Book Review: Wonderful Ethiopians Of The Ancient Cushite Empire, Book 2: Origin Of Civilization From The Cushites

Book Reviewed by Kam Williams

’Arguably, Drusilla Dunjee Houston was one of the most important African-American women writers of the 20th Century and certainly of the American West. She was a multi-faceted figure, who, at one time or another during her wide-ranging career, was an educator, self-trained historian, elegist, club woman, Racial Uplift ideologist and journalist.

Her writings spanned several literary periods, including the race writers, the Black Women’s Era, (1890-1900), and the Harlem Renaissance’ Yet, in spite of more than four decades of voluminous writings, both published and unpublished, including editorials, pamphlets, poetry, elegy, screenplays and historical texts, Dunjee Houston remains one of the most overlooked African-American women writers in history’ I offer this publication as an eternal libation to one of our most worthy ancestors.’
—Excerpted from the Editor’s comments (pg. xlii)

Have you ever heard of Drusilla Dunjee Houston (1876-1941)? Honestly, neither had I before reading the very informative, annotated biography by historian Dr. Peggy Brooks Bertram which serves as an extended introduction to Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire. We learn therein that the author was a very prolific writer and a regular contributor to the editorial page of the Oklahoma Black Dispatch for more than a quarter century.

And although she didn't have a college degree, Dunjee Houston did not allow herself to be intimidated by colleagues with impressive credentials. Instead, she embarked on a serious career dedicated to serious academic research, with the aim of unearthing proof of a noble and rich African past in order to refute the conventional wisdom of the day which dismissed blacks as a ’backward race.’

After seeing such nonsense in one of her daughter’s school books, she decided that the best hope for undoing the damage rested with blacks researching and then writing an accurate version of their own history. The upshot of her efforts to this end was Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire, a seminal contribution to the annals of African American literature.

"The previously unpublished Book II: Origin of Civilization from the Cushites is comprised of 39 enlightening chapters of generally genealogical analyses of the origins of the Nubian, Ethiopian, Egyptian and numerous other ancient civilizations."

Plus, perhaps most significantly, it also belatedly sheds some light on an almost-forgotten role model deserving of wider recognition and further study.

Read State University of New York Press’s description of Wonderful Ethiopians Of The Ancient Cushite Empire, Book 2: Origin Of Civilization From The Cushites.

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