Mexico’s real history
Interestingly, those interested in finding “the African presence in Mexican culture, past and present” do not need to look far. The earliest African presence in the Americas is that of the people of Nubia and Kemet. This was proved by the discovery in 1858 of a gigantic (head) portrait with Nubian features carved out of a single piece of basalt measuring 8ft by 18ft in circumference, and dating back to 800-600 BC. It was discovered in the village of Tres Zapotes in Mexico. Seventeen of these heads have since been discovered all over South America.
In 1869, Jose Meglar, a Mexican scholar, wrote a brief description of the sculpture in the Mexican Society of Geography and Statistic Bulletin. He stated: “In 1862, I was in the region of San Andres, Tuxtla. During my excursion, I learnt that a Colossal Head had been unearthed a few years before.
“I asked to be taken to look at it. We went, and I was struck with surprise. As a work of art, it is without exaggeration a magnificent sculpture. What astonished me was the Ethiopian type [Negroid] representation. I reflected that there had been Negroes in this country, and that this had been in the first epoch of the world.”
This article, along with other publications that boldly put Africans in association with Ancient America, was met with silence by Euro-American scholars, despite the physical evidence on the ground, such as the Colossal Head. The taboo was finally lifted in 1939, when the American scholar, Matthew Stirling, a researcher funded by the Smithsonian Institute and the National Geography Society (both American institutions), led an archaeological team to Tres Zapotes in Mexico and excavated the Colossal Head that Meglar had mentioned 77 years earlier.
The sheer size of the sculpture moved Stirling to say: “It presents an awe inspiring spectacle. Despite its great size, the workmanship is delicate and sure, its proportion is perfect. It is remarkable for its realistic treatment. The features are bold and amazingly Negroid in character.”
Additionally, hundreds of images of Africans in terracotta, made between 1500 BC and 1500 AD, have been unearthed in the Americas, affirming a prolonged presence of African ancestors in that part of the world long before Christopher Columbus’ great, great, great, grandfather was born. Columbus is said in European history to have discovered America in 1492, but, as proven by the Colossal Heads, the African ancestors had been there millennia before him. In September 1974, at the 41st Congress of Americanists in Mexico, Dr Andrzej Wiercinski, one of the world’s leading experts on the Americas, announced that African skulls had been found at the Olmec sites in Cero de las Meassa, Monte Alban, and Talatilco in Mexico.
Prof Alexander von Wuthenau, the German-born art historian and author of Unexplained Faces in Ancient America, has also made an impressive collection of pre-Columbian terracotta sculptures of African chiefs, dancers and drummers.
Indeed at one point, after stating his conviction of the trans-Atlantic voyage of the Africans, Prof Wuthenau was advised by his colleague, Dr Erwin Palm, thus: “Wuthenau, never say Negro, always say Negroid because then it would mean that the black specimens in pre-Columbian art are derived from Melanesian Negritos and not from African Negroes.” Wuthenau subsequently explained that his colleague meant well, and “probably intended to help me maintain my respectability in academic circles; because orthodox scientists are beginning to admit the possibility of Melanesian migration to America but are deadly opposed to contacts from Africa across the Atlantic.”
One of those “orthodox” scholars, Dr Micheal Coe, once of the Department of Anthropology at Yale University in the USA, a leading authority on South America, reasoned that the thick lips and broad nose of the Olmec heads (including the Colossal Head), were due to the fact that the sculptors did not want to create “protruding or thin facial features that might break off”.
Coe’s incredible scholastic insight, however, demonstrated a disdain for the achievements and history of Africa and its people. What he was trying to deny was the fact that the finding of the Colossal Head and the other African sculptures and terracotta in the Americas was an affirmation and evidence of the continuity of the great African history that went as far back as Nubia and Kemet.