1. Title 1

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 Civilation
(200,000 B.C. - 476 B.C.)

Unit 1: Class 7: Ancient Kemet (Egypt): Predynastic Period & The Old Kingdom (10,500 B.C. – 2,181 B.C.)

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

  • Discuss the early formation of ancient Kemet/Egypt, including the knowledge and technology that existed prior to its establishment.

  • Analyze the geography and climatic events that led to the mass migration of people to the Nile Valley – ancient Egypt in particular.

  • Identify the major pharaohs who united Upper and Lower Egypt, establishing the First Dynasty of ancient Kemet/Egypt.

  • Identify the major pyramids and monuments built during the Old Kingdom and the pharaohs and engineers responsible for their construction.


​​As you have learned, civilization did not begin with Ancient Egypt. Nor did it begin with Ancient Nubia. The foundations of civilization were laid across the continent of Africa in all pockets where humans congregated. By the time we encounter Ancient Egypt around 3150 B.C.E., its knowledge and philosophy had already been formulated. Ancient Egypt is the product of literally thousands of years of indigenous African achievement, and the original people who populated and became what is known as “Egyptians” were black Africans. In the Nile Valley, they put forth their collective genius to establish the longest lasting and arguably most impressive civilization ever created on earth. Like the major urban centers of today like New York, London and Paris, Ancient Egypt was the light of the ancient world. It attracted Africans from all over the continent, many by way of the Nile River, the world’s first cultural highway, which begins in the interior of Africa and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. They also came from western and southern Africa. These Africans brought with them not only the necessary labor to build ancient Egypt, but the age-old skills, techniques, and worldview to do so with such splendor and humility. 

In the period before the Old Kingdom, which is referred to as the pre-dynastic period, small farming communities existed along the banks of the Nile from its source in Ethiopia (the South) all the way to Nubia. Many groups of Africans had long settled land, domesticated plants and animals and lived in large, organized communities. We see the evidence of this as far back as 77,000 B.C.E. with the discovery of “a piece of ochre decorated with a delicate geometric pattern” by Chris Henshilwood in the Blombos Caves located on the southern Cape of Africa which has been dated conservatively at 77,000 years old. According to Henshilwood:

“The discovery indicates that our early Homo sapien ancestors had a basic knowledge of chemistry and the ability to make long-term plans…The recovery of these toolkits adds evidence for early technological and behavioral developments associated with Homo sapiens, and documents their deliberate planning, production, and curation of a pigmented compound and the use of containers.”

There are other rock art such as the Apollo 11 Stones, discovered in the Huns Mountains in Nambia dated between 28,000 and 28,000 B.C.E., which also illustrate Africans’ early knowledge of chemistry. It also provides evidence that the rudiments of civilization were being developing far beyond ancient Egypt and the Nile Delta – thousands of years before the formation of ancient Egypt.