Mansa Musa and Black History Month

Black History Month, which takes place in February, wasn’t that long ago. In an Article posted on, Mansa Musa is highlighted as a notable black person from history. The article explains that Mansa Musa, the leader of the West African Empire, was a Muslim, and for Muslims “it is a religious practice to visit the holy city of Mecca at least once.” The journey to Mecca from West Africa was very long, however, so Musa brought thousands of people with different occupations to help him. Musa became so influential during his reign that mapmakers used him in their maps as a representation of the West African Empire. This made him very famous and contributed to making him arguably “the richest man to ever live.”

As I was researching more about Mansa Musa, I came across this article which displays a map of West Africa that depicts Musa in the way previously mentioned. In this particular example, Musa is actually sitting on a golden throne, holding a golden object and is wearing a golden crown. It is very clear from this map, which was made by Italians, that Musa was known far and wide for his wealth and power. This map, to me, reinforced what the previous article had said: Mansa Musa was a rich and powerful black man from history, and his importance was accepted across the world.

To me, these two sources show that black people (and Muslims) have held powerful and influential positions in ancient history.  Mansa Musa was even arguably the richest man ever to live. In this day and age, I think it is important to realize that simple differences such as race and wealth should not dictate what opportunities people are given to succeed. I love that Mansa Musa was chosen as a figure for Black History month. I think that he is a great example of an influential black Muslim from history.

To modern Minnesotans, nothing could be more important than realizing that religion and race do not decide who a person will become, and they should not dictate how that person is perceived by the rest of the world. Right now, the President of the United States promotes the idea that differences are something to be feared. I think it is important for Minnesotans to realize that opening your mind to new ideas can be exciting and life-changing. What Minnesotans could learn from Mansa Musa is that he was a generous, famous, wealthy, and successful leader who happened to be a black Muslim.




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