“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.


Blacks in Britain (Part One)

Not Widely Known – But True…

In 210 AD, African soldiers described as a “division of Moors,” were sent by Rome to defend Hadrian’s Wall.  The presence of these Africans predates the arrival of those who are today considered “English,” since Britannia (Modern-day England) was created during Roman rule.

In 800 AD, the ancient Irish recorded the existence of “blue men” from Morocco who were captured by the Vikings and taken to Ireland.

In 1000 AD, the skeletal remains of a young African girl was found at North Elmham in Norfolk, England.

In the early 1500’s, a small group of Africans, probably taken by Scottish “privateers” from Portuguese slave traders, were “attached,” or enslaved to King James IV’s court.

Between 1541 and the 1850’s, 61 taverns were called the “Black Boy” in both London and in the provinces, (during the same period in London itself, there were 51 taverns called “The Blackamoor’s Head.”) African or black references were also popular for sailing vessels.

In 1550, the first English traders landed in West Africa.

In 1555, five West Africans came to London from present-day Ghana to learn English and assist traders. The Africans, although slaves, had been “borrowed,” since England’s slave trade did not start until 1563.



Shehu Usman dan Fodio (1754 -1817)Shehu Uthman Dan Fuduye set up the Yantaru educational system for women was the most advanced educational system for women in the whole of the African continent and because it still exists it remains the oldest. He was a Moslem teacher and theologian.  One of the principal reformers of Islam in Hausaland in Northern Nigeria, he founded an Islamic empire at the beginning of the 19th century. Uthman don Fodio whose complete name was Uthman ibn Muhammad ibn Fudi, was commonly known simply as Shehu, the Hausa word for sheikh. He wrote more than a hundred books concerning religion, government, culture and society.

Johannes IV (1831-1889) also known as “John” was Negusa Nagast of Ethiopia (Ethiopian Emperor) from 1872 until his death.  His full title: “His Imperial Majesty John IV, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings of Ethiopia and Elect of God.”  Johannes IV was born in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigre with the baptismal name of Kassa. After inheriting his father’s position of nobility in 1867, Kassa declared himself the independent king of Tigre. He is known as the Emperor who thwarted Egyptian, Italian, and Sudanese attempts to overrun Ethiopia and took important steps to unify the country.

Dusé Mohamed Ali (1866 – 1946) was an influential Pan-Africanist, a supporter of Islam, mentor to Marcus Garvey.  (This Islamic influence can be seen in Marcus Garvey’s motto “One God, One Aim, One Destiny.”) He travelled widely throughout the African Diaspora. He founded the African Times and Orient Review in 1911, which spread the call for African nationalism, and later founded The Comet in Lagos, Nigeria. He created the Universal Islamic Society in Detroit, Michigan (which in turn influenced the creation of the Nation of Islam by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in 1930). He was the most likely source of the African conscious independent view of the world we hold today. Were it not for him there probably would not have been a UNIA (Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association), a Nation of Islam, a Moorish Science Temple or any of the leaders and movements derived from these sources, Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Gods and Earths, the Black Panthers, etc.

Billie Holiday (born Eleanora FaganApril 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) an African American jazz singer and songwriter nicknamed “Lady Day” by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday was a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing.  Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo.  Critic John Bush wrote that Holiday “changed the art of American pop vocals forever.” She co-wrote only a few songs, but several of them have become jazz standards, notably “God Bless the Child” “Don’t Explain” “Fine and Mellow” and “Lady Sings the Blues.” She also became famous for singing “Easy Living,”  “Good Morning Heartache,” and “Strange Fruit”, a protest song which became one of her standards and made famous with her 1939 recording.

Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) another African American jazz singer, described by Scott Yanow as having “one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century”. She had a contralto vocal range. Nicknamed “Sailor” (for her salty speech), “Sassy” and “The Divine One”, Sarah Vaughan was a Grammy Award winner. The National Endowment for the Arts bestowed upon her its “highest honor in jazz”, the NEA Jazz Masters Award, in 1989.

Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), also known by her stage name Nina Simone,  is the third African American singer featured in this month’s CULTURE CORNER. Also a songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music. Simone aspired to become a classical pianist while working in a broad range of styles including classical, jazz, blues, soul, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. Despite having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia, Simone recorded over 40 albums, mostly between 1958 when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue and 1974. 

Here ends your history lesson for this month.


I trust each and every one of you enjoyed or are still enjoying your holidays. For those of you celebrating Kwanzaa; Happy Kwanzaa and I pray your affirmations of the Nguzo Saba, (The Seven Principles) guides you to a happy and prosperous New Year – Jah Bless.


Log on for more CULTURE CORNER next year and remember…  

Europe stretches out her hands on every side to squeeze the darker races to her advantage, because she knows the people of Africa and the people of Asia to be divided. Her aim has been to promote division. It therefore behoves you, men of Asia, men of Africa, to join yourselves in one common bond of lasting friendship.

Duse Mohamed Ali



“Til next month – Everyting Bless.”

3 Responses to “THE CULTURE CORNER”

  1. Porter Guerra Says:

    Thank you, I have been seeking for facts about this subject matter for ages and yours is the best I’ve found so far.

  2. I really enjoy y’alls article

  3. Duse Muhammad Ali is a wonderful brother…His work is amongst other Nations….It was Drew Ali who erected the mstery schools in the US. in 1913…Duse’s organization was founded in 1925

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