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African Heritage Classroom Committee,
c/o Nationality Rooms,
University of Pittsburgh
Cathedral of Learning, 12th floor,
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15260
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African Heritage Classroom
THE HERITAGE OF AFRICA
Africa's status as the birthplace of the human race is unchallenged. Skulls millions of years old, discovered in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya, mark the dawn of mankind. Eons later, the spiritual and cultural ferment of Africa's ancient civilizations left indelible evidence of their existence. Lower Egyptian rulers erected massive pyramids to proclaim their immortality. Rebellious Pharoah Akhenaten and his Queen Nefertiti developed the first known form of monotheism in the 13th century B.C. Farther south along the Nile, the ancient kingdom of Nubia/Kush inscribed its history on stelae and pyramids in what is now Sudan. During the 14th century A.D., Jenne and Timbuktu in Western Africa flowered as study centers for writers and philosophers. The 16th-century kingdom of Benin, near the present-day nations of Nigeria and Togo in West Africa, gave rise to artists who fashioned superb bronze sculptures.
Across broad swatches of the continent, wood carvers created marvels of abstract design that still influence Western art. In villages throughout Africa, builders designed shelters of grace and efficiency which incorporated decorative symbols reflecting the relation of human beings to one another and to the universe. For millennia, African scholars wrestled with cosmic mysteries and developed theories that advanced the sciences of astronomy and mathematics. The fertile talents of African poets and musicians continue to inspire the world.
To suggest the history, wealth, and diversity of African culture is the purpose of the African Heritage Classroom