From 1504 to 1865, the most important issue in the Western Hemisphere was slavery. Every important decision and event was measured by its impact on slavery. However, American history has been dominated by advocates of the losing side in the battle for human dignity.
There is the impression that the 30 million Africans involved as captives or victims of the slave trade had no opinion about it; did nothing to change it and were passive bystanders for its demise.
Nothing could be further from the truth. We know that because the strong literary tradition of West Africa, as embodied by the hundreds of thousands of manuscripts still extant in Timbuktu, Gao and Djenne, Mali, sprang forth as soon as Africans could gain access to writing instruments. "The sacred texts of black history", written in the 19th century under contemporaneous circumstances, are the foundation for Road to Ratification: How 27 States Tackled the Most Pressing Issue in American History, the companion book to the ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage instructional series.
R2R answers the most basic questions about black history, with the ratification documents approved by each state between Jan. 31 and Dec. 6, 1865 as the launching point for a backward view of the involvement of Africans in each state's history. It is designed to provide the long-needed cultural competence to social studies programs at every level of education and a sense of belonging for learners of African descent.
Among the revelations:
The three largest American cities all had African founders.
With the exception of Mississippi, Florida and Texas, the former Confederate states ratified the 13th Amendment before Dec. 6 with the last four states -- South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina and Georgia--reaching the needed 27 states during a three-week period in November and December 1865
Contrary to the perception that whites all favored slavery, the decisions to support the 13th Amendment were taken by white voters and white legislators, responding to the advocacy of Africans who did not have the right to vote.