Hugh Trevor Roper vigorously argued that Africa, prior to European contact, was ‘without
the wheel, the plough, or transport animal; without writing and without history’. Drawing on
the views of American thinkers Carter G Woodson and WEB DuBois, as well as any
relevant information from learning units 1 and 2, critically discuss Roper’s assertion.
Hugh Trevor Roper's remark might be truthful or false depending on how one portrays or interprets history. Africans had a way of retaining a record of the past because there were no written records to give the history of Africa prior to the arrival of civilization and the advent of writing literacy. Carter G Woodson, an African American historian, had a contentious stance opposing Roper's theories, noting that history may be oral, written, or any other form such as objects that might reference to previous events. WEB Dubois, on the other hand, was a historian and social critic who fought for racial harmony and cooperation and wrote several works to bridge the racial divide between African Americans and whites in America. Roper's thoughts to define Africans as persons with no past may be accepted by Dubois's views and criticism. Most notably, he gave up his American citizenship to live in Ghana until his death, demonstrating to the world that continents belong to all human races.