By Chinenyeh Ozor
ABUJA—FOUNDER of University of Nigeria Nsukka, Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of the blessed memory has been said to be the first black African to teach Negro Studies at Lincoln University in the United States of America in the 1940s before the struggle for Nigerian independence in 1960.
“Zik, pioneer of intellectual freedom used his academic prowess together with Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who was the second to teach Negro Studies at the same university, among others to liberate Africa from the shackles of colonial imperialism,” Mr Lawrence Sotha, Cultural Officer of United States Embassy in Nigeria disclosed in a lecture he delivered at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, yesterday.
At the celebration of the contributions of African Black Americans in the United States, Sotha said the American government mapped out a day in February every year for the celebration.
Sotha at the lecture organised by the Centre for American Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka said the history of black America would not be complete without mentioning the contributions of foremost African nationalists, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Marcus Garvey, Jomo Kenyatta, Patrice Lumumba, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jnr, among others, explaining that Christianity started in African continent, from Egypt to Ethiopia and other African countries.
The 2018 Black History Lecture was organised by UNN Center for American Studies in collaboration with US Embassy, Abuja and was themed, “The United States Civil Rights and African Liberation Movement”
The cultural officer of the US embassy noted that history of America would be incomplete without recognizing the contributions of black Africa Americans to the development of United states of America
“American government choose February every year as black history month so as to recognize and celebrate the numerous contributions of black Africa Americans in the development of US
“US will continue to promote the achievements of the black race. As the celebration of St Valentine calls for reflection so also the celebration of black history in the Caribbean,” he said.
Sotha expressed appreciation on the success of the 2018 black history lecture and promised the embassy would continue to collaboration with the Centre for American studies of the university.
Prof Daryl Zizwe Poe,of Lincoln university Pennsylvania in the lecture urged Africans to use their knowledge to transform the continent and humanity.
Poe said that Dr Nnamdi Azikwe who fought for the independence of the country never cared for white collar job, rather he floated the West Africa Pilot newspapers which served as a tool for the liberation of Africa from the hands of the colonial masters.
“Africa must say no to injustice and discrimination in the continent. Africa should education acquired to bring freedom to the oppressed in the society.. Time has come when Africans should write their own history and present it to the world , a true story about Africa.
“People from different parts of the world may have written the history of Africa representing it how they feel and perceive the continent. Africa has produced people who have made much contributions to the world so it is time for us to correct the wrong impressions about Africa by writing the correct history of Africa,” he said.
In a remark the Vice chancellor of UNN Prof Benjamin Ozumba who was represented by the deputy Vice chancellor administration Prof Charles Igwe said UNN had benefited much from American embassy in Nigeria and prayed for the sustenance of the relationship.
“UNN is happy for US Center for American studies established in 1998 in the university. We will continue to promote academic excellence in Nigeria, “he noted
Earlier in his welcome speech the director centre for American studies university of Nigeria, Nsukka Prof Jonah Onuoha said that February 2018 black history month reminds the world of the achievements and impacts made by blacks in the history of America .
“ Commemoration of the contributions to the development of mankind is pointer that blackman is imbued with equality and intellectual prowess like every other human of whatever race in the world,” he said
Onuoha commended US for promoting the achievements of black race as well as providing platform where Africans of diverse backgrounds can realise and carve a niche for the continent.