LUZIA: THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN
Luzia is the name for the skeleton of a prehistoric woman found in a cave in Brazil, South America. Some archaeologists believe she may have been part of the first wave of immigrants to journey from Africa to South America. Nicknamed Luzia (her name pays homage to the famous African fossil “Lucy,” who lived 3.4 million years ago), the 11,500 year-old skeleton was found in Lapa Vermelha, Brazil, in 1975. The skull itself was buried under more than forty feet of mineral deposits and debris—separated from the rest of the skeleton—but in surprisingly good condition. There were no other human remains at the site. So we can say that the woman dubbed Luzia was an African woman in the Americas long before the advent of enslavement.
*Runoko Rashidi is a noted historian, a world traveler and the author or editor of several books. He is currently coordinating African heritage tours to many parts of the world. For more information please write to [email protected] or go to www.travelwithrunoko.com