Thursday, February 22, 2007

Frank Snowden; Major Scholar of Blacks in Antiquity

Frank Snowden; Major Scholar of Blacks in Antiquity - Washington Post

The passing of Emeritus Professor Frank Snowden, of Howard University, is reason for pause to recognize his contributions as an educator and scholar. Dr. Snowden's contributions were many, but he was a near-zealot promoter of a more accurate and positive place for Blacks in antiquity.

Educated at Harvard, Dr. Snowden's writings described the participation of Blacks well before the historical dominance of the Atlantic Slave Trade and American Slavery. While there are those who criticized his emphasis, the victimization that thwarts present-day Black progress is greatly influenced by the limitation of the truncated history his work battled. Slavery was important, but still one chapter in a rich history book.

His teachings helped us to understand that racism took a giant leap forward with the formation of the United States. Until the US constitution declared that 'all men are created equal', there was little notion or need to describe any man as being less than a total man. The declaration that the Negro was 2/3 of a man, thereby making the White male supreme, was a feeble attempt by the founding fathers to morally reconcile slavery and democracy. The US continues living with the legacy of this misstep.

The reality is that no group has the franchise on being downtrodden. The contest for most abused leads us down the dead-end path of moral and guilt strategies that run out of steam before any useful destination is reached. Dr. Snowden saw this and did more than his part in laying the groundwork that helps our focus to shift. For his life, I am grateful.

James C. Collier


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