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Internationally Known Scholar to Lecture on the African Presence in the Americas Before Columbus

Savannah, GA—The King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation, Inc., will present a lecture, "They Came Before Columbus," by Ivan Van Sertima on October 26. The lecture will take place at the Beach Institute (corner of Price and Harris streets) beginning at 6:30 P.M., with a reception at 5:30 P.M. It will be moderated by Evelyn Dandy, director of Pathways to Teaching Careers Program and professor of education at Armstrong Atlantic State University. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Van Sertima brings forward concrete evidence that dispels the myth of Columbus' "Discovery of America," and instead proposes that Africans were in the New World centuries before Columbus arrived there in 1492. He presents historical, archaeological, and even botanical evidence of African contact and that black people were respected, even venerated, by the natives of the Americas. His book also puts forth the possibility that Columbus may have already known about a route to the Americas from his years in Africa as a trader in Guinea.

Van Sertima defended his thesis of the African presence in pre-Columbian America before the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., which published his address in 1995. He also appeared before a congressional committee on July 7, 1987, to challenge his thesis.

Van Sertima is a professor of African Studies at Rutgers University and is also a visiting professor at Princeton University. He has lectured at more than 100 universities in the U.S. and has also lectured in Canada, the Caribbean, South America, and Europe. Ivan Van Sertima was born in Guyana, South America. He was educated at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London University) and the Rutgers Graduate School and holds degrees in African studies and anthropology. From 1957 to 1959 he served as a press and broadcasting officer in the Guyana Information Services. During the decade of the 1960s, he broadcast weekly from Britain to Africa and the Caribbean.

There will be a reception in honor of the lecturer at 5:30 P.M., sponsored by the Pathways to Teaching Careers Program of AASU. The lecture will follow the reception. This evening is sponsored by the City of Savannah Department of Cultural Affairs/Leisure Services Bureau and supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. Additionally sponsorship comes from the History Department of AASU.

October 22, 2001


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