There is, among some white folk, the view that, once you think of ancient Africa (or modern Africa for people like Garrett) you think of a monolithic primitive society and of ‘savages’. Ignorance is commingled with ethnocentric or racist arrogance and each feeds on and fuels the other and together they provide a fertile setting for ethnocentric or racist myths or exaggeration.
One can concede that there were and are Africans who could be legitimately described as savages but what would Garret say if he knew that before the modern malady of color prejudice Blacks were not stereotyped in Egyptian, Greco-Roman or Christian records as ‘primitives’ or ‘savages’?
One is tempted, mischievously, to seek a comment from Garret and his kind on the fact that Strabo, Greek historian and geographer from Pontus on the Black Sea, regarded Whites not Blacks as the most ‘savage’. For Strabo, the ancient inhabitants of Ireland were even more savage than the Britons because the ancient Irish deemed it honorable to eat their fathers when they died and have sexual intercourse with their mothers and sisters!
Assuming that Strabo’s observations are historically reliable, are the modern Irish to be labeled and libeled because of an unfortunate episode in history? We would not place before Garrett the more debatable historical claims of some Afrocentrists but neither can we fail to lay out a minute portion of the incontestable legacy of ancient Negroes.
From the ancient Egyptian records, especially Egyptian art, we know that the peoples living south of Egypt, in Lower and Upper Nubia (roughly modern Sudan) had features that would qualify in modern terms for the description ‘Negro’; they had, on the whole, dark or black skins, broad noses, thick lips and tightly coiled hair. They were called Ethiopians (from the Greek aithiops ‘sunburnt face’), Nubians and Kushites.
From as far back as the 1st Dynasty in Egypt (c. 3100-2890 B.C.) there were attempts to subjugate Nubia. The Kushites resisted these incursions into Nubia but periodically had thousands of their people taken as prisoners and eventually were forced to surrender control of Lower Nubia.
It is to be noted though that the so-called ‘Execration Texts’ dating from the reign of Sesostris III (c. 1878-1843 B.C.) and shortly after, mention the names of approximately 30 Nubian peoples and Asiatic enemies seen as dangerous. By the late Intermediate Period (c. 1786-1567 B.C.) the peoples of Kerma, near the 3rd Cataract, extended their influence northward and their rulers gained control of Lower Nubia over the Pharaohs.
King Kamoze of the 17th Dynasty (c.1650-1567 B.C.) admits to a shared rule of Egypt with Kushites and the Hyksos. On a stela erected at Karnack, Kamoze indicates that he intercepted a letter from the Hyksos ruler Apophis to the ruler of Kush. He quotes the letter which shows the emerging might of Kush.
“. . . Apophis, sending greetings to my son, the ruler of Cush. Why do you arise as a ruler without letting me know? Do you see what Egypt has done to me: the ruler who is in it, Kamoze the Strong . . . Come north. Do not falter. See he is here in my hand, and there is no one who is waiting for you in this (part of) Egypt. See, I will not give him leave until you have arrived. Then we shall divide the towns of this Egypt, and our [two lands] will be happy in joy.”
The skirmishes between Egypt and the Kushites continued for another 700 years or so until the rise to prominence of the Napatan Kingdom of Kush which conquered Egypt and ruled it as the 25th Dynasty from c. 750 to 663 B.C. when the Assyrians drove them out of Egypt.
Nonetheless, the Napatan Kingdom of Kush thrived until A.D. 350. The capital of the Kingdom was moved from Napata to Meroë, farther south, thus giving rise to the Meroitic Kingdom of Kush. The Meroitic Kingdom of Kush was destroyed by the Kingdom of Axum (Abyssinia).
The history and archaeology of the peoples of the Nile Valley, south of Egypt, indicate a lengthy period of cultural and artistic achievement and even if Egyptian influence on this achievement be granted the issue is not that Whites are influencing Blacks but that people of color are influencing other people of color.
(excerpted from my book Revelations on Ras Tafari, 2008, available on Amazon)