Posted by: Khepera | Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Earthday Tribute to Cheikh Anta Diop: Life & Works


[This is from my friend Runoko Rashidi…yeah, it’s 2 days late, but folx still need to know…]

29 December 2008

Greetings Family,

How are you? Today marks the anniversary of the birth of the great scholar Cheikh Anta Diop. If alive, he would be eighty-five today. Instead, he died in the prime of his life. He was sometimes called “the Pharaoh of Nile Valley Studies” and if a vote were taken among African intellectuals today he would very likely be regarded as one of the most outstanding that we have produced.

The following is a short series of writings about him culled from my Global African Presence Web Site. It is hoped that it will provide a decent introduction for some and rekindle his memory and elicit an even greater appreciation of his contributions by many others. Let us hope that it will cause us to seek out and review more of his numerous works.

So let us take a moment to acknowledge the life and works of this marvelous African champion–Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop. Like the pyramids of ancient Egypt his studies are a classic example of the undiminished brilliance of African people.

In love of Africa,

Runoko Rashidi Okello

***************

THE GLOBAL AFRICAN COMMUNITY

H I S T O R Y N O T E S

DR. CHEIKH ANTA DIOP
& THE AFRICAN ORIGIN OF EGYPTIAN CIVILIZATION

By RUNOKO RASHIDI

DEDICATED TO Dr. Theophile Obenga

At this point Egypt continues to dominate the focus of our African oriented studies. These studies have clearly demonstrated that not only were early Egypt’s origins African, but that through the whole of Egypt’s Dynastic Era (the age of the Pharaohs), and during all of her many periods of national splendor, men and women with black skin complexions, broad noses, full lips, and tightly curled hair, were dominant in both the general population and governing elite.photo

In the intense and unrelenting struggle to establish scientifically the African foundations of Egyptian civilization, the late Senegalese scholar Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop remains a most fierce and ardent champion. Dr. Diop (1923-1986) was without a doubt the world’s leading Egyptologist and held the position of Director of the Radiocarbon Laboratory at the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa in Dakar, Senegal. In stating the importance of the work, Diop noted emphatically and early on that, “The history of Black Africa will remain suspended in air and cannot be written correctly until African historians dare to connect it with the history of Egypt.”

The solid range of methodologies employed by Dr. Diop in the course of his extensive Afro-Egyptian labors included: examinations of the epidermis of the mummies of Egyptian kings for verification of their melanin content; precise osteological measurements and meticulous studies in the various relevant areas of anatomy and physical anthropology; careful examinations and comparisons of modern Upper Egyptian and West African blood-types; detailed Afro-Egyptian linguistic studies and the corroboration of distinct Afro-Egyptian cultural traits; documents of racial designations employed by the early Africans themselves; Biblical testimonies and references that address the ancient Egyptian’s ethnicity, race and culture; and the writings of early Greek and Roman travelers and scholars describing the physical characteristics of the ancient Egyptians.

There is no doubt that Ancient Egypt was an African civilization.

SOURCES:
African Origin Of Civilization, by Cheikh Anta Diop
Civilization Or Barbarism, by Cheikh Anta Diop

============ ========= ========= ========= ========= ========= ======

THE GLOBAL AFRICAN COMMUNITY

H I S T O R Y N O T E S

DR. CHEIKH ANTA DIOP AND THE CULTURAL ROOTS OF THE DALITS: INDIA’S BLACK UNTOUCHABLES

By V.T. RAJSHEKAR

It is not generally appreciated that Blacks live all over the world, comprising the world’s largest oppressed group. That Asia has a large Black population is also not well known. Indian Blacks themselves are not aware of this fact. Lately, a strong Black identity has emerged and the slogan, “Black is beautiful” is catching up fast, at least among militant Blacks. Such a feeling is putting pride back into the broken hearts of Black natives, also uniting them with the struggle of their Black comrades in Africa and elsewhere. The Black liberation struggle against white racism, inequality and male domination is an international struggle.

A distinguished Black physicist, historian and linguist, Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop was among the first to establish that Egypt was the world’s first civilization and that it was Black. He showed that humanity originated in Africa, and that the first human being, the first person, was Black. The Blacks migrated from Africa to other parts of the world. The Blacks are also the ancestors of Indian Untouchables (Dalits). That is why the Blacks wherever they are, belong to one single family. Hence, the relevance of Diop’s work, for India’s Black Indus Valley Civilization is now widely accepted.

Diop’s discoveries, therefore, establish that India’s Black Untouchables (with their African origin) are the ancestors of all humankind. Hence, they have to be proud of their Black Untouchable origin and their glorious cultural past. The whole world owes its origin to Black people–our people. African history laid the foundation of world history.

Collective historical consciousness is a means of survival. If India’s Black Untouchables are today hiding their identity, ashamed to own their origin and admit that they are Untouchables, it is because they are not aware of their glorious past. Diop says that the Blacks can regain their personality, can become proud of their past if they are told “who they are,” and “what they are.” That means we have to discover our roots, our goddesses, our religion, our ancestors, our history.

Cheikh Anta Diop has proven that the core of our problem is cultural rootlessness. The most important task facing us, therefore, is to reconstruct the links that tie us as communities. Humanity was born and developed in Africa. The first human was Black, and Black is beautiful. The Blacks lost their historical memory because we were fed by false history books. The rule of oppression will soon end with the reconstruction of world history, taking the aid of the tools provided to us by authorities like Diop, Runoko Rashidi, and Ivan Van Sertima–all world famous Black scholars.

———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— –
Dravidian journalist V.T. Rajshekar is the editor of Dalit Voice: The Voice of the Persecuted Nationalities Denied Human Rights. He is the author of more than twenty-five books and is widely traveled internationally.

************************


THE GLOBAL AFRICAN COMMUNITY

H I S T O R Y N O T E S

DR. CHEIKH ANTA DIOP:
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF AN AFRICAN CHAMPION

BY RUNOKO RASHIDI

DEDICATED TO DR. LEONARD JEFFRIES, JR.

“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. “

–Cheikh Anta Diop

Cheikh Anta Diop, a modern champion of African identity, was born in Diourbel, Senegal on December 29, 1923. At the age of twenty-three, he journeyed to Paris, France to continue advanced studies in physics. Within a very short time, however, he was drawn deeper and deeper into studies relating to the African origins of humanity and civilization. Becoming more and more active in the African student movements then demanding the independence of French colonial possessions, he became convinced that only by reexamining and restoring Africa’s distorted, maligned and obscured place in world history could the physical and psychological shackles of colonialism be lifted from our Motherland and from African people dispersed globally. His initial doctoral dissertation submitted at the University of Paris, Sorbonne in 1951, based on the premise that Egypt of the pharaohs was an African civilization- -was rejected. Regardless, this dissertation was published by Presence Africaine under the title Nations Negres et Culture in 1955 and won him international acclaim.

Two additional attempts to have his doctorate granted were turned back until 1960 when he entered his defense session with an array of sociologists, anthropologists and historians and successfully carried his argument. After nearly a decade of titanic and herculean effort, Diop had finally won his Docteur es Lettres! In that same year, 1960, were published two of his other works–the Cultural Unity of Black Africa and and Precolonial Black Africa.

During his student days, Cheikh Anta Diop was an avid political activist. From 1950 to 1953 he was the Secretary-General of the Rassemblement Democratique Africain (RDA) and helped establish the first Pan-African Student Congress in Paris in 1951. He also participated in the First World Congress of Black Writers and Artists held in Paris in 1956 and the second such Congress held in Rome in 1959. Upon returning to Senegal in 1960, Dr. Diop continued his research and established a radiocarbon laboratory in Dakar. In 1966, the First World Black Festival of Arts and Culture held in Dakar, Senegal honored Dr. Diop and Dr. W.E.B. DuBois as the scholars who exerted the greatest influence on African thought in twentieth century. In 1974, a milestone occurred in the English-speaking world when the African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality was finally published. It was also in 1974 that Diop and Theophile Obenga collectively and soundly reaffirmed the African origin of pharaonic Egyptian civilization at a UNESCO sponsored symposium in Cairo, Egypt. In 1981, Diop’s last major work, Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology was published.

Dr. Diop was the Director of Radiocarbon Laboratory at the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (IFAN) at the University of Dakar. He sat on numerous international scientific committees and achieved recognition as one of the leading historians, Egyptologists, linguists and anthropologists in the world. He traveled widely, lectured incessantly and was cited and quoted voluminously. He was regarded by many as the modern ‘pharaoh’ of African studies. Cheikh Anta Diop died quietly in sleep in Dakar, Senegal on February 7, 1986.

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