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African history



  • The Belated Return of Lumumba's Tooth Shows the Tenacity of Colonialism

    "The only reason that can be offered for keeping a man’s tooth for 61 years knowing that it was obtained through torture and murder is that the cruelty is the point. Colonisation was, after all, a projection of power through cruelty, rationalised by pseudo-intellectual arguments about racial superiority and difference."



  • Palm Oil is Colonialism's Continuing Nightmare

    by Max Haiven

    The extraction and trade in palm oil in west Africa has been at the center of two centuries of exploitation and violence, which stands to get worse as the Ukraine war threatens the world supply of competing sunflower oil. 



  • Smithsonian to Return All Benin Bronzes

    The Smithsonian will return works that it has legal title to own but that are linked to an infamous British raid on Benin City in 1897.



  • Mapping Black Antiquity

    by Sarah Derbew

    Ancient Greek literature is full of depictions of African people that affirm their participation in classical antiquity. Why have these been submerged? 



  • Black Veterans of the First World War are Often Overlooked

    by Michelle Moyd

    Nearly 638,000 African men fought in Africa and Europe. Some were conscripted by colonial powers and forced to fight or labor, and others hoped through service to stake claims to political rights. More global attention to their service and its relationship to colonialism is needed.



  • France to Return Looted Artifacts to Benin

    At least 90,000 artifacts from sub-Saharan Africa are held by institutions in France, according to a 2018 report commissioned by the French government.



  • Jack Johnson and Africa: Boxing and Race in Colonial Africa

    by Abraham Tapiwa Seda

    Jack Johnson's achievement as the world heavyweight champion had cultural significance far beyond the United States, as European colonial regimes that had used sports like boxing as instruments of social control found that they could also be instruments of rebellion and rejection of white supremacy.



  • Like the U.S., Rwanda is in a Pitched Battle Over its History

    by Tom Zoellner

    "Rwanda holds an important lesson for America’s culture wars today, but not in the way Tucker Carlson thinks. Rather, in Rwanda, political leaders have rewritten the country’s history to gain political power."



  • Germany Nears Accord with Namibia on Colonial Killings

    Germany has hinted at its readiness to make compensation payments to Namibia in reparation for the genocidal attacks on the Herero and other peoples in 1904, considered one of the first modern genocides. 



  • Germany Sets Out Plans to Return Benin Bronzes

    “We are facing the historical and moral responsibility to bring Germany’s colonial past to light and to come to terms with it,” Monika Grütters, Germany’s culture minister, said in a news release.



  • France Enabled 1994 Rwanda Genocide, Report Says

    A Rwandan government commission has concluded that the government of France supported the leaders of genocide in Rwanda to sustain its own influence. This goes a step beyond a recent French government report that identified French involvement in virulent ethnic politics but not in genocide.



  • Working with Histories that Haunt Us

    by Marius Kothor

    The author responds to a recent essay on the traumatic aspects of archival research. As a political exile from Togo, her identity and experience converged with subject matter she couldn't study at a remove.