Some of the Biggest Lies Ever Told About Africans

A short essay trying to debunk some myths about Africans.

Sal
Momentum
Published in
5 min readNov 25, 2023

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Throughout history, Africans have suffered a great deal at the hands of prejudice and backward thoughts and practices. For centuries, black people have been constantly subjected to mistreatment, enslavement, and discrimination. Much of this treatment stemmed from certain historical lies about African people told and propagated through the societies of the past to justify their oppression.

We can pretend that we’ve come a long way as a society since the days when people of color were denied basic human rights, but even today, we see the residual effects of these lies and how the messages and values they propagated continue to exist in some shape or form. Today, I want to address some of the biggest historical lies about the black African community.

The Dark Continent Trope

One of the more popular myths about African people was the “dark continent trope, which I have touched upon in a recent article about the mistreatment of black people in Nazi Germany.

For a long time, the Africans were perceived as backward savages with no civilization or organization. The only exception to this trope was the people of Egypt, who were constantly excluded from the circle of African achievement. History and its people paid no heed even to successful civilizations like Ancient Ghana in West Africa that boasted a formidable military and vast wealth.

By most accounts, early African civilizations exhibited just as much creativity and development as their white counterparts. For example, archaeological records speak of ancient stone settlements that predate Sudanic civilization in the region.

Similarly, the art created by the Europa people was discredited and instead assigned to the ingenuity of ancient European travelers. This forced the hands of the Europa people to draw the attention of the world to African intelligence and genius to prove that they were not just savages incapable of innovation or art.

The dark continent trope simply doesn’t hold up when you spend your due time studying ancient African civilization. The ancient Meroitic civilization and Kushite rulers are…

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Sal
Momentum

I am a History Educator and a Lifelong Learner with a Masters in Global History.