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Neckerchief slide, history tied

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Neckerchief slide, history tied


By Kathy Antoniotti

Knight Ridder News Service



In 1915, Carter G. Woodson proposed that the second week of February be set aside each year to honor the contributions of blacks in this country. He chose that week because Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two men who dramatically affected the lives of blacks, had birthdays then. The observance officially became Black History Month in 1976.

Since, we've learned that blacks share a history that began hundreds of years ago in the African empires of the western Sudan. Many blacks can trace their heritage to wealthy countries such as Ghana and Mali, which had economies based on gold mining and trading.


You might be surprised to learn that American Scouting has an African link. Robert Baden-Powell, a British war hero and founder of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides (with his sister Agnes Baden-Powell), conducted the first adult Scout training program. At its conclusion, he gave each participant a necklace of wooden beads. Baden-Powell first encountered the idea years earlier in Africa.


The British Army had defeated the African tribesmen, but tribal leader and warrior Dinizulu, grand-nephew to the great Zulu leader Shaka, managed to escape. In his haste, Dinizulu left behind a thong with wooden beads awarded to him for great, heroic deeds. Baden- Powell found the beads, which have since become a long-held Scouting tradition called the Wood Badge Beads of Dinizulu.


Today, thousands of Zulu boys are involved in the Scouting program in Africa. Learn more about the African seeds of Scouting on the Web at www.scouting.org/.



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