Black Kings of Egypt
In the 80s I remember seeing a small pamphlet put out by either a cigarette or beer company. It was about 30 colorful pages of black Kings and Queens of Egypt; it was beautifully illustrated although I don’t remember it being heavy on information. Just quick blurbs of certain kings I don’t even remember the names of. It wasn’t scholarly, I’m sure, and it wasn’t a teaching tool that teachers referred to when talking about Egypt or black history month.
“And if you turn to page 17 above the ad for Kool’s you will see that during King Tutmose’s reign there was a low supply of grain which is why the Hebrews began serving malt liquor to the royals. 80 years later Tutmose the III brought us Malt Light.”
For a more scholarly study one might want to pick up the February 2008 edition of National Geographic Magazine. The cover story is about the Black Pharaohs of Egypt and it seems as if there were quite a lot of them.
“Piye was the first of the so-called black pharaohs—a series of Nubian kings who ruled over all of Egypt for three-quarters of a century as that country’s 25th dynasty. Through inscriptions carved on stelae by both the Nubians and their enemies, it is possible to map out these rulers’ vast footprint on the continent. The black pharaohs reunified a tattered Egypt and filled its landscape with glorious monuments, creating an empire that stretched from the southern border at present-day Khartoum all the way north to the Mediterranean Sea.”
For as long as I can remember African Americans have been “repatriating” Egypt back into Africa. The continent of Africa is nothing but black so it stands to reason that Egypt was black, too, they argued. Some scholars act as if Egypt is barely a part of Africa and using their own outlook, they projected western racism to an ancient world and hypothesized that Egypt had no black kings.
And both were wrong.
Although Egypt is in Africa it has been a gateway to Europe and the Middle East for the longest time. For thousands of years people have been using what we now call the Sinai Peninsula to travel into the Middle East and traveling traders in Africa have had interaction with their neighbor. Humans are mobile and not stationary and as soon as we pulled ourselves out of the primordial sludge we’ve been on the move. Both sides failed to see Egypt as being a precursor to our current racially blended society.
This still doesn’t take King Tut one step closer to being “blacker” but with stories of other Pharaohs who actually made it to manhood and made an imprint on Egypt society I think we can overlook it.