Who Is Black? – Ancient African Egyptians – Modern Day African-Americans

BlackBiblical Studies:  An Anthology of Charles B. Copher:  Biblical and Theological Issueson the Black Presence in the Bible (Black Light Fellowship:  Chicago, Illinois), 1993

The New Hamitic Myth

Around 1800 A.D. related to Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798, there was born the New Hamitic Myth.  In its origins it was designed particularly to prove that, contrary to ancient writers such as Herodotus, the ancient Egyptians were not racially identified as negroid or black .  It continued to grow and mature during the 19th century so that by the time critical historical-literary methodology reached maturity at the end of the century it too had arrived at full development; and it has had great influence upon biblical scholarship.  As related to the social sciences in general, and to Egyptology in particular as a study ancillary to Biblical study, the New Hamite Myth removed Negroes or people of African descent from the category of  ‘civilized’altogether, and attributed all evidence of civilization among Negroes or people of African descent to Hamites, all of whom were said to be white Caucasoid Europids even though some might literally be black in color.

“A process of growth may be noted in the progressive elimination of Negroes from Egyptian history.  Older historians down to the end of the century continued to regard Egyptians as having had some degreeof Negroid affiliation, and called attention to the Negroid features of several pharaohs.

By the time that James Henry Breasted wrote his history he could declare the older historians wrong, and state that at most the ancient Egyptians had only a slight tincture of ‘negro’blood.  (James Henry Breasted, A History of Egypt, second ed., fully revised, 1924, p. 26).  In doing so, Breasted overlooked the fact that in America the slight tincture would cause the Egyptians still to be regarded as Negroes.”  [Copher  1993: 122, 123]



About Harold L Carter

Bachelor of Science, Columbia University Masters degree, Ohio State University Undergraduate National Officer, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Eastern Asst Vice President, when a student at Columbia University Profile Photograph: Mom & Me, when I was a graduate student
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