Uncovering Blackness From Ancient Egypt To Hollywood

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Although it’s several years from being released, some of you may have heard by now that Will Smith is preparing to play the part of 25th dynasty Egyptian Pharoah, Taharqa, in a major Hollywood film set for 2013.

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That said, in the year 2010, it should go without saying that we, as black people, should recognize by now that our history did not begin with slavery. Case in point: This past week, the Egyptian government announced the discovery of an ancient tomb in the Egyptian city of Luxor made for a 25th Dynasty Nubian priest named Karakhamun.

Now the 25th Dynasty of Egypt is a fascinating dynasty for a number of reasons, especially since its one of the few dynasties that modern-day Egyptologists will actually admit to it being black.

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Dr. Elena Pischikova, the white Russian Egyptologist who uncovered the tomb, has been a consistent voice in clarifying that ancient Egypt at its core –long before the 25th dynasty and late invasions by outsiders like Greeks and Romans– was a black African society. So one of the reasons she was so interested in this site was because it has established clear cultural links between this Nubian dynasty and earlier, formative Egyptian dynasties.

Another important aspect of this excavation is that Dr. Pischikova partnered with and was supported by an African American named Anthony Browder, an author & cultural historian who has been to Egypt 45 times. Browder conducts annual study tours to Egypt and was mentored in Egyptian history by the late psychologist & historian, Asa Hilliard, who the excavation project is named in honor of.

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After meeting in Egypt three years ago, Dr. Pischikova told Browder she may have to end her work because traditional funding institutions were not interested in the 25th Dynasty because it was openly acknowledged as being black. As a result, Browder founded the ASA Restoration Project, a non-profit corporation that raises funds for the continued excavation of the tomb and promotes awareness of Karakhamun and the 25th Dynasty.

Browder has also been recruiting teams of African American volunteers to work at the site in Egypt and help with the cataloguing of artifacts.

What they’ve uncovered so far has been amazing. The burial chamber is in very good condition and contains beautifully painted scenes with rich colors. Dr. Pischikova feels the tomb is turning out to be one of the most beautiful in Egypt.

So this is real history in the making right now and African Americans are leading the charge and actually keeping this excavation alive. Our community and our children need to be aware of such shining examples of our incredible African past.

You can get more info on the Asa Restoration Project by going to http://www.asaprojectblog.com where you can donate to this historic excavation or even find out of how you can take part in the dig itself.

Stephanie Robinson is President and CEO of The Jamestown Project, a national think tank focused on democracy. She is an author, a Lecturer on Law at the Harvard Law School and former Chief Counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Stephanie reaches 8 to 10 million listeners each week as political commentator for the popular radio venue, The Tom Joyner Morning Show. Visit her online at http://www.StephanieRobinsonSpeaks.com

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