Ancient Egyptian Photo Gallery
"Confessions of a Budding Truthcentrist"
WELCOME! Thank you for stopping by. I have thoughts and opinions I'd like to share that have been ricocheting around in my brain for some time.
This website has now been visited by well over a quarter million scholars, educators, students and others. Two Ph.D. candidates that I know of have used some of this information for their doctoral dissertations. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions...
Fasten your seatbelts. WARNING:
ATTENTION EDUCATORS & STUDENTS: At the end of this article (about 2/3 of the way down) I have extended an invitation to both Afrocentric and Eurocentric educators & students.
>> >> Here's what you will be reading on this web page:
-- FIRST: Preamble -- Background Information (Sphinx of Giza & more...)
-- SECOND: Context -- Definitions / Critiques of Afrocentrism & Eurocentrism
-- THIRD: An Alternative -- Truthcentrism
-- FOURTH: Article -- Confessions of a Budding Truthcentrist
-- FIFTH: More Thoughts -- The Racial Makeup of Ancient Egyptians
-- SIXTH: Images -- Ancient Egyptian Photo Gallery portal (230 photos)
...is not the destination.
It's the essence of the journey...
For about 15 centuries, people, fascinated, gazed upon Egyptian hieroglyphics without comprehending their meaning.
In 1799, LT Pierre Bouchard discovered the Rosetta Stone (below) while building Fort Julian (see to left--now Fort Rashid) on the west bank of the Nile during Napoleon's Egyptian campaign. the proclamation carved on it, praising Ptolemy V in 196 B.C., is of relatively little significance; what is important is that the inscription appears in three texts: Hieroglyphics, Egyptian Demotic Script and Greek. (click here later to read entire text)
Jean Francois Champollion (below, right) was a brilliant linguist who worked from an 1808 copy of the Rosetta Stone's inscription. He labored on it for 14 years without ever seeing the stone itself. In 1822, Champollion finally decided that "Ptolemy" might be read phonetically -- patiently reconstructing the name, sound by sound from the Greek and Coptic. Twenty-three years passed before the Rosetta Stone finally surrendered its secret in 1822 -- which began with the deciphering of "Ptolemy's" name. (Click on the Rosetta Stone image below for more historical information about full-size, 3-D replica project developed by Joel Freeman.)
Other inscriptions on artifacts like obelisks and monuments could now be read. These discovery spawned an even greater interest in Egyptian archaeology. Anthropologists and archaeologists were presented with quite a challenging conflict.
In the early 1800s, around the same time Egyptian Archaeology was maturing, the Middle Passage (slave trade) was in full swing. In order for Europeans to justify the economic drive of the slave trade, blacks had to be viewed as non-humans. Animals. Tools for building the dreams of Europeans.
In stark contrast to the picture of blacks being painted by those who favored the slave trade -- anthropologists and archaeologists were discovering more statues and other artifacts which presented a different view. Black people had indeed created the many pyramids and other artifacts. What to do? The Egyptians had left behind a huge "Picture Album".
After you have finished this page, please visit: SphinxOfGiza.com -- more important information below.
Vivant Denon (an eyewitness) etched the image of the Sphinx of Giza (above, right) around 1798. If the Sphinx of Giza had been defaced before 1798, is it reasonable to conclude that Denon would have at least mentioned it? Just a thought.
In his written account, Denon stated, "...Though its proportions are colossal, the outline is pure and graceful; the expression of the head is mild, gracious, and tranquil; the character is African, but the mouth, and lips of which are thick, has a softness and delicacy of execution truly admirable; it seems real life and flesh. Art must have been at a high pitch when this monument was executed…”
-- Universal Magazine, 1803 (owned by The Freeman Institute)
C O N T E X T
DEFINITIONS & CRITIQUES of AFROCENTRISM & EUROCENTRISM
(Important to understand before reading "Confessions of a Budding Truthcentrist")
||||| A F R O C E N T R I S M ||||| (Wikipedia): Afrocentrism (also Afrocentricity; occasionally Africentrism) is a reading of world history that emphasizes the importance of African people, taken as a single group and often equated with black people, in culture, philosophy, and history. It can be traced back to the work of black intellectuals in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but flowered into its modern form due to the activism of black intellectuals in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and in the development of African American Studies programs in universities.
Proponents of Afrocentrism claim that the contributions of various African cultures have been downplayed and need to be excavated from beneath an "official" historical record that has deliberately kept them hidden.
lease keep in mind that the objective of this website is to provide a fair,
even-handed definition & critique of BOTH Afrocentrism AND Eurocentrism (keep reading).
||| CRITIQUE of AFROCENTRISM | (Wikipedia) Its most radical forms have been accused of historical revisionism and pseudohistory that Africans were responsible for many of the great innovations in ancient philosophy, science, and technology, which were later stolen by Middle Eastern or European people. Critics contend that such "Afrocentric historical research" is grounded in identity politics and myth rather than scholarship.
Afrocentrism has been criticized. Some mainstream Western scholars have assessed some Afrocentric ideas as pseudohistorical. They find fault with such claims as that Ancient Egypt was a black civilization, and that it contributed directly to the development of Greek and Western culture (on the grounds that the times of development do not align). In addition, they argue with the contention that African civilizations were founding influences on such distant civilizations as the American Olmec and the Chinese Xia cultures.
Clarence E. Walker (African American, history professor, UC Davis) writes, "Afrocentrism is a mythology that is racist, reactionary, and essentially therapeutic. It suggests that nothing important has happened in black history since the time of the pharaohs and thus trivializes the history of black Americans. Afrocentrism places an emphasis on Egypt that is, to put it bluntly, absurd...I'm an old-fashioned intellectual critic. I don't like a lot of work being done in the field. No history should be presented as an exercise in celebration...What black people really need is a usable present, not a usable past."
...Not Out of Africa: Among scholarly critics, Mary Lefkowitz's Not out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History is widely regarded as the foremost critical work. In it, she contends Afrocentric historical claims are not grounded in sound scholarship.
Lefkowitz (Caucasian, classical studies professor emerita, Wellesley College) makes her case by confronting the following questions:
1. Were the ancient Egyptians black? 2. Does racial identity really matter?
3. Did ancient Greek religion and culture come from Egypt? 4. Was Socrates black?
5. Did Aristotle raid the library at Alexandria? 6. Did Plato study in Egypt?
7. Did Aristotle steal his ideas from the ancient Egyptians? 8. Was Cleopatra black?
Marissa Larsen (National Geographic staff) writes, "...Afrocentric Egyptology is less a scholarly field than a political and educational movement, aimed at increasing the self-esteem and confidence of African Americans by stressing the achievements of African civilizations, principally ancient Egypt." Afrocentric Egyptology is described as having four main points:
1. Ancient Egyptians were black.
2. Ancient Egypt was superior to other ancient civilizations.
3. Egyptian culture had tremendous influence on the later cultures of Africa and Europe.
4. There has been a vast racist conspiracy to prevent the dissemination of the evidence for these
Robert Carroll (skeptic.com) wrote the following when reviewing Mary Lefkowitz's book:
"It is not an accident that the students of Afrocentrism and catastrophism act more like disciples of a guru than students of a scientific teacher. They are on a mission, not a quest. And, as with many before them with noble goals, they believe the end justifies the means. Hence, it is nearly futile to engage them in debate. Scholars have difficulty debating opponents such as Afrocentrists, catastrophists, creationists or even anti-abortionists, because they expect their opponents to be civil and play by the rules of scholarly evidence. They mistakenly believe they have entered an arena where all sides are in quest of the same truth. What they are actually getting into is a street fight, where the goal is to defeat and humiliate your enemy. Their opponents don’t follow traditional standards of evidence in their printed arguments and diatribes, so why expect them to be any different in a public debate? If you challenge their accuracy, they will question your integrity. If you ask for evidence, they will insult you. If you challenge their sources, you will be asked to prove the absolute certainty of your sources. You think the arena is an intellectual one where the combatants use wit and intelligence to score points, but while you are looking above your opponent’s shoulders, he will kick you in the groin. You may have the evidence and the arguments on your side but your opponent doesn’t care about the evidence and is not interested in your arguments. He already knows the truth."If Afrocentrists upset you, then Eurocentrists should as well, and maybe even more, as their views have dominated the history books and popular culture (in film, the ancient Jews, Egyptians and even some Chinese and Japanese characters have been played by European actors….and they always, always have British accents). And those same views helped to advance the abuses and excesses of imperialism/colonialism, but that’s another topic altogether."
Like Lefkowitz, other critics of Afrocentrism state that much historical Afrocentric research simply lacks scientific merit and that it actually seeks to supplant and counter one form of racism with another, rather than attempt to arrive at the truth. (Read the rest of this page and then feel free to return to read more of Lefkowitz's views here and Molefi Asante's response to her views here.)
...EXAMPLE: "The ancient Egyptians were so advanced technologically that they were literally flying in the sky around the pyramids." Truthcentric question: Why dabble around with unverifiable fringe material when there is so much well-documented information to communicate? The fringe stuff seriously discounts credibility. It is much better to communicate information that is corroborated by verifiable research. Why do some Afrocentrists feel the need to over reach? Why not concentrate on the wealth of researched Afrocentric material that can pass muster in any debate?
...OBSERVATION: Alex Haley (author of Roots) once stated, "To know where you are going, you need to know where you have been." But is there also wisdom in what African American Professor, Clarence E. Walker has stated? "What black people really need is a usable present, not a usable past." Do the critics of Afrocentrism have valid points? A question for each reader to ponder.
We learn from history that we don't learn from history. When it comes to encouraging greater individual awareness about the contemporary significance of history, I am a big fan of gateways. I am always thrilled when anyone develops an interest in any aspect of history (young or old) and I am not that concerned about the gateway people enter or the specific cultural spark that helps to ignite one's passion for studying history. Whatever floats your boat!
But don't park your brains. It sure would be great if the good old critical thinking process was encouraged by all once that passion for history has been sparked. By the way, neither Afrocentrism or Eurocentrism has cornered the market on critical thinking!
Afrocentrists sometimes present too much one-sided material in an effort to get the attention of Eurocentrists regarding the overwhelming amount of documented evidence that challenges some of the Eurocentric views, which have dominated and embedded themselves in educational institutions on both sides of the Atlantic for well over a century.
...Questions for Afrocentrists: Honestly. Were the ancient Egyptians black? Don't be too hasty with your answer. If your response is "yes" -- then there is an obvious follow-up question that must be addressed. Did the ancient Egyptians own and enforce slave labor? The ancient record states that Jews were enslaved by the ancient Egyptians for approximately 400 years. The Exodus story was Harriet Tubman's inspiration -- hailed as the "Moses" of the Underground Railroad.
It would seem to be intellectually dishonest to whole-heartedly accept and promote one culturally-appealing perspective and then dump or push away an inconvenient truth.
Qualifiers did not work for the pro-slavery element back in 19th century America ("yes...but the slaves at that plantation were well cared for and seemed to be quite happy").
Nor do qualifiers make sense when trying to understand ancient Egyptian/African history ("yes...but slavery was different back then...it was culturally acceptable...more of an indentured servitude").
Let's be gut-level honest. And let's not fudge the truth with "yes, but..." SLAVERY IS SLAVERY. No matter how one seeks to define it or qualify it, regardless of the ethnicity or race of the people perpetrating it -- Arabs, Europeans, Africans, Asians, etc.
...NOTE: Many Eurocentrists tend to focus on the fringe excesses communicated by some Afrocentrists, creating "straw men arguments" that are shot down as laughable examples -- easily debunking Afrocentrist claims. But when credible research is dismissively rejected, with the wave of a hand by the Eurocentrists as pseudohistorical or mythical, it can create an atmosphere of frustration -- which is not an intellectually healthy environment for either side of the debate.
||||| E U R O C E N T R I S M ||||| (Wikipedia): Eurocentrism is the practice of viewing the world from a European perspective and with an implied belief, either consciously or subconsciously, in the preeminence of European culture.
The term Eurocentrism was coined relatively late, during the decolonization period following World War II, based on an earlier adjective Europe-centric which came into use in the early 20th century. The term appears in precisely this form in the writings of the German General, author and geographer Karl Haushofer during the 1920s.
||| CRITIQUE of EUROCENTRISM | (Wikipedia) African and African American scholars such as Molefi Asante (author, professor, Temple University) have categorically highlighted the prevalence of Eurocentric thought in the processing of much of academia on African affairs.
Edgar Alfred Bowring (British translator, author) stated: "In no other major civilization do self-regard, self-congratulation and denigration of the ‘other’ run as deep, nor have these tendencies infected as many aspects of their thinking, laws, and policy, as they have in Western Europe and its overseas extensions."
Owen 'Alik-Shahadah (cultural historian/film director) notes: "The Eurocentric discourse on Africa is in error because those foundational paradigms which inspired the study in the first place were rooted in the denial of African agency; political intellectualism bent on its own self-affirmation rather than objective study."
Alison Bailey (professor, Illinois State University) states: "Philosophical methods are well suited for unpacking the political, ontological, and epistemological conditions that foster racism and hold white supremacy in place. However, on the whole, philosophy as a discipline has remained relatively untouched by interdisciplinary work on race and whiteness. In its quest for certainty, Western philosophy continues to generate what it imagines to be colorless and genderless accounts of knowledge, reality, morality, and human nature."
...EXAMPLE: "None of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs before the 25th Dynasty were black." Truthcentric question: Why hold on to such a view when there are many images of pharaohs that clearly show Egypt is and always has been located on the continent of Africa? This comes across as disingenuous at best, especially when gazing at statues of ancient pharaohs bearing obvious Afroid features. What's even more intriguing are the over-reaching attempts by Eurocentrists to explain away those obvious features.
...OBSERVATION: Common sense isn't always common practice. Many Eurocentrists say, "The ancient Egyptians were of a mixed race." Let's push the fast-forward button. The same is true in America.
If you consider the Black population in America today, according to African Ancestry (African Lineage Database, developed by Dr. Rick Kittles) approximately 30% of African American males have a European Y chromosone haplogroup. (OBSERVATION: They have European DNA, but are not able to participate in the social benefits that European DNA generally brings.)
Approximately 58% of African Americans have the equivalent of one great-grandparent (12.5%) of European ancestry. Because of this one can see a "mixed race" -- exhibiting a wide range of skin colors, varying from very dark to very light.
Ancient Egypt was positioned at the crossroads of the ancient world. Could it be that the ancient Egyptian population reflected a similar racial makeup? When Afrocentrists say that all Egyptians were Black, there is eyewitness evidence to support that claim.
Herodotos traveled extensively in Egypt in the 5th century BC and he described the Egyptian people as having black skins and wooly hair.
Most classical scholars respond by stating the reports from Herodotos about Egypt are unreliable because he couldn’t speak or read the Egyptian language, and was therefore unable to critically evaluate the information he was given there. A valid point? I think not. It would not apply in this case, because when Herodotos gave a physical description of the people in Egypt he was just reporting (in his own language) what he saw with his own eyes.
Here are a couple of comments made in response to a blogger who had posted a number of images of ancient Egyptian statues that proved his/her point about the "whiteness" of ancient Egyptians.
RESPONSES TO BLOGGER:
"Afrocentric- a person who claims that an Ancient African population was comprised primarily of indigenous Africans, based on numerous cranial and skeletal studies (Keita, Sonia Z, Brace (recent), etc).
Eurocentric- a person who claims that an Ancient African was comprised primarily by non indigenous Africans, with little to no scientific evidence for their claim, and the profound assertion that for an African to claim an African civilization as such is theft to the modern mixed population of that present country!"
"There are a number of places around the world where you could find people who look like this, and depending on the culture, some might be considered “black” and others “white”, when in fact, they are neither one or the other. Depends on the standard you use. Many Afrocentrists are American, and in the US, you can have mostly European ancestry and still be considered black; in fact, most “black” people in the states have a good percentage of European and/or indigenous American ancestry. Yet not too many people go all out to prove that African Americans (and lots of Afro-Caribbean's) aren’t black. If Afrocentrists upset you, then Eurocentrists should as well, and maybe even more, as their views have dominated the history books and popular culture (in film, the ancient Jews, Egyptians and even some Chinese and Japanese characters have been played by European actors….and they always, always have British accents). And those same views helped to advance the abuses and excesses of imperialism/colonialism, but that’s another topic altogether..."
.Questions for Eurocentrists: Honestly. Why spend so much time and energy trying to prove that the ethnicity of ancient Egyptians is anything BUT black? We are all looking at the same Egypt located on the same continent of Africa, the same statues, and we are all reading the same history books. There are many who do not understand your zeal in what appears to be a quest to whitewash an entire culture, regardless the evidence to the contrary. Some even laugh out loud at the extreme measures employed in seeking to explain away what seems so obvious to people viewing the same issues at street level.
..King Tut's DNA: Once you are finished reading this page, feel free to come back [click here] for the January 2012 article (pdf) published by DNA Tribes® that provides a geographical analysis of several ancient Egyptian mummies, including the famous King Tut and his relatives. These individuals lived in a unique time more than three thousand years ago: the “Amarna period,” which has left a vivid archaeological record of life in pharaonic Egypt. You may be surprised by the results!
It is commonly accepted that King Tut's father, Akhenaten, and his mother, "the Younger Lady," were brother and sister. Therefore, both of Tut's parents were the offspring of Amenhotep III and Tiye. Chancellor Williams asserts that Queen Tiye, Tutankhamun's grandmother, was Black and that her offspring were Black.
DNA Tribes released an analysis, based on 8 forensic autosomal STR markers, of the Amarna Pharaohs concluding that "Results indicated the autosomal STR profiles of the Amarna period mummies were most frequent in modern populations in several parts of Africa."
-- Average MLI scores indicate the STR profiles of the Amarna mummies would be most frequent in present day populations of several African regions: including the Southern African (average MLI 326.94), African Great Lakes (average MLI 323.76), and Tropical West African (average MLI 83.74) regions.
...COMMON SENSE: Allow me to introduce a futuristic concept with a contemporary application to the controversy surrounding the question -- Were the ancient Egyptians Black?
Let's just say it was currently in vogue in North America to mummify a cross-section of people after they had died. Work with me on this. Fast-forward to 1,000 years from now. In the same way people are currently debating the ethnicity of ancient Egyptians, in the future one would be hard pressed to determine the race of many mummified African Americans. You might laugh out loud right where you are sitting, but you know what I am considering is plausible.
For instance, when confronted with photographic & eye-witness evidence, there are seemingly-intelligent people today who believe that the Jewish Holocaust never happened in Nazi Germany in the 1940s. And that's only about seven decades ago.
It is not far-fetched to think that 1,000 years from now people might be engaged in a similar debate, with respected professors trumpeting ideas like: "Obama was not black because..." Just saying...
.The Greek Miracle: The idea that the classical Greeks suddenly burst on the scene out of nowhere in the 6th and 5th centuries BC is often referred to as the “Greek miracle.” The Afrocentrists’ main point is against the proposition that the real history of civilization only begins with the Greeks — that the Greeks were the creators of philosophy, of science, of politics, of mathematics, of medicine, of theology, of art, of everything of intellectual value — and that they owed no debt whatsoever to earlier civilizations — especially NOT to the Egyptians.
It seems plausible that Greece would have been influenced by Egypt. During their heyday, powerful countries (like ancient Egypt, Great Britain, United States, etc.) tend to influence other less-powerful countries. Herodotus (5th century BC) was told by Egyptian priests that Greece had received a lot of knowledge from Egypt. Priests told Diodorus some of the same stories four centuries later. Early church father (2nd/3rd century) mentioned that Greece was heavily influenced by the Egyptian and Hebrew cultures. Isn't that a pretty powerful indicator that Greek culture had indeed been influenced by Egypt?
Ancient Egypt ruled for a longer period than most world empires, defying the normal, brief span of time generally reserved for such empires. It's the cycle Edward Gibbons discussed in his book, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Even if Herodotus, Diodorus or the early church fathers could not decipher hieroglyphics...there was plenty of time and opportunity for Egypt to make an impact on Greek culture. And there are a number of evidences one can point to that indicate this "Egypt-influenced-Greek-culture" reality. Let's boil it down to street level. Cultures, with languages foreign to other countries, influence the average person in those other countries all the time -- in spite of the linguistic issues. Hand-smacking-forehead kind of stuff. Once again, common sense.
||||| T R U T H C E N T R I S M ||||| Winston Churchill once observed that the history books are written by the victors in a conflict. This may be true, but I also wonder about the way history is interpreted by successive generations. Does the dominant view take hold, shouting down any challenges to its perspective? Or is a gentle debate encouraged, with everyone searching deeply and honestly for the truth?
Truthcentrism is the practice of viewing history from an exegetical view...not eisegetical view. As much as possible setting aside preconceived notions when seeking to interpret and understand ancient history, along with its contemporary impact on culture/society. Both the head (documented truth) and the heart (relationships) matter.
..EISEGESIS (subjective) [Wikipedia]: is the process of misinterpreting a text in such a way that it introduces one's own ideas, reading into the text. This is best understood when contrasted with exegesis.
...EXEGESIS (objective) [Wikipedia]: In contemporary usage it means a critical explanation of any text. The goal of exegesis is to explore the meaning of the text which then leads to discovering its significance or relevance. Exegesis includes a wide range of critical disciplines: textual criticism is the investigation into the history and origins of the text, but exegesis may include the study of the historical and cultural backgrounds for the author, the text, and the original audience. Other analysis includes classification of the type of literary genres present in the text, and an analysis of grammatical and syntactical features in the text itself.
||| SUMMARY | Let's look at this within the context of the topic of this page. While exegesis draws out the meaning from the text and documented research, eisegesis occurs when a reader reads his/her interpretation into the text and the documented research -- "My mind is already made up, so don't try to confuse me with any images, DNA or other documented material that give a credible alternative view. I am only interested in what supports my own theories."
This is an important aspect for both Afrocentrists and Eurocentrists to consider.
Exegesis tends to be objective when employed effectively and is willing to challenge previously-held beliefs when confronted with documented research.
Eisegesis is regarded as highly subjective and is influenced easily by material that supports their previously-held beliefs, rejecting credible evidence that communicates another view. An individual who practices eisegesis is known as an eisegete, as someone who practices exegesis is known as an exegete.
...Truthcentrism: I would hope that everyone reading this piece wants to be an objective exegete, when seeking to determine the ethnicity of the ancient Egyptians and other matters that emerge. A Truthcentrist is committed to the truth, as best as he/she can determine, regardless of the emerging picture (good, bad, or ugly). It would be wonderful if we could stop the finger-pointing. What can we learn from each other?
What are the principles one can apply as a Truthcentric exegete? This would be a great topic for any college classroom. Feel free to email me your thoughts on this matter...
...OBSERVATION: There's a lot of positive/negative emotion and passion to go around. Let's take a look at what seems to be happening:
...FROM AFROCENTRIST PERSPECTIVE -- For centuries Eurocentrists have set the rules for research and reporting on ancient Egyptian/African history and similar topics. It has only been mere decades since the Afrocentric view has developed traction. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Afrocentrist feel like they are up against an almost impossible task -- catching up and then seeking to reverse some of the biased and false information in mainstream textbooks and lectures that Afrocentrists believe have permeated North American and European educational institutions. Those who boldly proclaim and publish their convictions detail the subtle and blatant disrespect they feel from much of the "established" educational community. Internet blogs, DVDs, book publication and film production become some of the alternative methods for communicating their research.
...FROM EUROCENTRIST PERSPECTIVE -- Many Eurocentrists feel like they have to shut down what they are truly thinking and feeling for fear that they will be branded as racists or bigots. Those who do boldly speak up in the public forum with their unvarnished opinions about ancient African/Egyptian history detail the disrespectful treatment they have received from some Afrocentrists.
...The Polarizing Effect Afrocentrism and Eurocentrism seem to be on a collision course at every turn. If this is true, it is not a good atmosphere for reasoned conversations. Heat emerges. Tempers flare. Things are said. Feelings get hurt. The line between Afrocentrists and Eurocentrists widens. There are no easy answers.
I'd like to be a part of a growing group of people who commit to mutual respect when discussing such topics. Both the "head" (documenting truth) and the "heart" (relationships) are important. No egg shells. The weird/petty stuff that generally clings to political correctness is set aside. Seeking first to understand before seeking to be understood.
...NOTE: None of us have a 360 degree perspective on this or any other topic. I don't. We all have blind spots in our research. And I am hoping that you might point them out to me. That's why we need each other. Academic programs need to be held accountable and peer reviewed. Confident people always learn more from their critics than from the others who may think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Here are a few suggestions for all of us to consider -- Afrocentrists, Eurocentrists and Truthcentrists alike:
1. ...Don’t be afraid to hear/read what critics have to say -- you may learn something.
Remember...it's what we learn after we think we know it all that really counts.
2. ...Give them your ear -- but within reason. Ear Reverently. If you can see their side, they’re more likely to take a look at yours. foul language or name-calling is not the basis for a mutually-respectful conversation.
3. ...Don’t take it personally -- most critics are attacking ideas, not people. Choose curiosity
over arrogance or confrontation.
4. ...Don’t try to convince -- present your ideas in an orderly manner, but remind yourself
that most critics cannot be convinced.
5. ...If critics choose to remain anonymous, ignore them -- cowards tend to hide behind
the supposed anonymity of the Internet.
6. ...Keep your ego out of the conversation -- practice emotional intelligence. When possible,
create space between the critique and the response. Time can give perspective.
7. ...Feedback is your good friend -- use it if it’s useful. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and smarter. There are three main ways to deal with feedback: a). ignore it, b). accept it all, or c). figure out what’s relevant and actionable, and use it to learn and grow in your research skills.
Confessions of a Budding Truthcentrist
~ S e a r c h i n g f o r C o m m o n S e n s e ~
by Joel A. Freeman, Ph.D.
"Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it; ignorance may
deride it; malice may seek to distort it; but there it is."
-- Winston Churchill
"Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood."
"It's what we learn after we think we know it all that really counts."
..W E L C O M E ! Perhaps you bumped into this page through youtube, facebook, twitter, linkedin, a google search, a friend's recommendation, or a link from another website. I am glad you stopped by. I promise to tell you exactly what I am thinking. And I'd love to hear your "unvarnished" response to what you are about to read.
Want to start a red hot debate or even a blood feud? Go to a Classics lecture on most any North American or European campus, raise your hand during Q&A and then utter the following: "Ancient Egypt was a Black civilization!" Stand back and experience the shock and awe as incoming verbal fire rockets are launched in your direction. And I'm not kidding...
When merged, these two words and
perspectives tend to create
more heat than light.
...AFROCENTRISM? EUROCENTRISM? There is excellent research and knowledge on both sides of the coin. And then again, I have discovered some puzzling, head-scratching conclusions once I have "looked under the hood" of both viewpoints. I am searching for some sanity in the midst of the fringe views on both sides of this hot potato. This certainly is an emotional issue for many. I am proposing a different word for this topic. Truthcentrism.
...TRUTHCENTRISM? How about a Truthcentric perspective -- one that melds together the best research from both views? Perhaps we could call it the "e.T.a." approach. Shedding light on the information that is downright obvious and gently challenging the information that cannot be corroborated by original sources. At the risk of sounding corny, you can help to determine the "estimated Time of arrival" (eTa) to a more truthcentric approach to this remarkable topic. Still a corny concept? Yup, but it'll have to do for now...
I am a student of ancient African history -- always a student, never an expert. There are many others who have studied this discipline in far greater, peer-reviewed depth than I have on this particular topic. And I have much to learn from them. Two ears. One mouth.
...ASSAULT & FLATTERY When you have finished reading this piece feel free to leave your unvarnished thoughts and opinions for the "Assault & Flattery" page. I certainly DO NOT have all of the answers! Just trying to figure out some things that I missed in school...
I continue to read extensively on all sides of the debate and there are still aspects about the contemporary interpretation of ancient Egyptian/African history that are puzzling to me. For instance, I am intrigued by the people who seem to devote significant time and energy trying to make sure that ancient Egyptians are viewed as anything BUT black.
...BACKGROUND Allow me to give you a bit of personal background that may be relevant to this topic, and will also put your finger on my pulse. Here's an overview:
...TRAVELS With travels to 50+ countries around the world (including much of Africa), I bring a passion, a respect for others and curiosity to my varied interests. I am a happy skeptic when it comes to swallowing accepted views -- hook, line and sinker.
I own a lot of first edition books ranging from the 16th-20th Centuries on relevant topics, which tend to give a better view of history as the writers saw it. I have learned a whole lot more by listening and reading than by talking.
Travels around Egypt have included the Cairo Museum, Giza, Alexandria, Rashid (where Rosetta Stone was found) and many other sites throughout the region.
.NBA For 19 years I served as mentor/chaplain for the NBA Washington Bullets/Wizards (1979-'98). During this time I had in-depth conversations with many of the African American pro athletes about the role people of African descent played in history. These conversations caused me to study about such topics that previously were not even a blip on my radar screen. This is where I embarked upon my journey into Black History.
BOOK/FILM RESOURCES In 1995 co-wrote the book (with Don Griffin), Return To Glory: The Powerful Stirring of the Black Man -- endorsed by Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Joe Frazier, Bill Cosby, Ben Carson, and many others. The award-winning film version was released in 2003. The discipline of co-writing a book (and documentary film) that would ultimately contain 14 pages of research notes, forced me to scratch well beneath the surface. The book was vetted by a legal scholar before it's publication.
...BLACK HISTORY COLLECTION Even though I own an extensive collection of genuine Black History (3,000+ with oldest piece 1553), I have no earned degree in Black History, Egyptology, Archaeology, Anthropology, or the Classics. I will always be a student of such topics, never an expert. And I rather enjoy being a life-long learner. My Ph.D. is in the discipline of Psychology/Counseling, with the bulk of my education from Loyola University.
...ROSETTA STONE REPLICA PROJECT I have developed the world's first and only full-size, 3D, museum-quality replica of the famous Rosetta Stone available to the general public, along with many early 19th century documents & artifacts related to the history surrounding the original Rosetta Stone.
TWO UNITED NATIONS EXHIBITS Twenty documents and artifacts from my Black History Collection were showcased in the main lobby of the United Nations for two months (15 March - 15 May, 2011) in their Transatlantic Slave Trade exhibition and again in 2012 (26 March - 10 June, 2012). The average number of visitors reviewing the exhibit: between 4,000 - 5,000 people per day (total of at least 250,000 per exhibition). A number of The Freeman Institute collection pieces have been included in an international UN-sponsored traveling exhibition. Already 11 nations are scheduled to host this exhibit, with more to come. Very grateful for this remarkable opportunity.
...BLACK HISTORY GALLERY PROJECT The ultimate reason for cobbling together my collection is to help establish Black History galleries in communities all across America and also in selected cities internationally -- designed to educate and inspire young people of all ages.
I was raised in Alberta where prejudice was directed more toward native Indians. Raised in Canada, coupled with extensive international travel has helped to inform my cultural outlook.
The ongoing racial divide in America is both perplexing and heart-breaking to me. There is enough pain to go around. I am a big fan of ownership of the historical truth about the good, the bad and the ugly (by all) and then employing the entrepreneurial spirit to move forward...in spite of the pain. Sounds simple and almost formula-like...but it isn't that easy.
Some people have majored on book knowledge. Others have amassed a lot of experience. I have tried to balance the two -- filling in the missing gaps to my formal education. As much as possible I seek to live a truthcentric, curiosity-driven life.
...AFRICA I have lectured for the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) conferences several times, working in some manner with just about every international school on the continent of Africa (Egypt included). These connections have stimulated many wonderful conversations around this and other topics.
AFRICAN KINGS & QUEENS In 2002 I participated in a conference with well over 100 African Kings and Queens in attendance (Benin). This was a very informative experience. We discussed the AIDS crisis, tribal warfare, and the issues surrounding conflict resolution. I asked questions about many other topics, getting at least 30 hours documented for a future film.
I welcome those who come to this topic with intellectual honesty, respectful dialogue and insatiable curiosity -- Afrocentrists, Eurocentrists, religious, agnostics, skeptics, the traveled and untraveled alike. This topic is a wonderful vehicle for connecting with fair-minded people on a deeper level.
.INCOGNITO FLAME-THROWERS Since this topic surrounding the ethnicity of ancient Egyptians tends to attract flame-throwers on all sides, I refuse to argue or debate with anyone online, especially those operating with a secret online identity. By the way, I have observed and experienced unprofessional behavior from both Afrocentrists and Eurocentrists.
I have been called many names and some of the following examples are tame: "Freeman is a ni**er lover, a white guilt-ridden idiot, a shameful character, a fetish for black people, a pathetic self-hating white, a blatant shyster, a snake oil salesman, a Jewish bast*rd (even though I lead annual trips to Israel and my name sounds Jewish -- Joel Arthur Freeman -- I have no Jewish roots), a cynical fraud, a one-dimensional con, a dark motivation behind whatever he is doing, an f***ing moron, a clown, a vile creature, a black supremacist, an ignorant dimwit, a feel-good guru, a negro sympathizer, a twerp, a bulls**t merchant, a white nitwit, a crackerman...the biggest loon in the entire fake negro history movement."
Hmmm...A collective look at 3rd Grade humor at best. My response is to laugh out loud at such juvenile behavior. And then I go do the next thing.
"Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause." -- fortune cookie wisdom
Plain and simple. It is a ridiculous waste of time to debate with anonymous people, because they can make personal attacks without accepting any personal responsibility. We all can choose between being reactive (energy-draining) or proactive (energy-giving). I just don't have the interest, the inclination, the time, nor the energy for reacting. To what purpose?
It all crosses the line, however, when anonymous people engage in cyber-stalking or cyber-harassment.
I gladly ignore people (identifiable or incognito) who engage in the childish practice of name-calling...hurling personal insults and invectives at others who have studied -- coming to different conclusions. One-sided anonymity does not provide the environment for such mutually beneficial conversations.
However, I do enjoy pleasantly spirited conversations on relevant topics with real people who hold to the value of mutual respect. I invite anonymous cyber-bullies to willingly come out of the shadows to reveal their identities and then to demonstrate what they have to offer beyond their infantile rants...
No one person (including me) or institution has a corner on all of the facts, but as much as is humanly possible, I seek to be Truthcentric.
As an example, I do not believe that all of the Pharaohs of Egypt were black after the 25th Dynasty. There was a brief revival of Egyptian leadership (354-293 BC), but for the most part it was over, with two periods when the Persians ruled and then the Greeks and the Romans.
CLEOPATRA For instance, every image (on a coin, sculpture or otherwise) I have ever seen of Cleopatra VII is one of a more plain, Caucasian-looking woman. Alexander the Great had conquered Egypt around 332 BC, setting up the Greek Ptolemaic line. Outsiders were ruling Egypt. Cleopatra VII was a Pharaoh in this line. Most Afrocentrists will disagree with me on this point, but in my opinion, none of the Pharaohs during the Greek (Ptolemaic), Persian or Roman periods were black, including the most famous of the Cleopatras. Attempting to win the "Cleopatra-was-black" debate tends to hit earnest supporters with a 70% discount in the credibility department. Other historic figures like Queen Tiye may be a better focus. There is so much other primary research that can make one's point without expending time or energy trying to prove that Cleopatra was black. Just an observation...
NOSES & LIPS We all have seen the damage done to the Sphinx of Giza. Were some noses and lips on ancient Egyptian statues knocked off because of collective or individual racist intent? Perhaps. But we probably will never know for sure.
Truthcentic Alert: I do believe that some noses and lips were knocked off of statues by Pharaohs, solely for the purpose of destroying the predecessor in his/her afterlife. Once the statue was defaced, the dead Pharaoh's life would be snuffed out. Most ancient Egyptians believed that the spirit of a dead person could live beyond the grave, but only if some remembrance - a body, a statue, or even a name - of the dead person existed in the land of the living. (BBC)
...EXAMPLE: It is reported that Tuthmosis III defaced many of Hatshepsut's statues, images and titles after her death in 1457 BC. She had effectively been cursed with endless death. Some of her statues had their noses and lips knocked off to cause her to suffocate in the afterlife.
ARAB SLAVE TRADE What you are about to read is not generally taught in our schools. And the number of people enslaved by Arab Muslims has been a hotly debated topic, especially when the millions of Africans forced from their homelands are considered. Some historians estimate that between A.D. 650 and 1900, 10 to 20 million people were enslaved by Arab slave traders. Others believe over 20 million enslaved Africans alone had been delivered through the trans-Sahara route alone to the Islamic world.
Dr. John Alembellah Azumah in his 2001 book, The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa estimates that over 80 million Black people more died en route.
The Arab Slave Trade typically dealt in the sale of castrated male slaves. Black boys between the age of 8 and 12 had their scrotums and penises completely amputated to prevent them from reproducing. About six of every 10 boys bled to death during the procedure, according to some sources, but the high price brought by eunuchs on the market made the practice profitable.
The reason why we do not have millions of African descendants from the Arab Slave trade is because a high percentage of enslaved males died during castration and those who survived were not able to procreate.
The Arab Slave Trade in the 19th century was economically tied to the European trade of Africans -- ushering in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. New opportunities of exploitation were provided by the transatlantic slave trade and this sent Arab slavers into overdrive. The Portuguese (on the Swahili coast) profited directly and were responsible for a boom in the Arab trade.
Meanwhile on the West African coast, the Portuguese found Arab Muslim merchants entrenched along the African coast as far as the Bight of Benin. These European enslavers found they could make considerable amounts of gold transporting enslaved Africans from one trading post to another, along the Atlantic coast.
One of the biggest differences between the Arab Slave Trade and European slaving was that the Arab Muslims drew slaves from all racial groups. During the eighth and ninth centuries of the Fatimid Caliphate, most of the slaves were Europeans (called Saqaliba), captured along European coasts and during wars.
Aside from those of African origins, people from a wide variety of regions were forced into Arab slavery, including Mediterranean people; Persians; people from the Caucasus mountain regions (such as Georgia, Armenia and Circassia) and parts of Central Asia and Scandinavia; English, Dutch and Irish; and Berbers from North Africa.
NOTE: The contents of the previous eight paragraphs about the Arab Slave Trade came from an article posted on the Atlanta Black Star.
...EUROCENTRISTS Let's turn a corner. The Eurocentric perspective is the commonly-taught historical view in most colleges and universities. Having read literature published on both sides of the issue, I am very aware of the various views.
Many Eurocentrists seem to react to the perceived excesses of some Afrocentrists. But then they categorically deny what is obvious to many students of ancient African/Egyptian history.
For instance, many who hold to the Eurocentric view believe that none of the Pharaohs were black (except for perhaps the 25th Dynasty). I disagree. Egypt is in Africa (not the Middle East). The February 2008 issue of the National Geographic magazine had a cover article, "Black Pharaohs." The article was well-written and rather informative...but it included several major inaccuracies (Author of linked article disagrees with my assessment of Cleopatra's ethnicity and I respect his studied opinion.)
...BACK OF THE BUS I know that I am about to make a point that resonates primarily with the African American experience, but I firmly believe that, given the "one-drop-of-blood-rule," all of the Pharaohs (up to and including the 25th Dynasty) would have been required to "sit at the back of a bus" in the 1940s in Montgomery, Alabama. You will be able to read more about the "one-drop-of-blood-rule" below.
...BUILDING BRIDGES Regardless of your perspective on this topic, "Building Bridges to Afrocentrism: A Letter to My Egyptological Colleagues" (by Ann Macy Roth, professor at New York University) is an interesting, challenging article for both Afrocentrists and Eurocentrists and is worth reading. Click here to review it and then feel free to return to view the ancient Egyptian photo gallery (below).
Allow me to turn a gentle corner. Egypt has always been a place of fascination for the ancients outside the region of Egypt. For instance, two of the seven wonders of the World were situated in Egypt -- the Lighthouse (Pharos) of Alexandria and the Great Pyramid of Giza (preceded other 6 wonders and still exists).
ROSETTA STONE CONNECTION As mentioned above, the Rosetta Stone (click to review my Rosetta Stone replica project) was discovered during the Napoleonic Egyptian Campaign in 1799. In 1822 Jean Champollion was able to crack the code of hieroglyphics. Once the code of hieroglyphics had been cracked, it brought a renewed interest to that region of the world.
For the first time in thousands of years, utilizing the new-found skills of reading Egyptian hieroglyphics, people could corroborate certain historical events, people and places -- unlocking the secrets of ancient Egypt.
The discovery of the Rosetta Stone and subsequent understanding of the esoteric hieroglyph language was the connection that brought everything to the forefront for "modern" people to wrestle with some realities.
European archaeologists, anthropologists and historians were in a catch-22 situation. On one hand they were seeing images of people with clear Afroid features as they traveled around Egypt.
...SLAVE TRADE On the other hand, there was the terrible history of the slave trade that had been going on for approximately 350 years prior. For Europeans to justify the economic drive of the slave trade, there had to be the denigration of people of African descent. (Also, let's not forget the complicity of African Kings in bringing their warring neighbors to the slave traders.) Since the slave trade had been going on for some 350 years, the negative view of Black people had permeated much of Europe, South and North America and the rest of the world.
There was a crisis of conscience, especially in the mid 1800s. How are the European archaeologists, anthropologists & scholars going to interpret and communicate what they are seeing and understanding, to an eager outside world? In my opinion, they blew a wonderful opportunity to share the truth. Instead most went to all sorts of ends to try to present Egyptians as though they were not of African descent. The book, Black Spark, White Fire (by Richard Poe) addresses the ethnicity of the ancient Egyptians in a most ingenious and well-documented manner.
...ONE-DROP RULE The one-drop rule worked in the US -- one drop of black blood makes one black. Let's reverse the standards for archaeologists and anthropologists when viewing ancient history -- one drop of white blood makes you white, no matter how curly the hair or thick the lips. All of this impacted the world.
...FREDERICK DOUGLASS Even the great orator and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, commented on such matters in July 1854 when speaking to the students at Western Reserve College (founded 1826 in Hudson, Ohio). His topic was, "The Claims of the Negro Race: Viewed in a Psychological and Physiological Light." Read the article about this speech (click here), written by Horace Greeley and transcribed directly from an original copy of the New York Tribune. (owned by The Freeman Institute)
EGYPT: THE LAND OF HAM What if the original Egyptians were unmixed, pure black folks from Africa? Perhaps you have heard of Ham, one of Noah's sons. It is interesting to note that the Biblical record states several times that "Israel also came into Egypt...the land of Ham." (Psalm 105: 23). Egypt was called the land of Ham. Having studied the "Table of Nations" (Gen. 10) very carefully, I find that rather intriguing. Three of Ham's sons set up shop in Africa: Put (Lybia), Cush (Sudan and Ethiopia), and Mizraim (Egypt). By the way, the name, Mizraim, literally means "two Egypts."
...ABRAM... ABRAHAM: Abraham's new name was a promise of what was to occur. Nothing to do with Ham...or his skin color.
ABRAM: The name means exalted father, which could have felt like a cruel joke to him. He had no children. It's was his desire to have a son...an heir.
ABRAHAM: At 99 years of age God made a covenant with him. See the stars in the sky? See the dust of the earth? He would make him a father of many nations. He changed his name from "Abram" to Abraham." Some take that to mean that Ham was somehow involved. Or that Abraham might be black. Not true.
HAM: "Ham" actually means many or multitude -- Father of many nations. Then Isaac was born. Abraham did not see any evidence of the meaning of his name while he was alive. But we now know that it was true. Many nations came out of Abraham.
...CONNECTING THE DOTS It's all about context and the ripple effect of ideas. In my opinion, there was the convergence of many events and ideas that forced 19th century European scholars, anthropologists, social thinkers and historians to wrestle with the racism and intellectual bias specifically targeting people of African descent.
Could this convergence have influenced the way European/Caucasian scholars on both sides of the Atlantic categorized the ethnicity of ancient Egyptians? Perhaps we will never know for sure, but here are a few thoughts to consider:
1. ...Europeans and the Rosetta Stone: Cracking the code to hieroglyphics in 1822, unlocking the secrets of ancient Egyptian history -- causing an even more focused interest in Egypt and the ethnicity of ancient Egyptians in the mid to late 1800s.
2. ...the on-going debate about slavery: The Slave Trade started in the late 1400s and was abolished in 1807 in UK and USA. After that, many in Europe and America fought against the Trade. British and American naval vessels released many Africans bound for slavery. But the cultural/intellectual acceptance and on-going practice of the enslavement of Africans was still pervasive in the 1800s. (The Freeman Institute Black History Collection has many books and documents substantiating this reality).
Three hundred+ years of justifying the economic drive of the Trade by denigrating people of African descent had embedded itself in the collective consciousness of people around the world. There is little doubt that this thought process leaked into the halls of higher education during the 19th century. Wait, but there's more...
3. ...the theory of evolution was taking form during mid 1800s: This is not an attempt to leap into the middle of the "Evolution vs. Creation" debate. Instead, I am intrigued by the theory's potential cultural/societal influence upon the thinking of many scholars during the mid-late 19th century.
...GREAT CHAIN OF BEING A concept derived from Plato and Aristotle and refined inthe 1500s, the Great Chain of Being (scala naturae, literally "ladder or stair-way of nature") was a hierarchy that linked all living organisms of the world, God being first, then the angels, demons, stars, moon, the king, princes, nobles, then other subjects; it went all the way down to the smallest animals, plants and minerals. IMPORTANT: The purpose of the existence of the lower beings of the chain was to serve the higher beings. But problems arose with this system: some organisms and species did not fit neatly into the mold.
.LINNAEUS Shah Hossain writes, "In 1677, Dr. William Petty of England came up with a solution. He announced in a paper to the Royal Society that the missing link they had been looking for consisted of "savages", beings that fit between Caucasian men and other organisms. Thus, he also naturally concluded that since they were lower on the Great Chain, they were brought into being to serve and follow the will of the beings superior to them. At the time, his contemporaries did not pay much attention to his idea. But fifty years later, Swedish biologist Carl Linnaeus (pictured to left) revived his notion."
...HUME David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy.
Here are some of David Hume’s words: “I am apt to suspect the Negroes and in general all of the other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No indigenous manufacturers amongst them, no arts, no sciences.”
Hume again: “Not to mention our colonies, there are Negro slaves dispersed all over Europe, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity, tho’ low people without education will start up amongst us [whites], and distinguish themselves in every profession. In Jamaica indeed they talk of one Negro as a man of parts and learning, but ’tis likely he is admired for very slender accomplishments, like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly.”
..KANT Widely considered to be a central figure of modern philosophy, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) held similar views as Hume. He challenging anyone to cite a single example in which "a Negro has shown talents and asserts that among the hundreds of thousands of blacks who are transported elsewhere from their countries, although many of them have even been set free, still not a single one was ever found who presented anything great in art or science or any other praiseworthy quality, even though among the whites some continually rise aloft from the lowest rabble, and through superior gifts earn respect in the world. So fundamental is the difference between these two races of man, and it appears to be as great in regard to mental capacities as in color." (Beobachtungen, 296-97; Observations, 110-11).
DARWIN Let's fast forward to the 1800s. It is verifiable fact that Darwin personally detested slavery. But undeniably racist elements in the theory emerged when seeking to determine the transition between apes and Caucasian humans (see image to the right). In 1859, Charles Darwin released a book which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (Some state that the concept of "race" had a wider definition in the mid 1800s. I have read such opinions providing only anecdotal evidence, but is still open to debate...).
"Favored races?" asks writer, Eric Lyons. "Did Darwin believe that some races, or 'species of men,' as he referred to them (1871, p. 395), were favored or more highly evolved than others? Although he steered clear of these ideas in The Origin of Species, his second major work on evolutionary theory, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, published in 1871, did address the issue."
Darwin launched the first chapter of The Descent of Man with these words: 'He who wishes to decide whether man is the modified descendant of some pre-existing form, would probably first enquire whether man varies, however slightly, in bodily structure and in mental faculties; and if so, whether the variations are transmitted to his offspring in accordance with the laws which prevail with the lower animals” (1871, p. 395).
Later, in his chapter titled “On the Affinities and Genealogy of Man,” Darwin wrote:
At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. (p. 521)
Lyons goes on to state, "Clearly, Darwin was convinced that the more 'civilized races' (e.g., Caucasian) would one day exterminate the more 'savage races,' which he considered to be less evolved (and thus more ape-like) than Caucasians. Darwin believed that 'the negro' and 'Australian' are like sub-species, somewhere between Caucasians and apes." (pp. 873-874).
GALTON Francis Galton (cousin of Charles Darwin), a very intelligent man, published a celebrated book in 1869, Hereditary Genius. Galton used a sort of grading scale to point out where each race is located in the classification system he used lay according to its range of intelligence. Africans were two "grades" below the average Englishman. He later coined the term eugenics (literally means well-born), which became extremely popular with many Anglo scholars on both sides of the Atlantic during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. What happened as this new philosophy matured?
"...average Negroes possess too little intellect, self-reliance, and self-control to make it possible for them to sustain the burden of any respectable form of civilization without a large measure of external guidance and support..." -- Sir Francis Galton, 1873
MERICAN EUGENICS SOCIETY The American Eugenics Society (AES) was a society established in 1922 to promote eugenics. Margaret Sanger (Planned Parenthood) was a member. Several prominent families are responsible for funding and promoting eugenics in America, namely the J.D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, E.H. Harriman, and Henry Osborn families. Two families (Rockefellers & Osborns) were particularly significant funders of eugenics research.
ROCKEFELLER John D. Rockefeller Sr. contributed a huge amount of money to build Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (NY, led by biologist Charles Davenport) in the early 1900′s, which housed the Eugenics Records Office from 1910-1944. Davenport was also the founder and the first director of the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations in 1925.
...NAZI GERMANY The Rockefeller influence also spread overseas to Germany, where the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Psychiatry, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Eugenics, Anthropology and Human Heredity resided.
Much of the money used to run these German-run facilities came from Rockefeller. With Eugen Fischer as the leading scientist, these institutes became centers for Nazi eugenics programs (race hygiene) during the reign of terror under Adolf Hitler.
...MADISON GRANT Hitler was profoundly influenced by members of the American Eugenics Society. Hitler quoted liberally from Columbia-educated eugenicist Madison Grant in his speeches and is said to have sent him a letter describing Grant's bestselling book, “The Passing of the Great Race” as “my bible.” In his unabashedly racist book, ACS member, Grant recommends segregating "unfavorable" races in ghettos, along with other sinister concepts implemented under Hitler throughout Nazi Germany.
UESTION Let's take a panoramic look at all that has been discussed thus far. Do you have any burning questions ricocheting around in your head? Did any of this discussion about the Discovery Doctrine (see below), Great Chain of Being, evolution theory, eugenics, and social engineering (Social Darwinism) influence the scholarly debate about the ethnicity of ancient Egyptians in any way? I leave that for you to wrestle with...
NOTE: The Freeman Institute Collections owns genuine 19th Century books/articles celebrated by the scientific community of that period, with images of skulls of people of African descent being compared to gorilla, chimpanzee, ape and baboon skulls.
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