Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Early 17th Century Angola

I have been hesitant to post too much of my historical illustrations lately. It's not like people really view my blog, which is exactly why I work through it and share from time to time. Other wise I can just post dumb political cartoons. Learning history is learning a story from many different perspectives. There is a bit of anthropology to help give some humanizing perspectives, rather than just cold long-range facts. I forget who said it but some smart person said "Anthropology is studying two cultures, your own and the one that you're studying." Meaning that we compare and contrast our selves and our own culture to the one we are studying (consciously or not) a lot when we look at Anthropology - or so she says.

I like learning about African history and current event, but I understand that it can be a very emotionally charged thing for other people and that is why I want to be careful of what I say about the whole matter. It's still important to me though. As much as I would like to see the Kings and Queens of Medieval Africa as I would those in Europe, I know I am aware of the limitations of that. At least learning a name with a big personality attached to it is a beginning to understanding the diversity of culture throughout the the continent of Africa. I can at least know that I did not make up any convenient theories without acknowledging that sometimes that there are a limited number of perspectives on those topics.

I wanted to share some illustrations I based on that Tim Hashaw book I read over my birthday this year. In many ways, I liked the book so much that I had to question for myself if it is true or not. I would like to incorporate these illustrations into a broader historical narrative at some point, but I feel like I need a little bit more research before I go off publishing something I didn't put enough thought into. I might have to put my energy toward putting together an early history of Virginia after the one on New England that I am working on.

Also, when doing image searches on the Internet for references to illustrate, well ... I didn't like most of them. A couple that I drew just felt too much like stereo types of Africans and the others just showed the horrors of slavery. It's not that I want to acknowledge those things, but the questions important to me are not about that.

Hashaw's book is about the first generation of African Americans. After reading his book, I realized that my own Thanks Giving myth has gun toting Angolan-Catholic John Pedro at the dinner table. Pilgrims might know a thing or two about cattle husbandry but Pedro also has some tricks up his sleeve. I know, it's santa-clausie, but I'm sure it's not the first time approached history like that and I don't mind leaving it there for now.

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