AFRICA’S GREAT CIVILIZATIONS | Interview with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. | PBS

AFRICA’S GREAT CIVILIZATIONS | Interview with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. | PBS

(dramatic music) – How you doin’? (dramatic music) – I’m Henry Louis Gates Jr. and I’m the Executive Producer and host of Africa’s Great Civilizations. I’ve studied and taught African literature but I’ve learned so much
more making this series. – The fossil evidence and
the archeological evidence that’s come to light in
the last 20, 30 years is very, very substantial. – Maybe as much as three quarters of what’s in this film, I
didn’t know five years ago. This is stunning! Stunningly beautiful – It is, it is. – [Henry] We’ve been
taught to think of Africa as static, isolated, frozen
in time, no development. There were trade networks all over Africa refuting this myth that these people were waiting on Stanley and Livingston to show up and discover them. – [Man In Black] If you look
at this map, it’s right at the center of a nexus of trade routes that link it right across the continent. There’s not just a cont, it’s beyond. – Africa was always in contact with the rest of the world. This is one of the big surprises. – Throughout most of the middle ages, Europe was on the gold standard and without African gold the whole currency of Europe basically would fall. – This was someone who had influence not just within Africa but beyond and it’s a fantastically wealthy kingdom. – Mansa Musa was the world’s richest human being ever, worth
400 billion dollars. – This is what people
don’t know about Africa is there were these amazing cities that were effervescent. People were writing, creating things, doing innovations in law, in trade. – Africans were as
complex and as interesting and brilliant as everybody else in the history of the world. (dramatic music)

31 thoughts on “AFRICA’S GREAT CIVILIZATIONS | Interview with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. | PBS

  1. "The continent is too large to describe. It is a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say 'Africa'. In reality, except as a geographical appellation, Africa does not exist."

    ― Ryszard Kapuściński, The Cobra's Heart

  2. I would love to ask Dr. Gates if he has every heard of Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop or Dr. Theophile Obenga. Diop is dead and Obenga is still living. These are arguably two of the greatest black scholars ever. In 1974, in a conference entitled "The Peopling of Ancient Egypt & the Deciphering of Meroitic Script," they proved through linguistics, cultural analysis, and social analysis that Egypt was indeed an African civilization. In addition, some of the greatest linguistics experts in the world, who were at the conference such as Jean Leclant, Jean Vercoutter and Serge Sauneron agreed that the language of Egypt was not Semitic or
    Indo-European but indeed African. I'm pretty sure Dr. Gates is aware of the aforementioned but he seems to avoid this topic for some strange reason while focusing on great African civilizations that don't upset his white cohorts.

  3. I noticed some people pointing out that pre-colonial Sub Saharan
    Africans had no writing. Well it should be pointed out that few people
    in the world actually invented their own writing. The
    Sumerians,Egyptians,Chinese and Mayans are the main people to invent writing.
    Then near by people borrowed from them.

    It is true that other than those using Arabic few sub Saharan Africans left written records before European contact. But after European contact there were some
    people in sub Saharan Africa who did develop their own writing.

    Here's some info on them:

  4. One of the main things many people miss about Africa is the diversity of it's people. Africans across the continent are very diverse. You have Africans who live in more simple cultures and societies. Then you have Africans from more complex societies. The Yoruba of Nigeria are different from the Maasai of Kenya. The Mandinka of Mali are different from the Zulu of South Africa etc. No one African group represents what all Africans are like. Different groups have different cultures and histories.

  5. Wow the level of trolling is so high haven't you people got better things to do than troll, you can't even humble yourselves to learn about the World.

  6. These ancient civilisations were built by Arabs/middle eastern and European people. They were not built by African Negroids.

  7. This is great but what about the white washing of early African Christian art a few yrs ago those painting had a darker color now it seems they've been lighten .

  8. Afrika will rebirth and lead the world to once again better the world as we know, civilization started in Afrika and we will once again be a light to the whole world.

  9. I thumbed through some different posts.
    I don't think Caucasians are as interested in African history or culture as they
    are obsessed with archeological finds of Neanderthals.

  10. Yeah we really owe a lot to Africans, look how advanced they are after having a 10,000 year head start on everyone else.

    If Africa was the birthplace of civilization, it was no more than a kindergarten in its growth and development. .

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