Archive for November, 2007

PROFESSOR MOLEFI KETE ASANTE WRITES ON”STOLEN LEGACY(HOW GREEKS STOLE BLACK EGYPTIAN PHILOSOPHY) AT ASANTE.NET

November 11, 2007

FROM asante.net

Stolen Legacy: An Introduction

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Molefi Kete Asante

When George G. M. James wrote Stolen Legacy in l954 he had no awareness that his little book would become one of the most threatening pieces of literature ever published in the United States of America. Stolen Legacy was not dangerous in the sense that it called for revolution against oppression or that it promoted attacks on white racists. What distinguished the work of George G .M. James was the fact that it struck at the jugular of white Western notions of superiority. James may not have known that his work would have the impact it did on the world, but he knew that it was necessary to set the record straight about the ancient history of philosophy.
One could easily have overlooked James’ contribution to scholarship given the fact that he was a professor at a small African American college in Arkansas, a long way from the fabled halls of ivory or ebony in American education. Pine Bluff was neither Harvard nor Howard, and a professor who taught at the Arkansas school in the l950s was making a sacrifice in the name of education. But this had been the history of George G. M. James. He had come from Guyana, like so many intellectuals before and after, and was completely won over by the epic struggles of Africans in the United States.
James was not only a good teacher but he was an avid reader in the African and European classics. He knew very early in his career that something was wrong with the way the history of philosophy was written by European scholars. They had assumed that philosophy started with the Greeks and had written books establishing a lie as truth. This greatly disturbed the mind of George G. M. James. He was certain that the European writers had it wrong and knew that they knew that the record was distorted.. He saw it as the deliberate falsification of history.
What could he do to re-write the history? How could he contribute to the scholarship surrounding ancient Egypt and Greece? What could his contribution be to the emerging issues that had to be confronted by a new generation of African scholars? This was a massive undertaking that had to be done alongside his tremendous teaching load of at least five courses each semester. George G. M. James was a determined man. He could not allow the falsehoods about philosophy to remain unchallenged regardless of his workload.
Thus, during the turbulent l950s, the era of boycotts, the Klu Klux Klan, major Supreme Court hearings, and organized protests, the quiet scholar gathered his books on Ptahhotep, Merikare, Akhenaten, Amenemhat, Amenemope, Duauf, Thales, Plato, Pythagoras, Aristotle, and sat down at his worn, pine desk to write.
James knew that Egypt predated Greece by thousands of years. He also knew that the great teachers of Egypt, Imhotep, Sonchis, Wennofer, Amenhotep, son of Hapu, and others had not sat around doing nothing for hundreds of years. There was nothing in the ancient record to indicate that the Africans in Egypt waited in a fog until the arrival of the Greeks before they started thinking, reflecting, and acting on the basis of their cognitions. James knew that the major centers of world philosophy long before Homer’s Iliad in 800 BC were the cities of On, Abydos, Mennefer, Waset, and Syene. In these sacred cities, the priests, who were also scribes, assembled to teach initiates the fundamentals of medicine, law, politics, geometry, architecture, sculpture, mathematics, and astronomy.
George G. M. James would plumb this knowledge base and arrive at the most provocative conclusion his research could afford, namely, there is no such thing as Greek philosophy, only stolen Egyptian philosophy.
Outrage white scholars would cry and ask, how could a black man in Arkansas come up with such a crazy idea? Alas, Stolen Legacy became one of the first African American books to be banned from the universities and colleges of America. Few whites would ever see the book and those who saw it would swear that it was part of some infamous plot, preferably by some outside power, to destroy white Western culture. What could be the reason for such venom against a small book? It is because James took seriously the work of the ancient scholars, African and European, in his assessment of the situation and those who responded in anger were actually hostile toward the ancients.
Herodotus, a 5th century BC Greek historian and traveler, had written in Book II of his History that the Greeks borrowed many ideas, concepts, and activities from the ancient Egyptians. They borrowed practices of medicine, philosophy, politics, hygiene, and architecture. Stolen Legacy is powerful in its assault because of the deliberate use of the title to draw attention to the fact that Greeks borrowed and yet the descendants of the early Greeks now claim that they do not know anything about what was borrowed. Consequently, they have stolen the legacy of Africa and now claim that it belongs to them. Ideas such as the wearing of long robes or gowns during academic exercises and the solemn processions for various ceremonies were African, not European, and yet Europe has often claimed these as its own.
When George G. M. James wrote about Stolen Legacy in the l950s he was doing as much as anyone to improve race relations. He knew that the only way race relations would be improved would be when white racial supremacy as a doctrine was overturned. Furthermore, James was convinced by science and history that the way whites had organized information and knowledge about the African world was racist. It was a deliberate attack and assault on the nature of the African person. But it was up to African people to find the methods of social reformation and African redemption.
Where best to discover the source of Africa’s power and energy than in the classical teachings of the African philosophers who lived before Thales, Socrates, or Plato? Thus, he gives to posterity a book of nine chapters that are filled to the brim with information gleaned from the major sources of knowledge in the Western and African worlds. This is not a made-up book; it is not an improper book as one librarian had said to an inquirer when asked why Stolen Legacy was not in the Cornell University library. Well, it is a proper book and given the standards of the l950s it was one of the best books written during that period. It was the primary intention of George G. M. James to overthrow the system that had oppressed Africans by concealing the truth about African history and culture. To expose what the white scholars had tried to conceal, James went into the ancient texts and came out with a profound statement of truth. We are deeply indebted to the courage of George G. M. James for leaving us a legacy of critical thinking and insight.

Study Questions
The following study questions are as relevant today as when George G. M. James wrote Stolen Legacy:
1. What were the aims James had for this project?
2. Who had Africans been taught to idolized as founders and fathers of philosophy and the arts and sciences?
3. What was Europe’s intention vis-à-vis the information that Africa was indeed the continent of the origin of human arts and sciences?
4. How could African people find what James called “social reformation”?
5. What is the meaning of African redemption in the mind of George G. M. James?
6. What were the principal ideas that had to be mastered by the student to achieve the level of consciousness that would bring about African redemption?
7. Why is James’ Stolen Legacy still relevant today?

Note
Molefi Kete Asante, author of Egyptian Philosophers, is professor of African American Studies at Temple University. He is the author or editor of 48 books.

AUTHOR OF STOLEN LEGACY(HOW THE GREEKS STOLE THEIR PHILOSOPHY FROM BLACK EGYPT)DR. GEORGE G.M. JAMES AND HIS LIFE BY BROTHER RUNOKO RASHIDI AT SAXAKALI.COM

November 11, 2007

from saxakali.com

Runoko Rashidi
email: rrashidi@swbell.net

THE GLOBAL AFRICAN COMMUNITY
HISTORY NOTES:
DR. GEORGE G.M. JAMES
AND THE STOLEN LEGACY OF AFRICAN PEOPLE

DEDICATED TO

DR. PETER DAWSON

AND

DR. ALFRED M. LIGON

“The term Greek philosophy, to begin with, is a misnomer, for there is no such philosophy in existence.”
Dr. George Granville Monah James was born in Georgetown, Guyana, South America. He was the son of Reverend Linch B. and Margaret E. James.

George G.M. James earned Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Theology and Master of Arts degrees from Durham University in England and was a candidate there for the D.Litt degree. He conducted research at London University and did postgraduate work at Columbia University where he read for his Ph.D. Dr. James earned a teaching certificate in the State of New York to teach mathematics, Latin and Greek. James later served as Professor of Logic and Greek at Livingston College in Salisbury, North Carolina for two years, and eventually taught at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff.

Dr. James was the author of the widely circulated Stolen Legacy: The Greeks Were Not the Authors of Greek Philosophy, But the People of North Africa, Commonly Called the Egyptians – a controversial text originally published in 1954 and reprinted a number of times since.
Professor William Leo Hansberry reviewed Stolen Legacy in the Journal of Negro Education in 1955, and noted that:
“In Stolen Legacy an author with a passion for justice and truth champions a startling thesis with which most of the little volume’s readers – Hellenophiles in particular – will no doubt strongly disagree. In this work Professor James dares to contend and labor to prove, among others, that ‘the Greeks were not the authors of Greek philosophy’, that ‘so-called Greek philosophy’ was based in the main upon ideas and concepts which were borrowed without acknowledgement – indeed ‘stolen’ – by a few wayward and dishonest Greeks from the ancient Egyptians.”

Stolen Legacy was written during Dr. James’ tenure at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. As of today, there is not even a copy of the book in the University library. There is no statue or bust of Dr. James on the campus. There is no plaque of Dr. James adorning the campus walls. There is not even a certificate to note Dr. James’ existence or that he even lived. This is at an historically Black college!

Dr. James’s tragic death, under mysterious circumstances, reputedly, came shortly after Stolen Legacy’s publication. To date, no significant biography of James has been presented.

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[1998] Runoko Rashidi. All Rights Reserved.
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MORE ON THE BLACKamerikkkan JEWS IN ISRAEL BY APOLOGETICSINDEX.ORG

November 6, 2007

from apologeticsindex.org

Quotations from the page on Black Hebrew Israelites omitting some negative comments about this misunderstood group.

Practising a strict version of kibbutz-style collectivism and Old Testament ethics — including polygamy and veganism — the Black Hebrews are not recognised as Jews by Israel’s rabbinate.

The Black Hebrews believe they are descended from one of ancient Israel’s 10 lost tribes by way of Africa and the slave routes to America, an account most scholars dismiss as myth.
Source: Israel grants ”Black Hebrews” permanent residency, Reuters, July 29, 2003

The Black Hebrews believe they are descended from Israelites who were expelled from Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70 and then migrated for more than 1,000 years before reaching West Africa and later the United States as slaves.

According to the teachings of their leader, Ben Ammi Ben Israel, the cruel chapters of their history were part of God’s plan to lead them back to their homeland — Israel.

That belief sprang from a vision that Ben Ammi says he had in 1966 when he was a Chicago foundry worker named Ben Carter. In the dream, archangel Gabriel told him that many African Americans were descendants of the lost Israeli tribe of Judah.

Carter’s epiphany led him to gather 30 followers in 1967 and move to Liberia — a country founded by freed American slaves in 1847 — for a two- year “cleansing period” on the way to the Promised Land.

Upon arrival, Israeli authorities directed the newcomers to the remote desert town of Dimona while their claims of Jewish heritage were assessed.
Source: Black Hebrews fight for citizenship in Israel, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 15, 2002

The origins of the Black Hebrew Israelite religion may stretch back to before the Civil War. By 1896, “Prophet” William Crowdy founded a sect in Kansas. The religion permitted polygamy, forbade birth control and decreed strict dietary laws similar to Judaism.

By World War I, there were congregations in several major cities. By the 1980s, others had appeared in Israel and several other countries.
Source: Rough Waters, ‘Stream of Knowledge’ Probed by Officials, Southern Poverty Law Center, Intelligence Report, Fall 1997.

The very words cause many people to grin at what appears to be simply a play on words. No one reads about such people in european authored history books and there are only a few references to “Ethiopian Jews” in white Jewish sources. Yet Black Hebrews have existed since biblical times. In fact, they are the original or proto-typical Hebrews.

Their story begins with the Patriarch Abraham (2117-1942 B.C.), a native of the Sumerian city of Ur in ancient Mesopotamia. Archaeological discoveries have proven that the earliest inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia were members of the ”Brown Race,” i.e., the Negroid branch of humanity.

It has been confirmed that the ancient Sumerians were akin to the modern Black Dravidians of India. The Sumerians also had an affinity with a people known as the Elamites, the very first Semitic group mentioned in the Bible (Gen. 10:22). The Elamites were a black-skinned and woolly-haired people as the colorful glazed artwork on the royal palace walls of the ancient Persian city of Susa clearly show.Thus Abraham, the native of Sumerian and the founding father of the Israelite nation, was a black man. The black racial origins of the Patriarchs is not based on mere conjecture, it is in complete agreement with the picture one gets from examining the identity of the earliest inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia.

This truth is grossly neglected, suppressed, and distorted in most European and American historical texts which are flavored with race prejudice. Fortunately, however, there are enough well authored and highly researched works by Black historians that challenge the Eurocentric revisions of history and correct the various erroneous views regarding the ethnic identity of the Hebrews.

Biblical history relates that the descendants of Abraham, namely Jacob (Israel) and his twelve sons and their wives, 70 in all, migrated from Canaan to Egypt around the year 1827 B.C. During their sojourn in Egypt the Children of Israel multiplied from being a family of 70 souls to a nation of over 3 million people at the time of the Exodus which took place in 1612 B.C.

This astounding number of people in so short a time can only be adequately explained by intermarriage between the family of Jacob and the native Egyptian populace. It is an established fact that the ancient Egyptians were a black African people. Thus, even if the Hebrews were not black before they arrived in Egypt, which is unlikely given Abraham’s background, they were definitely black by the time they left Egypt under Moses
[…more…]
Source: Black Hebrew Israelites

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