By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
Yasuke is believed by some scholars to of come from the Yao people of modern-day Mozambique. Therefore some believe his name Yasuke derived from “Yao-Suke”, suke being a Japanese suffix added to a male name, so Yasuke most likely meant a man of Yao origin. There are varying accounts saying he could of been Ethiopian, or Sudanses, but no one knows for sure.
ARRIVAL IN JAPAN
It is documented that when Yasuke arrived in Japan in 1579, he was in the service of an Italian Jesuit Missionary named, Alessandro Valignano, who was appointed by the society of Jesus (Jesuits), to inspect their missions in East Africa, South and East Asia. For the Japanese who encountered him, it would of been their first time seeing a Black man. The Jesuits later reported when Yauke was taken to Oda Nobunaga, head of the powerful Oda clan (a man some scholars of Japanese history credit as being one of the first unifers of Japan), the Daimyo (feudal lord) thought that Yasuke had been painted with black ink and ordered Yasuke to remove his clothes from the waist up and demanded he scrub his skin to attempt to remove what he assumed was black ink painted on his skin. Reportedly when Nobunaga realized that Yasuke was not wearing ink, but instead was a Black man, he became fascinted with the African, and praised him for his strength and demeanor. It has been written that Nobunaga’s nephew gave Yasuke some money after their first meeting to help him on his journey.
On May 1581, Yasuke left for a trip with some other Christians to go to the Echizen province. There they would meet with regional warlords Shibata Katsuie,Hashiba Hidekatsu and Hashiba Hidekatsu. When Yasuke and his fellow Christian missionaries returned to Kyoto (the former capitol of Japan) on May 30, at some point afterwards Yasuke entered into the service of Nobunaga. Nobunaga would also give Yasuke his own residence , a ceremonial katana and would make him his weapons bearer. In the Battle of Tenmokuzan, Nobunaga led his forces (which included Yasuke) into armed conflict and ultimately victory against the Takeda clan. On June 1582, Nobunaga was attacked by the army of Akechi Mitsuhide. Yasuke was present at the time of the attack and he fought with valor against Akechi’s forces, but ultimately Nobunaga forces would be overwhelmed and Nobunaga would be forced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide). After the death of Nobunaga, Yasuke visited Nobunaga’s son and heir apparent Oda Nobutada, who at the time was in the process of rallying forces at Nijo castle. Yasuke fought bravely alongside Nobutada’s forces, but was ulimately captured. When Yasuke was brought to Akechi, the warlord reportedly made racist comments about Yasuke being an animal and not Japanese, therefore he stated that Yasuke shouldn’t be killed, but rather taken to the Christian church in Kyoto. His ultimate fate is unknown and there is no more written about him after this time. Some people believe he may of returned to working for the Catholic Church, or contracted his services to other warlords.
Pharaoh Piye: The Black King Who Ruled Both Ancient Kush/Nubia and Egypt
By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
Piye, also known as Piankhi, was the king of the kingdom of Kush, also known as Nubia (modern-day Sudan). He ruled from about 750 BCE to around 719 BCE.
The Holy Conqueror
During his reign as ruler of the people of Nubia, (a people who shared a cultural-connection to the people of Egypt), Piye knew of and took advantage of the inner-conflict of Egypt at the time.
He expanded Nubia’s territory beyond Thebes, in Southern Egypt, and eventually he moved his army north and achieved military victories in Memphis and Hermopolis , just to name a few.
“Hear what I have done in exceeding the ancestors. I am the king, the representation of god, the living image of Atum, who issued from the womb marked as ruler, who is feared by those greater than he, [whose father] knew and whose mother perceived even in the egg that he would be ruler, the good god, beloved of the gods, the Son of Re, who acts with his two arms, Piye, beloved of Amon ….”
Egypt at the time was very chaotic and instead of being one unified kingdom, it consisted of several fragmented smaller states, all of which never stood a chance against the mighty and unified kingdom of Nubia, which was at it’s peak at the time. Several kings of the Delta region, including Iuput (also spelled Auput II)of Leontopolis, Nimlot of Hermopolis, and Usermaatre Osorkon IV of Tanis, all eventually submitted to the throne of Piye. Pharaoh Piye viewed his conquest of Egypt as not only a military one, but a religious one. In fact, he believed that Egypt had lost much of its shared cultural and religious identity with Kush due to the fact that Egypt had been invaded by various peoples by this time, who inevitably mixed their cultural, religious and racial identities into the fabric of Egypt. As Pharaoh, Piye wasn’t only responsible for ruling over the people of the Kingdom (soon to be empire) of Kush, but he was also responsible for commanding its military and as Pharaoh he was considered divine and an intermediary between the gods and the people. Making Pharoah Piye the most important religious figure in the nation. Which is why he commanded that his soldiers ritually cleanse themselves (similarly to what a modern-day Muslim does before prayer) before they went into battle. Piye, himself offered sacrifices to the god of Amun. His uniting the two Kingdoms would be seen as an African renaissance.
His exact time on the throne is unknown, some reseachers suggest he ruled as Pharaoh for 24 years, others suggest it could of been upwards of 31 years.
The Tomb of Piye was located in El-Kurru, which was one of the cemeteries of the Nubian/Kush royal family. The tomb site is located in Northern State, Sudan.
By: Leon kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
Garret Augustus Morgan, was born o March 4, 1877 in Claysville, Kentucky. His father a man named Sydney Morgan was a freed-slave, and the son of confederate colonel John H. Morgan, his mother was a slave woman named Elizabeth Reed. At the age of 14, having only a 6th grade education, he would move to Cincinnati,Ohio to look for work. Morgan would eventually gain employment as a handyman for a Cincinnati landowner. In his free-time, he would further his knowledge by studying with a tutor he hired. In 1895, Morgan would move to Cleveland, Ohio, where heee found work as a sewing machine repairman for a clothing maker. The skills he required as a repairman would ultimately send him on the journey of becoming an inventor. He would invent a belt fastener for sewiing machines, and in 1912 he would get his first patent.
when he was not working or inventing, Morgan became interested in his own Black American heritage and the plight of his fellow Black American people, in 1908, he would co-found the Cleveland Association of Colored Men, which was a group dedicated to improving the social and economic situation for Black people. The group would later merge with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Morgan would move his activities beyond entrepreneurship, inventing and activism and would become a philanthropist, giving his own money to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to help educate his people.
As a businessman, Morgan would eventually open his own sewing business. In 1909, Morgan and his wife Mary Anne expanded their small and growing business empire by opening a clothing store called Morgan’s Cut Rate Ladies Clothing Store. Where he would employee his own people and at one time his store employed 32 people.
As an inventor he would go on to invent Black hair products, the stoplight and the smokehood (a precursor to the gas mask).
He would die on July 27, 1963, in Cleveland, Ohio after living to the ripe age of 86.
BY: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
Musa 1 or better known as Mansa Musa was the tenth Mansa, which translates to Emperor or conqueror of the gold rich West African Islamic Empire of Mali.
He was lived between 1280 to 1337, and is believed to be the richest person of all time. It would be impossible to calculate how much wealth he actually had, but many scholars believe his net worth in today’s money would be approximately $400 billion dollars.
Before the time of his death, his empire consisted of territory that formerly belonged to the Ghana Empire and much of modern-day Mali.
During his reign, Mansa Musa conquered an additional 24 cities, their surrounding districts and villages and estates.
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By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
The Marvel superhero film “Black Panther” has already broken Hollywood records in its first week. It has grossed more than $400 million worldwide, it also broke the record for a February opening, which was previously held by “Deadpool” and it is now the largest opening for a move with an African-American director.
Yet, that success of this movie, which could gross upwards to a billion dollars was not one hundred percent guaranteed.
Just as tens of millions of diverse people were exciting to see this movie about a fictional African kingdom called Wakanda, in which the film’s creators borrowed aspects from real African culture, like the Masai of Kenya and the ancient African empire of Mali. There were a lot of people; minor in comparison who were upset and fearful of this celebration of real African culture in this fictional kingdom. Some even took to social media and posted fake post about being attacked violently by angry black people.
Despite all the effort by many haters, naysayers and racists, this movie was an extreme success. I would rate this film a 9 and a half out of ten. A must see movie.
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The United States’ Justice Department is contemplating criminally charging state and local officials who implement and or enforce policies that protect the rights of people classified as illegal immigrants.
This would mean that Mayors and governors and even local law enforcement who refuse to comply with federal immigration laws could face possible jail time.
Earlier this month, Thomas Homan, the acting director of Immigration and customs enforcement said:
“We gotta take ( Sanctuary Cities) to court , and we gotta start charging some politicians with crimes”.
Check out my episode “Sanctuary Under Siege By Trump” on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/leon-kwasi-chronicles/episodes/14718b8
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