THE GLOBAL AFRICAN COMMUNITY HISTORY NOTES
"This is but a mere feeble effort in saying: Without you, African/Black
mother, there would have been no us--African/Black fathers, sons and daughters. Do we need
to say any more African/Black mothers, our own true goddesses! Let us praise you to the
highest, telling the world about your righteousness. Let us tell the entire universe about
your sacredness African/Black woman."
--Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannan
Every African should try to visit Egypt at least once during their lifetime. It is a pilgrimage to our sacred motherland--the cradle of civilization--and one is never the same afterwards. Although there are now numerous study tours to Egypt, undoubtedly the most celebrated are those of Dr. Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannan. Dr. Ben's tours include the massive rock-hewn temples of King Ramses II and Queen Nefertari at Abu Simbel, the temple of goddess Isis at Philae Island, the royal tombs of the Valley of the Kings and the west bank mortuary temples of Makare Hatshepsut, Ramses II and Ramses III at Luxor, the east bank worship temples of Luxor and Karnak, the temple of goddess Hathor at Dendera, the Sphinx and the massive pyramids on the Giza Plateau, the Step pyramid designed by the multi-genious Imhotep at Sakkara, and the Egyptian Museum at Cairo.
Regarding these sites, the reader should know that Usemare Ramses II (popularly known as "Ramses the Great") ruled Egypt more than six decades and emerged as one of history's most colossal builders. Nefertari, his chief queen, helped Ramses govern and was revered throughout ancient Egypt. Isis was one of Egypt's greatest deities and along with her husband Osiris and son Horus formed one of antiquities' great triads. The Valley of the Kings entombed the bodies of some of pharaonic Egypt's most significant rulers. Makare Hatshepsut was a great female monarch who governed effectively for twenty years. Ramses III fought off two foreign invasions of Egypt and sat on the throne for thirty-one years. Karnak temple is the world's largest religious sanctuary. Hathor was the Egyptian goddess of love, beauty and sensuality. The enormous pyramids on the Giza plateau have been called "miracles in stone," while the Step Pyramid at Sakkara has the distinction of being the world's first large stone monument. The Cairo Museum is crammed full of the representations, physical remains, personal possessions and writings of the pharaohs, queens, officials and ordinary people the ancient Nile Valley.
Dr. Ben's tours, like the man himself, stand out quite singularly. Born December 31, 1918 in Gondar, Ethiopia, Dr. Yosef Alfredo Antonio ben-Jochannan ("Dr. Ben," as he is affectionately known) has devoted the better part of his life to the illumination of the indigenous origins of African civilizations. By profession, he is a trained lawyer, engineer, historian and Egyptologist. Ben-Jochannan went to Egypt for the first time in 1939, and moved to Harlem, New York in 1945. Dr. Ben knew Malcolm X personally, and was a student and colleague of George G.M. James. He was exceptionally close to the late Dr. John Henrik Clarke. Since 1957, he has coordinated regular study tours and pilgrimages to the Nile Valley, directly exposing thousands of African people to the still visible splendors of ancient Egypt. Formerly adjunct professor at Cornell University's Africana Studies Department, Dr. ben-Jochannan has also been a professor-at-large at Al Azar University in Cairo.
While now advanced in years, Dr. Ben continues to wield tremendous influence on African studies. He is indeed one of the most unrelenting twentieth century advocates of the African origins of Nile Valley civilizations and the African origins of Western religions. By his own account, he has prepared seventy-five manuscripts for publication, and was working on another during his 1997 tour. He is the author of more than twenty books, including African Origins of the Major Western Religions in 1970, Africa: Mother of Western Civilization in 1971, Black Man of the Nile and His Family in 1972, A Chronology of the Bible: A Challenge to the Standard Version in 1973, The African Called Rameses ("The Great") II and the African Origin of Western Civilization in 1990. Several of his works have gone through a number of reprints and different editions, and although controversial, all of them are well-documented. As pointed by Dr. Leonard Jeffries:
"Ben-Jochannan's extensive publications contain voluminous reference materials and sources to stimulate students and scholars to pursue more systematic and scientific research. He also includes very revealing photos, illustrations and charts that help the ordinary layman grasp the significance of the work."
Dr. ben-Jochannan remains uncompromising in his views, a lively public speaker and a prolific writer, and has probably done more to popularize African history than any living scholar. Dr. Ben has brought history to life for the masses of African people. This is perhaps his greatest legacy and gift.
 Runoko Rashidi. All Rights Reserved.