Today we will visit with Joel Augustus (J. A.) Rogers.
Joel Augustus Rogers was born September 6, 1883 at Negril, Jamaica. Very little is known about his early schooling. The historian is said to have had a “good basic education” but lacked higher formal education.
J.A. Rogers immigrated to the United States in 1906 and became a naturalized citizen in 1917. Despite his light complexion and mulatto background, Rogers bitterly discovered that Black people were all treated the same, no matter the complexion. Rogers, however, rejected the dogma of white superiority, even as a child. In a class and color conscious Jamaica, the young Rogers observed, “I had noticed that some of my schoolmates were unmixed blacks and were, some of them, more brilliant than some of the white ones.” Rogers grew up around Blacks who were physicians and lawyers–graduates of “the best English and Scottish Universities.” This realization that the doctrine of white superiority was contradicted by the talent and expertise of Black intellect inspired Rogers to begin his research into the Black experience.
J.A. Rogers published his first book, the 87 page “From Superman to Man” in 1917. At the time he wrote the book, he was working as a Pullman porter out of Chicago. Rogers had gone to Chicago to Study art. Rogers was one of the first and few African historians to use art extensively in helping to validate the achievements of African people.
J.A. Rogers’ search for truth led him to examine the African blood lines of Europeans and Americans. His signal work, “Nature Knows No Color-Line” and the three-volume set, “Sex and Race” destroyed the myth of Aryan race purity.
Rogers’ other historical focus was on producing biographical portraits of prominent African personages. In 1931, he published “The World’s Greatest Men of African Descent” and in 1947, published “The World’s Great Men of Color 3000 B.C. to 1946 A.D.” Joel Augustus Rogers died on his birthday, September 6, 1966.
bio. written by by Runoko Rashidi
J. A. Rogers. (2012). AALBC.com. Retrieved 18:55 Feb. 28 2012 from http://authors.aalbc.com/jarogers.htm#.T01k7Icge8o
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