African American History Breakthrough Series

February 20, 2014

The fantasy of an America free of blacks is at least as old as the dream of creating a truly democratic society. While we are aware that there is something inescapably tragic about the cost of achieving our democratic ideals, we keep such tragic awareness segregated to the rear of our minds. We allow it to come to the fore only during moments of greet national crisis.

                                                                                                     Ralph Ellison


Ralph Ellison raised the provocative question, “What America would be like without blacks.” Ellison answered, asserting: African Americans are an “American people who are geared to what is and who yet are driven by a sense of what it is possible for human life to be in this society. The nation could not survive being deprived of their presence because, by the irony implicit in the dynamics of American democracy, they symbolize both its most stringent testing and the possibility of its greatest human freedom. As Ellison insightfully noted, African Americans have contributed to the advancement of America and humanity, thus, earning a special place in the history of America and the world.

In light of the above, we are proud to celebrate the history of African Americans, highlighting the breakthrough series of ideas, theories, events, and technological inventions, which changed and shaped the lives of African Americans, and Americans in general, and the world. To be sure, Kujichagulia, the second principle of Kwanzaa, stresses the importance and critical need for African Americans to know their history. This breakthrough series answers the call of the Kujichagulia principle and advances Ralph Ellison’s assertion.

Number One

Ancient Egypt: The Dawning of Human Civilization

The origin of African American History begins in ancient Egypt.  In ancient Egypt, an African civilization, we have the emergence of human civilization, that is, the development of the major human disciplines- religion, philosophy, science and technology, governance, agricultural development art and music, and writing.  It is well documented that human civilization originated in ancient Egypt or Kemet (Land of the blackface, the indigenousness name, the name which the ancient

Egyptians referred to their country).  Over five Thousand years ago, these Africans studied the universe, charted the stars and planets, and developed a metaphysis which placed a premium and priority on knowledge, making possible their scientific cultural and production, which was guided by Maat (Truth, Justice and Righteousness), the organizing principle of their society.

Their metaphysics lies at the heart or their spiritual thought and practice. They were the first to give reflective attention to such fundamental matters as: being, God, the nature of the person, destiny, evil causality, and free will as recorded in their sacred text.

The reflective metaphysical impulse of the ancient Egyptians is manifested in their sacred literature, providing insight into their conception of human agency and human nature. Humans, the Book of Knowing the Creations says, are endowed with the capacity for their own thought and action. The Creator says in the Book Knowing the Creations, “I did not command them to do evil. It was in their hearts and minds which caused them to disobey that which I commanded.”. Thus, here we find recorded for the first time the concept of human free will.

The wonder of the Great Pyramids and their temples can be attributed to the scientific culture of the ancient Egyptians. . They evidenced knowledge and skills in engineering, mathematics and astronomy precision. Historian John J Jackson observed that the “English astronomer, Richard A Proctor, in his Problems of the Pyramids, presents convincing evidenced tending to show the that the Great Pyramids was used as an astronomical observatory. The Great Pyramids he goes on to say enabled the Ancient Egyptians to chart the annual course of the sun and the monthly path. With their knowledge of the geometric path of the planets they were able to accurately chart and determine celestial activity. In addition, their knowledge of science extended to the field of medicine. Their interest in medicine extended as far by as 6000 BCE. The noble Imhotep, the first recorded multi-genius, architect of the world’s earliest stone building, the step pyramid, was the first to practice medicine and designed, developed and practiced in humankind’s first hospital.

Hence, African American History starts in Africa with the ancient Egyptians.  The importance of ancient Egypt to Africa cannot be overstated. For as Cheikh Anta Diop maintains, “ancient Egypt is the major classical civilization for Africa because of its development of the major disciplines of human knowledge and level of achievement.” Owing to this then, it was imperative that the falsification of ancient Egypt be corrected. Diop contends that the consequence of the negation of African history, namely ancient Egypt, results in “Africans subordinating their history to Europe, making Africans debtors.” Therefore, he goes on to argues, “understanding the role of ancient Egypt in human civilization and African history allows Africans everywhere to construct a body of modern human sciences, in order to renovate African culture.”


Diop, Cheikh Anta, Civilization or Barbarism

Jackson, John G, Introduction to African Civilizations

Karenga, Maulana, Selections From The Husia




Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sponsored By