The legacy of 300 years or slavery in America and other parts of the Western Hemisphere still overshadows the contributions made by Africans that helped create a marketplace and launch the nation’s early economic development and growth.
That was the underlying theme of a talk Friday by Joseph E. Inikori, author and professor of African and African-American studies at the University of Rochester, who appeared at Finger Lakes Community College in a program on “African-Americans and the United States Economy: A Historical Perspective.”
He said it is not well known how the enslavement of African people between the 16th and 19th centuries contributed to the evolution of what essentially became a global economy, noting they made tremendous contributions to the economic development of America at a cost they continue to pay.
“We’ve become so used to buying and selling, we assume the market has always been there,” he said. “It hasn’t. How did it develop and become so important in our lives?”
Inikori said at the time Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas, there was very little market exchange and the economy was very subsistent.