The what?? What pathway? The pathway that MOST Africans were and had long been on included selling each other into slavery, living in mud (and other soft) huts, cannibalism, no written language, no nuclear family[in short, in NO way were blacks on any "glorious pathway" that approximated what they were introduced to THROUGH slavery.
"...Centuries-long slavery obviously disrupted this classic pathway..."
The slave trade flourished in the Arab World, specifically Western Asia, North Africa, East Africa and certain parts of Europe (such as Iberia and southern Italy) during the period of Arab domination. Those traded were not limited to a certain color, ethnicity, or religion and included Arabs and Berbers, especially in its early days during and the earlier generations after Mohammed.During the 8th and 9th centuries of the Islamic Caliphate, most of the slaves were Slavic Eastern Europeans (called Saqaliba). However, slaves were drawn from a wide variety of regions and included Mediterranean peoples, Persians, Turkic peoples, peoples from the Caucasus mountain regions (such as Georgia, Armenia and Circassia) and parts of Central Asia and Scandinavia, English, Dutch and Irish, Berbers from North Africa, and various other peoples of varied origins as well as those of African origins.
Toward the 18th and 19th centuries, the flow of slaves from East Africa increased with the rise of the Oman sultanate which was based in Zanzibar. They came into direct trade conflict and competition with Portuguese and other Europeans along the Swahili coast. The trade was officially abolished in 1970, although it is still going on in Islamic Africa, and through other more selective means by many in Saudia Arabia and immigrants to the West in other forms closer to indentured servitude.
Sad, is it not, that we all to often fail to acknowledge cold facts that are painful but nevertheless, true. We must push forward without heaviness, without blame, and we must stop the excuses and the hand wringing. Reality is only the crucible for future achievement. Neither the past, the present, or the future is likely to give us perfection, but as we seek to build a better world, let us not cloud history and our association to it with imaginary structures. Think about it clearly folks, just when DID this history thang begin? And who enslaved whom first on this evolutionary-go-round?
Tilting at windmills, is how an inspired poet once put it.