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Black History and Blacks in U.S. History
Did They Land Before Columbus?



Did They Land Before Columbus?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.87

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    Archeologists, black-skinned, dated, molded, civilization, southeast, pottery, since, slave, master, scholar, discover, traveled, trace, perhaps, lived
     content words:    Christopher Columbus, Columbus Day, New World, East Indies, African Americans, South America, West African, Atlantic Ocean, One Indian


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Did They Land Before Columbus?
By Jane Runyon
  

1     Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. That's what you've been told since you started school. You have sung songs about Columbus. You have read stories about Columbus. You have celebrated Columbus Day. But was Christopher Columbus really the first person to discover the New World?
 
2     You must first stop and remember something. Columbus was greeted by natives when he landed on the first Caribbean islands. He called these natives Indians. He thought he was in the East Indies. The natives were here first.
 
3     Groups of scientists have studied the first people to live in the Americas. Historians have tried to trace the stories about where these people came from. They have been joined by many other scientists. Archeologists have studied pottery, skeletons, statues, and homes left by early people. Anthropologists have studied how these people lived together. Many of these scientists have come to a conclusion. They believe people from Africa, Europe, and Asia came to the New World. They believe that this happened thousands of years before Columbus was even born.
 
4     In August of 2003, a group of African Americans traveled to Mexico to study evidence that Africans came to the Americas long ago. They saw large stone statues of priests and kings. These statues had body features associated with the black race. These statues dated back as far as 1500 B.C.
 
5     Clay figures representing chiefs, dancers, drummers, and beautiful women were found from Mexico to South America. All of these figures depicted black people. All of the figures can be dated long before Columbus's time.

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