Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Part 2 (1980) | For The People

Produced and hosted by Listervelt Middleton, For the People delivered African American history and culture every week to South Carolina ETV's viewers. 

This is the second and final part of the captivating interview with Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, author of “They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America.”

During this portion of the interview, Dr. Van Sertima continued to spotlight his main point - that Africans came to America prior to Columbus. Brilliantly, he used many different tactics to prove this point. Dr. Van Sertima mentioned that Africans and Phoenicians in fact created moving ships, contrary to the widespread belief that Africans did not have the intellectual knowledge to create transportation. Throughout the conversation, Dr. Van Sertima provided chromosomal and linguistic evidence of African travel. He also goes into detail about the African influences located in South America. As a historian, Sertima thought vividly about the meaning of artifacts and archeological finds.  

In a final question Listervelt asked, “What can we say about Africans and early America?” Dr. Ivan Van Sertima replies with the statement that Africans were not only present in America but also left a significant mark on the American civilization.


Side Notes

Born on January 26, 1935 in Guyana, South America, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima was educated at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University and Rutgers Graduate School. He obtained degrees in African Studies and Anthropology. He became popularly known as a literary critic, linguist, and anthropologist. 

In 1981, Dr. Van Sertima was awarded the Clarence L. Holte Prize, a prize that is awarded every two years for his book "They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America." 

Dr. Van Sertima lectured at universities in Canada, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and more than 100 universities in the United States. In 1987, he was asked by Congress to appear before a Congressional Committee to challenge the Columbus myth.

Dr. Ivan Van Sertima passed away on May 25, 2009.