Archive for the ‘African-American Heroes’ Category

10 African Kings and Queens Whose Stories Must be Told on Film

Ta Seti

Ta Seti

Last month Nick Cannon expressed his disdain for movies such as “Django Unchained” and “12 Years a Slave,”  saying he’s tired of seeing Black people portrayed as slaves on film. Recognizing that African people’s history started prior to being enslaved, the actor tweeted that he would like to see Blacks portray  kings and queens in films instead.

“Why don’t they make movies about our African kings & queens? #OurHistory I would love to see a film about Akhenaton and his beautiful wife Queen Nefertiti! Or Cetewayo, a king who was a war hero. Im about to drive to my office right now and start the development! New Hollywood Trend, Black king and queen films! Starring Black people!!”

Below are 10 kings and queens whose extraordinary accomplishments would make great storylines for films.

King Hannibal

King Hannibal

 

King Hannibal is said to be the greatest military leader and strategist of all time. Hannibal was born in 247 B.C., during the beginning of the decline of Carthage, then a maritime power near present-day Tunis in North Africa. The Carthage population was a mix of Africans and Phoenicians who were great merchants, trading with India, the people of the Mediterranean and the Scilly Isles.

When he was very young, about 8 or 9, Hannibal accompanied his father Hamilclar in a battle against the Romans. Seventeen years later in 221 B.C., he succeeded his brother-in-law Hasdrubal, and became supreme commander of the peninsula.

Hannibal had 80,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry, and 40 African war elephants. He conquered major portions of Spain and France, and all of Italy, except for Rome.

Hannibal marched his army and war elephants through the Alps to surprise and conquer his enemies. In one battle, the Romans put 80,000 men on the field led by Scipio to defeat Hannibal. When Scipio attacked with his entire army, Hannibal had so studied the grounds that he arranged his African swordsmen and elephants to trampled and slaughter them.

After killing thousands of Roman soilders in lengthy battle, Hannibal took his own life rather than surrender when he was overwhelmed by the larger Roman army.
mansa-musa
King Mansa Musa I (Emperor Moses) was an important Malian king, ruling from 1312 to 1337 and expanding the Mali influence over the Niger city-states of Timbuktu, Gao, and Djenne.

Musa ruled the Mali Empire and was estimated to have been worth the equivalent of $400 billion in today’s currency, which makes him the richest man to ever walk this earth. The emperor was a master businessman and economist, and gained his wealth through Mali’s supply of gold, salt and ivory, the  main commodities for most of the world during that time.

Musa maintained a huge army that kept peace and policed the trade routes for his businesses. His armies pushed the borders of Mali from the Atlantic coast in the west; beyond the cities of Timbuktu and Gao in the east; and from the salt mines of Taghaza in the north to the gold mines of Wangar in the south.

Musa was also a major influence on the University of Timbuktu, the world’s first university and the major learning institution for not just of Africa but the world. Timbuktu became a meeting place of poets, scholars and artists of Africa and the Middle East. Even after Mali declined, Timbuktu remained the major learning center of Africa for many years.

 

Shaka Zzulu

Shaka Zzulu

Shaka, king of the Zulus, was born in 1787, the son of Zulu Chief Senzangakhona and his wife Nandi.  When Shaka was 26, his father died and left the throne to a son, Sijuana. Shaka ambushed and killed Sijuana, taking leadership of the Zulus. He came to power around 1818.

A strong leader and military innovator, Shaka is noted for revolutionizing 19th century Bantu warfare by first grouping regiments by age, and training his men to use standardized weapons and special tactics.

He invented the “assegai,” a short stabbing spear, and marched his regiments in tight formation, using large shields to fend off the enemies throwing spears. Over the years, Shaka’s troops earned such a reputation that many enemies would flee at the sight of them.

With cunning and confidence as his tools, Shaka built a small Zulu tribe into a powerful nation of more than a million people, and united all tribes in South Africa against European colonial rule. The Zulu nation continued to use Shaka’s innovations in wars after his death.

Yaa Asantewa

Yaa Asantewa

Near the end of the 19th century, the British exiled King Prempeh from the hinterlands of the Gold Coast (present day Ghana), in an attempt to take over. By 1900, still not gaining control, the British sent a governor to the city of Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti, to demand the Golden Stool, the Ark of the Covenant for the Ashanti people.

The Golden Stool was the supreme symbol of the sovereignty and the independence of the Ashanti, a people who inhabited dense rain forests of what is now the central portion of Ghana. The governor in no way understood the sacred significance of the Golden Stool, which according to tradition, contained the soul of the Ashanti.

Nana Yaa Asantewa was present at the meeting with the governor and chiefs. When the meeting ended, and she was alone with the Ashanti chiefs, she said: “Now I have seen that some of you fear to fight for our king. If it were in the brave days of old, the days of Osei Tutu, Okomfo Anoyke and Opulu Ware, Ashanti chiefs would not sit down to see their king taken away without firing a shot. No white man could have dared speak to Ashanti chiefs in the way the governor spoke to you chiefs this morning.”

Nana Yaa Asantewa’s speech stirred the men. She said, “If you men will not go forward, then we the women will. I will call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men until the last of us falls in the battlefields.”

The Ashantis, led by Nana Yaa Asantewa, fought very bravely.

 

King Ramses II and Queen Nefertari

King Ramses II and Queen Nefertari

King Ramesses II, also referred to as Ramesses the Great, was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the 19th dynasty.  He reigned from 1279 B.C. to 1213 B.C. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. His successors and later Egyptians called him the “Great Ancestor.” Ramesses II led several military expeditions into the Levant, reasserting Egyptian control over Canaan. He also led expeditions south into Nubia, commemorated in inscriptions at the temples at  Beit el-Wali and Gerf Hussein.

At age 14, Ramesses was appointed prince regent by his father Seti I. He is believed to have taken the throne in his late teens and is known to have ruled Egypt for 66 years and 2 months, according to Egypt’s contemporary historical records. He was once reported to have lived to 99 years old.

Queen Nefertari was the Nubian queen from 1292 to 1225 B.C.  One of a many great Nubian queens, Nefertari is heralded as the queen who wed for peace. Her marriage to Ramesses II  began strictly as a political move, a sharing of power between two leaders.  But not only did it grow into one of the greatest royal love affairs in history, but brought the hundred year war between Nubia and Egypt to an end.

Their story was an armistice that lasted over a hundred years. Even today, a monument stands in Queen Nefertari’s honor. In fact, the temple which Ramesses built for her at Abu Simbel is one of the largest and most beautiful structures ever built to honor a wife.

Akhenaton

Akhenaton

Amenhotep IV, better known as “Akhenaton” is in some respects the most remarkable of the pharaohs.

Akhenaton is considered the founder of the first monotheistic religion. He ruled from approximately 1352 – 1336 B.C., coming into power after his father, Amenhotep III, died.  Akhenaton’s reign left a profound effect on Egypt and the entire world of his day. Thirteen hundred years before Christ, he preached and lived the gospel of perfect love, brotherhood, and truth. Two thousand years before Muhammed, he taught the doctrine of the “one God.” Three thousand years before Darwin, he sensed the unity that runs through all living things.

The account of Akhenaton is not complete without the story of his beautiful wife, Nefertiti. What is known is that the relationship between Akhenaton and Nefertiti was one of history’s first well-known love stories.

At the prompting of Akhenaton and Nefertiti, sculptors and artists began to recreate life in its natural state, instead of the rigid and lifeless forms of early Egyptian art.

 

Nubian Taharqa

Nubian Taharqa

Taharqa is probably one of the most famous rulers of Napatan Kush, reigning from 690 to 664 B.C..  At 16, this great Nubian king led his armies against the invading Assyrians in defense of his ally, Israel. This action earned him a place in the Bible (Isaiah 37:9, 2 Kings 19:9).

During his 25-year rule, Taharqa controlled the largest empire in ancient Africa. His power was equaled only by the Assyrians. These two forces were in constant conflict, but despite continuous warfare, Taharqa was able to initiate a building program throughout his empire, which was overwhelming in scope. The number and majesty of his building projects were legendary, with the greatest being the temple at Gebel Barkal in the Sudan. The temple was carved from rock and decorated with images of Taharqa over 100 feet high.

 

Queen Nzinga Mbande

Queen Nzinga Mbande

Queen Nzingha or “Amazon Queen of Matamba” was born in West Africa in 1583 and died 1663.  Many women ranked among the great rulers of Africa, including this Angolan queen who was an astute diplomat and excelled as a military leader. When the slave-hunting Portuguese attacked the army of her brother’s kingdom, Nzingha was sent to negotiate the peace. She did so with astonishing skill and political tact, despite the fact that her brother had her only child killed.

She later formed her own army against the Portuguese, and waged war for nearly 30 years. These battles were a unique moment in colonial history as Nzingha allied her nation with the Dutch, marking the first African-European alliance against a European oppressor. Nzingha continued to wield considerable influence among her subjects despite being forced into exile. Because of her quest for freedom and relentless drive to bring peace to her people, Nzingha remains a glimmering symbol of inspiration.

 

Makeda Queen of Sheba

Makeda Queen of Sheba

In 960 B.C., the nation that is now called Ethiopia came back upon the center of the stage of history. Ethiopia was then represented by a queen, who in some books is referred to as “Makeda” or “Belkis.” She is better known to the world as the queen of Sheba.

In his book, “World’s Great Men of Color,” J.A. Rogers , gives this description: “Out of the mists of 3,000 years, emerges this beautiful story of an African queen who, attracted by the fame of a Judean monarch, made a long journey to see him.”

The queen of Sheba is said to have undertaken a long and difficult journey to Jerusalem to learn from the wisdom of the great King Solomon.

Makeda and King Solomon were equally impressed with each other. Out of their relationship was born a son, Menelik I. This queen is said to have reigned over Sheba and Arabia as well as Ethiopia. The queen of Sheba’s capital was Debra Makeda, which she built for herself.

In Ethiopia’s church of Aksum , there is a copy of what is said to be one of the Tables of Law that Solomon gave to Menelik I.

The story of the queen of Sheba is deeply cherished in Ethiopia, as part of the national heritage. This African queen is mentioned in two holy books, the Bible and the Quran.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org

http://www.africanlegends.info

http://www.consciousplat.com

R.I.P Ken Norton (August 9, 1943 – September 18, 2013)

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Kenneth Howard Norton Sr. (August 9, 1943 – September 18, 2013) was an American heavyweight boxer and WBC world Heavyweight Champion. He was best known for his 12-round victory over Muhammad Ali, when he famously broke Ali’s jaw, on March 31, 1973, becoming only the second man to defeat a peak Ali as a professional (after Joe Frazier, who won a 15-round unanimous decision against Ali on March 8, 1971).
He and Ali would fight twice more, with Ali officially winning narrowly both return bouts, although many felt Norton truly deserved their third fight. Norton was awarded the WBC title (by virtue of his win over Jimmy Young in a 1977 title elimination bout) when Leon Spinks declined a mandated title defense against Norton, the number one contender. However, Norton lost it in his first defense on a split decision by 1 point to Larry Holmes in a great contest (Holmes-Norton is ranked as the 10th-greatest heavyweight fight of all time by Monte D. Cox, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization).

I Have A Dream

I Have A Dream
Today is the 50 Anniversary of the March on Washington Aug 28th, 1963!

Martin Luther King - I Have A Dream - Aug 28th, 1963 March On Washington

Martin Luther King – I Have A Dream – Aug 28th, 1963 March On Washington

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”¹

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!