10), 28-29. For other references to Reisner see, James P. Allen, The American Discovery of Ancient Egypt (Book 2): Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 5, 1995 - January 21, 1996 (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum), 2. The Development of Harvard University Since The Inauguration of President Eliot 1869-1929 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morison Class of 1908. Chapter XIV Egyptology, 1869-1928 by George Andrew Reisner.

(52). J. A. Rogers, "Ruminations: White Environment for Negro Pupils" (New York Amsterdam News, December 15, 1934). For biographical information about George A. P. Bridgetower (1789-1860); Claudio J. D. Brindis De Salas (1852-1911); Samuel Coleridge Taylor (1875-1912) Paul Robeson (1898-1976); and Roland Hayes (1887-1977). Initially consult, J. A. Rogers, World's Great Men of Color: 3000 B.C. to 1946 A.D Volume II, First Edition (New York: J. A. Rogers, 1947). For further contemporary studies consult the following: Paul Roberson Jr., The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: Quest for Freedom, 1939 - 1976 (New York: Wiley, 2010). Paul Roberson Jr., The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist's Journey, 1898 - 1939 (New York Wiley, 2001). Panton Clifford Jr., George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower, Violin Virtuoso and Composer of Color In the Late 18th Century Europe (Studies in the History & Interpretation of Music) New York: E. Mellen Press, 2005). Christopher A. Brooks and Robert Sims, Roland Hayes: the Legacy of an American Tenor (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2014). Jeffery Green, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, A Musical Life (London & New York: Routledge, 2016). Robert Fikes Jr., "They Made the Violins Sing: The Black Virtuosos" The Crises: A Record of the Darker Races (Volume 89, Number 5, The Crisis, May, 1982), 29-34.

(53). W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folks in W. E. B. Du Bois Writings: The Suppression of the African Slave Trade, The Souls of Black Folks, Dusk of Dawn, Essays and Articles (New York: The Library of America, 1986), 364. J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: Greatest Need of Negroes, Young And Old, Is to Revamp Thinking," (Pittsburgh Courier, February 7, 1948).

In 2018, with all of the so-called advancement in multi-culture education it is still very possible in many places in the United States where African Americans can still essentially go through high school and college is still learn nothing that reveals anything true about one's self and their heritage in this country outside of some watered down patronizing Black history month that essentially is not even Black history anymore. Today, in many cities across the United States one can walk through many major retail book stores like Barnes and Nobles and not even see one book written by Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) the African American historian who initiated "Negro History Week" in 1926.

(54). Du Bois, The World and Africa, vii.

(55). Ibid., viii.

(56). J. A. Rogers, "Toynbee is 100 Percent Wrong About Creative Contributions of Blacks to Civilization" (Pittsburgh Courier, August 9, 1947).

(57). J. A. Rogers, "Rogers Says: Many Educators Schooled In White Colleges Lack Race History Knowledge" (Pittsburgh Courier, March 13, 1943).

(58). Ibid.

(59). Rogers, "Rogers Says: Many Educators Schooled In White Colleges Lack Race History Knowledge." J. A. Rogers, "Ruminations: Teaching History in The Nordic Manner" (New York Amsterdam News, July 28, 1934). Du Bois, The World and Africa, viii.

(60). W. E. B. Du Bois, "The early beginnings of the Pan-African movement, June 20, 1958. W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

(61). "This Africa: how it arose, whither it goes, ca., 1955" W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. "Unfinished Work on Africa, 1961" W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

(62). William Leo Hansberry, "W. E. B. Du Bois' Influence On African History" in W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Issue, Freedomways: A Quarterly Review of The Negro Freedom Movement (Volume 5, Number 1, Winter 1965, First Quarter), 86-87.

by

Thabiti Asukile, Ph.D.

thabitia@hotmail.com

(UC Berkeley, History, 2007)

Independent Historian
COPYRIGHT 2018 Journal of Pan African Studies
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2018 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Asukile, Thabiti
Publication:Journal of Pan African Studies
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2018
Words:18504
Previous Article:Devolution without Devolution: Centralized Police Service Implications in a Decentralized Government in Kenya.
Next Article:Culture and Participation in Physical Education and Sport: The Case of Tertiary Female Students in Masvingo, Zimbabwe.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters