Africa's lost past; the startling rediscovery of a continent
Is the negro a man without a past? Not many years have passed since the outside world took an affirmative answer more or less for. granted: to what point, indeed, will be easily remembered by those many Africanists who watched the stubborn efforts of Melville Herskovits and notably in his book, The Myth of the Negro Past arguing that the answer should be no.
But now of recent years, in the wake of the colonial hurricane, there emerges a new approach to the whole question. It is increasingly realized that the cultural contributions of African peoples to the general history and progress of mankind were not limited to interesting works of art, whether in wood or ivory or in bronze or gold, but comprehended a wide range of political and social achievements that were none the less important or remarkable because they were ignored or little known. It is seen, indeed, that these works of art that so many Asians and Americans and Europeans have now admired were not the more or less mysterious products of a social vacuum, but, on the contrary, the ornament and attribute of early African civilizations.