Why Didn't They Tell You?

Dr. FRANK MARTINS COMMENTARY ON HISTORICAL, SOCIAL & ECONOMIC ISSUES OF OUR TIME

that the Black People mentioned by name in the Bible were invariably prominent individuals?

Part I

that the Black People mentioned by name in the Bible were invariably prominent individuals? Part I.

In a recent History Channel documentary on Pompeii, the expert being interviewed by the commentator pointed out that that the remains of a person who perished in the destruction of Pompeii were those of a black woman. The commentator said something to the effect that he did not know that the Pompeiians had black slaves. The expert quickly corrected him by pointing out that these were not the remains of a slave but of a woman of high position. This is a perfect example of “the inarticulate major premise”, a phrase attributed to U. S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and discussed in Basil Davidson’s The Lost Cities of Africa. The inarticulate major premise here is that blacks have always been a slave race. If blacks show up in ancient times, they necessarily were slaves or at best servile persons of low status. It usually is not articulated but the premise or assumption is always in the background, namely, that blacks were always a slave race.

If we examine the identified Blacks in the Bible, we find just the opposite. Instead of their being of low position, they are invariably individuals of high position, people of influence. The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 is the first place in the Bible where people are identified by race, with the three sons of Noah being the progenitors of three different races, the Black, the Semitic, and the Indo-European. This classification corresponds exactly to the New Kingdom racial classification system of the Ancient Egyptians, found in the Valley of the Kings. Ham is the biblical progenitor of Blacks, Shem the progenitor of the Semitic Peoples, and Japheth the progenitor of the Indo-Europeans. How do we know that Ham has any connection to Black People?

First the word Ham is from the Hebrew Cham which, according to Strong’s Concordance, means “hot (from the tropical habitat)”. The word is the old name for Egypt, Kemit, land of the Black People (not black soil). Therefore, we can trace the genealogy of blacks through the descendants of Ham: Cush (Ethiopia), Mizraim (Egypt), Phut, and Canaan. Up to this very day, Arabs call Egypt Misr, a variation on Mizraim. When the Greeks translated the Old Testament into Greek, they translated Cush as Ethiopia (land of burnt faces). Over time Ethiopia came to refer to the civilization to the south of Egypt, not the Ethiopia of today which previously had been called Abyssinia. Interestingly at the time of the writing of Genesis 10, there were more descendants of Ham than of either Shem or Japheth. Twenty-eight (28) descendants of Ham are identified by name but and only nineteen (19) and eight (14) respectively of Shem and Japheth. Fifteen verses are devoted to Ham’s descendants while only eight (8) and five (5) respectively to Shem and Japheth. So clearly there are many, many Black People in the Bible.

Well educated speakers of English, who have not been blinded by racial prejudice, understand quite clearly who Ham is. On the first page of his novel, Billy Budd, the American writer Herman Melville made the following observation about a sailor who stood out above the rest:

“In Liverpool, … I saw under the shadow of the great ding street-wall of Prince’s Deck … a common sailor so intensely black that he must  needs have been a native African of the unadulterated blood of Ham…”

Clearly Melville understood that Ham was the Biblical progenitor of Africans, i.e., Black People.

The first prominent black person after Ham is Nimrod, a son of Cush and a grandson of Ham. The Bible describes him as a mighty one in the earth, a might hunter before the Lord, and a builder of cities and kingdoms (Babel, Erech, Accad, Nineveh (the great city), Rehoboth-Ir and Calah). He was the first mighty ruler. Chapter 11 of Genesis tells us that the people of Babel got besides themselves and tried to build a tower to Heaven which caused God to confuse them with many languages and to scatter them. Though verses 1-9 of Chapter 11 do not say that Nimrod led them in the enterprise to build a tower to Heaven, the presumption is that he was the leader.

When King Asa of Judah was feeling safe with walled cities and more than a half million (580,000) soldiers under his command, everything was upset when “There came against Judah Zerah the Ethiopian with a host of a million [that is, too many to be numbered] and 300 chariots …”. (2 Chronicles 14:9. AMP). Asa cried out to God, and “… the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.” (2 Chronicles 14:12). Only divine intervention saved the day for King Asa.

Who were these Ethiopians (Cushites) of old? As far back as 5,000 years (3,000 B.C.), they were renowned for their economic and military prowess. The ancient Greeks were of the opinion that Egypt began as colony of Ethiopians (just like the British colonized America). Isiah 18:2 describes them as a nation,

 “Which sends ambassadors by the sea,
Even in vessels of papyrus on the surface of the waters.
Go, swift messengers, to a nation [of people] tall and smooth (clean shaven),
To a people feared far and wide,
A powerful and oppressive nation
Whose land the rivers divide.” (AMP)

Isaiah concludes his prophesy, after saying that Cush would come under divine judgment, by noting that, “At that time a gift of homage will be brought to the Lord of hosts from a people tall and smooth (clean shaven) … To the place [of worship] of the name of the Lord of hosts, to Mount Zion [in Jerusalem].” (v. 7). Some Bible scholars believe that the gift referred to in this verse is the Arc of the Covenant. Furthermore, in the end they would come to the Lord. Cush remained powerful throughout most of the era of Roman dominance, even after Egypt had fallen to the status of a Roman colony.

When the prophet Jeremiah was cast into a dungeon, it was a black man named Ebed-melech, a palace eunuch, an Ethiopian, who went to the king and pleaded for Jeremiah. Though King Zedekiah had approved what Jeremiah’s enemies had done to him, he reversed himself and told Eded-melech to take thirty (30) men and pull Jeremiah out of the dungeon. (Jeremiah: 38: 9-13). Clearly Ebed-melech had influence with the king. The Babylonians were about to burn Jerusalem down. While the siege was in progress, the Lord told Jeremiah:

   16 “Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am about to bring My words [of judgment] against this city through disaster and not for good; and they will take place before you on that day. 17 But I will [a]protect you [Ebed-melech] on that day,” says the Lord, “and you will not be handed over to the men of whom you are afraid. 18 For I will certainly rescue you; and you will not fall by the sword, but you will have your [own] life as a reward of battle, because you have placed your trust in Me,” says the Lord.’”

Not only did Ebed-Melech find favor with the king, he also found favor with God because of his character and his faith in God. He clearly believed the prophet.

Such was the status of the Black people mentioned in the Bible before the time of Christ, going back more than 3,000 years. My next post will talk about the prominent Black People of the New Testament.

that all Africans believe in the resurrection?

… that all Africans believe in the resurrection?

I believe the Africans brought to America over the two hundred years or so from 1620 to the early 1800’s brought a belief system with them that made it easy for them to embrace Christianity, when given the real deal. There were some things that all black Africans believed in, whether they came from West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa, or Southern Africa. These things were part of the world view of Africans that gave rise to that cultural unity that has been observed by eminent scholars such as Dr. John Hope Franklin, Basil Davidson, Drusilla Dunjee Houston, Egyptologist Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop, Dr. Theophile Obenga (linguist and Egyptologist), Chancellor Williams, and Egyptologist E. Wallis Budge. One of those commonalities was a belief in the resurrection.  

We cannot speak about the belief in a resurrection in a vacuum but must consider it in conjunction with their beliefs about God, eternal life, and final judgment. The scholarly British Egyptologist E. A. Wallis Budge wrote very persuasively about the unity in religious thought of Black Africans and Ancient Egyptians. Rather than try to paraphrase what he said, I will share several direct quotations from his book Osiris & the Egyptian Resurrection. What brought him to investigate religious thought in Black Africa was his quest to discover “… the source of the fundamental beliefs of the indigenous Religion of Ancient Egypt … “.1

After much search, including looking at Asia as a possible source, Budge states, “… I became convinced that a satisfactory explanation of the ancient Egyptian Religion could only be obtained from the Religions of the Sudan, more especially those of the peoples who lived in the isolated districts in the south and west of that region [Egypt], where European influence was limited, and where native beliefs and religious ceremonials still possessed life and meaning.”1. Budge examined the accounts of Arabs and Europeans explorers who traveled throughout Sub-Sahara Africa. The value of the explorers’ and travelers’ accounts was that they generally were objective enough to simply write down what they were told. Additionally Budge himself traveled to the country of Sudan to do personal investigations.

His conclusion was “All the evidence available suggests that Sudani beliefs are identical with those of the Egyptians, because the people who held them in Egypt were Africans, and those who now hold them in the Sudan are Africans.”1. At another point, Budge characterizes this Egyptian/African belief system as an, “… unchanging, persistent belief in the resurrection of the righteous and in immortality.”  When Budge says Sudan, he means Sub-Sahara Africa. Sudan is just the shortened form of the Arabic Beled-es-Sudan (Land of the Blacks). He found clear expression by African people of every element of Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs. In short, in the process of investigating the source of Ancient Egyptian beliefs, he ends up giving up valuable information about modern African beliefs.

What then was the African conception of God? Budge characterizes it as the belief in “the existence of One Great God, self-produced, self-existent, almighty and eternal, who created the “gods”, the heavens and the sun, moon and stars in them, and the earth and everything on it, including man and beast, bird, fish, and reptile.”1 That is consistent with the Christian conception of God.

Budge relates that a Mr. Wilson, “… says that there is no well-defined system of false religion in Western Africa which is generally received by the people. The belief in one Supreme Being, who made and upholds all things, is universal. The impression is so deeply engraved upon their moral and mental nature that any system of atheism strikes them as too absurd and preposterous to require a denial [author’s italics]. All the tribes met with by him have a name for God …”1. Clearly the African-American strong belief in God pre-dates the slave experience.

British explorer and travelers Mungo Park who traveled through Senegambia (Gambia, Senegal, and Mali) in 1795 and 1796 had this to say about the belief system of the people he encountered: “… I have conversed with all ranks and conditions, upon the subject of their faith, and can pronounce, without the smallest shadow of doubt, that the belief of one God, and of a future state of reward and punishment is entire and universal among them …”2 In other words, people will be judged for their actions on earth.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ would have been Good News for a people with the belief system described above because it tells them how exactly they can achieve the resurrection and eternal life they longer for, as beautifully expressed in John 3:16:  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” By his death and resurrection, Jesus, the man (though God in the flesh), conquered death and, therefore, we have the hope of the resurrection.

As an American of African descent, I thank my Heavenly Father for my African ancestors’ deep abiding faith in Him.

May You Have a Blessed Resurrection Day!

Sources

1. Quotations are from pages vi, xvii, 349, 361, 364 of Budge, E. A. Wallis (1911). Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection. London: Philip Lee Warner; New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. Accessed at http://www.archive.org/details/osirisegyptianre01budg.

2. Park, Mungo (1799). Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa. W. Bulmer and Co.: Pall-Mall, England. Reprinted in 2000 by Duke University Press: Durham and London, p. 247.

that Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs had the same bone structure as Black American males?

… that Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs had the same bone structure as Black American males?

Sometimes one piece of evidence is enough to settle an argument. I believe that the evidence demonstrating that Egyptian pharaohs of the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, and the New Kingdom all had the same bone structure as Black American males is enough to settle the unnecessary controversy over the race of the Ancient Egyptians. Since most Americans of African descent trace most of their ancestry to West Africa, this amounts to saying that the Ancient Egyptians had the same osteology (bone structure) as West Africans. What is the evidence?

During and after WWII, the United States faced the problem of identifying the remains of repatriated Americans killed during the war. One piece of evidence that is of great value in identifying remains is the height of the living individual. Generally length of the cadaver is not sufficient to get an accurate estimate the living stature of the individual. Therefore, researchers developed equations for estimating living stature from the length of long bones (the tibia, fibula, and femur in the leg and the humerus, ulna, and radius in the arm). Given these equations, forensic specialists can plug in the length of the long bone to get an estimate of the height of the living person. Researchers Trotter and Gleser developed separate equations for Negroes (that was in the 1950s) and Whites because of “a failure of the formulae of one race to give satisfactory prediction results for the second [race].”1 Physical anthropologists hit upon the idea that they could use these equations to estimate the living stature of Egyptian pharaohs using the lengths of long bones obtained from mummies.

Some scholars interested in using the equations developed by Trotter and Gleser acknowledged that “the physical proportions of Ancient Egyptians had negroid affinities2; nevertheless since they were certainly not negroes, the use of the negro equations to estimate their stature has generally been avoided.”3 In other words, they preferred to remain ignorant (of the true height of these pharaohs) rather than shatter their false notion that Ancient Egyptians were white. Thus we have here a perfect example of prejudice and racism retarding the advance of science and knowledge. Please note that these were not “rednecks” doing this but august members of the intellectual establishment.  

Robins and Shute, who used the Negro equations to estimate the living height of pharaohs of the 18th and 19th Dynasties, which included King Tut, observed, “Such equations only yield acceptable values for stature if the unknown population group [Egyptian Pharaohs] to which they are applied had similar physical proportions … to the group [American Negroes] from which the equations have been derived.” Robins and Shute decided to estimate the living statures of New Kingdom (18th and 19th dynasty) kings since Robins had already shown for the Middle Kingdom that “for males, at least, plausible estimates of stature that are reasonably consistent when different long bones are used only result from the negro equations”.3

Robins and Shute showed that using the white equation to estimate the living heights of New Kingdom Pharaohs was not a good fit and gave rise to unrealistic and unacceptable predictions. The authors, therefore, concluded that, “From a practical point of view, the conclusion must be that the Trotter & Gleser (1958) negro equations can be applied satisfactorily to ancient Egyptian material as they stand.”3 Using the Negro equations, the authors were able to estimate the living heights of fourteen (14) kings4 of the 18th and 19th dynasties and in the process dispel the notion that Thutmose III was excessively short.

In plain language, “Negroes” have longer lower legs than whites. If you compare a black man and a white man of the same height, generally the black man’s lower leg (his tibia), from his knee to his ankle, will be longer than white man’s tibia. That is what Black People mean when they say someone has a high “booty”. That is also why the equations derived from a white population would not work for estimating the living heights of Egyptian Pharaohs of the New Kingdoms. They were black, and not white. A perfect example of this body type is Narmer (See picture below), first Pharaoh to unite Lower and Upper Egypt, sometime between 3,000 and 3,300 B.C. Still today most scholars in the august academies of the world do not want to acknowledge this truth.

Are there other scientific verifications of the race of Ancients Egyptians we could allude to? Yes there are. Just to give one that is close to home. Eighty-six percent (86%) of my DNA comes from Sub-Sahara Africa, mostly from West Africa. My male chromosome is designated as Sub-Saharan African, E1b1a. Rameses III, the last great warrior pharaoh of the New Kingdom (20th Dynasty) also had the E1b1a male chromosome.5 Indeed, 23andme.com says that we share a common ancestor. Specifically it says “You and Ramesses III share an ancient paternal-line ancestor who probably lived in north Africa or western Asia.”  (See picture below of Rameses III).

Morale of this vignette: Distorting or not accepting the truth retards the development of science and knowledge. The true history of humanity cannot be written until academic racism is obliterated.

Sources

  1. p. 465, Mildred Trotter and Goldine C. Gleser (1952). Estimation of Stature from Long Bones of American Whites and Negroes, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, n. s. 10, 436-514.
  2. The late great Egyptologist Cheikh Anta Diop in his book African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality reports that the German Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius, based on objective measurements, reached “… the formal, major conclusion that the perfect Egyptian is Negritian. In other words, his bone structure is Negroid and that is why anthropologists say little about the osteology of the Egyptian.”, p. 64.
  3. Robins, G. and C.C.D Shute (1983). The physical proportions and living stature of New Kingdom Pharaohs, Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 12, No. 5.
  4. 18th Dynasty Pharaohs: Ahmose, Amenhotpe I, Thutmose I, Thutmose II, Thutmose III, Amenhotpe II, Thutmose IV, Amenhotpe III and Smenkhkare; 19th Dynasty Pharaohs: Sety I, Ramesses II, Merneptah, Sety II, and Siptah.
  5. Hawass, Zahi and et al (2012). Revising the harem conspiracy and death of Ramesses III, British Medical Journal, Vol. 344 (17 December 2012).
Narmer, (or Menes) first Pharaoh to unite Upper Egypt & Lower Egypt about 5,000 year ago
Closeup of face of Narmer
from other side of palette
wearing the crown of Lower Egypt
Ramesses III
Last great warrior Pharaoh of the New Kingdom

… that the word mulatto is a very racist word?

… that the word mulatto is a very racist word?

The word racist is thrown around a lot nowadays, so much so that sometimes it is a stretch to accept some things that are called racist as actually racist. However, in the case of this word mulatto, there is no doubt that the label arose from a full-blown racist mind.

We have to thank the Spaniards for this word! The origin and etymology of the word mulatto, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the Spanish word mulato which comes from the Spanish word mulo which in turn came from the Latin mulus. Both mulo and mulus mean mule. English speakers anglicized the Spanish word by adding an extra t.

Now what is a mule? A mule1 is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse (the offspring of a female donkey and a male horse is not a mule, but a hinny1). The mule inherits the size and strength of his mother (the horse) but other traits from of his father (the donkey), such as intelligence, perceptiveness and sensitivity2. He is a work animal, a beast of burden. However, this offspring is not fertile; you cannot get another mule from a female mule and a male mule. This infertility is due to the fact that a horse and a donkey are not the same species but close enough to produce an infertile offspring; a horse has 64 chromosomes but a donkey only has 62. The implication of the word is quite clear: the offspring of a black and white union is like a mule, not quite human because, one party is human but the other party is not quite human. This brings to mind the comments of the ignorant slave owner Hammond in the Falconhurst novels (Mandingo is the first one) in which he refers to the mixed s laves who looked white as “mostly human”.  Clearly in the mind of the white racist, the black party is the not quite human one. Besides being racist, it is a lie. The offspring of a black and white union is completely fertile, even if one is a black Pygmy from the African rain forest and the other a tall, blonde, blue-eyed Nordic from Scandinavia because as the Bible attests, and science confirms, that all people are of one blood (Acts 17:26).  . 

The above discussion brings to mind a discussion that is going on right now, the discussion about Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals. During pre-historic times, Homo Sapiens out of Africa, in the view of some scholars, bred with Neanderthals from Europe and Asia and produced an offspring which was fertile, as evidenced by the fact that humans today who have their origin in Asia or Europe may have up to 4% Neanderthal DNA. Unmixed Sub-Sharan Africans have no Neanderthal DNA. I have a hint of Neanderthal DNA because I am 13% European. The passing on of Neanderthal DNA in the face of the extinction of the Neanderthal suggests that the mixed offspring was fertile. If so, were Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals of the same species? Needless to say, this is not a settled issue; not all scholars believe that Homo Sapiens bred with Neanderthals, which begs the question as to how Neanderthal DNA got into the human gene pool. But isn’t it ironic that in the early pre-historic encounter between the African and the European and Asian, the African is the true human?  

My final observation is this: given the undisputable fact that mulatto is a very racist word, I suggest that you not categorize or describe anybody as a mulatto. If a person is half white (half black), then say that. The person is biracial but not a mule!

References and Notes

1. Mule and Hinny compared. A mule is bigger than a hinny. From the picture, you can see that they inherit a different set of traits from their parents.

Mule
Hinny

2. See Maura Wolff, “How to tell the difference between a mule and hinny”.  Accessed at   https://animals.mom.me/tell-difference-between-mule-hinny-9758.html