Fact Check: Facebook posts – The evidence is plentiful: Black Americans’ ancestors came from Africa, despite contrary claim

Fact Check: Facebook posts – The evidence is plentiful: Black Americans’ ancestors came from Africa, despite contrary claim

A man in a TikTok video claimed to unveil what he says is a giant historical lie.

Black Americans are not descended from people who were taken from Africa, he said in the video, which he also posted on Facebook Jan. 18. Black Americans were the true Native Americans, he said. 

“They just renamed us,” he said, “They enslaved us and renamed us. They didn’t bring us across from (expletive) Africa, neither!”

As evidence, the video showed historic pictures of Black and indigenous people. 

That video gathered thousands of likes, but was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

There are people of both African and Native American descent. But this post ignores hundreds of years of documented history and science that tells the story of how Africans were forced to migrate to the Americas.

Evidence of 400 years of transatlantic slave trade is embedded in history books, letters, ship manifests, diagrams and artwork, speeches, literature, legislation and more. An estimated 10.7 million Africans survived the transatlantic journey to the Americas. A database by historians captures some details of these trips.

Historians believe the first ship to bring enslaved Africans to North America arrived in 1526 under Spanish explorer Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón. In 1619, enslaved Africans from Angola arrived on the coast of Hampton, Virginia, on a ship called the White Lion, becoming the first recorded Africans to arrive in England’s mainland American colonies.

As recently as 2019, archaeologists recovered in Alabama the remnants of the Clotilda, believed to be the last  known slave ship to bring Africans in bondage to the U.S. It arrived on the banks of Alabama in 1860 — more than 50 years after Congress had outlawed the slave trade starting in 1808.

Some other artifacts give a look into the slave trade: at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., a wage book dating back to the 1700s shows detailed records of bought and sold slaves from the Cameroons in West Africa. In Providence, Rhode Island, the John Carter Brown Library has a pamphlet dating back to 1814 that depicts an etching of a slave ship.

A pamphlet, circa 1814, shows the image of slaves as cargo on shipboard at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, April 5, 2007. (AP)


The evidence is as genetic as it is historical — in a study published in 2020, scientists found that volunteers’ genetic data lined up with the historical records of their ancestors. The study connected the dots on which countries enslaved Africans were taken from, and what happened to them on the journey to the Americas. 


We rate this claim Pants on Fire!

Source: PolitiFact.

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