Symposium will examine Pan-African scholar’s legacy


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The work of Pan-African historian Ivan Van Sertima, known for his claim that Africans visited the New World centuries before Christopher Columbus arrived, will be the focus of a Jan. 28 University of Louisville symposium.

    “The Life and Legacy of Ivan Van Sertima” will run from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Ekstrom Library’s Chao Auditorium. UofL’s Pan-African studies department sponsors the free, public event as the 2010 Jan Carew Colloquium.

    Carew, a Pan-African scholar and Louisville resident who was a mentor for Van Sertima, also plans to attend the event. Copies of Van Sertima’s writings will be available, and there will be a screening of a video clip about the late scholar.

    Speakers will include Jacqueline Van Sertima, Journal of African Civilizations president and Van Sertima’s widow; Runoko Rashidi, “The African Presence in Early Asia” co-editor; and Jose Pimienta-Bey, Berea College’s African and African American studies director and author of “Othello’s Children in the New World: Moorish History and Identity in the African American Experience.”

    Van Sertima died last year after a career as a linguist, historian, anthropologist and Rutgers University professor of African studies. He edited the Journal of African Civilizations and founded the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations. Van Sertima may be best known for his 1976 book “They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America,” which challenged the view that the explorer discovered America.

    His other publications included “Blacks in Science: Ancient and Modern,” “Black Women in Antiquity,” “The African Presence in Early America,” “The African Presence in Early Europe” and “Egypt Revisited.”

    For more information, call 502-852-5985 or contact W.S. Tkweme, assistant professor, at

    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.