3. Confessions of a Budding TruthCentrist


I am a student of ancient African history—always a student, never an expert. Always a student.

There are many others who have studied this discipline in far greater, peer-reviewed depth than I have on this particular topic. And I have much to learn from them. Two ears. One mouth.

I continue to read extensively on all sides of the debate and there are still aspects about the contemporary interpretation of ancient Egyptian/African history that are puzzling to me. For instance, I am intrigued by the people who seem to devote significant time and energy trying to make sure that ancient Egyptians are viewed as anything BUT Black.


Allow me to give you a bit of personal background that may be relevant to this topic, and will also put your finger on my pulse. Here's an overview:


With travels to 55+ countries around the world (including much of Africa), I bring a passion, a respect for others and curiosity to my varied interests. I am a happy skeptic when it comes to swallowing accepted views, hook, line and sinker.

I own a lot of first edition books ranging from the 16th-20th Centuries on relevant topics, which tend to give a better view of history as the writers saw it. I have learned a whole lot more by listening and reading than by talking.

Travels around Egypt have included the Cairo Museum, Giza, Alexandria, Rashid (where Rosetta Stone was found) and many other sites throughout the region.


Originally from a small town in Alberta, Canada, I left home at 17, hitchhiking for thousands of miles around North America. Became a long-haired hippie and a dope-smoking fool. After close to two years on the road I settled down and went to school. Within 7 years from that time, an incredible door of opportunity opened up for me. I became one of the first mentor/chaplains in the history of the NBA.

For 20 seasons I served in that capacity for the NBA Washington Bullets/Wizards team (1978-'98) -- surviving 6 coaching changes and 3 GM changes. One of the first mentor/chaplains in the history of the NBA.

During this time I had in-depth conversations with many of the Black pro athletes about the role people of African descent played in history. These conversations caused me to study about such topics that previously were not even a blip on my radar screen. This is where I embarked upon my journey into Black History, right around 1980.

Approximately 15 years later I began the development of what has become a comprehensive Freeman Institute Black History Collection of over 3,000 genuine documents and artifacts.


In 1995 co-wrote the book (with Don Griffin), Return To Glory: The Powerful Stirring of the Black Man, endorsed by Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Joe Frazier, Bill Cosby, Ben Carson, and many others. The award-winning film version was released in 2003. The discipline of co-writing a book (and documentary film) that would ultimately contain 14 pages of research notes, forced me to scratch well beneath the surface. The book was vetted by a legal scholar before it's publication.


After 2.5 years of intensive research, writing and editing for 12-16 hours per day, I became the cofounder and coauthor of Black History 365® , the K-12 curriculum that is being adopted by public & private schools across America -- which engages all ages from K to gray. Dr. Walter Milton, Jr. is the founder and coauthor of the BH365® curriculum project.


Even though I own an extensive collection of genuine Black History (3,000+ with oldest piece 1553), I have no earned degree in Black History, Egyptology, Archaeology, Anthropology, or the Classics. I will always be a student of such topics, never an expert. And I rather enjoy being a life-long learner. My Ph.D. is in the discipline of Psychology/Counseling, with the bulk of my education from Loyola University.


I have developed the world's first and only full-size, 3D, museum-quality replica of the famous Rosetta Stone available to the general public, along with many early 19th century documents & artifacts related to the history surrounding the original Rosetta Stone. Currently w orking on a 5,000 sq.ft. global traveling exhibit that will transform an ancient artifact -- Rosetta Stone -- into a modern metaphor for problem-solving. Designed to astonish kids of all ages.


A number of genuine documents and artifacts from my Black History Collection were showcased in the main lobby of the United Nations for 2-3 months (2011) in their Transatlantic Slave Trade exhibition and again in 2012. A number of my collection pieces have been showcased in exhibitions at the White House Communications Agency, Clinton Presidential Library, Secret Service, NIH, FBI and many other venues. Grateful for these remarkable opportunities.


I was raised in Alberta, Canada in a small town of 2,000 people with 9 ice hockey rinks. We had no TV in the house and I was on the ice at least 2 hours every day from late October to early April every year.

In my town, prejudice was directed more toward native Indians. My parents never exported that ideology. Raised in Canada, coupled with extensive international travel has helped to inform my cultural outlook. Therefore, I not only was raised with a White consciousness, but also a Canadian consciousness.

The ongoing racial divide in America is both perplexing and heart-breaking to me. There is enough pain to go around. I am a big fan of ownership of the historical truth about the good, the bad and the ugly (by all) and then employing the entrepreneurial spirit to move forward, in spite of the pain. Sounds simple and almost formula-like...but it isn't that easy.

Some people have majored on book knowledge. Others have amassed a lot of experience. I have tried to balance the two -- filling in the missing gaps to my formal education. As much as possible I seek to live a truthcentric, curiosity-driven life.


I have lectured for the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) conferences several times, working in some manner with just about every international school on the continent of Africa (Egypt included). These connections have stimulated many wonderful conversations around this and other topics.


In 2002 I participated in a conference with well over 100 African Kings and Queens in attendance (Benin). This was a very informative experience. We discussed the AIDS crisis, tribal warfare, and the issues surrounding conflict resolution. I asked questions about many other topics, getting at least 30 hours documented for a future film.

I welcome those who come to this topic with intellectual honesty, respectful dialogue and insatiable curiosity -- Afrocentrists, Eurocentrists, religious, agnostics, skeptics, the traveled and untraveled alike. This topic is a wonderful vehicle for connecting with fair-minded people on a deeper level.


Since this topic surrounding the ethnicity of ancient Egyptians tends to attract flame-throwers on all sides, I refuse to argue or debate with anyone online, especially those operating with a secret online identity. By the way, I have observed and experienced unprofessional behavior from both Afrocentrists and Eurocentrists.

I have been called many names and some of the following examples are tame: "Freeman is a ni**er lover, a White guilt-ridden idiot, a shameful character, a fetish for Black people, a pathetic self-hating white, a blatant shyster, a snake oil salesman, a Jewish bast*rd (even though I lead annual trips to Israel and my name sounds Jewish -- Joel Arthur Freeman -- I have no Jewish roots), a cynical fraud, a one-dimensional con, a dark motivation behind whatever he is doing, an f***ing moron, a clown, a vile creature, a Black supremacist, an ignorant dimwit, a feel-good guru, a negro sympathizer, a twerp, a bulls**t merchant, a White nitwit, a crackerman...the biggest loon in the entire fake negro history movement."

Hmmm... A collective look at 3rd Grade humor at best. My response is to laugh out loud at such juvenile behavior. And then I go do the next thing.

"Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause." -- fortune cookie wisdom.

Plain and simple. It is a ridiculous waste of time to debate with anonymous people, because they can make personal attacks without accepting any personal responsibility. We all can choose between being reactive(energy-draining) or proactive (energy-giving). I just don't have the interest, the inclination, the time, nor the energy for reacting. To what purpose?

It all crosses the line, however, when anonymous people engage in cyber-stalking or cyber-harassment.

I gladly ignore people (identifiable or incognito) who engage in the childish practice of name-calling...hurling personal insults and invectives at others who have studied -- coming to different conclusions. One-sided anonymity does not provide the environment for such mutually beneficial conversations.

However, I do enjoy pleasantly spirited conversations on relevant topics with real people who hold to the value of mutual respect. I invite anonymous cyber-bullies to willingly come out of the shadows to reveal their identities and then to demonstrate what they have to offer beyond their infantile rants.

good form + substance + open identities = a win/win dialogue.

No one person (including me) or institution has a corner on all of the facts, but as much as is humanly possible, I seek to be Truthcentric.

As an example, I do not believe that all of the Pharaohs of Egypt were Black after the 25th Dynasty. There was a brief revival of Egyptian leadership (354-293 BC), but for the most part it was over, with two periods when the Persians ruled and then the Greeks and the Romans.


For instance, every image (on a coin, sculpture or otherwise) I have ever seen of Cleopatra VII is one of a more plain, Caucasian-looking woman. Alexander the Great had conquered Egypt around 332 BC, setting up the Greek Ptolemaic line. Outsiders were ruling Egypt. Cleopatra VII was a Pharaoh in this line. Most Afrocentrists will disagree with me on this point, but in my opinion, none of the Pharaohs during the Greek (Ptolemaic), Persian or Roman periods were Black, including the most famous of the Cleopatras.

Attempting to win the "Cleopatra-was-Black" debate tends to hit earnest supporters with a 70% discount in the credibility department. Other historic figures like Queen Tiye may be a better focus. There is so much other primary research that can make one's point without expending time or energy trying to prove that Cleopatra was black. Just an observation.


We all have seen the damage done to the Sphinx of Giza. Were some noses and lips on ancient Egyptian statues knocked off because of collective or individual racist intent? Perhaps. But we probably will never know for sure. Feel free to watch the video I created that shows some of the earliest images of the Sphinx of Giza.

Truthcentic Alert: It is plausible that some noses and lips were knocked off of statues by Pharaohs, solely for the purpose of destroying the predecessor in his/her afterlife. Once the statue was defaced (no breath), the dead Pharaoh's life would be snuffed out. Most ancient Egyptians believed that the spirit of a dead person could live beyond the grave, but only if some remembrance - a body, a statue, or even a name - of the dead person existed in the land of the living.

EXAMPLE: It is reported that Tuthmosis III defaced many of Hatshepsut's statues, images and titles after her death in 1457 BC. She had effectively been cursed with endless death. Some of her statues had their noses and lips knocked off to cause her to suffocate in the afterlife.


What you are about to read is not generally taught in our schools. And the number of people enslaved by Arab Muslims has been a hotly debated topic, especially when the millions of Africans forced from their homelands are considered. Some historians estimate that between A.D. 650 and 1900, 10 to 20 million people were enslaved by Arab slave traders. Others believe over 20 million enslaved Africans alone had been delivered through the trans-Sahara route alone to the Islamic world.

Dr. John Alembellah Azumah in his 2001 book, The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa estimates that over 80 million Black people more died en route.

The Arab Slave Trade typically dealt in the sale of castrated male slaves. Black boys between the age of 8 and 12 had their scrotums and penises completely amputated to prevent them from reproducing. About six of every 10 boys bled to death during the procedure, according to some sources, but the high price brought by eunuchs on the market made the practice profitable.

The reason why we do not have millions of African descendants from the Arab Slave trade is because a high percentage of enslaved males died during castration and those who survived were not able to procreate.

The Arab Slave Trade in the 19th century was economically tied to the European trade of Africans -- ushering in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. New opportunities of exploitation were provided by the transatlantic slave trade and this sent Arab slavers into overdrive. The Portuguese (on the Swahili coast) profited directly and were responsible for a boom in the Arab trade.

Meanwhile on the West African coast, the Portuguese found Arab Muslim merchants entrenched along the African coast as far as the Bight of Benin. These European enslavers found they could make considerable amounts of gold transporting enslaved Africans from one trading post to another, along the Atlantic coast.

One of the biggest differences between the Arab Slave Trade and European slaving was that the Arab Muslims drew slaves from all racial groups. During the eighth and ninth centuries of the Fatimid Caliphate, most of the slaves were Europeans (called Saqaliba), captured along European coasts and during wars.

Aside from those of African origins, people from a wide variety of regions were forced into Arab slavery, including Mediterranean people; Persians; people from the Caucasus mountain regions (such as Georgia, Armenia and Circassia) and parts of Central Asia and Scandinavia; English, Dutch and Irish; and Berbers from North Africa.

NOTE: The contents of the previous eight paragraphs about the Arab Slave Trade came from an article posted on the Atlanta Black Star.


Let's turn a corner. The Eurocentric perspective is the commonly-taught historical view in most colleges and universities. Having read literature published on both sides of the issue, I am very aware of the various views.

Many Eurocentrists seem to react to the perceived excesses of some Afrocentrists. But then they categorically deny what is obvious to many students of ancient African/Egyptian history.

For instance, many who hold to the Eurocentric view believe that none of the Pharaohs were black (except for perhaps the 25th Dynasty). I disagree.

Egypt is in Africa (not the Middle East). The February 2008 issue of the National Geographic magazine had a cover article, "Black Pharaohs." The article was well-written and rather informative, but it included several major inaccuracies (Author of that article disagrees with my assessment of Cleopatra's ethnicity and I respect his studied opinion.)


I know that I am about to make a point that resonates primarily with the Black experience in America, but I firmly believe that, given the "one-drop-of-blood-rule," all of the Pharaohs (up to and including the 25th Dynasty) would have been required to "sit at the back of a bus" in the 1940s in Montgomery, Alabama. You will be able to read more about the "one-drop-of-blood-rule" below.


Regardless of your perspective on this topic, "Building Bridges to Afrocentrism: A Letter to My Egyptological Colleagues" (by Ann Macy Roth, professor at New York University) is an interesting, challenging article for both Afrocentrists and Eurocentrists and is worth reading.

Allow me to turn a gentle corner. Egypt has always been a place of fascination for the ancients outside the region of Egypt. For instance, two of the seven wonders of the World were situated in Egypt -- the Lighthouse (Pharos) of Alexandria and the Great Pyramid of Giza (preceded other 6 wonders and still exists).


As mentioned above, the Rosetta Stone was discovered during the Napoleonic Egyptian Campaign in 1799. In 1822 Jean-Francois Champollion was able to decipher the code of hieroglyphics that had been lost for at least 14 centuries prior. Once the code of hieroglyphics had been cracked, it brought a renewed interest to that region of the world.

For the first time in thousands of years, utilizing the new-found skills of reading Egyptian hieroglyphics, people could corroborate certain historical events, people and places -- unlocking the secrets of ancient Egypt.

The discovery of the Rosetta Stone and subsequent understanding of the esoteric hieroglyph language was the connection that brought everything to the forefront for "modern" people to wrestle with some realities.

European archaeologists, anthropologists and historians were in a catch-22 situation. On one hand they were seeing images of people with clear Afroid features as they traveled around Egypt.


On the other hand, there was the terrible history of the slave trade that had been going on for approximately 350 years prior. For Europeans to justify the economic drive of the slave trade, there had to be the denigration of people of African descent. (Also, let's not forget the complicity of African Kings in bringing their warring neighbors to the slave traders.) Since the slave trade had been going on for some 350 years, the negative view of Black people had permeated much of Europe, South and North America and the rest of the world.

There was a crisis of conscience, especially in the mid 1800s. How are the European archaeologists, anthropologists & scholars going to interpret and communicate what they are seeing and understanding, to an eager outside world? In my opinion, they blew a wonderful opportunity to share the truth. Instead most went to all sorts of ends to try to present Egyptians as though they were not of African descent. The book, Black Spark, White Fire (by Richard Poe) addresses the ethnicity of the ancient Egyptians in a most ingenious and well-documented manner.


The one-drop rule worked in the US -- one drop of black blood makes one Black. Let's reverse the standards for archaeologists and anthropologists when viewing ancient history -- one drop of white blood makes you white, no matter how curly the hair or thick the lips. All of this impacted the world.


Even the great orator and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, commented on such matters in July 1854 when speaking to the students at Western Reserve College (founded 1826 in Hudson, Ohio). His topic was, "The Claims of the Negro Race: Viewed in a Psychological and Physiological Light."


What if the original Egyptians were unmixed, pure Black folks from Africa? Perhaps you have heard of Ham, one of Noah's sons. It is interesting to note that the Biblical record states several times that "Israel also came into Egypt...the land of Ham." (Psalm 105: 23). Egypt was called the land of Ham. Having studied the "Table of Nations" (Gen. 10) very carefully, I find that rather intriguing. Three of Ham's sons set up shop in Africa: Put (Lybia), Cush (Sudan and Ethiopia), and Mizraim (Egypt). By the way, the name, Mizraim, literally means "two Egypts."


Abraham's new name was a promise of what was to occur. Nothing to do with Ham...or his skin color.

ABRAM: The name means exalted father, which could have felt like a cruel joke to him. He had no children. It was his desire to have a son...an heir.
ABRAHAM: At 99 years of age God made a covenant with him. See the stars in the sky? See the dust of the earth? He would make him a father of many nations. He changed his name from "Abram" to Abraham." Some take that to mean that Ham was somehow involved. Or that Abraham might be black. Not true.
HAM: "Ham" actually means many or multitude-- Father of many nations. Then Isaac was born. Abraham did not see any evidence of the meaning of his name while he was alive. But we now know that it was true. Many nations came out of Abraham.


It's all about context and the ripple effect of ideas. In my opinion, there was the convergence of many events and ideas that forced 19th century European scholars, anthropologists, social thinkers and historians to wrestle with the racism and intellectual bias specifically targeting people of African descent.

Could this convergence have influenced the way European/Caucasian scholars on both sides of the Atlantic categorized the ethnicity of ancient Egyptians?

Perhaps we will never know for sure, but here are a few thoughts to consider:

1. Europeans and the Rosetta Stone: Cracking the code to hieroglyphics in 1822, unlocking the secrets of ancient Egyptian history -- causing an even more focused interest in Egypt and the ethnicity of ancient Egyptians in the mid to late 1800s.

2. the on-going debate about slavery: The Slave Trade started in the late 1400s and was abolished in 1807 in UK and USA. After that, many in Europe and America fought against the Trade. British and American naval vessels released many Africans bound for slavery. But the cultural/intellectual acceptance and on-going practice of the enslavement of Africans was still pervasive in the 1800s.

Three hundred+ years of justifying the economic drive of the Trade by denigrating people of African descent had embedded itself in the collective consciousness of people around the world. There is little doubt that this thought process leaked into the halls of higher education during the 19th century. Wait, but there's more...

3. The theory of evolution was taking form during mid 1800s: This is not an attempt to leap into the middle of the "Evolution vs. Creation" debate. Instead, I am intrigued by the theory's potential cultural/societal influence upon the thinking of many scholars during the mid-late 19th century.


A concept derived from Plato and Aristotle and refined inthe 1500s, the Great Chain of Being (scala naturae, literally "ladder or stair-way of nature") was a hierarchy that linked all living organisms of the world, God being first, then the angels, demons, stars, moon, the king, princes, nobles, then other subjects; it went all the way down to the smallest animals, plants and minerals.

IMPORTANT: The purpose of the existence of the lower beings of the chain was to serve the higher beings. But problems arose with this system: some organisms and species did not fit neatly into the mold.


Shah Hossain writes, "In 1677, Dr. William Petty of England came up with a solution. He announced in a paper to the Royal Society that the missing link they had been looking for consisted of "savages", beings that fit between Caucasian men and other organisms. Thus, he also naturally concluded that since they were lower on the Great Chain, they were brought into being to serve and follow the will of the beings superior to them. At the time, his contemporaries did not pay much attention to his idea. But fifty years later, Swedish biologist Carl Linnaeus revived his notion."


David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy.

Here are some of David Hume’s words: “I am apt to suspect the Negroes and in general all of the other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No indigenous manufacturers amongst them, no arts, no sciences.”

Hume again: “Not to mention our colonies, there are Negro slaves dispersed all over Europe, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity, tho’ low people without education will start up amongst us [whites], and distinguish themselves in every profession. In Jamaica indeed they talk of one Negro as a man of parts and learning, but ’tis likely he is admired for very slender accomplishments, like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly.”


Widely considered to be a central figure of modern philosophy, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) held similar views as Hume. He challenging anyone to cite a single example in which "a Negro has shown talents and asserts that among the hundreds of thousands of Blacks who are transported elsewhere from their countries, although many of them have even been set free, still not a single one was ever found who presented anything great in art or science or any other praiseworthy quality, even though among the whites some continually rise aloft from the lowest rabble, and through superior gifts earn respect in the world. So fundamental is the difference between these two races of man, and it appears to be as great in regard to mental capacities as in color." (Beobachtungen, 296-97; Observations, 110-11).


Let's fast forward to the 1800s. It is verifiable fact that Darwin personally detested slavery. But undeniably racist elements in the theory emerged when seeking to determine the transition between apes and Caucasian humans (see image to the right). In 1859, Charles Darwin released a book which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (Some state that the concept of "race" had a wider definition in the mid 1800s. I have read such opinions providing only anecdotal evidence, but is still open to debate...).

"Favored races?" asks writer, Eric Lyons. "Did Darwin believe that some races, or 'species of men,' as he referred to them (1871, p. 395), were favored or more highly evolved than others? Although he steered clear of these ideas in The Origin of Species, his second major work on evolutionary theory, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, published in 1871, did address the issue."

Darwin launched the first chapter of The Descent of Man with these words: 'He who wishes to decide whether man is the modified descendant of some pre-existing form, would probably first enquire whether man varies, however slightly, in bodily structure and in mental faculties; and if so, whether the variations are transmitted to his offspring in accordance with the laws which prevail with the lower animals” (1871, p. 395).

Later, in his chapter titled “On the Affinities and Genealogy of Man,” Darwin wrote:

"At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla." (p. 521)

Lyons goes on to state, "Clearly, Darwin was convinced that the more 'civilized races' (e.g., Caucasian) would one day exterminate the more 'savage races,' which he considered to be less evolved (and thus more ape-like) than Caucasians. Darwin believed that 'the negro' and 'Australian' are like sub-species, somewhere between Caucasians and apes." (pp. 873-874).


Francis Galton (cousin of Charles Darwin), a very intelligent man, published a celebrated book in 1869, Hereditary Genius. Galton used a sort of grading scale to point out where each race is located in the classification system he used lay according to its range of intelligence. Africans were two "grades" below the average Englishman. He later coined the term eugenics (literally means well-born), which became extremely popular with many Anglo scholars on both sides of the Atlantic during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. What happened as this new philosophy matured?

"...average Negroes possess too little intellect, self-reliance, and self-control to make it possible for them to sustain the burden of any respectable form of civilization without a large measure of external guidance and support..." -- Sir Francis Galton, 1873


The American Eugenics Society (AES) was a society established in 1922 to promote eugenics. Margaret Sanger (Planned Parenthood) was a member. Several prominent families are responsible for funding and promoting eugenics in America, namely the J.D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, E.H. Harriman, and Henry Osborn families. Two families (Rockefellers & Osborns) were particularly significant funders of eugenics research.

ROCKEFELLER John D. Rockefeller Sr. contributed a huge amount of money to build Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (NY, led by biologist Charles Davenport) in the early 1900′s, which housed the Eugenics Records Office from 1910-1944. Davenport was also the founder and the first director of the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations in 1925.


The Rockefeller influence also spread overseas to Germany, where the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Psychiatry, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Eugenics, Anthropology and Human Heredity resided.

Much of the money used to run these German-run facilities came from Rockefeller. With Eugen Fischer as the leading scientist, these institutes became centers for Nazi eugenics programs (race hygiene) during the reign of terror under Adolf Hitler.


Hitler was profoundly influenced by members of the American Eugenics Society. Hitler quoted liberally from Columbia-educated eugenicist Madison Grant in his speeches and is said to have sent him a letter describing Grant's bestselling book, “The Passing of the Great Race” as “my bible.” In his unabashedly racist book, ACS member, Grant recommends segregating "unfavorable" races in ghettos, along with other sinister concepts implemented under Hitler throughout Nazi Germany.


Let's take a panoramic look at all that has been discussed thus far. Do you have any burning questions ricocheting around in your head? Did any of this discussion about the Discovery Doctrine, Great Chain of Being, evolution theory, eugenics, and social engineering (Social Darwinism) influence the scholarly debate about the ethnicity of ancient Egyptians in any way? I leave that for you to wrestle with...



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