The 10 Biggest Myths About Black History The Myth of Immaculate White Creation Words whispered in nurseries and images stamped on impressionable minds and repeated day in and day out, year after year, foster the erroneous idea that America was the exclusive creation of Europeans and the sons and daughters of Europeans. This propaganda onslaught, which is more overwhelming than convincing, glosses over the extraordinary complexity in the peopling of America, which was founded not by Europeans alone but Europeans, Africans and Indians working together and in opposition in a complicated and counterpoint of interests, dreams and passions. The relative importance of the African factor varied from time to time and place to place, but it was never negligible and it extended over the entire period of settlement. As a matter of fact, Black explorersservants, slaves and free menwere among the first non-Indian settlers of the land, and there is some evidence that African sailors explored the New World before Columbus. Blacks were with Pizarro in Peru, Cortes in Mexico, Menendez in Florida. They accompanied DeSoto, W.E.B. DuBois wrote, and one of them stayed among the Indians in Alabama and became the first settler from the Old World. Perhaps the best known of the early Black explorers was Estevanico, who opened up New Mexico and Arizona for the Spaniards. Later, as we have noted, Black pilgrims preceded the official (White) Pilgrims in the settlement of English America. There were skilled artisans and farmers among the first group of Black immigrants, and there are indications in the record that they were responsible for some innovations later credited to English immigrants. An early example of this was reported in Virginia, where, in 1648, the governor ordered rice planted on the advice of our Negroes, who said conditions in Virginia were as favorable to the crop as in their Country. After the introduction of slavery, Blacks played key roles in creating the economic foundations of the country. The strain of slavery was too much for ten of thousands who died of old and new diseases and the shock of psychic mutilation. But millions, testifying to physical and spiritual strength that transcended the heroic, survived. And, surviving, they ensured the survivaland prosperityof America, which fashioned out of their misery the take-off capital that financed the growth of America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Not only in slavery but also in freedom, not only in the South but also in the North and West, Black pioneers contributed to the common cause, building schools, constructing roads and blazing new paths into the interior. William Alexander Leidesdorff, for example, played a key role in the founding of San Francisco, and at least 26 of the 44 founders of Los Angeles were descendants of Africans. Nor can we forget Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable, who founded the city of Chicago, an event the Indians immortalized in the saying: The first White man to settle in Checagou was a Black man. This happened in more communities than historians care to remember. And it entitles us to say that America, myths notwithstanding, is an African as well as European invention.