alcalloway.jpgWith rare exception, most black educators, including preachers, appear to have little or no knowledge of, and/or interest in, the history of African people before enslavement in the Americas. More rare are black teachers familiar with African history from the very dawn of civilization itself.

So here we are, Black History Month in year 2014 and the civil rights movement now generations behind us and yet our people do not know who they really are.
Infusing this readily available historical knowledge into America’s educational system has been a meek, fractured and largely unsupported causé céléb by small groups of Afro-centric activists.

Truth be told, there are too few educators within public education (black or otherwise) prepared to teach ancient African history and in chronological order. However, that can be quickly remedied. All they have to do is read!

A good place to start is with the works of Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop, the Senegalese “historian, physicist and philosopher.” In his book, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality, Dr. Diop the Egyptologist tells us in his preface that ancient Egyptians were black.

Diop writes, “The moral fruit of their [Egyptian] civilization is to be counted among the assets of the Black world. Instead of presenting itself to history as an insolvent debtor, that Black world is the very initiator of the ‘western’ civilization flaunted before our eyes today.”

What comes next is so profound that it could stagger the mind. Diop continues, “Pythagorean mathematics, the theory of the four elements of Thales of Miletus, Epicurean materialism, Platonic idealism, Judaism, Islam, and modern science are rooted in Egyptian cosmogony and science.

One needs only to meditate on Osiris, the redeemer-god, who sacrifices himself, dies, and is resurrected to save mankind, a figure essentially identifiable with Christ.”

Wouldn’t black children’s eyes light up if told that their black Egyptian ancestors created a calendar so long ago that was in use  “in [BC] 4236, the oldest date known with certainty in the history of man,” according to Diop (page 91) ?

In another must-read book, Kemet and the African Worldview, edited by Professors Maulana Karenga and Jacob H. Carruthers, the great black and Puerto Rican historian John Henrik Clarke concluded, “It is our responsibility to redefine African History and to restore it to its proper place in World History. To start this task, we should begin by redefining it to ourselves.”

The name “Egypt” comes down to us from the Greeks but Prof. Carruthers, himself an African-American Egyptologist, promotes use of the name “Kemet” which is the phonetic approximation of the name used by the people for their country during antiquity.

Carruthers explains: “Actually the formal name seems to have been Tawy (The Two Lands), but the commonly used name was Kemet which means the black settlement referring to the black land along the banks of the Nile River. The people called themselves Kemites, the Black Ones.”

The soil was rich and black and the Nile Valley people were black – they gathered as a country coming from the south, north, east and west, first as two entities, south and north, then combined as one. Carruthers argues that “It is thus appropriate that we honor the traditions of the ancestors by calling them by their name.”   

John G. Jackson is another noted black historian whose scholarly works should be in every black home beginning with his book Introduction to African Civilization published in 1970. But Jackson’s book citing 276 sources, including in the fields of geology, archaeology, biology, sociology and anthropology, is vital. That book is titled, Man, God and Civilization.

The chapters in this book range from “The Early Ages of the World” and include “Ice Ages and Men” and “The Origin of Civilization” to “The Evolution of Civilization: Summary and Conclusions,”  with chapters on Ethiopia and Egypt to Ancient America.

Jackson tells us that, in 5776 B.C. Aha Mena, or Menes, was the first pharaoh, the first king of Dynasty I. Menes was the pharaoh who “combined the red and white crowns into the famous double crown of United Egypt.” Thus Upper and Lower Egypt became one country.

Khufu founded the Third Dynasty and his greatest achievement was the building of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid. Jackson reports that, according to Herodotus, it took 20 years to build the structure.

Of course what I have submitted here is just a tidbit of how great our black history has been way before the advent of the Trans-Atlantic African Slave Trade.

If you don’t already know, surprise awaits your reading about our presence through great seafaring to and from the Americas eons before European exploration, exploitation and genocide in the Western world.

Al Calloway is a longtime journalist who began his career with the Atlanta Inquirer during the early 1960s civil rights struggle. He is writing a book of essays. He may be reached at