Meta Description: African Americans come from a rich and diverse background in Africa. Reconnecting with your African roots will bring you confidence and connect you with a long legacy of survivors.
Why African Americans Should Reconnect With Their Roots
Who are you? What is the thread that connects you to the generations of ancestors that came before you? Do you know where your lineage comes from? These are questions everyone should know the answers to because knowing them will connect you to your roots, your legacy. Connecting with your African roots will help you rediscover your history, reconnect with your ancestors, and create a long-lasting legacy for the generations that come after you.
Humans have always formed groups and cultures that created strong bonds and a sense of community. The interdependent nature of existence has led to the thriving of rich and vibrant cultures that you no doubt have a connection to. As an African American, you may have lost touch with your roots, not ever looking into it because you never saw a reason to. However, I will go over why African Americans should reconnect with their roots, so you see the enormous benefits you will receive from doing so.
An Internal Battle Wages On
Most African Americans have a battle going on within themselves. They do not feel like they belong to any specific culture that they know about. This absence of a tether to an identity causes fragmentation, low self-esteem, and the feeling of being lost in the world.
By reconnecting with your roots, you will feel whole again. You will feel there is a meaningful connection to an extraordinary past that you are the product of. It will also help you appreciate the rich diversity of others, celebrating those differences and acknowledging their achievements, just as much as the achievements of your own ancestral legacy.
The Origins of African Americans
African Americans today are mostly descended from slaves brought over from their original African homelands. You will learn how you are connected with over 4,000 years of rich history, not just 400.
There are nearly 50 million African Americans living in the United States. Most of them stem from just half a million Africans brought to the New World due to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Most African Americans today originate from one of the cultures, kingdoms, and civilizations that were located in West Africa.
I am going to go over five origin points in Africa from which many African Americans can trace their roots to. While you are reading these, you will get a sense of whether you feel a stronger connection to one over the other. After you are done reading, you may want to do some research on your own to confirm your roots and become even more connected to them.
Our exploration of African Roots has no better starting point than the Ancient Ghana Empire. This vast civilization last from 300 AM - 1200 AD. This made it 500 years older than America is right now. Imagine the wealth of vibrant culture that thrived here. This empire itself has roots going back to between 2000 BC and 500 BC, near Tichitt and Walata.
Ghana is a very artistically-inclined culture. There is a rich tradition of graphic arts, especially using wood carving, where abstract designs were dominant. There is also intricate drumming and dancing, which emphasized audience participation.
The Kongo Kingdom lasting from 1400 AD to 1838 AD. This culture was located largely where the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo is today. There were around 30 different groups that made up the Kongo Kingdom.
Congo culture valued the art form of nkisi objects. These came in all different forms, which were freely available to everyone to enjoy. People in this area love singing. Storytelling is also an integral part of the culture.
People who lived in the region now known as Namibia lived a more simple life for a very long time. However, thee graphic arts have been popular. Objects were produced, such as wood carvings of animals, although there were many skilled craftspeople who also designed furniture and containers.
Kenya is close to the Great Rift Valley, where evidence of some of the earliest human ancestors has been found. Located in East Africa, Kenya's cultural history begins around 4,000 years ago. There are many tribes that make up Kenya today, where people first identify with their tribe and then the nation as a whole.
Kenya has a very strong oral tradition. The art of storytelling was a major part of Kenyan culture. There was also a major focus on the graphic arts. Sculpting and wood carving, as well as colorful masks and headdresses, was a major part of the culture. Dancing is also a huge aspect of Kenyan culture.
Tanzania is just to the south of Kenya and is the origin point of some of the earliest known hominids on Earth. Swahili is the language spoken by most people, and Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, is a source of pride for the culture.
The language has a long-lasting legacy of stories, epics, poems, and other literary works, both spoken and oral. Makonde carvers of ebony have a strong place within Tanzanian culture. There was also a proliferation of paintings, highly-intricate basket-weaving, carved soapstone and malachite, jewelry, and decorative objects of all kinds. Theratrical performances, dances, and music also have a big role within the culture.
Connect With Your Heritage
Many African Americans were stripped of their heritage and humanity when they were brought over on the slave ships from Africa. Now that you know about the major origin points of African Americans, you can shift your perspective to see that you are not a descendant of slaves, but rather enslaved Africans, survivors who came from kings and queens and rich cultures.
Knowing your roots will help honor them, celebrating those warrior spirits you come from. When you identify and connect with your true origins, you will experience a feeling that cannot be expressed in words.