Learning Black History Prior to Slavery


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Have you seen the Facebook meme about learning about Black history before slavery? It discusses how Black people have the longest history of humans and how there is beautiful history well before slavery. Today's book will help you do just that. The book is African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History by Tracey Baptiste and illustrated by Hillary D. Wilson. It is recommended for ages 10+.

From the Publisher:

Meet the ten remarkable kings, queens, inventors, scholars, and visionaries who changed the world.

Black history begins thousands of years ago with the many cultures and people of the African continent.

Through portraits of ten heroic figures, author Tracey Baptiste takes readers on a journey across Africa to meet some of the great leaders and thinkers whose vision built a continent and shaped the world.

From Me:

Wow!! I learned so much from this book. The ten people include the first pharaoh of Egypt, Menes, who united the country and used religion to help keep it united. He is the one who began the belief that pharaohs are gods on Earth. It also includes Aesop. Yes, Aesop from Aesop's fables. But even more than the people I love the explanations of what was happening during the time periods. Tracey takes us on a journey through Africa as well as time. She explains the progress of humans. It includes things like the discovery of copper and how the Nile was used as well as feared. It talks about the desert and how it affected life. There is so much about Africa I do not know, and I found this book absolutely fascinating. Even the introduction has information about Africa for example the true size. It shares Kai Krause's graphic showing all the countries that fit in the actual size of Africa. Most maps do not show Africa to the same proportion of the other countries. 

The people are leaders, writers, doctors, and even a slave (Aesop). Each has his or her own story to share and each played a role in the history of our humanity. Much of this history is lost to the current society. Tracey dug to find the history and share it with us. This book is beautifully set up. Throughout the book are the stories of the ten people but interwoven are also stories of what was occurring in Africa during their lives. It gives the whole story and allows the reader to understand why each person is so important to learn about. 

This book is a must read for African history as well as Black history. It takes a new look at the ancient world and brings the true African history to light. I hope you will be sure to check it out and perhaps add it to your classroom or library!