“Try to find Cugoano in a philosophical syllabus,” Coleman notes. You will fail. Similarly, if you search for “philosophers” in Google Images, you will find only “”white men,” usually with beards.”
According to Coleman, the philosophical canon is socially constructed and unjustly excludes Africans like Cugoano or Anton Wilhelm Amo, an African philosopher who lived in (what is now) Germany, in the 17th century. They were virtually written out of the history of philosophy. It has been recounted that enslaved Africans did not write anything worth reading, and much less anything of philosophical value. And if they did write anything, it was only “stories.” But this is false.