'Feel good history': scholars debate Afrocentrism

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One of the more controversial debates now going on in intellectual circles is over Afrocentrism, a movement that argues that traditional history has undervalued the contributions of Black Africa to ancient Greek and Western thought. At the center of the debate are Afrocentrists and those attacking them, most recently Mary Lefkowitz, who wrote "Not Out of Africa."

Recently Lefkowitz's publisher, New Republic Books, sponsored a debate between her and a leading Afrocentrist, Martin Bernal, author of "Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Culture."

Washington -- The crowd began arriving early, nearly an hour before Martin Bernal and Mary Lefkowitz were to take the stage at George Washington University. They came in all colors, ages, backgrounds. Some wore kente and sported dreadlocks, while others came buttoned-down double-breasted, Eddie Bauered, lugging backpacks or brief cases. One quartet spoke German.

But all were drawn by a common interest, one that for many was about more than whether Black Egypt inspired the ancient Greeks. It was about much more, argued Bernal, the grizzled-bearded government scholar at Cornell University and author of "Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization." It was about finally correcting past wrongs.

At the top of the debate, moderator and GW professor Linda Solomon told the audience, "The questions of history happen in many layers. How do we know? How can we be sure we know?"

"This is a political debate in one form or another because we are here," admitted New Republic editor James Woods, whose publication co-sponsored the event. "But this is also an academic debate."

It also was yet another debate on Black contributions to history devoid of a Black scholarly point of view...

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Randll Reese Besch - 6/27/2007

I am annoyed when they speak of "black Egypt" and they really mean Nubia or Kush.
Also the Egyptians could darken their skin by chewing a certian alkaloid herb,and they had dealings with the Kush empire.