Between the Kola Forest & the Salty Sea
Table of Contents
The Eden of West Africa, c. 9000-2500 BC
Land of Sea Salt, Kola and Canoes, c. 300 BC – 700 AD
The Way of the Ancestors, from 2500 BC
Egypt and Religions of the Book, 1413 BC-800 AD
The Rise of Empires, c. 700-1100 AD
Down from the Niger, 1076-1461
The World Turned Upside Down, c. 1462-1580 AD
Dispersal of the Malinké, 1550-1670
Into the Forest, 1560-1668
“They work excellent well in Iron,” c. 1500-1630
Two-Story Huts and Sugar-Loaf Baskets, 1554-1727
Lamentations and Chants of Grief,” c. 1630-1800
Guns, Rum and Rebellions, 1666-1822
Crawling Ahead, Falling Behind, 1462-1822
A New World Order, from 1600
Here are a few of the inspiring revelations it contains:
• The different languages and ethnic groups of Liberia share a common root.
• The barkless hunting dogs found in Northwestern Liberian villages were the favorite pets of Ancient Egyptian pharaohs.
• Kola – once used as an ingredient in soft drinks – was discovered by the ancestors of Liberians.
• Early European explorers learned from early Liberian seafarers how to navigate some dangerous currents and winds of the Atlantic Ocean.
• Rice growers from West Africa’s “Grain Coast” helped teach Americans how to grow rice. Today, the United States exports rice to West Africa, including Liberia.
Between the Kola Forest and the Salty Sea took 30 years of research and uses documents first published in Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish and French. The book also draws on oral traditions, archaeological digs, historical linguistics, studies of cultural patterns embedded in masks and other forms of material culture, regional and continental histories, and even biological anthropology.
For centuries, African cultures have been portrayed as “strange,” “weird,” even “evil” through the use of words like “fetish,” “witch,” and “country devil.” Between the Kola Forest and the Salty Sea demolishes those negative stereotypes, just as West African farmers burn a field to remove weeds. Instead, the book uses more neutral words to describe African culture, such as ethnic group (not “tribe”) and energy or power (not “spirit”).
Between the Kola Forest and the Salty Sea is part of a campaign that will launch in early 2016 to address negative portrayals of Liberian history and to counteract their harmful effects on the Liberian psyche. Entitled “Reclaim the Dream,” it is designed to do for Liberian history what Carter G. Woodson and other pioneering scholar achieved for black history in America.
The campaign will highlight many commonalities and bring to light significant accomplishments of earlier Liberians. It aims to foster greater unity, a sense of national dignity, and empathy among Liberians, regardless of ethnicity. By supporting the publication of Between the Kola Forest and the Salty Sea you will be helping to “Reclaim the Dream.”
To write the Kola Forest book, I consulted the works below and many, many more.