Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lecture with Dr. Ali

The lecture conducted by Dr. Ali was brief but quite informative.  Dr. Ali discussed the diaspora of Africans in the 17th century focusing on Peru, India and Virginia.  Within the lecture he covered how race was perceived and how race relations differed between the studied locations.

From this lecture I learned about Malik Ombar who was an Ethiopian who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.  While a slave he was educated and was considered a part of the owners’ family. Since slaves had social status during this period in the Middle East, through education Ombar increased his status as well as his value as a slave.  Consequently he gained in power and influence when he was sold to Genghis Khan.  Upon Khan’s death Ombar was freed (as were all slaves upon their owner’s deaths).  As a free man Ombar became the regent to a series of sultans.  Using his political prowess and influence Ombar harmony between neighboring sultanates.

During the same period in Peru San Marten de Pores was earning his place within the Catholic Church.  Senor de Pores was an illegitimate son of a freed slave and a Spanish aristocrat. His mixed heritage did not stop him from leading a religiously pious life which later (325 years later) led to his being canonized as a saint.

While persons of African descent were making great strides on other continents in Virginia many Africans would suffer a worse fate.  Initially in Virginia the Africans who were brought over to work were indentured servants and were freed after their period of indenture was complete.  This practice came to an end with the racial codification of slavery. Chattel slavery was justified upon race.  Using race as the primary determining factor anyone who was black was a slave.  This system easily let to perpetual slavery of all people of African descent. 

From this lecture I learned how race was viewed during the 17th century on three continents.  I was intrigued by the marked difference in race relations in different areas.  This lecture also showed another aspect of how race relations in the past have effected race relations in the present and why race means something different in the United States than in other nations.

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