top of page


**The Origin of Race and Color – With an Archeological Compendium of Ethiopian and Egyptian Civilization From Years of Careful Examination and Enquiry***

Description Of the books authored by Martin R. Delany (1812-1885), The Origin of Races and Color is perhaps the most obscure. Out-of-print until now, it has been available to the public only through select libraries. At the time of its publication in 1879, this valuable resource presented a bold challenge to racist views of African inferiority. Delany wrote in opposition to a developing oppressive intellectualism that used Darwin’s thesis, “the survival of the fittest,” to support its demented theories of Black inferiority. Skillfully blending biblical history, archaeology and anthropology, Delany offered evidence to the “serious inquirer” suggesting the first humans were African, and that these Africans were “. . . builders of the pyramids, sculptors of the sphinxes, and original god-kings. . . .” With such radical assertions, Delany advanced a model of ancient history that contradicted the very foundation of intellectual racism. He believed knowledge of one’s past was essential, and that it could provide Black people with the regenerative force necessary to inspire their self-improvement. Were he alive today, Delany would certainly feel at home with the present generation of Africancentrists, especially since he developed and articulated so many of their arguments more than a century ago. “This admission of the hieroglyphic representations to be found on the temples and monuments of Egypt of the advanced status of the Negro race settles at once the controversy and leaves only to be proven the fact that the earliest settlers, builders of the pyramids, sculptors of the sphinxes and original god kings were blacks of the Negro race.” ***WHO WERE THE GODS, CHAPTER 13*** By Martin R. Delany, 1879 To determine the race representatives of the Egyptian gods will go far toward deciding the disputed questions as to who were the first inhabitants of Egypt and builders of the pyramids, catacombs, and sphinxes. Who were the people in so remote a period susceptible of such intellectual development as to capacitate them for such a work? As says the Duke of Argyll in his able dissertation on the original development of human faculties: “In any case we may safely assume that Man must have begun his course in some one or more of these portions of the earth, which are genial in climate, rich in natural fruits, capable of yielding the most abundant return to the very simplest act. It is under such conditions that the first establishment of the human race can easily be understood; nay, it is under such conditions only that it is conceivable at all, and as these are the conditions which would favor the first establishment, and most rapid increase of Man, so also are these the conditions under which knowledge would most rapidly accumulate, and the earliest possibilities of material civilization would arise.” And at last, and for once, we have the admission from a highly cultivated, able, eminent and popular author that such a climate as that of the country, upon which we are now treating, Africa as the land of our father, is favorable to rapid intellectual development and the advancement of progressive civilization. And how true is this! It has long been known to the natural scientist that Africa, as a continent, excels all others in natural productions: animal, vegetable and mineral. That its fauna and flora are the most profuse and best developed of any quarter of the globe; indeed, so far from stupefying and depressing, as popularly taught in our schoolbooks, the climate and inhalations of the aroma and odors with which the atmosphere is impregnated, are exciting causes, favorable to intellectual development. No intellect is more active, nor perception more acute, than that of the native African. He is all life, all activity, all device; and, during his earliest period of propagation and progress of civilization, must have been fully equal to the requirements and demands of the times. In addition to the mythological characters assigned the three great Kings (father and two sons) Rameses I (Ham as Jupiter Ammon); Rameses II (Mizraim as Sesotris); and Rameses III (Cush as Osiris); inseparably united as three great columns supporting an edifice as Rameses, Sesotris and Osiris: the ram, bull and dog, the auspicious conception in the ideal character of the last representation is peace, patience and friendship: the sheep for peace, ox for patience and dog for friendship. Besides the characteristics of peace, the sheep supplies wool, horns, hide, flesh, and tallow, for food and commerce; the ox the same, besides his utility as a working animal, and the milk of cows; hence, the basis of wealth in these countries; and from his faithfulness and usefulness to man, the dog was justly entitled to a representation as one of the gods, under whose auspices the people placed themselves. Hence the account in classic history, informing us that “the Egyptians once elected a Dog for their King.” We can well understand that this idea originated in an allegorical representation, in the dog of Cush as King of Egypt. What a magnificent conception in these Three One Gods of peace, patience and friendship. And this conception was born of Ethiopia, as we shall show. But this is just the point in dispute by most modern writers who pretend any acquaintance with the history of the ancient inhabitants of the valley of the Nile. And even that masterly, popular writer whose work on natural science, the “Reign of Law,” is so much admired as a most valuable contribution to sterling literature, we mean the Duke of Argyll, flounders and staggers at this point. Says his Grace the Duke: “There is a point at which the evidence of archaeology begins before the evidence of history closed. There is border land where both kinds of evidence are found together, or rather where some testimony of written documents or the inarticulate monuments of man. It was the habit of one of the most ancient nationals of the world to record all events in the form of pictorial representations. Their domestic habits, their foreign wars, their religious beliefs are thus all presented to the eye.” His Grace continues: “In one of the most perfect of the paintings which have been presented to us, a great Egyptian monarch is symbolically represented as ruling with the power of life and death over subject races; and these are depicted with accurate and characteristic likeness. Conspicuous in the group is one figure painted to the life both in form and color, which proves that the race which departs most widely from the European type had acquired exactly the same characters which mark it in the present day. The Negro kneels at the feet of Sethos I in the same attitude of bondage and submission which typifies only too faithfully the enduring servitude of his race. The blackness of his color, the wooliness of his hair, the flatness of his nose, the projection of the lips which are so familiar to us all: all these had been fully established and developed thus early in the known history of the world. And this was about 1400 years before the Christian era, that is to say, more than 3500 years ago.” Why place so much stress on this one single black figure among the group of “subject races?” If Sethos were a mighty monarch and had subjugated Egypt and Ethiopia with other races, certainly it might reasonably be expected that they would be represented in the subject group. But his Lordship is emphatic in the statement, that “conspicuous in this group is one figure( and only one) painted to the life, both in form and color.” The very prominence in which was placed that figure shows the estimated importance attached to such a subjugation by Sethos, and that the race which the Negro in the kneeling group represented was a people who esteemed themselves above subjugation. The Negro of the group was a representative of the race who inhabited and ruled in Egypt and Ethiopia; and hence the importance attached to him as a captive subject at the feet of Sethos. “I am informed by Professor Lepsius (through the kindness of Mr. Poole),” continues the Duke, “that there are some still earlier representations of the Negro referable to the ‘twelfth dynasty,’ or to about 1900 B. C. And of this a further proof is to be found in the fact, that at a period at least 2000 years B. C., that is about the time of Abraham, mention is made in hieroglyphic writing of black or Negro troops being raised by an Egyptian king to assist him in the prosecution of a great war.” In illustration of this, an excellent elaborate drawing is given as a frontispiece to “Primeval Man” by the Duke to which he refers in a footnote, page 102. “Drawings by the skillful hands of Mr. Bonomi are given on p. 101 and on frontispiece in illustration of the facts stated in the text. They are taken from an Egyptian temple at Beyt el Welee in Nubia, from the reign of Rameses II, son and successor of Sethos I.” Why should an Egyptian king be raising Negro troops to prosecute a great war, if the Negro race was an abject people at that time, as herein intimated; and why not raise troops from other races in the kingdom, if the Negro race did not comprise the inhabitants of Egypt? What was an Egyptian temple doing in Nubia? Nubia certainly is not Egypt, nor any part of it, but was anciently a part of Ethiopia. These are questions looking to the settlement of an important ethnological enquiry. Nor is this all. For, while on the very text in reference to the “Negro kneeling at the feet of Sethos in the same attitude of bondage and submission which typifies too faithfully the enduring servitude of his race,” his Grace, as if in contradiction of what he had just indited, says: “Nor is this the whole evidence afforded by the Egyptian pictures. At periods not much later in history, we have elaborate representations of battles with Negro nations, representations which go far to show that the race was then more able to maintain a contest with other races than it has ever been in recent times.” This admission of the hieroglyphic representations to be found on the temples and monuments of Egypt of the advanced status of the Negro race settles at once the controversy and leaves only to be proven the fact that the earliest settlers, builders of the pyramids, sculptors of the sphinxes and original god kings were blacks of the Negro race. Examine the pictures taken from the frontispiece of “Primeval Man,” and what do we see? As his Grace explains p. 102, the drawings are taken from an Egyptian temple at Beyt el Welee in Nubia of the reign of Rameses II. And what is this interpretation? We are told that it is the obtaining of black troops for the army of Rameses. Nor is that all; it is more, as the hieroglyphics and parts of the figures unmistakably show. The three persons thus linked together are of the priesthood high in rank who in the position and order of recruited or conscript soldiers, present themselves before a priestess of the goddess Isis, who represents to them that the requirements of the king are plentiful, the country or kingdom is safe, and good news shall ever precede or go before him. The back figure in the rear of the three priests representing soldiers, who is also a priest, stands at a respectful distance, giving a divine or royal salutation; the little nude figure immediately in front of the priestess shows the status or character of the three men by the homage which it pays them with the reverential salutation. And the little female figure immediately behind her is an attendant on her sacredness. The female squatting at a vessel is a priestess, who holds the handle of an implement, a spoon or a ladle, in her right hand, while the left is open, palm upwards aside the vessel, indicating to the priests that the goddess has decreed a plentiful supply of provisions. In the column of hieroglyphics, for the Ethiopians and Egyptians read as we do, from the left to right, at the top a pigeon is in flight, bearing good news to the king and army, while at the bottom is a jackal or dog, representing Osiris, the guardian of their possessions; beneath it are bars indicating security. The second column reads that the kingdom, though much disturbed by commotion, will stand as durable as the sun. The sportive figure with the dog faced ape climbing a tree is nothing but a harlequin or mountebank of the priesthood, a merry Andrew as diversion for the sacred order during leisure moments. Another important representation. These three priests, while presenting themselves on behalf of their Sovereign as military vicars, imploring the favor of the gods, come in the three to one character of Rameses, Sesostris, and Osiris: the ram, bull, and dog or the gods themselves: the central as an old man, being supported by the other two (one on either side) Ham, Cush and Mizraim, the father and two sons. And each and every one of these human figures, from the mountebank to the priesthood represent the Ethiopian race of the Negro type. And yet we are told by his Lordship that “the Negro knows no higher position even to this day, than to kneel at the feet of Sethos, in utter servitude.” Would the priesthood who among them in those days were always of the royal stock and nobility, be chosen from the Negro race if that race had only been subordinate and this degraded? Would the whole group of people represented on those pillars at Beyt el Welee in Nubia have been of the race of any other people than those who designed and placed them there? No such thing. And the fact is that the Negro race comprised the whole native population and ruling people of the upper and lower region of the Nile: Ethiopia and Egypt, excepting those who came by foreign invasion; and the entirety of the Negro group in this important historical representation can be readily accounted for from the fact of the columns being found in Ethiopia, a part of this country (Africa) where foreigners did not so frequently reach, and therefore did not deface and erace, as was common in regard to those for centuries found in Egypt. The successive invaders of Egypt were Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Macedonians, Romans and Saracens, till modern times brought us down to the Arabs and Turks. And what now is erroneously called the remnants of the ancient Egyptian race: Copts and Berbers, are nothing more than a mixed race, the descendants of the original inhabitants, the Ethiopian or Negro race and Saracens, the last successful invaders and occupants of the country; they who burnt and destroyed the great Alexandrian Museum. That is what these Copts and Berbers are and nothing more. Is it still disputed, still doubted that the original inhabitants and native rulers of the countries of Ethiopia and Egypt were identical: blacks of the Negro race? Let it be remembered that every successive race which conquered those countries made spoilations their first object, destroying as far as possible, the evidences of the greatness of those whom they conquered, especially their monuments, statuary, paintings and inscriptions placing instead their own designs, claiming, as far as successfully could be done, for their own that which should have been placed to the credit of the vanquished. Hence the general absence of the evidence of African greatness where it should be found, and that of those who succeeded to power and rule in their stead. Thus we see Cleopatra’s Needle, Pompey’s Pillars, the Alexandrian Museum, and other evidence of foreign designs, while the truly African is destroyed or carried away to Rome and Greece in ancient, and France and Britain in modern time. On this subject, Mr. Rollin, the historian, exclaims: “The Romans, despairing to equal the Africans in greatness, thought it honor enough to borrow the monuments statues and paintings of their kings, and great men.” And Champollion at a comparatively recent date, found fallen where it had been dashed down upon its face, doubtless by invading ravagers long years before, the statue of Rameses, which at great expense and trouble, he had removed to France. All these are facts showing how evidence of African greatness has been designedly taken away and destroyed. And who that has seen at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham near London, England, the reproduction of the statues of those three famous Egyptian personages: Ramese, Sesotris and Osiris, as they sat as the mail pillars of a temple, but was struck with their very African features of cheek bones, great white eyes, wide nostrils, broad mouths and gibbous lips? And if every other evidence in archeology had failed to establish the identity of the Ethiopians or the Negro race with that of the original Egyptian in his highest civilization, there is yet one which never has been destroyed nor defaced, but, like the “everlasting pyramids,” has stood through all time to the present, silently though most eloquently pleading the identity of the African race of the Negro type with that of the original inhabitants of the upper and lower Nile, known as Ethiopia and Egypt. Asia had her ideal genius of race representation in Asiatica; Europe in Europa, and America in modern days, in her America, or Goddess of Liberty; but we ask in all reason and soberness, whether any other race than the African in the symbolical representation of the Sphinxes, would have placed the great head of a Negro woman on the body of the lion or lioness, as it may be, as the ideal representative of the genius of their race? None other, especially as we know by archaeology that the Sphinxes represented the Queens of Egypt through different dynasties. This settles indisputably and forever, we think, this question of the original race inhabitants of the Nilotic regions of Africa. And we call attention to another fact, useful and important we think as a hieroglyphic record, which is that the inscription copied from “Primeval Man,” coming from the Nubian Temple, relates to a woman and not to a man. Isis was regarded as the moon, and Osiris as the sun; hence. The difference in the figure simply being a small circle in the centre of the disk of the sun, or dot, and the moon having a clear disk. Female royalty without sovereignty, or a high priestess, is frequently represented in hieroglyphic texts as a half moon, but seldom, if ever, as a crescent, as this has always an astronomical significance, it should be observed that the flat side of the disk or semicircle, is always turned down. As the text here given in hieroglyphics ends in the first column with a half moon and in the second column commences with the clear disk, it is very apparent that it relates to the sacred offices and high royal position of a woman. And as Sethos or Sethon was said to have been a priest of Vulcan before becoming a king of Egypt, the ministering priestess, before whom stand the vicar soldier priests, is none other than the High Priestess and Sovereign Queen of Egypt, the wife of Sethos or Sethos I, King of Egypt, as he is herein represented to be. And look at that profile (side face) and head dress, how perfectly sphinx like it is. This our reading and interpretation of the whole hieroglyphical inscription. We have in a foregoing chapter given the color of the ram, or sheep, representing Jupiter, as black; so also was the bull or ox, representing Apis, and the cow or heifer representing Isis, black. The dog or jackal representing Osiris was also black. And though some writers have mistakenly regarded Osiris as the ox or bull, it can, we think, never be disputed by students of ancient history and mythology that Apis was the ox, a black bull, with a white star in his forehead

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


king james

King James IV (1473-1513) and the European Muurs – Jide Uwechia King James IV (1473-1513) and the European Muurs – by Jide Uwechia King James IV of Scotland came to the throne in 1488. He was an able

the constitution

The Constitution came from our ancient laws and Hebrew laws, the Iroquois Confederacy also known as the Continental Congress. The Moors was the majority in all those groups, including the Union. Co


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page