Archive for November 24th, 2007


November 24, 2007


Dr. Charles S. Finch, III, M.D.

Every year about this time one comes out of the wood work, a self-appointed “defender of the faith” of European cultural values, and both the popular and academic media dutifully supply maximum exposure. Last year we endured Charles Murray and The Bell Curve; this year it is Mary Lefkowitz of Wellesley College with her Not Out Of Africa. It seems that the surest way for an academic, seeking to break out of ivory tower obscurity, to get a manuscript accepted by a major publishing house is to write a book belittling the intelligence or integrity of some segment of the Black community. The phenomenon is so reliable that even non- white writers, covering the spectrum from Dinesh D’Souza to Henry Louis Gates, have adopted the ploy to obtain media exposure, enhance academic status and augment bank balances. Afrophobic books of every description represent an industry-within-an- industry and there always seems to be a ready market.

The anti-Afrocentric premises of Mary Lefkowitz are patently absurd. One does not even have to be a classicist to find abundant evidence that the influence of northeast Africa, i.e., Egypt and Ethiopia, on Greece was as formative as that of Greece on Europe. The number of Greeks who lived and learned in Egypt reads like a “Who’s Who” of Greek Philosophy. Solon, Thales, Pythagoras, Eudoxus, Anaximander, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Plato, Archimedes, Hipparchus, Ptolemy, Herophilus, Galen and others too numerous to mention pursued their higher studies in the Nile Valley. As a classicist, Lefkowitz has to know these historical facts because the Greeks themselves recorded them! If she doesn’t know, then her bona fides as a classicist is spurious. However, it is more reasonable to assume that she does, so her deep aversion to any kind of an African influence on early Greek culture has to spring from a fundamental Afrophobia that informs her whole thought.

It is possible to discredit Ms. Lefkowitz’s reasoning on numerous counts. Concerning Aristotle, to insist that Aristotle never visited Egypt nor was under any significant Egyptian intellectual influence suggests strongly that she heeds to refamiliarize herself with the literature in her own field. Theophile Obenga shows in an article entitled “Aristotle and Ancient Egypt” (ANKH, vol. 2, 1993) that Aristotle, in his Meteorology, describes the topology of the Nile in a manner that leaves little doubt that he had seen in person what he was describing. Moreover, in his Metaphysics, Aristotle states in a completely unambiguous manner that “Egypt was the cradle of the art of mathematics.” In his On The Heavens, Aristotle states furthermore that the Egyptians and Babylonians were the founders of the science of astronomy. In particular, Aristotle was admiring of the Egyptian’s exceptional knowledge of the planetary conjunctions and the nature of comets. Here we find the words of Aristotle himself baldly refuting the contention of Ms. Lefkowitz that Aristotle had never visited Egypt nor had been influenced by Egypt’s learning.

After about 600 B.C., when selected students such as Thales and Pythagoras began to trickle into Egypt thirsting for knowledge, the temple learning of the Nile Valley began to flow toward the northern Mediterranean in increasing volume. As Cheikh Anta Diop said, there is no Greek mathematics, philosophy, or science until after the prolonged contact with Egypt. Even the term “philosopher,” meaning “lover of wisdom,” was coined by Pythagoras as a consequence of the 22 years he spent studying in the Temple of Amon at Waset (Thebes). According to Theophile Obenga (Ancient Egypt and Black Africa, 1992), the term sophos, meaning “learning” or “wisdom” has no root in the Indoeuropean language family from which Greek sprang. But Pythagoras would have studied under learned men in Egypt called sbau, from the Egyptian sba meaning “to teach” or “to instruct.” The word sba became in Greek sophos, from which the term “philosophy” derives.

Of the 28 dialogues of Plato, 12 deal extensively with Egypt and Egyptian thought. Laws, Republic, and Timaecus, to name but three, all betray an incalculable debt to Egypt, an outgrowth of the 13 years Plato spent there. Plato’s “philosopher king” in Republic, for example, clearly derives from the Nilotic pharaonocracy, i.e., the sacred ruler who was, by definition, priest, king, and philosopher. Also, the concept of the logos or “creative word,” a central pillar of Platonic philosophy and one that would immeasurably influence Christianity, is taken bodily from Egyptian thought. The world came into being, according to the pre-Platonic priests of Egypt, by virtue of the “divine word” (Thoth) activating the forces of creation. It should be pointed out also that Plato’s original teacher, Socrates, also credited Egypt with inventing the mathematical and astronomical sciences (dialogue of Phaedrus).

Another facet of the profound Egyptian impact on the Greek world can be seen in the career of Alexander. Before embarking on his campaign of world conquest, Alexander first wrested Egypt away from the Persians. Having accomplished that, he then took an unprecedented step: he embarked on a perilous 10-day journey across the Libyan desert to the Oasis of Siwa, sacred to Amon, where he was invested with the crown and authority of pharaoh. Following that, he proceeded to build his imperial capital Alexandria not in Macedonia or Greece, but in Egypt. In effect, when Alexander launched his campaign of empire-building in the East, he did so as an Egyptian pharaoh.

The Greeks regularly and forthrightly acknowledged their debt both to Egypt and to Ethiopia. An Apocryphal story by Pseudo- Callisthenes has Alexander sailing up the Nile to do homage to Candace, Queen of Ethiopia (Meroe). The veracity of this story is not nearly so important as the manner in which it shows the profound Hellenic respect for Ethiopia. It only added to Alexander’s legend — whether true or not — that he had won an audience with the Candace of Ethiopia. Homer, in the Iliad, begins the epic by having the Olympian gods, led by Zeus, descend from their heavenly abode to feast among mortals, but not with Greek mortals, as would be expected, but “the blameless Ethiopians.” As we’ve already noted, in the realm of empirical knowledge, the major Greek thinkers, virtually to a man, deferred to Egypt (some to Ethiopia) as the original home of philosophy, geometry, medicine, astronomy and religion.

A careful investigation of Greek mythology and religion reveals a pronounced African presence. The goddesses Melainis, Libya, Artemis, Hera, Aphrodite, and Eos were unquestionably of African provenance. Mythic human figures such as Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Circe, Aeetes, Medea, Belos, Aegyptos, Phaeton, Delphos, and at least one of many Herculeses were also from Africa. The two most important oracle centers, Dodona, and Delphi, were founded by African priestesses and an African demi- god (Delphos) respectively. Zeus was considered to be a form of the Nilotic Amon, Dionysus a form of Osiris, Hermes a form of Djehuti (Thoth), ad Asclepios a form of Imhotep. No wonder Herodotus concluded that the Greeks received their gods from northeast Africa.

Greek traditions also speak consistently of early African emigrants to the Hellenic mainland. Perseus, considered a founding Greek ancestor, married the Ethiopian princess Andromeda, making her a Greek ancestress. Moreover, the myth of the 50 daughters of Danaus and the 50 sons of Aegyptus who emigrated to Greece from the Nile Valley clearly reveals an important African ethnocultural element in early Hellenic history.

There is simply no valid argument that can be brought forward to disclaim the influence of African civilization on ancient Greece. The transmigration controversy involving a statement of Herodotus is not credible because Greeks such as he, and later Plutarch, who visited and wrote about Egypt had access to information that did not necessarily survive in the documentary record of the Nile Valley. Much was communicated to certain Greeks that had not been written down and was not supposed to be discussed publicly. Time and again, in his chapter on Egypt, Herodotus refuses to continue his discourse on certain topics because it is about to touch on sacred things that demanded secrecy. Because the available Egyptian records do not specifically mention transmigration, i.e., the doctrine of reincarnation, doesn’t mean that the Egyptians didn’t believe in it. Indeed, everything points to the existence of this belief among them.

Lefkowitz employs an entirely specious mode of argument because she pins her critique on peripheral issues far away from the heart of the matter. The trivial controversy over the race of Cleopatra, for example, is a case in point. It is irrelevant whether Cleopatra was, wholly or in part, of Macedonian ancestry. The African civilization of Egypt that decisively impacted the growth and development of Greek culture long antedated her. Thus her “true” ethnicity has no relevance at all to the question of Egyptian influence on Greece.

In this short survey, sufficient evidence has been brought forward to show that the overarching thesis of Not Out Of Africa — that there was no significant Egyptian/African influence on the formation of Greek civilization — is simply groundless. What is striking is that there is so much evidence to the contrary that her thesis calls into question Ms. Lefkowitz’s qualifications as a classicist. Either she doesn’t know her job or she is engaging in deliberate falsification. Either way, it is the unseemly haste with which national publications and pundits have embraced her book that truly testifies to the polarized state of contemporary American race relations in a way the much vilified Million Man March never could. Not Out Of Africa, and the smug commentary it has inspired, is high-level race-baiting at its most insidious. From where African-Americans sit, there doesn’t seem to be any end to it in sight.

Dr, Charles F. Finch III, M.D.
Morehouse School of Medicine
Atlanta, GA
February 17, 1996

Copyright Dr. Charles S. Finch III, M.D., 1996. All rights reserved by the author.


* Legrand H. Clegg II is an attorney, historian and producer of the award-winning videotape, “When Black Men Ruled The World: Egypt During The Golden Age.”

(To order the videotape, please call 1-800-788-CLEGG)

© 1996, The Clegg Series. The use of graphics, text, source code, or any other information from this site in any way is prohibited without permission.


November 24, 2007



Legrand H. Clegg II, Editor & Publisher *

Volume I, Edition III, February 1997

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There was and is wide mingling of the
blood of all races in Africa, but this
is consistent with the general thesis
that Africa is predominantly the land of
the Negroes and Negroid peoples, just as
Europe is a land of Caucasoids and Asia
of Mongoloids. We may give up entirely,
if we wish, the whole attempt to delimit
races, but we cannot, if we are sane,
divide the world into whites, yellows,
and blacks, and then call blacks white.

W.E.B. DuBois, The world and Africa:
An Inquiry into the part which Africa
has played in world history.
International Publishers, New York, 1961, p. 119

We would like to inform our readers that a remarkable discovery has taken place in the “Queen’s Chamber” of the Great Pyramid! According to a report published on the Internet on December 1, 1996, by Robert Hancock, British author of the best selling books, “The Sign and the Seal” and “Fingerprints of the Gods,” the Gantenbrink experiment1 was conducted in the Great Pyramid on October 20, 1996. This project entailed an exploration of the narrow passage leading up from the southern shaft of the “Queen’s Chamber” in the Great Pyramid. For several years, Egyptologists have known that a door exists at the upper end of the “Queen’s Chamber,” but until October 20, no one had penetrated it. Here, then, are the words of Hancock regarding the events of that date:

“At the end of the ascending passage, 8
inches square, leading from inside the
Great Pyramid’s ‘Queen’s Chamber’ is a
small ‘door’ with two metal ‘handles.’
On October 20, 1996, Dr. El Bas and two
assistants sent a fiber optic camera lens
through a flaw in this door. What was
allegedly found was a 2 meter by 1.5
meter chamber inside of which was a statue.
The statue seemed to be in the image of
a black male, holding an ankh in one hand. On the opposing wall of this chamber was
a round shaped passage leading out.”2
(Emphasis added)

While citing three reliable sources for this report, Hancock nonetheless cautions that it has not been completely verified. Less restrained is American author and astronomer Richard Hoagland. Speaking on Art Bell’s early morning nationwide talk show (KABC radio) on December 20, 1996, Hoagland devoted a considerable amount of time to a discussion of the same report and defended it with confidence. He also noted that, after the information leaked out, one of the sources was immediately fired and subjected to other severe discipline.3

We cite this report because, if true, it is an example, among many, of a revolutionary discovery made in secrecy by a group of specialists who may or may not reveal the total truth about what they have found. Fortunately, because a number of laymen, academicians and scientists have been closely following developments on the Giza plateau for several years, it was difficult for officials to suppress this experiment. Nevertheless, as of this writing no major media have published information on this discovery.

As Afrocentrists we stand in awe wondering how many other statues of Black males, and females for that matter, have been found in Egyptian archaeological sites and then hidden from public view?

This recent discovery serves as a perfect segue into our topic for February, Black History Month: “The ‘racial’ origin of the Ancient Egyptian people.” As we noted in the December issue of MAAT, every major newspaper and magazine in the nation and much of academe have attacked Africentrists as pseudoscientists. Especially scorned have been those scholars who claim that the Ancient Egyptians were Black Africans.

Since the overwhelming majority of the critics of Africentrism have engaged in nothing more than shadow boxing (never providing their opponents with an opportunity to respond to their assaults), we think a true debate is long overdue. Therefore this issue of MAAT has been exclusively devoted to a reprinting of an article written by the late Senegalese nuclear physicist, anthropologist, Egyptologist, linguist and historian, Cheikh Anta Diop. Entitled “Origin of The Ancient Egyptians,” the article was first published in UNESCO, General History of Africa, vol 2, Ancient Civilizations of Africa. Edited/translated by G. Mokhtar. Copyright (c) 1980 UNESCO.4 This article provides a comprehensive summary of the Africentric position on the race of the Ancient Egyptians.

While the MAAT newsletter invites a full spectrum of responses to this subject, we are nevertheless setting two ground rules as fundamental requirements for a serious, civil and objective discussion or debate:

It must be recognized that Egypt is and always
has been on the continent of Africa. References
to this country as a part of the Middle East,
Near East, Mediterranean or even the Fertile
Crescent, to the exclusion of its location in
Africa, is a blatant, racist distortion.

The color black cannot be defined as white.
The only reasonable definition of the Black
race is the following provided by Diop:
“There are two variants of the black race:
(a) straight-haired, represented in Asia by
the Dravidians and in Africa by the Nubians
and the Tubbou or Tedda, all three with jet-
black skins; (b) the kinky-haired blacks of
the Equatorial regions.”5
We flatly reject the specious reasoning of the early Egyptologist J. J. Champollion-Figeac and modern anthropologists, who insist that “[t]he two physical traits of black skin and kinky hair are not enough to stamp a race as negro. . .”6 They then proceed to transfer some of the blackest people in the world to the white race, if the blacks in question are the progenitors of an advanced civilization. If black skin is insufficient to qualify one for inclusion in the black race, then, what on earth is!?

The brilliant African American historian W.E.B. DuBois, recognized the contempt that the Western academic establishment has had for Black people and addressed it nearly 60 years ago:

“The Negro has long been the clown of history;
the football of anthropology; and the slave of
industry. I am trying to show here why these
attitudes can no longer be maintained. I
realize that the truth of history lies not in
the mouths of partisans but rather in the calm
Science that sits between. Her cause I seek to
serve, and wherever I fail, I am at least paying
Truth the respect of earnest effort.”7

We welcome you to join us as truth seekers.

The feature article in the March issue of MAAT will be “New Discoveries On The Giza Plateau: What are the Implications For Black People?”

*Legrand H. Clegg II is an attorney, historian and producer of the award-winning videotape, “When Black Men Ruled The World: Egypt During The Golden Age.”

(To order the videotape, please call 1-800-788-CLEGG)


Rudolf Gantenbrink, a German robotics engineer, built a robot to climb the southern shaft of the “Queen’s Chamber.” Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of The Gods: The Evidence of Earth’s Lost Civilization, Crown Publishers, Inc., 1995, p. 321.
Graham Hancock, “Newsflash from Giza as of December 1, 1996,”
Permission for reprinting the article was granted by the University of California Press.
Quoted in “Origin of The Ancient Egyptians,” MAAT Newsletter, February, 1977, p. 12.
Ibid,p. 18.
W.E.B. DuBois, Black Folk: Then and Now, New York [First edition, 1939] Kraus-Thomson Organization Limited, Millwood, N,Y. 1975, p. IX.



by Cheikh Anta Diop

The general acceptance, as a sequel to the work of Professor [Louis B.] Leakey, of the hypothesis of mankind’s monogenetic and African origin, makes it possible to pose the question of the peopling of Egypt and even of the world in completely new terms. More than 150,000 years ago, beings morphologically identical with the man of today were living in the region of the great lakes at the sources of the Nile and nowhere else. This notion, and others which it would take too long to recapitulate here, form the substance of the last report presented by the late Dr. Leakey at the Seventh Pan-African Congress of Pre-History in Addis Ababa in 1971.1 It means that the whole human race had its origin, just as the ancients had guessed, at the foot of the mountains of the Moon. Against all expectations and in defiance of recent hypotheses it was from this place that men moved out to people the rest of the world. From this two facts of capital importance result:

(a) of necessity the earliest men were ethnically
homogeneous and negroid. Gloger’s law, which
would also appear to be applicable to human
beings, lays it down that warm-blooded
animals evolving in a warm humid climate will
secrete a black pigment (eumelanin).2 Hence
if mankind originated in the tropics around
the latitude of the great lakes, he was bound
to have brown pigmentation from the start and
and it was by differentiation in other climates
that the original stock later split into
different races;

(b) there were only two routes available by which
these early men could move out to people
the other continents, namely, the Sahara and
the Nile valley. It is the latter region which
will be discussed here.

From the Upper Palaeolithic to the dynastic epoch, the whole of the river’s basin was taken over progressively by these negroid peoples.

Evidence of Physical Anthropology on the Race of the Ancient Egyptians

It might have been thought that, working on physiological evidence, the findings of the anthropologists would dissipate all doubts by providing reliable and definitive truths. This is by no means so: the arbitrary nature of the criteria used, to go no farther, as well as abolishing any notion of a conclusion acceptable without qualification, introduces so much scientific hair-splitting that there are times when one wonders whether the solution of the problem would not have been nearer if we had not had the ill luck to approach it from this angle.

Nevertheless, although the conclusions of these anthropological studies stop short of the full truth, they still speak unanimously of the existence of a negro race from the most distant ages of prehistory down to the dynastic period. It is not possible in this paper to cite all these conclusions: they will be found summarized in Chapter X of Dr. Emile Massoulard’s Histoire et protohistoire d’ Egypt (Institut d’Ethnologix, Paris, 1949). We shall quote selected items only.

Miss Fawcett considers that the Negadah
skulls form a sufficiently homogeneous
collection to warrant the assumption of
a Negadah race. In the total height of
the skull, the auricular height, the
length and breadth of the face, nasal
length, cephalic index and facial index
this race would seem to approximate to
the negro; in nasal breadth, height of
orbit, length of palate and nasal index
it would seem closed to the Germanic
peoples; accordingly the Pre-Dynastic
Negadians are likely to have resembled
the negroes in certain of their
characteristics and the white race in

It is worth noting that the nasal indices of Ethiopians and Dravidians would seem to approximate them to the Germanic peoples, though both are black races.

These measurements, which would leave an open choice between the two extremes represented by the negro and the Germanic races, give an idea of the elasticity of the criteria employed. A sample follows:

An attempt was made by Thompson and
Randall MacIver to determine more
precisely the importance of the negroid
element in the series of skulls from
El’Amrah, Abydos and Hou. They divided
them into three groups: (1) negroid
skulls (those with a facial index below
54 and a nasal index above 50, i.e.
Short broad face and broad nose);
(2) non-negroid skulls (facial index
above 54 and nasal index below 50, long
narrow face and narrow nose), (3) inter-
mediate skulls (assignable to one of
the two previous groups on the basis of
either the facial index or on the
evidence of the nasal index, plus
individuals marginal to either group).
The proportion of negroids would seem to
have 24% of men and 19% of women in the
early Pre-Dynastic and 25% and 28%
respectively in the late Pre-Dynastic.

Kieth has disputed the value of the
criterion selected by Thompson and
Randall MacIver to distinguish the
negroid from the non-negroid skulls.
His opinion is that if the same
criteria were applied to the study of
any series of contemporary English
skulls, the sample would be found to
contain approximately 30% of negroid
types. (pp. 420-1)

The converse of Kieth’s proposition could also be asserted, namely, that if the criterion were applied to the 140 million negroes now alive in black Africa a minimum of 100 million negroes would emerge whitewashed.

It may also be remarked that the distinction between negroid, non-negroid and intermediary is unclear; the fact is that ‘non-negroid’ does not mean of white race and ‘intermediary’ still less so.

‘Falkenburger reopened the anthropological study of the Egyptian population in a recent work in which he discusses 1,787 male skulls varying in date from the old, Pre-Dynastic to our own day. He distinguishes four main groups’ (p. 421). The sorting of the predynastic skulls into these four groups gives the following results for the whole predynastic period: “36% negroid, 33% Mediterranean, 11% Cro-Magnoid and 20% of individuals not falling in any of these groups but approximating either to the Cro-Magnoid or to the negroid’. The proportion of negroids is definitely higher than that suggested by Thomson and Randall MacIver, though Kieth considers the latter too high.

‘Do Falkenburger’s figures reflect the reality? It is not our task to decide this. If they are accurate, the Pre-Dynastic population far from representing a pure bred race, as Elliott-Smith has said, comprised at least three distinct racial elements – over a third of negroids, a third of Mediterraneans, a tenth of Cro-Magnoids and a fifth of individuals crossbred – to varying degrees’ (p. 422).

The point about all these conclusions is that despite their discrepancies the degree to which they converge proves that the basis of the Egyptian population was negro in the Pre-Dynastic epoch. Thus they are all incompatible with the theories that the negro element only infiltrated into Egypt at a late stage. Far otherwise, the facts prove that it was preponderant from the beginning to the end of Egyptian history, particularly when we note once more that ‘Mediterranean’ is not a synonym for ‘white’, Elliott-Smith’s ‘brown’ or Mediterranean race being nearer to the mark’. ‘Elliott Smith classes these Proto-Egyptians as a branch of what he calls the brown race”.’ The term ‘brown’ in this context refers to skin colour and is simply a euphemism for negro.3 it is thus clear that it was the whole of the Egyptian population which was negro, barring an infiltration of white nomads in the proto-dynastic epoch

In Petrie’s study of the Egyptian race we are introduced to a possible classification element in great abundance which cannot fail to surprise the reader.

Petrie . . . published a study of the races
of Egypt in the Pre-Dynastic and Proto-
Dynastic periods working only on portrayals
of them. Apart from the steatopygian race,
he distinguishes six separate types: an
aquiline type representative of a white-
skinned Libyan race; a ‘plaited beard’ type
belonging to an invading race coming perhaps
from the shores of the Red Sea, a ‘sharp-nosed’
type almost certainly from the Arabian Desert:
a ’tilted-nose’ type from Middle Egypt; a
‘jutting beard’ type from Lower Egypt; and a
‘narrow-nose’ type from Upper Egypt. Going
on the images, there would thus have been
seven different racial types in Egypt during
the epochs we are considering. In the pages
which follow we shall see that study of the
skeletons seems to provide little authority
for these conclusions. (p.391)

The above mode of classification gives an idea of the arbitrary nature of the criteria used to define the Egyptian races. Be that as it may, it is clear that anthropology is far from having established the existence of a white Egyptian race and would indeed tend rather to suggest the opposite.

Nevertheless, in current textbooks the question is suppressed: in most cases it is simply and flatly asserted that the Egyptians were white and the honest layman is left with the impression that any such assertion must necessarily have a prior basis of solid research. But there is no such basis, as this chapter has shown. And so generation after generation has been misled. Many authorities skate around the difficulty today by speaking of red-skinned and black-skinned whites without their sense of common logic being in the least upset. ‘The Greeks call Africa “Libya”, a misnomer au initio since Africa contains many other peoples besides the so-called Libyans, who belong among the whites of the northern or Mediterranean periphery and hence are many steps removed from the brown (or red) skinned whites (Egyptians).’4

In a textbook intended for the middle secondary school we find the following sentence: ‘A Black is distinguished less by the colour of his skin (for there are black-skinned “whites”) than by his features: thick lips, flattened nose . . .’5 It is only through these twistings of the basic definitions that it has been possible to bleach the Egyptian race.

It is worthwhile calling to mind the exaggerations of the theorists of anthropo-sociology in the last century and the beginnings of the present one whose minute physiognomical analyses discovered racial stratifications even in Europe, and particularly in France, when in fact there was really a single and by now practically homogeneous people.6 Today Occidentals who value their national cohesion are careful to avoid examining their own societies on so divisive a hypothesis, but continue unthinkingly to apply the old methods to the non-European societies.

Human Images of the Protohistoric Period: Their Anthropological Value

The study of human images made by Flinders Petrie on another plane shows that the ethnic type was black: according to Petrie these people were the Anu whose name, known to us since the protohistoric epoch, is always ‘written’ with three pillars on the few inscriptions extant from the end of the fourth millennium before our era. The natives of the country are always represented with unmistakable chiefly emblems for which one looks in vain among the infrequent portrayals of other races, who are all shown as servile foreign elements having reached the valley by infiltration (cf. Tera Neter7 and the Scorpion king whom Petrie groups together; ‘The Scorpion King . . . belonged to the preceding race of Anu, moreover he worshipped Min and Set.’).8

As we shall see later Min, like the chief gods of Egypt, was called by the tradition of Egypt itself ‘the great negro’.

After a glance at the various foreign types of humanity who disputed the valley with the indigenous blacks, Petrie describes the latter, the Anu, in the following terms: Besides these types, belonging to the North and East, there is the aboriginal race of the Anu, or Annu, people (written with three pillars) who became a part of the historic inhabitants. The subject ramifies too doubtfully if we include all single pillar names, but looking for the Annu written, with the three pillars, we find that they occupied southern Egypt and Nubia, and the name is also applied in Sinai and Libya. As to the southern Egyptians, we have the most essential document, one portrait of a chief, Tera Neter, roughly modelled in relief in green glazed faience, found in the early temple at Abydos. Preceding his name his address is given on this earliest of visiting cards, ‘Palace of the Anu in Hemen city, Tera Neter’. Hemen was the name of the god of Tuphium, Erment, opposite to it, was the palace of Annu of the south, Annu Menti. The next place in the south is Aunti (Gefeleyn), and beyond that Aunyt-Seni (Esneh).”

Amelineau lists in geographical order the fortified towns built along the length of the Nile valley by the Annu blacks.

[Hieroglyphics] =Ant=(Esneh)

[Hieroglyphics] =An =the southern ‘On’
(now Hermonthis)

[Hieroglyphics] =Denderah, the traditional
birthplace of Isis

[Hieroglyphics] = A town also called ‘On’ in the
name of Tinis

[Hieroglyphics] =The town called the northern
‘On’, the renowned city of

The common ancestor of the Annu settled along the Nile was Ani or An, a name determined by the word [hieroglyphics] (khet) and which, dating from the earliest versions of the “Book of the Dead” onwards, is given to the god Orisis.

The wife of [hieroglyphics] the god Ani is the goddess Anet [hieroglyphics] who is also his sister, just as Isis is the sister of Osiris.

The identity of the god An with Osiris has been demonstrated by Pleyte;10 we should, indeed recall that is also surnamed by (?) the Anou; ‘Osiris Ani’. The god Anu is represented alternately by the symbol [hieroglyphics] and the symbol [hieroglyphics]. Are the Aunak tribes now inhabiting the upper Nile related to the ancient Annu? Future research will provide the answer to this question.

Petrie thinks it possible to make a distinction between the predynastic people represented by Tera Neter and the Scorpion King (who is himself a Pharaoh even at that date as his head-dress shows) and a dynastic people worshipping the falcion and probably represented by the Pharaoh’s Narmer,14 Khasekhem, Sanekhei and Zoser.12 By reference to the faces reproduced in the figure it is easily perceived that there is no ethnic difference between the two lots, and both belong to the black race.

The mural in tomb SD 63 (Sequence Date 63) of Hierakonopolis shows the native-born blacks subjugating the foreign intruders into the valley if we accept Petrie’s interpretation: ‘Below is the black ship at Hierakonpolis belonging to the black men who are shown as conquering the red men.’13

The Gebel-el-Arak knife haft shows similar scenes: ‘There are also combats of black men overcoming red men.’13 However, the archaeological value of this object, which was not found in situ but in the possession of a merchant, is less than that of the preceding items.

What the above shows is that the images of men of the protohistoric and even of the dynastic period in no way square with the idea of the Egyptian race popular with Western anthropologists. Wherever the autochthonous racial type is represented with any degree of clearness, it is evidently negroid. Nowhere are the Indo-European and Semitic elements shown even as ordinary freeman serving a local chief, but invariably as conquered foreigners. The rare portrayals found are always shown with the distinctive marks of captivity, hands tied behind the back or strained over the shoulders.14 A protodynastic figurine represents an Indo-European prisoner with a long plait on his knees, with his hands bound tight to his body. The characteristics of the object itself show that it was intended as the foot of a piece of furniture and represented a conquered race.15 Often the portrayal is deliberately grotesque as with other proto-dynastic figures showing individuals with their hair plaited in what Petrie calls pigtails.16

In the tomb of King Ka (first dynasty) at Abydos, Petrie found a plaque showing an Indo-European captive in chains with his hands behind his back.17 Elliott-Smith considers that the individual represented is a Semite. The dynastic epoch has also yielded the documents illustrated in Pls 1.9. and 1.14 showing Indo-European and Semitic prisoners. In contrast, the typically negroid features of the pharaohs (Narmer, first dynasty, the actual founder of the Pharaonic line; Zoser, third dynasty, by whose time all the technological elements of the Egyptian civilization were already in evidence; Cheops, the builder of the Great Pyramid, a Cameroon type,18 Menthuhotep, founder of the eleventh dynasty, very black,19 Sesostris 1; Queen Ahmosis Nefertari; and Amenhophis I) show that all classes of Egyptian society belong to the same black race.

Pls 1.15 and 1.16, showing the Indo-European and Semitic types, have been included deliberately to contrast them with the quite dissimilar physiognomies of the black pharaohs and to demonstrate clearly that there is no trace of either of the first two types in the whole line of Pharaohs if we exclude the foreign Libyan and Ptolemaic dynasties.

It is usual to contrast the negresses on the tomb of Horemheb with the Egyptian type also shown. This contrast is surely a false one; it is social and not ethnic and there is as much difference between an aristocratic Senegalese lady from Dakar and those antique African peasant women with their horny hands and splay feet as between the latter and an Egyptian lady of the cities of antiquity.

There are two variants of the black race: (a) straight-haired, represented in Asia by the Dravidians and in Africa by the Nubians and the Tubbou or Tedda, all three with jet-black skins; (b) the kinky-haired blacks of the Equatorial regions. Both types entered into the composition of the Egyptian population.

Melanin Dosage Test

In practice it is possible to determine directly the skin colour and hence the ethnic affiliations of the ancient Egyptians by microscopic analysis in the laboratory; I doubt if the sagacity of the researchers who have studied the question has overlooked the possibility.

Melanin (eumelanin), the chemical body responsible for skin pigmentation, is, broadly speaking, insoluble and is preserved for millions of years in the skins of fossil animals.20 There is thus all the more reason for it to be readily recoverable in the skins of Egyptian mummies, despite a tenacious legend that the skin of mummies, tainted by the embalming material, is no longer susceptible of any analysis.21 Although the epidermis is the main site of the melanin, the melanocytes penetrating the derm at the boundary between it and the epidermis, even where the latter has mostly been destroyed by the embalming materials, show a melanin level which is non-existent in the white-skinned races. The samples I myself analyzed were taken in the physical anthropology laboratory of the Mus’ee de l’Homme in Paris off the mummies from the Marietta excavations in Egypt.22 The same method is perfectly suitable for use on the royal mummies of Thutmoses III, Seti I and Ramses II in the Cairo Museum, which are in an excel state of preservation. For two years past I have been vainly begging the curator of the Cairo Museum for similar samples to analyze. No more than a few square millimetres of skin would be required to mount a specimen, the preparations being a few um in thickness and lightened with ethyl benzoate. They can be studied by natural light or with ultra-violet lighting which renders the melanin grains fluorescent.

Either way let us simply say that the evaluation of melanin level by microscopic examination is a laboratory method which enables us to classify the ancient Egyptians unquestionably among the black races.

Osteological Measurements

Among the criteria accepted in physical anthropology for classifying races, the osteological measurements are perhaps the least misleading (in contrast to craniometry) for distinguishing a black man from a white man. By this criterion, also, the Egyptians belong among the black races. This study was made by the distinguished German savant Lepsius at the end of the nineteenth century and his conclusions remain valid; subsequent methodological progress in the domain of physical anthropology in no way undermines what is called the ‘Lepsius canon’ which, in round figures, gives the bodily proportions of the ideal Egyptian, short-armed and of negroid or negrito physical type.23

Blood Groups

It is a notable fact that even today Egyptians, particularly in Upper Egypt, belong to the same Group B as the populations of western Africa on the Atlantic seaboard and not the A2 group characteristic of the white race prior to any crossbreeding.24 It would be interesting to study the extent of Group A2 distribution in Egyptian mummies, which present-day techniques make possible.

The Egyptian Race According to the Classical Authors of Antiquity

To the Greek and Latin writers contemporary with the ancient Egyptians the latter’s physical classification posed no problems: the Egyptians were negroes, thick-lipped, kinky-haired and thin-legged; the unanimity of the author’s evidence on a physical fact as salient as a people’s race will be difficult to minimize or pass over. Some of the following evidence drives home the point.

(a) Herodotus, ‘the father of history’, -480(?) to -425. With regard to the origins of the Colchians25 he writes:

it is in fact manifest that the Colchidians are
Egyptian by race … several Egyptians told me
that in their opinion the Colchidians were
descended from soldiers of Sesostris. I had
conjectured as much myself from two pointers,
firstly because they have black skins and
kinky hair (to tell the truth this proves
nothing for other peoples have them too) and
secondly, and more reliably for the reason that
alone among mankind the Egyptians and the
Ethiopians have practiced circumcision since
time immemorial. The Phoenicians and Syrians
of Palestine themselves admit that they learnt
the practice from the Egyptians while the
Syrians in the river Thermodon and Pathenios
region and their neighbors the Macrons say
they learnt it recently from the Colchidians.
These are the only races which practice
circumcision and it is observable that they do
it in the same way as the Egyptians. As
between the Egyptians themselves and the
Ethiopians I could not say which taught the
other the practice for among them it is
quite clearly a custom of great antiquity.
As to the custom having been learnt through
their Egyptian connections, a further strong
proof to my mind is that all those Phoenicians
trading to Greece cease to treat the pudenda
after the Egyptian manner and do not subject
their offspring to circumcision.26

Herodotus reverts several times to the negroid character of the Egyptians and each time uses it as a fact of observation to argue more or less complex theses. Thus to prove that the Greek oracle at Dondona in Epirus was of Egyptian origin, one of his arguments is the following: ‘. . . and when they add that the dove was black they give us to understand that the woman was Egyptian.’27 The doves in question – actually there were two according to the text – symbolize two Egyptian women who are said to have BEEN carried off from the Egyptian Thebes to found the oracles in Greece at Dodona and in Libya (Oasis of Jupiter Amon) respectively. Herodotus did not share the opinion of Anaxagoras that the melting of the snows on the mountains of Ethiopia was the source of the Nile floods.28 He relied on the fact that it neither rains or snows in Ethiopia ‘and the heat there turns men black’.29

(b) Aristotle, -389 to -332, scientist, philosopher and tutor of Alexander the Great.

In one of his minor works, Aristotle attempts, with unexpected naivete’, to establish a correlation between the physical and moral natures of living beings and leaves us evidence on the Egyptian-Ethiopian race which confirms what Herodotus says. According to him, ‘Those who are too black are cowards, like for instance, the Egyptians and Ethiopians. But those who are excessively white are also cowards as we can see from the example of women, the complexion of courage is between the two.’30

(c) Lucian, Greek writer, +125(?) to +190.

The evidence of Lucian is as explicit as that of the two previous writers. He introduces two Greeks, Lycinus and Timolaus, who start a conversation.

Lycinus (describing a young Egyptian):
‘This boy is not merely black; he has
thick lips and his legs are too thin. . .
his hair worn in a plait behind shows
that he is not a freeman.’

Timolaus: ‘But that is a sign of really
distinguished birth in Egypt, Lycinus.
All freeborn children plait their hair
until they reach manhood. It is the
exact opposite of the custom of our ances-
tors who thought it seemly for old men to
secure their hair with a gold brooch to
keep it in place.’31

(d) Apollodorus, first century before our
era, Greek philosopher.
‘Aegyptos conquered the country of the black-
footed ones and called it Egypt after himself.’32

(e) Aeschylus, -525(?) to -456, tragic poet and
creator of Greek tragedy.
In The Suppliants, Danaos, fleeing with his daughters, the Danaids, and pursued by his brother Aegyptos with his sons, the Aegyptiads, who seek to wed their cousins by force, climbs a hillock, looks out to sea and describes the Aegyptiads at the oars afar off in these terms: ‘I can see the crew with their black limbs and white tunics.’33

A similar description of the Egyptian type of man recurs a few lines later in verse 745.

(f) Achilles Tatius of Alexandria.

He compares the herdsmen of the Delta to the Ethiopians and explains that they are blackish, like half-castes.

(g) Strabo, -58 to about +25.

Strabo visited Egypt and almost all the countries of the Roman empire. He concurs in the theory that the Egyptians and the Colchoi are of the same race but holds that the migrations to Ethiopia and Colchoi had been from Egypt only

‘Egyptians settled in Ethiopia and in Colchoi.’34 There is no doubt whatever as to Strabo’s notion of the Egyptian’s race for he seeks elsewhere to explain why the Egyptians are darker than the Hindus, a circumstance which would permit the refutation, if needed, of any attempt at confusing ‘the Hindu and Egyptian races’.

(h) Diodorus of Sicily, about -63 to +14, Greek historian and contemporary of Caesar Augustus.

According to Diodorus it was probably Ethiopia which colonized Egypt (in the Athenian sense of the term, signifying that, with overpopulation, a proportion of the people emigrate to new territory).

The Ethiopians say that the Egyptians
`are one of their colonies,35 which was
led into Egypt by Osiris. They claim that
at the beginning of the world Egypt was
simply a sea but that the Nile, carrying
down vast quantities of loam from Ethiopia
in its flood waters, finally filled it in
and made it part of the continent. . . They
add that the Egyptians have received from
them, as from authors and their ancestors,
the greater part of their laws.36

(i) Diogenes Laertius.

He wrote the following about Zeno, founder of the stoic School (-333 to -261): ‘Zeno son of Mnaseas or Demeas was a native of Citium in Cyprus, a Greek city which has taken in some Phoenician colonists.’ In his Lives, Timotheus of Athens describes Zeno as having a twisted neck. Apollonius of Tyre says of him that he was gaunt, very tall and black, hence the fact that, according to Chrysippus in the First Book of his Proverbs, certain people called him an Egyptian vine-shoot.37

(j) Ammianus Marcellinus, about +33 to +100, Latin historian and friend of the Emperor Julian.

With him we reach the sunset of the Roman empire and the end of classical antiquity. There are about nine centuries between the birth of Aeschylus and Herodotus and the death of Ammianus Marcellinus, nine centuries during which the Egyptians, amid a sea of white races, steadily crossbred. It can be said without exaggeration that in Egypt one household in ten included a white Asiatic or Indo-European slave.39

It is remarkable that, despite its intensity, all this crossbreeding should not have succeeded in upsetting the racial constants. Indeed Ammianus Marcellinus writes: “. . .the men of Egypt are mostly brown and black with a skinny and desiccated look.”39 He also confirms the evidence already cited about the Colchoi: ‘Beyond these lands are the heartlands of the Camaritae40 and the Phasis with its swifter stream borders the country of the Colchoi, an ancient race of Egyptian origin.’41

This cursory review of the evidence of the ancient Graeco-Latin writers on the Egyptians’ race shows that the extent of agreement between them is impressive and is an objective fact difficult to minimize or conceal, the two alternatives between which present-day Egyptology constantly oscillates.

An exception is the evidence of an honest savant. Volney, who travelled in Egypt between +1783 and +1785, i.e. at the peak period of negro slavery, and made the following observations on the true Egyptian race, the same which produced the Pharaohs, namely the Copts:

All of them are puffy-faced, heavy eyed and
thick-lipped, in a word, real mulatto faces.
I was tempted to attribute this to the climate
until, on visiting the Sphinx, the look of it
gave me the clue to the egnima. Beholding
that head characteristically Negro in all
its features, I recalled the well-known passage
of Herodotus which reads: ‘For my part I
consider the Colchoi are a colony of the Egyptians

because, like them, they are black skinned
and kinky-haired.’ In other words the
ancient Egyptians were true negroes of the same
stock as all the autochthonous peoples of Africa
and from that datum one sees how their race,
after some centuries of mixing with the blood
of Romans and Greeks, must have lost the full
blackness of its original colour but retained
the impress of its original mould. It is even
possible to apply this observation very widely
and posit in principle that physiognomy is a
kind of record usable in many cases for disputing
or elucidating the evidence of history on the
origins of the peoples . . .

After illustrating this proposition citing the case of the Normans, who 900 years after the conquest of Normandy still look like Danes, Volney adds:

but reverting to Egypt, its contributions
to history afford many subjects for philosophic reflection. What a subject for meditation is
the present-day barbarity and ignorance of the
Copts who were considered, born of the alliance
of the deep genius of the Egyptians and the
brilliance of the Greeks, that this race of
blacks who nowadays are slaves and the objects
of our scorn is the very one to which we owe our
arts, our sciences, and even the use of spoken word;
and finally recollect that it is in the midst of the peoples claiming to be the greatest friends of liberty and humanity that the most barbarous of enslavements
has been sanctioned and the question raised whether

black men have brains of the same quality as those of white men!42

To this testimony of Volney, Champollion-Figeac, brother of Champollion the Younger, was to reply in the following terms: ‘The two physical traits of black skin and kinky hair are not enough to stamp a race as negro and Volney’s conclusion as to the negro origin of the ancient population of Egypt is glaringly forced and inadmissible.’43

Being black from head to foot and having kinky hair is not enough to make a man a negro! This shows us the kind of specious argumentation to which Egyptology has had to resort since its birth as a science. Some scholars maintain that Volney was seeking to shift the discussion to a philisophic plane. But we have only to re-read Volney: he is simply drawing the inferences from crude material facts forcing themselves on his eyes and his conscience as proofs.

The Egyptians as They Saw Themselves

It is no waste of time to get the views of those principally concerned. How did the ancient Egyptians see themselves? Into which ethnic category did they put themselves? What did they call themselves? The language and literature left to us by the Egyptians of the Pharaonic epoch supply explicit answers to these questions which the scholars cannot refrain from minimizing, twisting or ‘interpreting.’

The Egyptians had only one term to designate themselves: [hieroglyphics]=kmt=the negroes (literally).44 This is the strongest term existing in the Pharaonic tongue to indicate blackness; it is accordingly written with a hieroglyph representing a length of wood charred at the end and not crocodile scales.45 This word is the etymological origin of the well-known root Kamit which has proliferated in modern anthropological literature. The biblical root kam is probably derived from it and it has therefore been necessary to distort the facts to enable this root today to mean ‘white’ in Egyptological terms whereas, in the Pharaonic mother tongue which gave it birth, it meant ‘coal black.’

In the Egyptian language, a word of assembly is formed from an adjective or a noun by putting it in the feminine singular. ‘kmt’ from the adjective [hieroglyphics] =km=black; it therefore means strictly negroes or at the very least black men. The term is a collective noun which thus described the whole people of Pharaonic Egypt as a black people.

In other words, on the purely grammatical plane, if one wishes to indicate negroes in the Pharaonic tongue, one cannot use any other word than the very one which the Egyptians used of themselves. Furthermore, the language offers us another term, [hieroglyphics] kmtjw=the negroes, the black men (literally)=the Egyptians, as opposed to ‘foreigners’ which comes from the same root km and which the Egyptians also used to describe themselves as a people as distinguished from all foreign peoples.46 These are the only adjectives of nationality used by the Egyptians to designate themselves and both mean ‘negro’ or ‘black’ in the Pharonic language. Scholars hardly ever mention them or when they do it is to translate them by euphemisms such as the ‘Egyptians’ while remaining completely silent about their etymological sense.47 They prefer the expression [hieroglyphics] Rmt kmt=the men of the country of the black men or the men of the black country.

In Egyptian, words are normally followed by a determinative which indicates their exact sense, and for this particuar expression Egyptologists suggest that [heiroglyphics] km=black and that the colour qualifies the determinative which follows it and which signifies ‘country’. Accordingly, they claim, the translation should be ‘the black earth’ from the colour of the loam, or the ‘black country’, and not ‘the country of the black men’ as we should be inclined to render it today with black Africa and white Africa in mind. Perhaps so, but if we apply this rule rigorously to [hieroglyphics] =kmit, we are forced to ‘concede that here the adjective “black” qualifies the determinative which signifies the whole people of Egypt shown by the two symbols for “man” and “woman” and the three strokes below them which indicate the plural’. Thus, if it is possible to voice a doubt as regards the expression [hieroglyphics] =Kme, it is not possible to do so in the case of the two adjectives of nationality [hieroglyphics] kmt and kmtjw unless one is picking one’s arguments completely at random.

It is a remarkable circumstance that the ancient Egyptians should never have had the idea of applying these qualificatives to the Nubians and other populations of Africa to distinguish them from themselves; any more than a Roman at the apogee of the empire could use a ‘colour’ adjective to distinguish himself from the Germani on the other bank of the Danube, of the same stock but still in the prehistoric age of development.

In either case both sides were of the same world in terms of physical anthropology, and accordingly the distinguishing terms used related to level of civilization or moral sense. For the civilized Romans, the Germans, of the same stock, were barbarians. The Egyptians used the expression [hieroglyphics] =na-has to designate the Nubians; and nahas48 is the name of a people, with no colour connotation in Egyptian. it is a deliberate mistranslation to render it as negro as is done in almost all present-day publications.

The Divine Epithets

Finally, black or negro is the divine epithet invariably

used for the chief beneficent gods of Egypt, whereas all the malevolent spirits are qualified as desret=red; we also know that to Africans this form applies to the white nations; it is practically certain that this held good for Egypt too but I want in this chapter to keep to the least debatable facts.

The surnames of the gods are these:

[hieroglyphics] =kmwr=the ‘Great Negro’ for Osiris49

[hieroglyphics] =km=the black + the name of the god50

[hieroglyphics] =kmt=the black + the name of the goddess51

The km (black) [hieroglyphics] qualificative is applied to Hathor, Apis, Min, Thoth, etc52 [hieroglyphics] set kmt=the black woman=Isis53 On the other hand ‘seth’, the sterile desert, is qualified by the term desret=red. 54 The wild animals which Horus fought to create civilization are qualified as desret=red, especially the hippopotamus.55 Similarly the maleficent beings wiped out by Thoth are Des= [hieroglyphics] =desrtjw=thr red ones; this term is the grammatical converse of Kmtjw and its construction follows the same rule for the formation of ‘nisbes’.

Witness of the Bible

The Bible tells us. ‘ . . .the sons of Ham [were] Cush, and Mizraim [i.e. Egypt], and Phut, and Canaan. And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah.56

Generally speaking all Semitic tradition (Jewish and Arab) classes ancient Egypt with the countries of the blacks.

The importance of these depositions cannot be ignored, for these are peoples (the Jews) which lived side by side with the ancient Egyptians and sometimes in symbiosis with them and have nothing to gain by presenting a false ethnic picture of them. Nor is the notion of an erroneous interpretation of the facts any more tenable.57

Cultural Data

Among the innumerable identical cultural traits recorded in Egypt and in present-day black Africa, it is proposed to refer only to circumcision and totemism.

According to the extract from Herodotus quoted earlier, circumcision is of African origin. Archaeology has confirmed the judgment of the Father of History for Elliott-Smith was able to determine from the examination of well-preserved mummies that circumcision was the rule among the Egyptians as long ago as the protohistoric era,58 i.e. earlier than -4000.

Egyptian totemism retained its vitality down to the Roman period59 and Plutarch also mentions it. The researches of Amelineau6,60 Loret, Moret and Adolphe Reinach have clearly demonstrated the existence of an Egyptian totemic system, in refutation of the champions of the zoolatric thesis.

If we reduce the notion of the totem to that
of a fetish, usually representing an animal
of a species with which the tribe believes
it has special ties formally renewed at
fixed intervals, and which is carried into
battle like a standard; if we accept this
minimal but adequate definition of a totem,
it can be said that there was no country
where totemism had a more brilliant reign
than in Egypt and certainly nowhere where
it could be better studied.61

Linguistic Affinity

Walaf,62 a Senegalese language spoken in the extreme west of Africa on the Atlantic Ocean, is perhaps as close to ancient Egyptian as Coptic. An exhaustive study of this question has recently been carried out.63 In this chapter enough is presented to show that the kinship between ancient Egyptian and the languages of Africa is not hypothetical but a demonstrable fact which it is impossible for modern scholarship to thrust aside.

As we shall see, the kinship is genealogical in nature.

Egyptian Coptic Walaf

=kef=to grasp, (Saidique dialect) kef=seize a prey
to take a strip keh=to tame 65
(of something)64


kef i keh kef na
kef ek keh ek kef nga
kef et keh ere kef na
kef ef kef ef

kef es keh es kef ef na
kef es

kef n keh en kef nanu
kef ton keh etetu kef ngen
kef sen keh ey kef nanu


kef ni keh nei kef (on) na
kef (o) nek keh nek kef (on) nga
kef (o) net keh nere kef (on) na

kef (o) nef keh nef kef (on) ef na
kef (o) nes keh nes kef (on) es

kef (o) nen keh nen kef (on) nanu
kef (o) n ten keh netsten kef (on) ngen
kef (o) n sen67 keh ney68 kef (on) nanu


(symbol) =feh=go away feh=rush off

We have the following correspondences between the verb forms,
with identity of similarity of meaning: all the Egyptian verb
forms, except for two, are also recorded in Walaf.


feh-ef feh-ef
feh-es feh-es
feh-n-ef feh-on-ef
feh-n-es feh-ones

feh-w feh-w

feh-wef feh-w-ef
feh-w-es feh-w-es

feh-w-a-ef feh-il-ef
feh-w-n-es feh-w-on-es

feh-in-ef feh-il-ef
feh-in-es fen-il-es
feh-t-ef feh-t-ef
feh-t-es feh-es
feh-tyfy feh-ati-fy
feh-tysy feh-at-ef

feh-tw-ef mar-tw-ef
feh-tw-es mar-tw-es

feh-kw(i) fahi-kw

feh-n-tw-ef feh-an-tw-ef
feh-a-tw-es feh-an-tw-es

feh-y-ef feh-y-ef
feh-y-es fey-y-es


[symbol] =mer=love mar=lick (symbol)
mer-ef mar-ef
mer-es mar-es
mer-n-el mar-on-ef
mer-n-es mar-on-es

mer-w mar-w

mer-w-ef mar-w-ef

mer-w-n-f mar-w-on-ef
mer-w-n-es mar-w-on-es

mer-in-ef mar-il-ef
mer-in-es mar-il-es

mer-t-ef mar-t-ef
mer-t-es mar-t-es

mer-tw-ef mar-tw-ef
mer-tw-es mar-tw-es

mer-tyfy mar-at-ef
mer-t-tysy mar-aty-es

mar-kwi mari-kw
mer-y-ef mar-y-ef
mer-y-es mar-y-es
mer-n-tw-ef mar-an-tw-ef
mer-n-tw-es mar-antw-es

Egyptian and Walaf Demonstratives

There are the following phonetic correspondents between Egyptian and Walaf demonstratives;

[This section was omitted because of the difficulty of reproducing the symbols on the Internet]

These phonetic correspondences are not ascriable either to elementary affinity or to the general laws of the human mind for they are regular correspondences on outstanding points extending through an entire system, that of the demonstratives in the two languages and that of the verbal languages. It is through the application of such laws that it was possible to demonstrate the existence of the Indo-European linguistic family.

The comparison could be carried to show that the majority of the phonemes remain unchanged between the two languages. The few changes which are of great interest are the following:

[This section was omitted because of the difficulty of reproducing the symbols on the Internet]

It is still early to talk with precision of the vocalic accompaniment of the Egyptian phonemes. But the way is open for the rediscovery of the vocalics of ancient Egyptian from comparative studies with the languages of Africa.


The structure of African royalty, with the king put to death, either really or symbolically, after a reign which varied in length but was in the region of eight years, recalls the ceremony of the Pharaoh’s regeneration through the Sed feast. Also reminiscent of Egypt are the circumcision rites mentioned earlier and the totemism, cosmogonies, architecture, musical instruments, etc., of Africa.71 Egyptian antiquity is to African culture what Graceo-Roman antiquity is to Western culture. The building up of a corpus of African humanities should be based on this fact.

It will be understood how difficult it is to write such a chapter in a work of this kind, where euphemism and compromise are the rule. In an attempt to avoid sacrificing scientific truth, therefore, we made a point of suggesting three preliminaries to the preparation of this volume, all of which were agreed to at the plenary session held in 1971. 72 The first two led to the holding of the Cairo Symposium from 28 January to 3 February 1974. 73 In this connection I should like to refer to certain passages in the report of that symposium. Professor Vercoutter, who had been commissioned by Unesco to write the introductory report, acknowledged after a thorough discussion that the conventional idea that the Egyptian population was equally divided between blacks, whites and half-castes could not be upheld.. ‘Professor Vercoutter agreed that no attempt should be made to estimate percentages, which meant nothing, as it was impossible to establish them without reliable statistical data’. On the subject of Egyptian culture: ‘Professor Vercoutter remarked that, in his view, Egypt was African in its way of writing, in its cullture and in its way of thinking’.

Professor Lecant, for his part, ‘recognized the same African character in the Egyptian temperament and way of thinking’.

In regard to linguistics, it is stated in the report that ‘this item, in contrast to those previously discussed, revealed a large measure of agreement among the participants. The outline by Professor Diop and the report by Professor Obenga were regarded as being very constructive’.

Similarly, the symposium rejected the idea that Pharaonic Egyptian was a Semitic language. ‘Turning to wider issues, Professor Sauneron drew attention to the interest of the method suggested by Professor Obenga following Professor Diop. Egyptian remained a stable language for a period of at least 4500 years. Egypt was situated at the point of convergence of outside influences and it was to be expected that borrowing had been made from foreign languages, but the Semitic roots numbered only a few hundred as compared with a total of several thousand words. The Egyptian language could not be isolated from its African context and its origin could not be fully explained in terms of Semitic, it was thus quite normal to expect to find related languages in Africa’.

The genetic, that is, non-accidental relationship between Egyptian and the African languages was recognized: ‘Professor Sauneron noted that the method which had been used was of considerable interest, since it could not be purely fortuitous that there was a similarity between the third person singular suffixed pronouns in Ancient Egyptian and in Wolof, he hoped that an attempt would be made to reconstitute a palaeo-African language, using present-day languages as a starting point’.

In the general conclusion to the report it was stated that: ‘Although the preparatory working paper sent out by Unesco gave particulars of what was desired, not all participants had prepared communications comparable with the painstakingly researched contributions of Professors Cheikh Anta Diop and Obenga. There was consequently a real lack of balance in the discussions’.

A new page of African historiography was accordingly written in Cairo. The symposium recommended that further studies be made on the concept of race. Such studies have since been carried out, but they have not contributed anything new to the historical discussion. They tell us that molecular biology and genetics recognize the existence of populations alone, the concept of race being no longer meaningful. Yet whenever there is any question of the transmission of a hereditary taint, the concept of race in the most classic sense of the term comes into its own again, for genetics tells us that ‘sickle-cell anaemia occurs only in negroes’. The truth is that all these ‘anthropologists’ have already in their own minds drawn the conclusions deriving from the triumph of the monogenetic theory of mankind without venturing to put them into explicit terms, for if mankind originated in Africa, it was necessarily negroid becoming white through mutation and adaptation at the end of the last glaciation in Europe in the Upper Palaeolithic; and is not more understandable why the Grimaldian negroids first occupied Europe for 10,000 years before Cro-Magnon Man-the prototype of the white race-appeared (around -2,000).

The idealogical standpoint is also evident in apparently objective studies. In history and in social relations, it is the phenotype, that is, the individual or the people as that individual or people is perceived, which is the dominant factor, as opposed to the genotype. For present-day genetics, a Zulu with the ‘same’ genotype as Vorster is not impossible. Does this mean that the history we are witnessing will put the two phenotypes, that is, the two individuals, on the same footing in all their national and social activities? Certainly not — the opposition will remain not social but ethnic.

This study makes it necessary to rewrite world history from a more scientific standpoint, taking into account the Negro-African component which was for a long time preponderant. It means that it is now possible to build up a corpus of Negro-African humanities resting on a sound historical basis instead of being suspended in mid-air. Finally, if it is true that only truth is revolutionary, it may be added that only rapprochement brought about on a basis of truth can endure. The cause of human progress is not well served by casting a veil over the fact.

The rediscovery of the true past of the African peoples should not be a divisive factor but should contribute to uniting them, each and all, binding them together from the north to the south of the continent so as to enable them to carry out together a new historical mission for the greater good of mankind; and that is in keeping with the ideal of Unesco.


1. Proceedings of the Seventh Pan-African Congress of Pre-History and Quaternary Studies, December 1971

2. M.F.A. Montagu, 1960, p. 390.

3. The study of this race’s pigmentation can be carried farther by the method described; actually Elliott-Smith often found patches of skin on the bodies and the mummification methods which cause skin deterioration were not yet in use.


4. D.P. de Pedrals, p.6.

5. Geographie, classe de 5, 1950.

6. In his ‘Lutte des races” (1883) L. Gumplovicz asserts that the diverse classes making up a people always represent different races, of which one has established its domination over the others by conquest. G. deLapounge in an article published in 1897 postulated no less than a dozen ‘fundamental laws of anthropo-sociology’ of which the following are typical; his ‘law of distribution of wealth’ posits that, in countries of mixed European-Alpine populations, wealth is greater in inverse proportions to the cephalic index; the ‘law of urban indices’ given prominence by Ammon in connexion with his research on Badener conscripts asserted that town dwellers exhibit greater dolichocephaly than the people in the adjacent countryside; the ‘law of stratification’ was formulated in the following terms: ‘the cephalic index decreases and the proportion of dolichocephalics rises the higher the social class, in each locality’. In his Selections sociales’ the same writer had no hesitation in asserting that ‘the dominant class in the feudal epoch belongs almost exclusively to the variety “Homo Europaeus” so that it is not pure chance which has kept the poor at the foot of the social ladder but their congenital inferiority’.

We thus see that German racism was inventing nothing new, when Alfred Rosenberg asserted that the French Revolution must be deemed a revolt of the brachycephalics of the Alpine stock against the dolichocephalics of the Nordic race.’ (A. Cuvillier, p. 155)

7. W.M.F. Petrie, 1939, Fig. 1.

8. ibid., p. 69.

9. ibid., p. 68.

10. E. Amelineau, 1908, p. 174.

11. Pl. 1.2.

12. Pl. 1.3.

13. W.M.F. Petrie, 1939, p.67.

14. Pl. 1.11.

15. Pl. 1.5.

16. pl. 1.8.

17. Pl. 1.7 I know that ‘Indo-European’ is usually said to be a language, not a race, but I prefer this term to ‘Aryan’ wherever its use causes no confusion.

18. Pl. 1.2.

19. Pl. 1.13.

20. R.A. Nicolaus, p. 11.

21. T.J. Pettigrew, 1834, pp. 70-71.

22. C.A. Diop, 1977.

23. M.E. Fontant, pp. 44-5 (see reproduction: T).

24. M.F.A. Montagu, p. 337.

25. In the fifth century before our era, at the time when Herodotus visited Egypt, a black-skinned people, the Colchians, were still living in Colchis on the Armenian shore of the Black Sea, East of the ancient port of Trebizond, surrounded by white-skinned nations.

The scholars of antiquity wondered about this people’s origins and Herodotus in “Euterpe’, the second book of his history on Egypt, tries to prove that the Colchians were Egyptians, whence the arguments we quote. Herodotus, on the strength of commemorative stelae, erected by Sesostris in conquered countries, asserts that this monarch had got as far as Thrace and Seythia, where stelae would seem to have been still standing in his day (Book II, 103).

26. Herodotus, Book II, 104. As with many peoples in black Africa, Egyptian women underwent excision of the clitoris: ef. Strabo, Geography, Book XVII, Ch. I.

27. Herodotus, Book II, 57.

28. Seneca, Questions of Nature, Book IV, 17.

29. Herodotus, Book II, 22.

30. Aristotle, Physiognomy, 6.

31. Lucian, Navigations, paras 2-3.

32. Apollodoros, Book II, ‘The Family of Inachus’, paras 3 and 4.

33. Aeschylus, The Suppliants, vv. 719-20. See also v. 745.

34. Strabo, Geography, Book I, ch. 3, para. 10.

35. My italics.

36. Diodorus, Universal History, Book III. The antiquity of the Ethiopian civilization is attested by the most ancient and most venerable Greek writer, Homer, in both the Lliad and the Odessey: ‘Jupiter followed today by all the gods receives the sacrifices of the Ethiopians’ (Iliad, I, 422). ‘Yesterday to visit holy Ethiopia Jupiter betook himself to the ocean shore’ (lliad, I, 423).

37. Diogenes Laertius, Book VII,i.

38. The Egyptian notables liked to have a Syrian or Cretan female slave in their harems.

39. Ammianus Marcellinus, Book XXII, para 16 (23).

40. Pirate gangs who worked from small ships called Camare.

41. Ammianus Marcellinus, Book XXII, para. 8 (24).

42. M.C.F. Volney, Voyages en Syrie et en Egypte, Paris, 1787, Vol. I, pp. 74-7.

43. J.J. Champollion-Figeac, 1839, pp. 26-7.

44. This important discovery was made, on the African side, by Sossou Nsougan, who was to compile this part of the present chapter. For the sense of the word see Worterbuch der Aegyptischen Sprache, Vol 5, 1971, pp. 122 and 127.

45. ibid., p. 122.

46. ibid., p. 128.

47. R.O. Faulkner, 1962, p. 286.

48. Worterbuch der agyptischen Sprache, p. 128.

49. ibid. p. 124.

50. ibid., p. 125.

51. ibid., p. 123.

52. It should be noted that set-kem=black wife in Walaf.

53. Worterbuch der agyptischen Sprache, p. 492.

54. ibid., p. 493.

55. Desret= blood in Egyptian; deret=blood in Walaf; ibid., p. 494.

56. Genesis, 10:6-7.

57. C.A. Diop, 1955, pp. 33ff.

58. E. Massoulard, 1949, p. 386.

59. Juvenal, Satire XV, vv. 1-14.

60. E. Amelineau, op. cit.

61. A. Recnach, 1913, p. 17.

62 Often spelt Wolof.

63. C.A. diop, 1977.

64. R. Lambert, 1925, p. 129.

65. A. Mallon, pp. 207-34.

66. A. de Buck, 1952.

67. ibid.

68. A. Mallon, pp. 207-34.

69. By extension=love intensely (hence the verb mar-maral) after the fashion of a female animal licking the cub which she has just borne. This sense does not conflict with the other notion which the determinative may convey of a man raising hand to mouth.

70. See below for the explanation of this important law.

71. See C.A. Diop, 1967.

72. See final Report of the First Plenary Session of the International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a general History of Africa, UNESCO, 30 March-8 April 1974.

73. Symposium of ‘The peopling of ancient Egypt and the deciphering of the Meriotic script’. Cf. Studies and Documents No. I UNESCO, 1978.

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November 24, 2007


Ma Sholmcha, Brother
Black Hebrews find the way to their Biblical homeland

STA Travel/1999
By Adrienne Sanders
Abshalom ben Shlomo adjusts his saxophone reed, clears his throat and blasts a soulful jazz riff. On the stage behind him, twenty robed men and women thunder gospel tunes. Members of the audience sway, sing the impassioned spirituals and clap hands.

“You play it brother! Sing for the Lord! ” some shout.

Ben Shlomo and the New World Choir aren’t performing in a Southern Baptist church or a cavernous Harlem jazz club, but in the heart of Israel’s Negev desert. Their music is jazzy gospel, but it makes no reference to Christ and focuses on the prophets, places and heroes of Israel.

Ben Shlomo and the members of the New World Choir are some of the 2,000 African-American ex-patriates living in Israel. These Black Hebrew Israelites believe they are descendants of the biblical tribe of Judah, one of the twelve tribes of Israel mentioned in the Old Testament. Jews in the “tribal sense,” their beliefs and practices combine elements of Judaism, African traditions, and customs from their own experiences in the US.

The Black Hebrews have been in Israel for three decades–but not by invitation. Like other groups seeking rights to the Holy Land, the Israeli government and Orthodox Rabbinate refuse to grant them legitimacy. The Black Hebrews seek permanent residence under Israel’s Law of Return, which grants automatic citizenship to Jews that are born to a Jewish mother or who have converted.

“If they say they’re Jewish, they have to prove it (with proper documentation) or convert,” said assistant to Israel’s chief religious authority, Rabbi Raphael Dayan in an interview.

In 1969, the Black Hebrews entered Israel with conditional temporary status. After this status expired, they remained in Israel illegally for two decades. During that time the Israeli government refrained from deporting them for fear of being charged with racism, according to US Embassy officials. Only in the late 1980’s did Interior Minister Arieh Deri finally review their case. Now, the Interior Ministry declares that, as long as their status is under review, the Black Hebrews are legal in Israel.

Like Moses did with his tribesman ages ago, spiritual leader Ben Ammi ben Israel led his loyal flock from the steel factories and autoplants of Detroit and Chicago to the land of milk and honey. Then a 26-year-old metal worker, Ben Carter says that a vision of the Angel Gabriel instructed him to lead his community back to their biblical homeland. Altogether some 300 devotees departed with him during the race riots of the late sixties.

“America was our Babylon, our place of bondage,” says Ben Shlomo, jazz musician, and community leader of external affairs. “Black people in the States are still wandering in the desert. They’re living with the leftovers of slavery.”

The Black Hebrews view their slavery in the Americas as divine chastisement for their ancestors’ breaking the Ten Commandments. And like the ancient Israelites, their return to Israel is their deliverance from bondage. They even celebrate a New World Passover, commemorating their exodus out of America.

On their journey to Israel, which they consider to be in Northeast Africa, the group settled in the Liberian bush for two years of lifestyle cleansing.

“We had to rid ourselves of bad habits and adjust to a more natural lifestyle–eat food that didn’t come from cans,” says Ben Shlom.” Some of us had to quit cigarettes, drugs and alcohol.”

Harsh conditions in the West African bush forced more than three-quarters of the original settlers back to the US. The remaining group of some 40 tenacious souls finally emigrated to Israel in 1969. The community, which has since spawned three generations and thousands of followers, is believed to be the largest organized settlement of African-Americans outside the United States.

The former urbanites are concentrated in Israel’s southern desert town of Dimona, also home to a nuclear reactor. Though their box houses are flimsy and the surrounding town is an industrial eyesore, the settlement fosters a fairytale feeling. Women are wrapped in the indigo cloth and headdresses of African royalty. Sandaled men stroll with staffs. Aside from their Hebrew names, practically everyone has a regal title denoting their place in the administrative hierarchy– holy princes, divine ministers, divine orders of the crowned brothers and sisters. Smiling children greet adults with a polite “Shalom.” Photos of bearded spiritual leader Ben Ammi decorate the walls.

Another part of the mystical atmosphere in Dimona is that people look much younger than their years — eyes sparkle, skin is smooth. They exercise often in their gym facilities, don’t smoke or use drugs and are strictly vegetarian.

“You get no nutrition from what is dead,” said Ben Shlomo.

According to Ben Shlomo, in the near 30 years that they have lived in Israel, no one has died of disease. Indeed, the Black Hebrews seem to have escaped the ills that haunt many communities. They say crime and drug use within the community are non-existent. Streets are safe.

“My sister back in East Orange, New Jersey, her kids can’t even play outside because it’s so dangerous,” said sister Bahtiyah.

Like Israel’s socialist kibbutzniks, Black Hebrews function communally. Food and supplies are distributed in a central cantina. Ninety-percent of their clothing is hand-sewn in tiny workshops. They share profits from their vegetarian restaurant in Tel Aviv and outside jobs.

Their community is also known for their music. Israeli and international audiences love their upbeat jazz. Proceeds from their world tours are evenly distributed. Ashalom ben Shlomo sharpens his sounds in a modest studio attached to his house, where posters of 1960s jazz idols cover the walls. John Coltrane is his favorite.

Black Hebrews eat, pray and party together in community centers. Children study mainstream and spiritual lessons together in the newly constructed “Brotherhood School” funded in part by the US embassy in Israel. According to a Jerusalem Report article, “American Embassy officials are almost effusive in their praise for the group.”

As for their relationship to traditional Judaism, Black Hebrews follow the Old Testament or Torah, but ignore all commentaries on the law. Most are fluent in Hebrew and English. Their unique mixture of cultures creates rhythmic sentences like, “Ma sholm cha brother?” (How are you brother?)

They observe the Jewish holy days mentioned directly in the Torah such as Passover, Yom Kippur and Succoth. They follow the laws of circumcision and traditional cleanliness. For instance, women are separated from their husbands during menstruation and undergo a bathing purification process.

Like the patriarchs in the Torah, the men are polygamous. Spiritual leader Ben Ammi has four wives and 15 children. Women married to the same man are called “sister wives.” A family unit, typically comprised of a husband, two or three wives and many children, lives in the same house. Sister wives help deliver each other’s children in the “House of Life,” a natural-childbirth center. When one sister wife is ritually separated from her husband during menstruation, the other attends the household and husband’s needs.

Women in the community actually applaud male polygamy. “It works out well. I really respect my sister wife. Also, the monthly separation is for our benefit, believe me,” said Sister Shamiyah, as she shifts the toddler she’s holding from one hip to another.

Ben Shlomo added, “It’s not about being with many women. We denounce sexual promiscuity. As men, we have a moral responsibility to respect, honor and care for our wives. In our community, you have to be emotionally and financially equipped to get married.”

Women aren’t polygamous because, as Sister Shamiyah puts it, “You don’t go around planting all different seeds in the same place. That would be chaos. One man’s seed per egg, that’s the natural order of things. And besides, there are many more women in our community than men.”

For all their apparent harmony and settlement successes, the Black Hebrews have had their share of problems. Restless and curious about life outside the insular community, some young people have left the community. A few say they had been victims of physical abuse. “We support the authority of the parents. Families are not democracies,” said Ben Shlomo. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is a phrase frequently echoed in Black Hebrew circles.

The Black Hebrews are perceived as violent and undesirable by many Israelis. “What are we going to do, let everyone who wants to come to Israel just come in?” said Yoel Parnasa, a resident of a neighboring desert town.

Their biggest problem, however, remains with the Israeli government and the assertion of Jewishness.

Claims to Judaism are a touchy issue in Israel, dividing even mainstream Jews. Debates over “Who is a Jew” have caused conflicts between Israelis and Diaspora Jews. (A bill is currently pending that would grant Orthodox Jews rabbinical courts exclusive jurisdiction over those seeking to convert. Non-orthodox conversions and religious status have already begun to be challenged in the parliament.)

In any case, the Black Hebrews won’t convert. “It’s a matter of principal,” Ben Shlomo explained with the peculiar logic typical of his group. “We’re our own spiritual community. We’re not a religion. Religion has nothing to do with God.”


November 24, 2007


Black Hebrews hope Eurovision attention will improve their plight
The Jerusalem Post/May 28, 1999
By Michael S. Arnold
Dimona — Ben-Ammi Ben-Israel, the spiritual leader of the Black Hebrew community in Dimona, said the participation of Black Hebrews Gabriel and Eddi Butler on Israel’s Eurovision Song Contest team tomorrow night will help focus attention on the plight of the community.

Ben-Ammi, as he is referred to in the community, spoke to The Jerusalem Post at a festival for New World Passover, which marks the exodus of the community’s founders from the US to Liberia 32 years ago and then, two years later, to Dimona. Some 2,000 Black Hebrews live in Israel today.

The group claims descent from the ancient Israelites, some of whom, they contend, wandered through West Africa after the biblical expulsions. Many American blacks are descended from West African slaves.

Despite their claims of Jewish descent, the Black Hebrews – or the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, as they call themselves – have been denied citizenship by the Interior Ministry and restricted to temporary-resident status.

Thus, when the Butlers take the stage tomorrow night, along with sabra partners Doron Oren and Raphael Dahan, half of Israel’s representation at the Eurovision technically will not even be Israeli.

“It’s a great sense of pride,” Ben-Ammi said of the Butlers’ participation, “but the next feeling is, after 30 years, they’re not even citizens, they’re not even recognized… after 30 years, our dedication to the State of Israel should be unquestionable.”

The singers’ father, Prince Gavriel Butler said: “We’re just bursting out with pride, the whole community, because the whole community helped to raise these boys.”

Butler, whose five sons all are entertainers, said Gabriel started performing at age nine. Eddi was a naughty child, and when his parents would stand him in the corner as punishment, he would spend the time singing.

“If [Eddi and Gabriel] were now in the United States, it’s questionable that they would still be with us,” Butler said. “We’re a strong family, but the environment would swallow us. They could have become addicts, gangsters.”

When they take the stage tomorrow night, the Butlers will not only be trying to repeat the success of last year’s Eurovision winner Dana International, they will be making an important statement for their community.

“Individuals will be appalled when they find out” that the Butlers can’t become citizens, Ben-Ammi said. “We’ll get a few more letters, a few more allies, and it’s going to give us a stronger hand. It’s going to help us.”


November 24, 2007


Black Hebrews to receive permanent home in Negev agricultural villa
Israel Insider/November 26, 2002
By Ellis Shuman
After years of living in Israel but lacking Israeli citizenship, the Black Hebrew community of Dimona will be awarded a permanent home in a Negev agricultural village based on principles of organic farming.

“The time has come for our cry to be heard,” said Ben-Ammi Carter in Hebrew marked by distinctly Biblical tones. “What more do we need to do be recognized as people of this land and entitled to the rights granted to all citizens? Thank the Lord that the government heard our outcry and now we are moving in the right direction.”

The new village, approved by the Ministry of Housing and supported by the United Kibbutz Movement, will be built in the Halutza Sands region of the western Negev Desert, near Israel’s border with Egypt. Yediot Aharonot reported that Black leaders from the United States helped lobby for a practical solution to the stateless status of the Black Hebrews and that the American Congress was donating $1 million to the project.

Carter, 63, who goes by the name Ben-Ammi Ben Israel, is the leader of the 1,500-member Black Hebrew community that first arrived in Israel from Chicago and Liberia in 1969 under the belief they were descendents of one of the lost ten tribes of Israel. Israeli authorities rejected claims that Black Hebrews were authentic Jews and insisted in vain that they convert to Judaism so they could be recognized as full citizens.

“Our identity is here in Israel. We are Hebrew Israelites, not Americans, and I think the Israeli government hasn’t known what to do with us,” said Yaffa Bat-Gavriel, 44, who came to Dimona in 1976.

In the 1980s a special government committee headed by MK David Glass (National Religious Party) recommended that Israel establish a farming community for the Black Hebrews in the Negev or Arava. But for the most part, Israeli leaders ignored the growing community and their lack of citizenship.

Seven years ago a school was built in Dimona for the Black Hebrews, donated by the American government. Over the years, the community opened up to Israeli society, and its colorful singing troupes and softball teams made their mark on the local cultural scene. In 1999, community members Eddi and Gabriel Butler were part of the singing quartet that represented Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest. In January this year, singer Aharon Ben-Yisrael Alis, 32, was gunned down and killed when a terrorist stormed a Bat Mitzvah celebration in Hadera.

Even so, Israelis have regarded the practices of the Black Hebrew community, which include strict veganism, holistic medicine, and bigamy, as odd and subservient to the whims of Carter’s charismatic and cult-like leadership.

“Just because you live by certain rules, it does not mean you are a cult,” Bat-Gavriel said, quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In addition to the agricultural village, the Ministry of Housing is developing plans for a new neighborhood for the Black Hebrews in Dimona which will resolve their severe housing shortage. The new homes will take into consideration the fact that the Black Hebrews’ family unit is based on one adult man, several wives and many children, Yediot Aharonot reported.

In his short term as Interior Minister, MK Haim Ramon (Labor) said he saw no reason why the Black Hebrews shouldn’t be awarded Israeli citizenship. But Ramon’s replacement, MK Eli Yishai (Shas), blocked previously-prepared plans and has not worked towards resolving the status of Israel’s Black Hebrew community, the paper said.



November 24, 2007


(From the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website)
The Hebrew Israelite Community
29 Sep 2006

A phenomenon in a land full of phenomena is the story of the Hebrew Israelite Community in Dimona, Israel. Labeled over the years as “the Black Hebrews,” community members began arriving in Israel in 1969. Led by Ben Ammi Ben-Israel, they came from the United States via Liberia stating they are descendants of the tribe of Judah. In the nearly 40 years since, the community has moved from being unknown, to become kibbutz Shomrei Hashalom (Guardians of Peace), one of the largest urban kibbutzim in Israel. They presently number about 2000 in Dimona, with additional families in Arad, Mitzpe Ramon and the Tiberias area.

As with other communal settlements, the Hebrew Israelites maintain an ordered structure, with Ben Ammi sitting at the head of a council of 12 princes, who oversee the spiritual development of the kibbutz. Another 12 “ministers,” or the community management council, officiate the daily affairs in economics, education, sports and recreation, information and more. The community priesthood officiates weddings, Sabbath services and circumcisions for male children on the 8th day (according to Hebraic law). The Hebrews derive their income from their ever-popular music groups, as well as a soy foods product factory, specializing in the production of tofu, soy milk and ice cream. They also produce a varied line of cultural clothing from natural fibers which they market primarily abroad.

The community has become most noted for its healthy holistic lifestyle. All members are vegans, eating no meat, dairy products nor foods with chemical additives. Adult members exercise three times a week and are advised to have at least one full-body massage each month for its health benefits. They do not smoke or drink alcohol, except for naturally fermented wines they produce themselves. The health practices and organic agriculture program of the community have drawn visitors from around the world, especially government officials from Africa.

Today, community spokespersons are effective contributors to the national public relations effort, speaking to audiences on behalf of the State of Israel. The road to this position was not a simple one. Shortly after their arrival, the Chief Rabbinate decided not to recognize community members as Jews according to the Law of Return as they desired. For years the question of their status was a lingering issue. Legal status came about in May 1990 with first B/1 visas, followed by temporary residency a year later. That status was extended until August 2003 when the Ministry of Interior granted them permanent residency.

Since then, their activity and visibility have grown. Presently, more than 100 of their youth are serving in the Israeli Defense Forces in regular units; they operate a vegan eatery in Tel Aviv; their musicians perform across Israel and around the world, touring the US, Europe and Africa either solely with their own members or as a parts of other Israeli groups. They have created their own music genre which they call Songs of Deliverance producing CDs.

In sports they have represented the nation at home and in Europe in track and field and national softball events, including the Maccabiah games. Their students have represented Israel in international academic competitions. Twice they have represented Israel in Eurovision, the international music competition.

In February 2005 in conjunction with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the civil rights organization established by civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Hebrews opened the Dr. Martin Luther King/SCLC – Ben Ammi Institute for a New Humanity, a conflict resolution center in Dimona to teach holistic non-violence and reconciliation to families, communities, faiths and nations. Their story is a testimony of the great growth and maturity of the State of Israel and its people.

Taken from Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website:

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