THE LIFE & LEGACY OF JOEL AUGUSTUS ROGERS: CHRONICLER OF A GLORIOUS AFRICAN PAST By RUNOKO RASHIDI 'Joel Augustus Rogers (1883-1966) was a world traveler, a prolific writer, an accomplished lecturer, and the first Black war correspondent. Rogers became an anthropologist, historian, journalist and publisher. He was a scholar unparalleled in assembling information about African people, and probably did more to popularize African history than any single writer of the twentieth century.'
Africa and the World W E B DuBois Introduction . . . .Rogers is an untrained American Negro writer who has done his work under great difficulty without funds and at much personal sacrifice. But no man living has revealed so many important facts about the Negro race as has Rogers. His mistakes are many and his background narrow, but he is a true historical student.
Afrocentric Comparative and Historical Linguistic Methods Clyde A. Winters In our opinion an influential pioneer historian and anthropologist researching the African past was Joel A. Rogers. James Spady has observed that Rogers' research encompasses three major areas: (1) the antiquity of Blacks; (2) how, when and why races mix; and (3) inspirational and biographical sources of great Black men and women. Rogers' research has deeply influenced all of my research. Rogers made it clear that Afrocentrists must (1) visit European museums where many artifacts of Africa which were stolen are now housed; (2) learn to speak and read more than one European language, so ; (3) the scholar should seek primary documents which must be reinterpreted to present the truth to the world. The greatest books written by Rogers include the best selling 100 Amazing Facts about the Negro, which gave the reader over 100 facts about the history of African people; and especially Sex and Race, a three volume series of books which discuss the world history of Blacks from ancient times to our modern age.
African Historiography by John Henrik Clarke Joel A. Rogers, a Jamaican scholar, whose work in the field of African world biography is still not appreciated as well as it should be by blacks, is comparatively unknown by whites. The following quote is from my Introduction to the re-publication of his book, World's Great Men of Color Vols. I & II: 'J. A. Rogers devoted at least fifty years of his life to researching great black personalities and the roles they played in the development of nations, civilizations, and cultures. This book is his greatest achievement. In his lifetime his books did not reach a large popular reading audience. All of them were privately printed and circulated mainly in the black communities; he died, unfortunately, on the eve of the "Black Studies Revolution." Mr. Rogers had already delivered what some of the radical black students were demanding. He had looked at the history of people of African origin, and had showed how their history is an inseparable part of the history of mankind.' J. A. Rogers started his research at a time when a large number of black people had some doubts about their contribution to human history. In books like, Blacks in Antiquity by Frank M. Snowden, Jr. (1970), The African Genius by Basil Davidson (1969), The Prehistory of Africa by Desmond Clarke (1970), Topics in West African History, by A. Adu Boahen (l967), Introduction to African Civilizations, by John G. Jackson (1970), and Great Civilizations of Ancient Africa, by Lester Brooks (1971) these doubts are put to rest.
Black Folk Here and There, St. Clair Drake, Los Angeles, 1987 Vol. I pages 98-9 …. No discussion of comparative race relations would be complete without consideration of the work of the highly motivated, self-trained historian Joel A. Rogers. While Woodson, also the founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and Associatcd Publishers, took a doctorate at Harvard, Rogers had only the equivalent of a secondary-school education. Endowed with unusual talent, Rogers advanced from the menial pursuits he first engaged in as an immigrant to the United States from Jamaica to become one of the best-informed individuals in the world on black history, writing and publishing his own books without any kind of organizational or foundation support. Solid scholarship combined with considerable speculation based upon photographic evidence appeared in the interesting and informative three-volume work Sex and Race: Negro-Caucasian Mixing in All Ages and All Lands (vols. 1 and 2 [New York: J. A. Rogers], vol. 3 [New York: H. M. Rogers], 1942—67). Much of the data was presented in a more popular form in Nature Knows No Color-line: Research into the Negro Ancestry of the White Race, 3d ed. (New York: H. M. Rogers, 1952). Two substantial, well-documented volumes constitute World’s Great Men of Color: 3000 B.C. to 1946 A.D., first published privately, but then by Macmillan during the 1960s. One book by Rogers used the format of an argument between a black Pullman porter and a southern senator to present much of the data from his other books, and a small pamphlet, 100 Amazing Facts about the Negro, with Complete Proof: A Short-cut to the World History of the Negro, 23d revised and enlarged edition (New York: H. M. Rogers, 1957), made a great deal of his scholarship available in capsule form. A preface to volume one of World’s Great Men of Color, entitled “How and Why This Book Was Written,” not only described the author’s intellectual development and how he decided to write in the vindicationist genre but also revealed a temperate, sophisticated approach to the use of sources, which unfortunately was sometimes not strictly adhered to in his handling of the biographies (as, for example, in the somewhat feeble evidence presented for Beethoven’s “blackness” in comparison with the more scholarly treatment of the evidence about Cleopatra). Whatever the weaknesses of Joel A. Rogers’s work, it merits serious study. J. A. Rogers’s industriously collected facts constitute an important complement to the work of Carter G. Woodson and W.E.B. Du Bois. Although Rogers’s books were written for a popular audience, they contain valuable data for students and provide leads for further research. His work stands in sharp contrast to much of the social science literature that attempts to provide Marxian or psychoanalytical explanations, with Rogers advancing what he considers certain “commonsense” explanations of discrimination and segregation. For example, in Nature Knows No Color-line, Rogers simply presented an “opposites attract each other” theory to explain the prevalence of miscegenation