The Culture Corner


“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture, is like a tree without roots.”

 Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887 – 1940)

Every year in October we celebrate BLACK HISTORY MONTH. Black history is with us every second, minute, hour, week, month and year. PANTHER NEWSLETTER’S Culture Corner will attempt to enlighten you with what they never told you in your history class. Our story will be told right here – So enjoy the journey of clarification.


Not widely known but true…



Ludwig Van Beethoven the classical composer and musician was black.

Joseph Haydn another well-known composer and musician who wrote the music for the former Austrian National Anthem was also black.


Before Abraham’s birth, the sacred river of India, the River Ganges was named after an Ethiopian King  General Ganges who conquered Asia as far as this river and established an empire.

The most ancient lineage in the world is that of the Ethiopian Royal Family.  It is said to be older than that of Queen Elizabeth II by 6160 years.  The former Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I, traced his ancestry to King Solomon, the Queen of ShebaMenelik I and beyond to Cush 6280 B.C.  (Song of Solomon I verse 6).

A black man Matthew Henson was in the party of 6 who were the first to reach Antarctica in 1909.

There were Africans in Britain before the English!


Imhotep, a black man was the real father of medicine.  Hippocrates, the so-called father of medicine lived 2000 years after Imhotep.  Greece and Rome obtained their knowledge of medicine from him.

Doctor Daniel Hale Williams, an African/American who died in 1931 was the first surgeon to perform a successful operation on the human heart.


There were three African Popes of Rome.  Victor I (189 – 199 A.D.) Melchiades (311 – 312 A.D.) ; and St Gelasius (496 A.D.).  It was Melchiades who led Christianity to final triumph against the Roman Empire.

The celestial saint of Germany is St Maurice, an African.  While in command of a Roman legion in what is now Switzerland, in 287 A.D, he refused to attack the Christians when ordered to by the emperor Maximian Herculius, for which he was killed.  His picture is in many German cathedrals and museums, sometimes with the German national emblem, the eagle on his head.


The beginning of religion was in Africa.  Pharaoh Akhenaten gave the world the belief  in one god.  In Egypt, he insisted that his people worship Aton, the Sun God only.  His beliefs were strong enough to completely change art and literature in Egypt.


Alexandre Dumas (1802 – 1870)

Alexandre Dumas was one of the most famous French writers of the 19th century.  He is best known for his historical adventure novels like The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Man in the Iron Mask.  Dumas’ grandfather was a French nobleman who had settled in Santo Domingo, now part of Haiti.  His paternal grandmother, Marie Louise Cessette Dumas was African/Caribbean, who had been a slave in the French colony.

Alexander Pushkin (1799 – 1837)

Alexander Pushkin has become one of Russia’s national heroes.  Born in Moscow of African blood, portraits often tried to disguise his features.  His political verse got him exiled from Moscow in 1820 and his atheist opinions also hampered him.  Among his great works are the poem The Bronze Horseman (1833) and also the short story The Queen of Spades (1834).


Olaudah Equiano (1745 – 1797)

Olaudah Equiano was born in what is now Nigeria.  Kidnapped and sold into slavery in childhood, he was taken to the New World as a slave to a captain in the Royal Navy and later to a Quaker merchant.  He eventually earned the price of his own freedom by careful trading and saving.  As a seaman, he travelled the world.  When he arrived in London, he became involved in the movement to abolish the slave trade, an involvement which led to him writing and publishing The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African (1789), a strong abolitionist autobiography.  The book became a bestseller and as well as furthering the anti-slavery cause, made Equiano a wealthy man.  Equiano’s passion, committment and energy to the anti-slavery cause, informed and inspired William Wilberforce, a religious English MP and social reformer to convince the British Empire to bring about the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.

Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895)

Frederick Douglass was best known for delivering stirring speeches about his life as a slave and he became a leading spokesman for the abolition of slavery and for racial equality.  The son of a slave woman and an unknown white man, “Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey” was born February 1818 on Maryland’s eastern shore.  He spent his early years with his grandparents and with an aunt, only seeing his mother five times before her death when he was seven.  During this time Douglass was exposed to the degradations of slavery, witnessing firsthand brutal whippings and spending much time cold and hungry.  When he was eight he was sent to Baltimore to live with a ship carpenter named Hugh Auld.  There he learned to read and first heard the words abolition and abolitionists.  Living in Baltimore laid the foundations and opened the gateway to his prosperity.

Douglass won world fame when his autobiography was published in 1845.  Two years later he began publishing an antislavery paper called North Star.  He served as an advisor to President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and fought for the adoption of constitutional amendments that guaranteed voting rights and other civil liberties for black people.  Douglass provided a powerful voice for human rights during this period of American history and is still revered today for his contributions against racial injustice.

Here ends your history lesson for this month.

I’d like to take this opportunity to big up my daughter Shereen for encouraging me to make this newsletter possible; bless up Administrator Denise Dunn for posting all things cultural on the Panther Newsletter Facebook page and last but by no means least, Candice Smith for taking time out to offer her technical skills.  “Bless you ladies.”


Log on for more Culture Corner next month and remember…

“The greatest thing is to know, what you don’t know.”

Irene Ann Samuda-Smith

So said my mom: Irene Ann Samuda-Smith

Sunrise: December 10 1929 – Sunset: June 13 1987


‘Til next month:  Everyting Bless.

13 Responses to “The Culture Corner”

  1. This is great, also lovely and marvellous. Well done, Norm, keep it up!

  2. Inspirational, Informative and Educational! A breath of fresh air… Looking forward to future issues. This was an idea waiting to happen… Briilliant, Norman. You have only just began. What else have you got up those creative sleeves? Jasmine

  3. And what a history lesson! Truly inspirational Norman, I want to read more. Looking forward to next month.

  4. Natasha Campbell Says:

    The tribute to your mum is thought provoking, she sounds like a very special and intellegent woman, she clearly passed on her spirit and thirst for freedom onto you and you express these in your words! – I don’t want to stop reading.

  5. Yes Mr Smith

    The son of Small Heath riseth!

    You know it’s time to make the lyrics flow. Forward ever.

  6. Give thanks king! Very i-spirational and full-lightening. InI look forward to more powerful words! Jah guide

  7. King – you’re blessed – thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    Long may you continue to do so.

    Peace and love.


  8. some fascinating stuff looking forward to reading more

  9. Greetings King!
    As usual very informative and I-spiring. “Glad I had a church upbringing” As a youth growing up in Jamaica, the church played a pivotal role in my upbringing and its a pity the church has lost the ability to instill that kind of discipline. I didn’t come away with Jesus, I came away with discipline and respect for my elders. After ‘Dialogue’ a journal for cultural literacy, went, due to the passing of Bro. Roi Kwabena to ancestors land, I wondered where will I find a good read, which will reflect our cultural and historic legacies, The Black Panther is here!

    Jah guide

  10. Lileith Gilpin Says:

    This has been long in coming and nothing comes before time. This is real good information Normski.

    I remember getting excited about reading Bad Friday when we worked together in the schools in Staffordshire many years ago. I knew then that there was more to come from you, and now it is here Black Panther.

    Keep going new year New ting.


  11. What a blessing norman im stuck for words that dutch pot used in one of those days is 22 plus years old, it’s in london @ the residence of one Fiona Skyers, it’s double its age from whence it came.

    Keep up the good work my brother, full bonifide blessings and condolance to Ricardo’s family.

    Peace King!

  12. mileycyrus Says:

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!


  13. Robyn Wheeler Says:

    I’ve just seen the Akhenaten sculpture at the Melbourne Exhibition and it took my breath away. The majestic presence dominated the room. Wonderful from all angles. Although the facial structure is accentuated, it is still beautifully sensitive to the properties of flesh. Wonderful experience

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