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Van Sertima, Ivan, ed., African Presence in Early America. Transaction Books, Rutgers-The State University, New Brunswick, NJ 08903, 1987. ISBN 0-88738-715-2. 338pp., illustrated, paper. ($15.00)

The 12 chapters written by various authors document the case for early contacts between Africa and America.  The evidence takes various forms, such as similarities in pottery, art, and architecture, rock inscriptions, linguistic similarities, resemblance of sculpted heads to African physiognomy, written records, and so on.  I am not really qualified to evaluate all the varied evidence.  Still, I found the early Spanish accounts of blacks in America to be, at the least, thought provoking.  One chapter, African Sea Kings in America?  Evidence from Early Maps, deals with early cartography.  This is one of the books reviewed here that I actually enjoyed reading.  It may also challenge some cherished beliefs, and, on that basis alone, is worth examining.

David C. Jolly, 1989

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