What did he say?
He said the ancient Egyptians were Africans and that Africa was the root all other civilized life on the planet. He remarked on the irony of Afrophobic Europeans when it was Africans who gave civilization to the world.
Why is this the first recorded Afrocentric statement?
(1) "Africa is the mother of civilization" is a classic Afrocentric statement.
(2) Relinking stereotypically black Africans with ancient Egypt is a key aim of Afrocentric thought.
(3) Blacks or Africans did not see themselves as a single people (pan-African). This idea originated with Europeans (and perhaps Arabs before them) who saw Blacks/Africans as a single inferior group. Enslaved Africans and so-called "free blacks" in the New World take up the idea in the 1700s and use it as a weapon of collective resistance. The notion of a collective African identity does not take root among Africans in Africa until several decades later. GI
It was there, that a people, now obsolete and forgotten, discovered the elementary principles of science and of the arts, at a period when all others lived in an uncivilized slate of barbarism; it was there that a race, (now regarded as the refuse and outcast of society, because forsooth their hair is naturally frizzled and wooly, and their skin black,) studied the laws and phenomena of nature, and borrowed from thence the archetype and model of those civil and religious systems, which still obtain, with some variation, in every nation of the globe.
 Napoleon and the Scientific Expedition to Egypt | Linda Hall Library
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Picture Credit: Virtualology
tags: afrocentric, constantine volney, egypt, france
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