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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 Civilation
(200,000 BC - 476 BC)

Class 6: The Whitening of Ancient Kemet/Egypt


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

  • Analyze artifacts, monuments, and images of Ancient Egyptians in relation to modern concepts of race.

  • Compare and contrast the observations made by the Ancient Greeks vs. 18th-20th century Western scholars regarding the origins of Ancient Egyptians.

  • Analyze contemporary depictions of Ancient Egypt in Hollywood films and popular culture.

  • Define scientific racism and explain its impact on the shaping of historical narratives.

Study Questions

From Cheikh Anta Diop and the New Light on African History

1. Who is Cheikh Anta Diop and what does his Melanin Dosage Test measure?  What does it prove?

EFLA Article: Egyptology and the Foundations of Scientific Racism 

2. What is scientific racism? Name at least two people who promoted scientific racism.

3. What are the primary reasons 17th-20th Century European and America scholars began denying that the ancient Egyptians were Black Africans?

4. What is craniology and how was it used by early Egyptologists?

From Ancient Greek Testimony Regarding the Ancient Egyptians 

5. In general, how did the ancient Greeks describe the physical features of the ancient Egyptians?

From 10 Arguments That Prove Ancient Egyptians Were Black 

6. What are four of the ten ways to prove that the ancient Egyptians were African and “Black” by modern definitions of race? Go over each in class.

From Slideshow: How the Ancient Egyptians Depicted Themselves 

7.   What skin tones did the ancient Egyptians paint themselves?

8.   Based on the images in the slideshow, what “race” would you say they would be categorized as today?

From Slideshow: Greco-Roman Egypt: 323 B.C.E. - 476 A.C.E. 

9. How did the images from the Greco-Roman Egypt slideshow differ from those from the How the Ancient Egyptians Depicted Themselves slideshow?

From Slideshow: Hollywood Depictions of Ancient Egyptians 

10. How do Hollywood depictions of Ancient Egypt compare to how the Ancient Egyptians portrayed themselves?

11. Do these images confirm or dispel your previous conceptions of Ancient Egyptians?

Studio Apologizes for all white cast for Gods of Egypt 

12. Do you believe that if Hollywood studios made movies depicting the ancient Egyptians as they depicted themselves in the slideshow, the movies would flop? Why or why not?
Learning Tools
User's Guide
Class Evaluation

Unit 1: Class 6: The Whitening of Ancient Kemet/Egypt

Suggested Vocabulary
Randomly ask students the definition of one of the following words. Then ask them to put the word in a sentence. This is a great exercise for the beginning or end of a class, or if you finish a class early.

epoch - a period of time in history or a person's life, typically one marked by notable events or particular characteristics.

mirage - an optical illusion caused by atmospheric conditions, especially the appearance of a sheet of water in a desert or on a hot road caused by the refraction of light from the sky by heated air.

evade - escape or avoid, especially by cleverness or trickery.

deity - a god or goddess (in a polytheistic religion).

unanimous - (of two or more people) fully in agreement.

patriarchal - relating to or characteristic of a system of society or government controlled by men.

monotheism - the doctrine or belief that there is only one God.

anthropology - the study of human societies and cultures and their development.

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