top of page

The H3O/Art of Life Blog

Search
  • Writer's pictureThe H3O/Art of Life Blog

Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop: The Pharaoh of Knowledge, Part two

By Dr. Josef Ben Levi

Presented by Omni-U Virtual University




Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop: The Pharaoh of Knowledge, Part two


By Dr. Josef Ben Levi

Presented by Omni-U Virtual University


In one of Dr. Diop’s earliest works to have been translated into English, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality?, Dr, Diop declared:


"The history of Africa will continue to be suspended in the air and cannot be written correctly until African historians dare to connect it with the history of Egypt."


This seminal work was also written to restore the collective national African personality. In this context, he states that there are three factors which compete to form the collective personality of a people: The psychic factor, the historical factor, and the linguistic factor.  He argues that these factors are susceptible to being approached scientifically.


Dr. Diop asked the question, “Have foreign intellectuals, who challenge our intentions and accuse us of all kinds of hidden motives or ridiculous ideas, proceeded any differently?” Yet, when an African does likewise to help reconstruct the national personality of his people, distorted by colonialism, this is considered backward or alarming. He contends that such study is the point of departure for the cultural revolution properly understood. All the headlong flights of certain infantile leftists- who try to bypass this effort- can be explained by intellectual inertia, inhibition, or incompetence.


Dr. Diop points out that  Europeans, ie.,the West, have not been calm enough and objective enough to teach us our history correctly, without crude falsifications.  He points out that what interests him most  is to see the formation of teams- not of passive readers- but honest, bold research workers allergic to complacency and busy substantiating and exploring the ideas expressed in his work, such as:


A.    Ancient Egypt was a Black civilization.


B.     Anthropologically and culturally speaking, the Semitic world was born during the protohistoric times from a mixture of the white-skinned and Black-skinned people in Western Asia. This is why an understanding of the Mesopotamian Semitic world- Judaic or Arabic- requires constant reference to the underlying Black reality.


C.     The triumph of the Monogenetic Thesis of Humanity, even at the stage of “homo Sapien Sapien”, compels one to admit that all races descended from the Black race.


D.    The image of modern Africa [ must be] defined and reconciled with its past and prepared for its future.


E.     Once the perspectives accepted up to now by official science have been reversed, the history of humanity will become clear, and the history of Africa can be written.


F.   That all modern Black literature has remained minor, in the sense that no African author or artist has yet posed the problem of man’s fate, the major theme of human letters [ must be addressed].


G.    The features common to Black African civilization[ must be] pinpointed.


H.    The fact that African languages can express philosophical and scientific thought (mathematics, physics, and so forth) and that African culture will not be taken seriously until the utilization of African languages in education becomes a reality.


Though not uniquely a work of Dr. Diop’s authorship,"The Peopling of Ancient Egypt and the Deciphering of the Meroitic Script" is a particular study that represents, perhaps, the crowning glory of his extensive research and years of study. This symposium, conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Cairo, Egypt January 28 thru February 3, 1974, was called by Dr. Diop along with his brilliant colleague Dr. Theophile Obenga- then at the University of the Congo at Brazzaville- to settle once and for all the question over the African origin of the ancient Egyptians and their ancient language commonly known as Hieroglyphs ,formerly known as mDw nTr : Divine Speech by the ancient Egyptians.


Some of the world’s most renown European Egyptologists were invited to that meeting . The aim of Dr.Diop and Dr. Obenga was to do “intellectual warfare” with those European scholars over one of the most significant ancient civilizations on the African continent, ancient Egypt. It was a prelude to the eventual drafting and completion of the eight-volume, General History of Africa, under the sole intellectual and scientific responsibility of a scholarly body, The International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a General History of Africa.


After much discussion and debate, it was concluded that:


1.      Much of what [was] known about ancient Egypt was…the inheritance of the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth, or by the racial assumptions associated therewith.


2.      The work that had been ongoing in Nubia for the last twenty years or so was a first step toward a reexamination of the question which faced the symposium.


3.      The Nile Valley facilitated communications with West Africa and sub-Saharan Africa and … it was reasonable to put forward the hypothesis that the civilization which emerged from there might be authentically African rather than a civilization intermediate between the Mediterranean world and Black Africa.


4.      The Blacks who comprised the population of ancient Egypt belong to the Anu people whose name…was found in Southern Egypt and in Nubia and also the Sinai Desert and Libya.


This is just a summary of the conclusions found in the symposium document. The battle for ancient Egypt ,i.e., Kemet  as an African civilization was essentially won at this conference. It was now up to other African scholars to take up the banner and continue the struggle waged so courageously by Drs. Diop and Obenga.


Upon completion of the eight volumes of the UNESCO General History of Africa (GHA), it was a fitting tribute to Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop that the first chapter of volume II of the GHA has Dr. Diop’s article “Origin of the Ancient Egyptians” as a fitting recognition of this great African scholar’s contribution to human knowledge.


Dr. Diop believed in these statements and built upon them. We must continue in the same way if we are to win the battle for the hearts and minds of African people at home and in the diaspora.      


It is not often that the  worldwide African community finds a Black man bold enough to stand up to the intellectual juggernaut that is the European academic establishment,to fight and to win the intellectual battles on their ,[ the Europeans'],  terms. He was an inspiration to all Black people and his shining example is one to be followed.


Dr. Diop’s research methodology must be kept alive. African scholars, educators, parents, and teachers should read and discuss his works with Black children in order to prepare them for what Ancestor Dr. Anderson Thompson described as “the challenge of the 21st century”. This challenge involves a struggle for the hearts and minds of African people.


Recommended Reading 

Dr. John Henrik Clarke. Cheikh Anta Diop and the New Light on African  History.


Erika Lee. America for Americans: A History of  Xenophobia in the United States. 


Bibliography

“BBB Interviews Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop”, Black Books Bulletin, October 1976.


Carew, Jan, “Conversations with Diop and Tsegaye: The Nile Valley Revisited”, in Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers. Vol. 1: Cheikh Anta Diop”, Journal of African Civilizations, Vol.8, no. 1, June 1986.


Carruthers, Jacob H. Cheikh Anta Diop: The man who refuses to be forgotten. Private papers, 1976.


Carter, Edward L. “Cheikh Anta Diop’s First Visit to the United States” in Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers Cheikh Anta Diop:”, The Journal of African Civilization. Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


Clarke, John Henrik, “Cheikh Anta Diop and the New Concept of African History”, in Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers Cheikh Anta Diop:”, The Journal of African Civilization. Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, Africa’s Contribution to the Exact Sciences” in Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers Cheikh Anta Diop:”, The Journal of African Civilization. Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality. N.Y.: Lawrence Hill and Co., 1974.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, L’Antiquite Africaine Par L’image. Dakar: Fundamental Institute of Black Africa: University of Dakar. No. 145-146, January-April 1975.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, Black Africa: The Economic and Cultural Basis for a Federated State: Westport: Lawrence Hill and Co., 1978.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, The Cultural Unity of Black Africa. Chicago: Third World Press, 1978.


Diop, Cheikh Anta. Parente Génétique de L’Egyptien Pharaonique et des Langues Négro-Africaines. Dakar; Universite de Dakar (IFAN) 1977.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology. Westport; Lawrence Hill Books. 1991.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, Egyptians and Senegalese are the same people. Zaire: UNESCO, 1982.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, “The Introduction to the Study of Migrations to Central and Western Africa. Berkeley: U. of California, 1984.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, “The introduction and First Two Chapters of From Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology”. In Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers Cheikh Anta Diop:”, The Journal of African Civilization.  Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, “Iron in the Ancient Egyptian Empire”. In Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers Cheikh Anta Diop:”, The Journal of African Civilization. Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, “Origin of the Ancient Egyptians”: General History of Africa, Vol.1.: N.Y. UNESCO, 1974.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, Precolonial Black Africa. Westport: Lawrence Hill and Co., 1987.


Diop, Cheikh Anta, “Pigmentation of the Ancient Egyptians: Test by Melanin Analysis “Translated by Darryl Prevost, Berkeley: U. of California, 1984.


Finch, Charles “Further Conversations with the Pharaoh” In Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers Cheikh Anta Diop:”, The Journal of African Civilization. Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


Finch, Charles, Meeting the Pharaoh” In Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers Cheikh Anta Diop:”, The Journal of African Civilization. Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


Gray, Chris. Conceptions of History: Cheikh Anta Diop & Theophile Obenga. London: Karnak House, 1989.


Hilliard, Asa G. “The Cultural Unity of Black Africa: The Domain of Patriarchy and Matriarchy in Classical Antiquity: A Review. In Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers Cheikh Anta Diop:”, The Journal of African Civilization. Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


Jefferies, Leonard, “Civilization or Barbarism: The Legacy of Cheikh Anta Diop” In Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers Cheikh Anta Diop:”, The Journal of African Civilization. Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


Moore, Carlos, “Interview with Professor Cheikh Anta Diop”, Afriscope, Vol.1, no.2, February 1977.


Moore, Shawna, “Interview with Cheikh Anta Diop” In Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers: Cheikh Anta Diop:”, The Journal of African Civilization. Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


Myers-Williams, A.J., “The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality: A Review. In Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers: Cheikh Anta Diop:”, The Journal of African Civilization. Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


Rashidi, Runoko, “Dr. Diop on Asia: Insights and Highlights” In Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers: Cheikh Anta Diop”, The Journal of African Civilization. Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


Spady, James, “The Changing Perception of C.A. Diop and his Work; The Preeminence of a Scientific Spirit”. In Ivan Van Sertima’s “Great African Thinkers: Cheikh Anta Diop:”, The Journal of African Civilization. Vol.8, no.1, June 1986.


The peopling of ancient Egypt and the deciphering of the Meroitic script: Proceedings of the Symposium held in Cairo from 28 January to 3 February 1974. Belgium: UNESCO, 1978.


Wobogo, Vulindela, “Diop’s two cradle theory and the origin of white racism”, Black Books Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 4, 1976.

.

252 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


Please Log in / Sign up to comment.

bottom of page