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The African Impact in Re-modeling Britain's Socio-Economic and Human Rights Heritage

Sir Winston Churchill was reported to have said, 'History will be kind to me, for I shall write it!'  It follows that History has not been kind to us, because we have failed in many ways, to challenge European historical assumptions writen for and about us, people of African Heritage. It is suggested that Africans had no significant strategic nor social relationship with Britain until SS Windrush docked at Tilbury in 1948 and 492 migrants disembarked. Not true.  As a matter of fact Africans were in Britain and ruling Britain, almost a thousand years before the Normans' and Saxons' historical start date of 1066. 

The impact of People of African Heritage on the social, economic and cultural development of Britain dates back to 208 AD when Lucius Septimus Severus, an African Emperor of Rome ruled Britain until his death in 211AD. Severus was born on 1 April AD 145 at Lepcus Magna in Tripolitania (Tripoli). His family was of African roots. Severus became Emperor as a direct consequence of  putting to death those amongst the  Praetorian Guard who plotted and murdered Emperor Publius Helvius Pertinax. Severus maximised his command of 12 legions to:

  • put to death those involved in the murder of Emperor Publius   
  • win the senators' approval by promising them respectful treatment,
  • disbanded the Praetorian Guard, and replaced them with the elite of his own legions, and
  • name Albinus, as  his Successor-Designate.

Throughout his reign Severus was an exemplar of imperial master builders. He restored a very large number of ancient buildings - and inscribed on them his own name, as builder. The monumental beauty of his famous Triumphal Arch at the Forum of Rome, bears witness to his exemplary building style.

Severus' last military campaign was in Britain where he defended Antonine Wall which was constructed in the AD 140s on the orders of the Emperor Antoninus Pius; as the north-western frontier of the Roman Empire. It runs for 60 km from modern Old Kilpatrick on the north side of the River Clyde to Boness on the Firth of Forth. It had never been a perfectly successful barrier to the rebellious Scotts. In AD 208 Severus left for Britain to launch his military campaigns into Scotland. Because the campaigns to conquer the Caledonian territories did not result in a lasting success, Septimus Severus reconstructed the Antonine Wall/Hadrian Wall in stone, to defend the frontier. 

Severus fell ill at Eburacum (York), and died at the age of sixty-six on 4 February AD 211. As a consequence, those of us of African heritage can always put the case that Africans were ruling Britain almost a thousand years before the Saxons and Normans who became the heart of the English race.  Septimus Severus' legacy to Britain were:

  • legalised marriage during military service
  • Black Romans married, had children, and remained in Britain after their tour of duty
  • Skeletons unearthed in a Romano British Cemetery outside York revealed the limb proportions of some of the men which suggest that they were Africans.

Unlike his father Septimus Severus, Caracalla, his son, was born and raised in Italy. After Septimus' death,  Caracalla ruled jointly with his younger brother, Geta.  Caracalla’s reign was notable for instituting the Constitutio Antoniniana - the granting of Roman citizenship to freemen throughout the Roman Empire. The Constitutio Antoniniana, laid the foundation for a peaceful multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Empire that became the New Rome.

It can also be argued that WISC's quest to rebuild a peaceful multi-ethnic and  multi-cultural Britain, had its foundation in the principles of equality, laid down by Caracalla during his reign of Britain in the 3rd Century.  WISC's championship of the Equality and Human Rights quest has been acknowledged in letters acknowledging WISC's 50 years of devotion in 2008. Although the work has been recoginised by certain sectors of society, success still eludes us, because we are still having to deal with prejudices which are rooted in slavery, and prejudices which are significant in the Heritage and nature of the British. Those prejudices are very evident in the manner in which people of African Heritage die in custody, and the Independent Police Complaints Authority persistent failure to hold those responsible, accountable.

Much is made of the Jewish Holocaust which addresses the removal of about 6 millions or more Jewish people and their murder by  Nazi-controlled Europe between the 1930s and 40s. May the souls of those departed find God's peace. But what about the African holocaust? A prime example is America's bias towards Israel in the execution of the Marshall PLan where it is reported that Israel received over $3 billion whilst Haiti has received $106 million.

For much of the last 20-plus years, Israel has been at the forefront as the recipient of  the richest largesse. Afghanistan is now No. 2 on the list reflecting the war and reconstruction costs. This began during the Carter administration to help solidify the Camp David Treaty. Israel withdrew from bases in the Sinai and Egypt left the Soviet sphere to become a U.S. client state. The treaty continues to hold between Egypt and Israel.

Israel has since built one of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial economies in the world. Whilst Israel maximises the benefit of a multiplicity of films on the theme of the Holocaust, Jewish intellectuals are claiming that the holocaust is a unique experience, deserving the responses of the Marshall Plan.  Whilst the '''Maafa''' - the 500 years of African Holocaust, is not to be regarded as warranting an apology.  It is essential for us to know our history and argue the precedence for reparation and for a sincere apology for the 500 hundred years of the African Holocaust through Slavery, Imperialism, Colonialism, Apartheid, Oppression, Invasions and Exploitation. The African Holocaust or Maafa, as it is referred to as a crime against humanity. More importantly the "Maafa" is recognised by the United Nations, scholars, and historians who have documented the primary and overwhelming culpability of Christian European nations in the enslavement of Africa.  WISC's lasting legacy will be to champion the call for a "meaningful apology and reparation" to be paid in proportions greater than that paid to Germany, Japan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel. 

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