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The Standing on the Shoulders of Giants "Teach & Learn" Black History Curriculum​​

Specially designed for Parents, Teachers, Homeschool, or Independent Study, grades 5+

Where Black
History Lives!​

Unit 1: Ancient Africa - The Cradle of Civilization
(200,000 B.C. - 476 B.C.)

Unit 1: Class 12: Ancient Kemet (Egypt): The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 3

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Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, students 
will be able to:

  • Identify the contributions the New Kingdom made to world civilization.

  • Identify the main Pharaohs of the New Kingdom and their specific accomplishments.

  • Analyze primary source documents from the New Kingdom to glean insight into ancient Egyptian life and culture.

  • Discuss the evidence and theories relating to the collapse of the New Kingdom.

Temples of Rameses II ("Rameses the Great") and his Queen Nefertari at Abu Simbel.


In 2014 PBS released a boldly titled documentary, The Rise of the Black Pharaohs, a reference to the Kushite, or Nubian Pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty who ruled ancient Egypt for over a century. What is insinuated in the title is that the ancient Egyptians themselves were not black. The intent again is to disassociate ancient Egypt from black Africa. Instead, Egyptians are portrayed as a race of people developed independently of any African influence. The images above are of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye, two of the most venerable Pharaohs and Queens of the New Kingdom, which is considered by many to be the height of the Egyptian Empire. They are clearly black – and African. Egyptians painted and sculpted themselves all the time (in varying shades of black, brown and light skin), they knew the color of their complexion – and that of others. The royal lineage of ancient Egypt was African, and the great pharaohs of the New Kingdom, like those before them, were from the South, and buried in the South, in the sacred Valley of the Kings and Queens.  

The New Kingdom is comprised of the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties. Therefore, we have created three classes to cover each of these important Dynasties. 

The New Kingdom began with Ahmose I landing the final blow to the Hyksos's army and once again unifying Upper and Lower Egypt. During the beginning of the New Kingdom, Egyptian Warrior Pharaohs beginning with Seqenenre Tao (17th Dynasty) who initiated the war against the Hyksos, his sons Kamose and Ahmose I, and later Thutmose I, Amenhotep I and Thutmose III, launched military campaigns in Syria and Nubia – not as a form of aggression – but to provide a buffer against Egypt's enemies and prevent further war with the ever expanding and aggressive Asiatic, and to a lesser extent Nubian empires.

However, Ancient Egyptian civilization was never imperialistic – it never needed to be. It had everything it needed and what it did not have others brought willingly to exchange for Egyptian goods. Ancient Egypt's motive for invading foreign lands was primarily to weaken them from attacking Egypt, and to form a larger buffer to stave off future attacks. Egypt was simply too wealthy and prosperous for foreigners of depressed civilizations to leave alone. Yet once they were in power, foreign rulers such as the Hyksos, Libyans, Assyrians, as well as the Greeks and Romans, often imitated the customs of Egyptian Pharaohs and routinely adopted Egyptian culture instead of bringing their own, acknowledging the supremacy of ancient Egyptian civilization.

The New Kingdom gave rise to some of the most powerful women in Egyptian history, such as Pharaoh Hatshepsut, considered one of the greatest pharaohs of all time, who ruled for over 20 years while stewarding the throne for her stepson Thutmose III. She built an exquisite temple in the reflection of the ruined temple of Mentuhotep II, founder of the Middle Kingdom, and added a temple dedicated to the goddess Hathor to the great Karnak Temple Complex as well as two magnificent obelisks. Hatshesut reestablished important trade routes that were disrupted during the rule of the Hyksos. She also authorized a successful trade expedition to the land of Punt, bringing back exotic goods, most notably frankincense and myrrh. 

​Queen Tiye, Royal Wife of Amenhotep III, mother to Akhenaten, and grandmother to Tutankhamen, wielded a great deal of power during her husband’s and son’s reigns, which totaled 55 years. “The royal lineage was carried by the women of Ancient Egypt and marriage to one would have been a path to the throne for their progeny. Tiye became her husband’s trusted adviser and confidant. Being wise, intelligent, strong, and fierce, she was able to gain the respect of foreign dignitaries. Foreign leaders were willing to deal directly through her. She continued to play an active role in foreign relations and was the first Egyptian queen to have her name recorded on official acts.” 

Homework Assignment
Read/View the following:

Rameses II (10-15 min)

Documentary: PBS: Egypt's Golden Empire - The Last Great Pharaoh (54:41 min)

Egypt in the Third Intermediate Period (1070–712 B.C.) (10 min)

Ramesseum (10 min)

DNA Analysis of the Rameses bloodline (5 min)

​Supplemental Material:

Rameses II (extensive recommended biography of Rameses the Great (30 min)

Relief & Inscriptions at Karnak Temple Vol. III, UChicago Oriental Institute, edited by James Breasted, 122 pages

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