Black AF History by Michael Harriot

History is written by the victors.  For U.S. History, “written” equals selectively curated and glossed-over before mass dissemination.

Hindsight of an 80’s grade school being 20-20, this fact-laden and exhaustively-researched audiobook is more than a little illuminating.  Christopher Columbus came here….for SPICES?  Did we honestly believe that?    Don’t get me started on the Pilgrims.

Take, for example, Mansa Musa who ruled the Mali Empire 1312 – 1337.  It would be easier to just call him the richest person in the history of planet Earth.  Comparatively, like, Jeff Bezos taking his empties back to Hy-Vee.  Mansa Musa handed out his gold bar milk money on his hajj to Mecca and crashed the Middle East gold economy.  Heard of him?

Then there is Juan Garrido the black conquistador and first known African in the future United States.  He helped discover Florida with Ponce DeLeon and he certainly didn’t get here on a slave ship.  Those came a century later.  Heard of him?

And then there is Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the godmother of rock and roll who fused gospel and blues and sick guitar licks in the 1940’s, long before influencing some kids named Little Richard, Elvis, and Johnny Cash.  She shredded and was the first to use heavy distortion.  Does her name ring a bell?

I’ll admit all these names were new as the freshly driven snow to my insular ears.  Clocking fifteen hours, there is plenty of grist for the mill in Black AF History: The Un-Whitewashed Story of America by Michael Harriot.

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