1. Photoset: Old postcards from Somalia. (x)

    via nomadamsterdam

    (via diasporicroots)


  2. "History did not need to be mine in order to engage me. It just needed to relate to someone, anyone. It could not just be The Past. It had to be someone’s past."
    — Michel-Rolph Trouillot. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Beacon Press, 1995. (via jmjafrx)
  3. Fatima Massaquoi, the African Princess Who Stood Unafraid Among Nazis

    Her autobiography is a one-of-a-kind perspective of an educated, empowered, world-traveling daughter of a royal family, which no one wanted to publish until now.

    By Jenee Desmond-Harris

    Between 1939 and 1946, Fatima Massaquoi penned one of the earliest known autobiographies by an African woman. But few outside of Liberian circles were aware of it until this week, when Palgrave McMillian published The Autobiography of an African Princess, edited by two historians and the author’s daughter.

    The book follows Massaquoi, born the daughter of the King of Gallinas of Southern Sierra Leone in 1904, to Liberia, Nazi Germany and the segregated American South, where she wrote her memoirs while enrolled at Tennessee’s Fisk University.

    She died in 1978, and her story could have died with her.  [Continue reading complete article at The Root.]

    (Source: soulbrotherv2, via pussyandbullshit)


  4. For better or for worse, I am often spoken of as the first African-American science fiction writer. But I wear that originary label as uneasily as any writer has worn the label of science fiction itself. Among the ranks of what is often referred to as proto-science fiction, there are a number of black writers. M. P. Shiel, whose Purple Cloud and Lord of the Sea are still read, was a Creole with some African ancestry. Black leader Martin Delany (1812–1885—alas, no relation) wrote his single and highly imaginative novel, still to be found on the shelves of Barnes & Noble today, Blake, or The Huts of America (1857), about an imagined successful slave revolt in Cuba and the American South—which is about as close to an sf-style alternate history novel as you can get. Other black writers whose work certainly borders on science fiction include Sutton E. Griggs and his novel Imperio Imperium (1899) in which an African-American secret society conspires to found a separate black state by taking over Texas, and Edward Johnson, who, following Bellamy’s example in Looking Backward (1888), wrote Light Ahead for the Negro (1904), telling of a black man transported into a socialist United States in the far future.

    via afrofuturistaffair


  5. Paradise Garage Membership Cards


    The elusive Paradise Garage membership card

    (Source: ihouseyou)

  6. Walter Benjamin, notes for the Arcades Project

    from Paris Arcades, Hatje Cantz 2012

    (Source: grupaok)

  7.                           Precolonial East African City States

    From the approximately 1000 to 1500 AD, a number of city-states on the eastern coast of Africa participated in an international trade network and became cosmopolitan Islamic cultural centers. The major autonomous, but symbiotic, city-states stretched over 1,500 miles from Mogadishu (in modern day Somalia) in the north to Sofala (in modern Mozambique) in the south and included Mombasa, Gedi, Pate, Lamu, Malindi, Zanzibar, and Kilwa.  

    Each of these cities evolved from agricultural villages that produced goods on a small scale.  Over time, these villages intensified their small-scale agricultural economies to create surpluses for trading.  This shift also changed the structure of the society of these villages as more wealth created an elite merchant class. The new prosperity elevated some agricultural villages into towns and cities, while others were founded to capitalize on the opportunities sparked by the growing Indian Ocean trade.

    These city-states also exported natural resources.  Local merchants gathered ivory from the south, gold from the western interior and frankincense and myrrh from northern Africa. Kilwa, Pate, and Mogadishu also developed a local textile industry while Kilwa and Mogadishu extracted copper from nearby mines. All of the states produced pottery.  Ironworking had evolved in East Africa before the rise of the city states.  They improved the process and produced iron objects for trade as well as local use.

    Archaeology studies provide evidence that the city states carried on a flourishing long distance trade with Persia, India, and China.  Coins from these states have been found in each of the African city states.  Also found were examples of pottery from Persia and Arabia, Chinese qing bai, and Cizhou wares as well as kohl sticks, glass beads, bronze mirrors, and objects of rock crystal reflect the China trade. Other wares from Indonesia, dating back to the 13th century, indicate that Southeast Asia was also part of the East African city state commercial world.

    By 1350 all of the city-states had converted to Islam partly because of commercial advantages but also because of the large scale Shirazi (Persian) immigration to the area.  Although the name suggests that most immigrants came from Shiraz in southern Persia, in fact they migrated from a number of locals stretching from the Arabian Peninsula to what is now Pakistan.  Many of these families had long established trading relationships and often brought substantial wealth which placed them at the head of the local merchant class.  The new ruling elite gradually homogenized the immigrant and indigenous African communities and in the process created the distinctive Swahili culture and language that extended from Mogadishu to Sofala.

    By the end of the14th century, architecture of the city-states followed similar styles and construction techniques, especially in the domestic structures and tombs.  Coral stone and concrete mosques also developed in the city-states.  The architecture also reflected a luxurious lifestyle for the merchant class and a complex economy with varying levels of craftsmanship and expertise.

    Portuguese and Dutch dominance of the Indian Ocean trade after 1500 led to the decline of the city states.  Many of them such as Sofala and Kilwa became outposts of European colonial authority.  The lack of an integrated political system ultimately rendered the city-states unprepared for the militarily well-equipped Portuguese and Dutch.  Also the growth of powerful interior states such as Buganda reduced the trading influence of these city-states in the interior.  

    Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, The history of African Cities South of the Sahara: from the Origins to Colonization (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005);  Philip D. Curtin, African History: from Earliest Times to Independence (London: Longman, 1995); Chapurukha M. Kusimba, The Rise and Fall of Swahili States (London and New Delhi: AltaMira, 1999).

    (via diasporicroots)

  8. Concert Flyer: KRS-One & Wu-Tang Clan - New Year’s Eve Party 1993 at Arena NYC

    (Source: upnorthtrips, via afrofuturistaffair)

  9. 1644 map  of Africa Made by Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638).

    One of the most decorative and popular of all early maps of Africa, from the “golden age” of Dutch mapmaking. First issued in 1630, the map was reprinted many times between 1631 and 1667, appearing in Latin, French, German, Dutch, and Spanish editions of Blaeu’s atlases. The maps and atlases of the Blaeu family business, carried on after Willem’s death by sons Cornelis and Joan, marked the epitome of fine engraving and coloring, elaborate cartouches and pictorial detail, and fine calligraphy—the most magnificent work of its type ever produced.

    In the format called carte à figures, this  map contains  views of the major cities and trading ports of Africa at the time: Tangier and Ceuta (Morocco), Tunis (Tunisia), Alexandria and Cairo (Egypt), Mozambique (seaport of Mozambique), Elmina (Ghana, and Grand Canary (Canary Islands) Side panels depict costumed people from areas visited along the coasts. The interior is decorated with exotic animals (lions, elephants, ostriches), which were (and still are) a major source of fascination for the public. The Nile (today’s White Nile) is shown flowing from the Ptolemaic lakes of Zaire and Zaflan. Flying fish and strange sea creatures cavort in the oceans, and the sailing ships all bear Dutch flags. Coastal names are engraved inward to give a clear, sharp outline to the continent.

    Probably the most interesting cartographic feature is the identification of specific large territories or kingdoms, which have been outlined in color, including a huge Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and Monomotapa (all of southern Africa). But these seem to reflect a European sense of nationhood—something presumed and projected upon a virtually unexplored canvas—more than the actual experience of traders and explorers, who would continue to report on hundreds of smaller ethnic enclaves and political fiefdoms during the next 250 years

    Interestingly note how Africa was perceived by the Early explorers no negative connotations.

    Click here for A closer look.

    (via diasporicroots)


  10. On this day, 50 years ago, Frantz Fanon passed away. A psychiatrist, Pan-Africanist, writer, and revolutionary, he was born in Martinique in 1925. In 1952 he published Black Skin, White Masks, which exposed the negative effects of colonization on the mental state of subjugated peoples.

    via schomburgcenter

    (Source: exhibitions.nypl.org)


  11. Map of
    Africa - Frederick Herman Moll  (London, 1710)

    One of the most decorative Maps of Africa after 1700.

    This is a map of Africa in 1710 before and whilst Europe was in the process of dismembering African states and reshaping them into the  majority of Artificial states we now know as African Countries.


    • Africans defined their land by their own standards, governed and dictated by themselves for THEIR own development.
    • Europeans did not know that much about Africa (Shame on them). 

    (via diasporicroots)