Are black Americans the descendants of West African Hebrews?
This question Is answered In the affirmative, with a resounding
yes, by Professor Joseph J. Williams after more than eleven years
of intensive research into the subject.
In his book entitled Hebrewlsms of West Africa, this eminent
cultural anthropologist documents the origins and extent of the
Hebrew religion and culture in that part of West Africa which is
the ancestral home of most black Americans. His book has 443 pages.
It is documented with more than 1,400 footnotes. In reality, it
is a compendium of very nearly every major treatise on the subject.
Professor Williams cites over 900 different scholars and eye-wit-
nesses in this encyclopedic effort.
Unfortunately, the original book by Joseph Williams is not
available to most readers. And even if it were, it is far too
detailed and expensive for most tastes. For these reasons, we
have obtained the necessary consent to reproduce the most salient
portions under the title The Hebrew Heritage of Our West African
Ancestors, together with the rights to include our own editorial
comments and supplementary information. The purpose is to bring
to every reader, scholar and layman alike, an insight into and
perspective of a civilization and heritage which he or she never
may have realized exists.
For those unacquainted with Professor Williams, his scholarly
credentials are beyond dispute. Besides devoting eleven years of
research to this one subject, he held doctoral degrees in history
and cultural anthropology. He was a Fellow in the British Royal
Geographical Society and the American Geographical Society. He
was a member of the International Institute of African Languages
and Cultures. He was a member of the Catholic Anthropological
Conference. And he was the author of several books on blaok civ-
ilization and culture in Africa and the West Indies.
The purpose of The Hebrew Heritage of Our West African Ances-
tors goes beyond merely providing the reader with new insights. In
this age when the black man is striving to learn more about himself
and his origins, this book is intended to provide a sure basis for
renewed pride and confidence in his Israelite heritage. To black
Jews — and white Jews alike — it should provide further evidence
of the universality of their faith. And to everyone, regardless
of his color or religion, this book should reveal that black
culture, far from being lost in the backwaters of the African
Jungle, was and continues to be very much in the mainstream of
civilization as we know it today.
This book comes, as we said, at a time when black people the
world over are seeking to rediscover themselves. Dissatisfied
simply to learn about white European history and heroes, black
people in their intellectual and cultural reawakening want — in
fact need to know who they were so they can decide who they are.
The whole person is, after all, a product of past and present. No
one can escape his heritage entirely. Nor can anyone escape the
environment in which he was born and lives.
It is important to recognize at the outset that no religion
or culture is created or exists in a vacuum. On the contrary, we
all are products of societies influenced by events from within and
without. In truth, nothing is 100% pure whether we talk about
race or religion, or social or political philosophy, or any other
aspect of life.
What, for instance, constitutes pure or distinctively Jewish
traditions to the person of European ancestry is far different
from that of Jews elsewhere. The so-called typical European
Jewish foods such as bagels and matzo ball soup are not Hebrew but
Slavic in origin. The lingua franca of East and Central European
Jewry, called Yiddish, really is Eleventh Century High German
with an admixture of Slavic and Hebrew words. The very word
"synagogue," commonly used to signify a Jewish house of worship,
actually is of Greek origin. Even the word "Jew" was made popular
long after the Bible was completed. The words ״Israelite 1 • and
"Hebrew" are of much older vintage.
In the same way, the Jewish civilization of Black Africa con-
tains much that is not exclusively Hebrew in origin. This is due
to both historical and geographical factors. The climatic and
geographical differences alone could themselves account for vast
differences in Judaism as practiced and lived in different countries
What then can be offered as evidence of a common Hebraic
background among peoples in and from black West Africa and the
Middle East? Professor Williams masterfully provides us with the
answers. His abundantly documented research proves once and for
all times that Judaism, the religion and culture of the Hebrews,
is deeply rooted in the native soil of Black Africa, Just as it is
more commonly recognized to exist in Europe and America.
Professor Williams״ research deals primarily with the African
continent and to a lesser extent with the West Indies. For this
reason, we have added a section which brings into sharper focus
the existence of a Black Hebrew culture in the Middle East Itself.
There are numerous sources, Including the Bible, which tell us
that from the time of Abraham, onward, black civilization and
Hebrew civilization were synonymous. Even Professor Williams, who
makes no special attempt to prove this one way or the other, alludes
to this when he quotes Sir Harry H. Johnston that "negroid people
with kinky hair" inhabited the Babylonian homeland of Abraham.
Williams continues that this conclusion makes easier "our present
endeavor to show an infiltration of the same Hebrew stook In the
evolving of certain tribes in Africa."' 1
To make our book as meanlnful as possible, the schema will be
for us to summarize certain portions of Williams״ book and to quote
exactly from other sections. Because much of his text consists of
quotations from other scholars, we will refer directly to them
wherever we utilize their remarks. In this way we can provide the
reader with a condensed yet faithful reproduction of the thoughts
and research of Professor Williams. To fully up-date our book,
we occasionally will make grammatical changes and add editorial
notes and comments of our own to make reading as smooth and
pleasant as possible.
Now we request our reader to settle back in a comfortable
chair, with a good reading light, and enjoy the true story of The
Hebrew Heritage of Our West African Ancestors....
The Broader Scene
Before we reach the distant shores of Black Africa, we want
to remind our reader that the pages which follow actually represent
the views of more than 900 scholars and eye-witnesses. Professor
Joseph Williams, to the extent that our book utilizes his, is only
the editor in a sense. As a result of his more than eleven years
of intensive research into the subject, he was able to piece
together from a mosaic of sources enough evidence to prove once
and for all times that the original Black Hebrew civilization
spread throughout the length and breadth of Africa.
There is a famous old saying, a rose is a rose by any other
name. This means that a rose still is a rose no matter what name
it is given. We who live in America are accustomed to thinking
in terms of the European cultural standards which prevail. Even
the black man thinks of himself by his European names — Negro,
which is Spanish, or colored or black which are English words.
Rarely if ever does he think of himself as Fanti or Ashanti or
Fulani or Gulnean.
In this same sense, an Israelite is an Israelite by any other
name. Because most of us are accustomed to hearing the word Jew
and associating this word with white faces, it is surprising to
many that black people also claim a Hebrew heritage. This common
misimpression, however, is larely due to the kind of cultural
conditioning with which our European-oriented society is imbued.
It should be remembered when reading the pages that follow
that the black man, until recently, was denied the means to assert
his own Individuality. Even where he gained the legal rights, he
usually lacked the tools to effectively be his own master. These
tools include a homogeneous family and community life, an unbroken
tradition of education, the ability to function independently
both politically and economically, and the psychological self-
assurance that comes with being a first-olass citizen.
Moreover it should be kept in mind that the white man, as is
logical, has written and interpreted history largely from his own
point of view. Take this illustration as a simple example. Not
long ago, a prominent American newspaper featured a story about
Kinshasa, the capital city of the Republic of Congo (formerly the
Belgian Congo). The article mentioned the "native quarter•״ of the
city, referring to that section where its black citizens live.
This description is grossly misleading if one realizes that at
least 85# of Kinshasa is black and 99$ of the Congo nation is too!
To speak of a native quarter is to imply the existence of a black
minority there. Nothing is farther from the truth!
Contemporary־ recorded Israelite history is likewise almost
exclusively of white Jewish and white Gentile origin. The result
has been not so much errors of commission as errors of ommlssion.
In other words, the major short-comings of European-oriented
histories of Africa and the Middle East are largely what is »mitted.
The stress is put on what ties together and supports white European
culture with that of the Middle East. They usually omit any
mention of the relationships between black African and Middle East
The bias In our knowledge of history is reflected by the fact
that very few if any standard textbooks deal extensively with the
relationships between early Christianity and the pagan Graeco-Roman
religions, for Instance. Very few if any standard textbooks dis-
cuss the fact that most white Jews are descendants of Greeks,Romans,
Armenians and others who adopted Judaism as their religion during
the period of its greatest expansion in the Mediterranean area.
Very few if any textbooks deal with the fact that black Dravidians
inhabited the region contiguous with the Middle East until the
white Arayans pushed them Into the southern half of the Indian
Professor Williams book does not attempt to deal at length
with every omission by white historians. He does, however, provide
us with many scholarly insights so that we, the readers, can enjoy
a better balanced picture of history, especially Afrloan history.
We therefore are Indebted to Professor Williams and the many others
whose scholarship made our book possible. Black Americans now are
in a position as never before to rediscover — and reclaim — a
heritage which has profoundly influenced world history.
To assist the reader to bettêr understand the roots of Black
America, our book attempts where possible to follow the route
taken by Professor Williams. We even use his chapter headings
so that our reader can picture.the basic subject matter as he sees
it. To begin, our next chapter is entitled ״The Ashanti of West
Africa." This Is followed by chapters on Ashanti Hebrewlsms, the
Supreme Being of the Ashanti, other Hebrewlsms of Black Africa,
and related topics.
The Ashanti of West Africa
Professor Williams begins his book by recalling his discov-
eries and observations while living for five years on the West
Indian island of Jamaica, Intrigued by certain similarities with
«noient Hebrew customs, this famous Jesuit scholar then began an
eleven year search to determine if there really were affinities
between Middle East customs and those found in Africa and the
The following are the words of Dr. Williams which summarize
his reasons for pursuing the subject. He says that "to understand
properly the spirit and aspirations of the Jamaican peasant, a
close study of the (African) Ashanti themselves became necessary.
And this study, in turn, led to some rather startling results and
"In the first place," he continues, "many Hebrewisms were
discovered in Ashanti tribal customs. Then several Ashanti words
were found to have a striking resemblance to those of equivalent
Finally, the Supreme Being of the Ashanti gave
strong evidence of being the Yahweh (God) of the Old Testament.
"The question," he says, "naturally arose, how to explain
these parallels of cultural traits? Should they be ascribed to
mere coincidence or independent development? Or have we here a
remarkable instance of diffusion across the entire breadth of Africa?
Is it possible to establish even a partial historical contact
between the Ashanti of today and the Hebrews of fully two thousand
years ago, or more?"'
The answers to these questions Professor Williams deduces can
be found "by trying to trace the story of the dispersion of the
Jews" from the Middle East and by studying the "tribal beliefs and
practices and the records of early European travelers, particularly
those who had written of the manners and customs of the African
black man." :
What is the geographical and historical significance of the
Ashanti of West Africa about whom Dr. Williams concentrates the
first part of his study? The answer is that the Ashanti represent
a large grouping of peoples, not an isolated tribe, about whom a
fair amount of information is known. Of equal importance, the
Ashanti and related groups of people also inhabit an area roughly
the same as that from which the slave ancestors of most Black
Today this region Is divided Into several newly Independent
nations. They Include the republics of Senegal, Guinea, Ivory
Coast, Ghana, Togo, Dahomey, Nigeria and Cameroon. The boundaries
of these nations were arbitrarily established prior to their inde-
pendence through conquest and the International political Intrigues
of the earlier European colonial rulers. For these reasons, every
tribal grouping of any consequence can be found to overlap national
borders as they exist today.
The result Is that the Ashanti are found lna wide area of West
Africa. In fact they are so numerous that practically every other
tribe Is In some way Interrelated. According to Ernest Chantre,
a director of the Anthropological Society of Lyons (France), "the
Ashanti do not constitute a pure ethnic group but an aggregate of
The problem confronting Professor Williams was whether the
lineage of these Ashanti can be traced or connected to other civ-
lllzatlons. Andre Arcln Is quoted by Williams to conclude that
"From Ethiopia, Middle Egypt and Central Sudan descended the
Ashanti and the tribes known as Bantu. 4
Professor Roland B. Dixon, an anthropologist from Harvard
University in his study of the physical characteristics of the
Ashanti, notes a similarity ״to the Chad group of people in the
Sudan.״ י The Sudanese Republic is in the north-eastern section of
Africa, near Egypt and Ethiopia. The black immigration, he adds,
״was in part a westerly drift from the Chad-Nile area, and in part
a direct souward movement from the western Sudan and the Sahara
borders forced by the expansion in the Sahara region of the
Caucasian peoples who have poured into northern Africa since very
Dr. Hermann Bauman of the State Museaum of Anthropology in
Berlin, West Germany, concludes that the Ashanti are to be class-
ifled with ״the strongly Sudanese Yoruba and Nupe. 7
The h i s t o -
rlan, Walter Claridge, In a book about the history of Ghana and
the Ashanti concludes that ״the Fantis, Ashantls, Wassawa, and in
fact all the Twl-speaking or Akan peoples were originally one tribe.״׳
In summary we find the following general observations made by
Professor Williams and other leading scholars about the African
origins of the Ashanti:
1. The Ashanti are an ethnic mixture of the peoples of West
Africa, the ancestral home of most Black Americans.
2. The Ashanti are closely related to the Bantu, Yoruba,
Fantl, Sudanese and other peoples whose combined popula-
tlon stretches from the west to the east coasts of Afrloa
mainly below the Sahara.
3. The Ashanti tribes appear to have migrated and later
pushed westward and southward by alien invaders of European
origin. They appear to have emanated from the Chad-Nile
region of north-eastern Africa.
But the question still remains whether the earlier Ashanti
and related peoples have any connection with the Hebrews of the
Middle East. The answer which Professor Williams reaches is that
the similarities, which are too great to ignore, can be accounted
for only by the fact ״that somewhere in the remote past there was
an Infiltration of the ancient Hebrews in the parent stock from
which the present Ashanti evolved.״'
In fact it was the ״contin-
uous influx of Hebrew settlers, trekking up the Nile" which he says
״eventually spread itself clear across Africa to the Niger and
thence over pretty much the whole of West Africa. 1 0
There is no doubt in the mind of Professor Williams that the
Ashanti are infused with the blood and culture of earlier Hebrews
who migrated from the Middle East. Nor is there any doubt that
these same Ashantis are related today to virtually every tribal
grouping in Black West Africa. The evidence according to Professor
Williams is cumulative and revealed by the many striking parallels
between the civilization of black West Africa and the Hebrew Middle
East. And it is reinforced, as we shall see, by similar resemblances
throughout the rest of Black Africa as well.
Ashanti Hebrew isms
This chapter is devoted to a detailed analysis of the similar-
ltles between Ashanti and Hebrew customs, usages and practlces.The
similarities Included in this chapter can be put into two basic
1. Language usage;
2. Customs and religious practices.
The study reveals many striking similarities. It also uncovers
areas which appear disparate at first glance, but which are in fact
very much alike on closer examination. Let us now read what
Professor Williams and others have to say.
Dr. Williams cites as an example of language similarities the
Ashanti word "obayifo" which means a female witch. ' According to
J.G. Chrlstaller In his dictionary of the Ashanti language, this
word is derived from "obayen" which in turn Is a compound of
and "ayen," together meaning witch-wizard.*
This word, whose West
Indian equivalent is "obeah," can be traced says linguistics expert
John Bathurst Deane "to the Cannanlte superstition of Ob."'
M. Oldfield Howey, an expert on African culture, notes more
pointedly that "the witch of Endor Is spoken of as an ob, and was
applied to by King Saul for an oracle. Today among blacks the same
is found. The ob-man or ob-womarv Is habitually consulted In any
case of doubt and difficulty, Just as was the ob-woman of Endor by
Williams observes that "the very term used by the native, to
1make ob,* which has come to Jamaica from the old Ashanti slaves,Is
idiomatically the same as the Scriptural cASA OB found In II Kings
21:6, one of the crimes charged against King Manasseh, and which
literally means •he made ob.*"׳
"The very word Ashanti has Itself a stong Hebraic flavor," says
Williams. "The terminal syllable »tl* in the names of West African
tribes usually has the general meaning of *the race of* or *the
men of' or *the children of,*" comments Louis Desplagnes in his
book about the people of the central plateau of Nigeria.6 ' Williams
reaches the inevitable conclusion that "this would make Ashanti
*the people of Ashan.* There was in fact a town of the name Ashan
in the domain of Judah."7
Dr. Gerson B. Levi talks about Ashan in his contribution of
the same name found in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
He says "Ashan:
Town in the domain of Judah (Joshua 15142), but which was in the
actual possession of Simeon (Joshua 19*7; I Chronicles 4:32)." 8
"The primary meaning of the Hebrew word ,Ashan* is smoke,"
says Williams, "and it is used primarily to describe a burning
city, and secondly the figurative destruction of Israel." 9
the Hebrew and English Lexicon of Brown, Driver and Briggs as his
source. "The latter meaning," he continues, "would be significant
and certainly applicable to fugitives from Jerusalem.""
Even the word "Amen" appears in both the Ashanti and Hebrew
languages. Professor Rattray, an expert in the Ashanti language,
cites an Ashanti hymn of thanks to the Supreme Being in which this
word Is used. According to this renowned scholar, the use of the
word by the Ashanti precedes the arrival of Christian missionaries
to West Africa.1 !1
The study of general Ashanti and Hebrew grammars also reveal
other similarities which cannot be dismissed lightly. J.G. Chris-
taller explains, for example, that the relative participle in the
Ashanti language "serves to make up for the lack of relative
pronouns, as in the Hebrew."12
In addition, the negative in Ashanti
u s u a l l y i s formed by the p r e f i x N meaning not.1 3
in Hebrew is made negative by the adverb EN which literally means
"it is not." 14
Williams remarks that "a careful study of Professor Rattray״s
Ashanti Proverbs discloses many Indications of seeming Hebrew
affinity or rather influence." 15
Moreover he observes "the paral-
lelism so distinctive of Hebrew poetry also is found In the Ashanti."
Customs and religious practices
We can begin to see Just how closely the Ashanti and Hebrew
are fused by examining their common cultural and religious charac-
terlsties. This chapter deals with some of the peripheral or
secondary cultural and religious similarities. Some of them are
1. Inter-tribal marriage laws;
2. Marriage rites;
3. Female child-birth and menstruation.
Inter-tribal marriage laws. According to Professor Williams,
the Mosaic laws concerning marriages within the tribes to preserve
the inheritance of daughters within the family of their fathers
(Numbers 36:5-12) are very similar to Ashanti practices.1 7
cross-cousin marriages of the Ashanti " are "strictly similar to
that of the Hebrew daughters of Salphaad who...wed ״the sons of
t h e
b r o t h e r s of t h e i r f a t h e r s (Numbers 3 6 : 1 1 ) . 1 9
Marriage rites. The Ashanti marriage customs, says Rattray,
require that the prospective bride and groom first satisfy them-
selves that their marriage will not violate the tribal laws con-
cemlng the marriage of blood relatives. Then, after obtaining the
consent of the parents of the bride, the groom offers a dowry and
a wine offering. After the wine is passed to those present at the
ceremony, what remains is poured on the ground. These are the only
requirements. No priest Is needed .'־יי
Professor Williams observes that "In the ancient Hebrew
marriage, the ceremony was performed in a private house without the
necessary presence of a priest or rabbi. An elder Invoked the
benediction and gave a cup of wine to the bride and groom who
pledged fidelity to each other. The bridegroom then dashed the
cup to the ground. The marriage contract was then read and attested
by the drinking of a cup of wine by each person present "almost
exactly as do the Ashanti." '1
Female child-birth and menstruation.
One of the striking
similarities between Ashanti and Hebrww customs is the realm of
child birth. For example, the Ashanti mother is considered "unlean"
for eight days after the birth of her child. On the elgth day
the child is given a name and on the fortieth day a related cere-
mony is observed.״
"In all this we are certainly reminded of
Hebrew customs," says Williams. Even the restrictions and taboos
of the Ashanti woman during her menstrual period including her
seclusion "read like a page borrowed from the Book of Leviticus,"
he says referring no doubt to the Twelfth Chapter.־׳
In summary, we can safely say that the Ashanti language con-
tainsomuch that very closely resembles Hebrew including the word
Ashanti lteself. Moreover we find certain important customs in
common. Add to these the certainty that the Ashanti people
generally migrated from the direction of the Middle East. Together
we can envision a close link between the two peoples If not a
common ancestry. Just how close we will more fully realize from
reading the next chapter,
The Supreme Being of the Ashanti
Most people outside Black Africa think of the Indigenous
African religions as polytheistic and idolatrous. If asked to
find similarities between native black African and Hebrew concepts
of God, for instance, the answer almost always heard is that there
are none. After all, they reason, Africans believe in many gods.
The Jews only believe in one.
Here is a perfect example of a misconception which has
resulted from long-standing historical bias and a considerable
lack of knowledge. A closer examination of black African religious
beliefs reveals the nature and extent of this error.
First it is important to recognize the nature of Hebrew
religious beliefs and practices, particularly during the Biblical
era. Professor George Foot Moore, a Harvard University historian,
states that , , the Biblical forefathers had fallen away from the
true religion, not only by worshipping other gods (but) by worship-
ping their own God in a heathen way."1
Dr. A.W.F. Blunt, a well-
known archeologlst, notes that "to a late date, as excavations
prove, the Israelites continued to use models of cows and plaques
of Astarte as amulets." 2
Another historian, R.L. Ottley, confirms this view. He says
"the Hebrews did not openly abandon their allegiance to Jehovah,
but they co-ordinated and sometimes even identified their national
Deity with one or other of the Canaanite gods. Thus the simple
and pure worship of Jehovah was gradually corrupted by the admix-
tures of usages and symbols borrowed from the nature worship of
the Canaenites." 3
Illustrations of this situation are frequent in the Bible.
For example, Chapter 23 of II Kings lists several examples,
including the fact that King Solomon built altars to Ashtoreth,
the pagan goddess of fertility. None-the-less, F. Prêt observes
that "the idolatry of the Hebrews was less an apostacy than the
adoption of strange practices and ceremonies."4
Thus we can see, almost at a glance, a certain parallel
between the historical condition of Biblical Israel and that common-
ly attributed to black African religious practices. The aware-
ness should remove the mental obstacles in our investigation of
the similarities between these two traditions notwithstanding the
evident corruption of them both at one time or another.
We might look to start at the conclusions of William Bosman
who wrote several books on his first-hand experiences with the
peoples of the Gold Coast, now Ghana, of West Africa. He notes in
no uncertain words that these people ״, ascribe to God the attributes
of Omnipresence, Omniscience, and Invisibility, besides which they
believe He governs all things by Providence. By reason God Is
invisible they say it would be absurd to make any human represen-
tation of Him" as do Christians. For this reason, he says the
Idols before which they worship only represent "subordinate deities." s
At this Juncture It might be well to consider whether the
African concept of the Almighty God stems from Christian or Islamic
Influences. Professor R. Sutherland Rattray, who Williams calls
a captain and "a master of the Ashanti language and an official
interpreter in several other dialects," asserts 1 "I am convinced
that the Ashanti conception of a Supreme Being has nothing whatever
to do with missionary influenoe or Mohammedans."6
He adds: "In a
sense it is true that this great Supreme Being, the concept of
which is inately Ashanti, is the Jehovah of the Israelites. ״ י
The views which we have stated thusfar largely are generali-
zations. In this very important area of theology, the question
naturally arises whether there are specific proofs that the Almighty
God of the Ashanti and that of the Hebrews are synonymous.
think the following evidence should satisfy all but the most
incredulous that they are one and the same!
First let us compare the Ashanti and Hebrew names for God.
The full name of the Ashanti Supreme Being is ONYAME. The 0 ordin-
arily is not pronounced so the spelling Nyame is more exact
p h o n e t i c a l l y . The A i s a short vowel a s In b a t .
The E a l s o i s a
short vowel as in met. The N Is a prefix to convey the Idea of
immensity. This leaves the root word YAME. 8
Rattray and Chris-
t a l l e r both a s s e r t t h a t t h e l e t t e r M i s i n t e r c h a n g e a b l e with W
in the Ashanti language.9 In other words the Ashanti name for
God can be pronounced Yame or Yawe, with short vowels.
We find a similar situation In Biblical Hebrew. Dr. Albert
T. Clay, an archeologlcal linguistics expert at Yale University,
notes that "in the Murushu archives found at Nippur, belonging to
the reigns of Artaxerxes and Darius, the divine element in Hebrew
names Is written Ja-a-ma for Yawa." He also mentions a clay
tablet found at Ta»anach which "contains the divine name of Israel* s
God written Jami."*
He concludes unhestatingly that "some
Semitic groups"~used M and others W to represent the same sound."
Thus we learn that the word for the Almighty God can be spelled
and/or pronounced as Yawe or Yame In both Hebrew and Ashanti.
But the similarity does not end with the precise word for the
Almight God. The word for Creator in Ashanti is Bore-bore.
The exact equivalent in sound and meaning is Bore יי which is the
participle form for the Hebrew word Bara 14
that means "to create."
The word "bore" is used for example in Isaiah 42:5.
In the Ashanti language, God also is called Nyankapon Kwame
which means "God alone, great One, to whom Saturday Is dedicated."
This dedication to the Jewish Sabbath is verified In a letter
written in 1922 by the Ashanti Queen, Amma Sewa Akota, to the wife
of the British Governor to the Gold Coast. The letter reads in
parte t h a t "the g r e a t God Nyankopon.. .whose day of worship i s a
Once again we have another similarity to a very
important Hebrew concept: the observance of Saturday as the
Sabbath in honor of the Almighty God (Genesis 2:1-3).
Certain Christian theologians have sought to liken the visual-
lzation of the Ashanti Supreme Being with the popular Christian
notion that God is represented in human form. They cite the fact
that the prefix N in Nyame (Nyawe) and "im" in Elohim, a Hebrew
word for God, both use a plural or collective form.
This Christian view, however, is not supported by the facts.
As we learned earlier from Professor Bosman, the Black Africans
"say It would be absurd to make any hun^n representation of the
Almighty God." 6י Moreover the plural use of the word for God was
the grammatical form used in Biblical Hebrew to address any lndiv-
idual of royal or kingly rank. Dr. David Cooper, a fundamentalist
-oriented Christian theologian, "admits frankly that in the Semitic
world such usage ("of the plural noun for excellency, majesty")
was common when subjects addressed their king or at times spoke
conoernlng him." 17
The Hebrews of course could bé expected to
address God, who was their King of kings, in a similar manner.
In summary we can see that the Hebrew God and Creator is at
the very heart of black African, and particularly Ashanti religious
belief. This belief, moreover, relates to the total black African
culture because religion is and was traditionally an underlying,
integral part of the fabric of its society.
In ancient Israel, the belief in Almighty God was upheld as
a11-important. In many ways the idea of the Priesthood came second.
It was the latter who maintained the Temple, interpreted the laws,
and in general were responsible for giving religious direction to
the early Jewish nation. Among the Ashanti they also play equally
To be sure, the existence of a priesthood is a rather universal
phenomenum because organized religion must have some kind of lead-
ershlp. However one important outward symbol existed among the
Ashanti priesthood which links it closely to ancient Israel. That
symbol is the Breastplate worn by the high priests who usually
were representatives of the reigning Ashanti king or queen.
ASHANTI AMBASSADORS CROSSING THE PRAH
(From a drawing by Sir Henry Morton Stanley)
The accompanying Illustration Is a reproduction of the actual
drawing by Sir Henry Morton Stanley that appeared in the Illustrated
London News in the article entitled "Prom Cape Coast to Coomassle."
it was an 1874 edition. The signature of the artist is missing
because that part of the illustration is omitted from our copy.
However it is recorded by his wife that he made the original
drawing as a newspaper correspondent for the New York Herald
during his coverage of the Ashanti War of that period. >«
The illustration is titled "Ashantee Ambassadors Crossing the
Prah" river and shows Ashanti and British representatives of their
respective governments. The illustration also appeared later in a
book by Sir Stanley entitled Coomassle and Magdala.19
What is significant about the breastplate shown in the
illustration worn by the Ashanti representative? "At first glance,"
says Professor Williams, "this would appear to be unquestionably
a vestige of the High Priest of the Hebrews. But it is well to
remember that Professor Clay observes that the breastplate was
not peculiar to the Hebrews. It was to be found as well in Egypt
and probably elsewhere. However the divisions of the breastplate
into twelve parts is certainly distinctive" as a Hebrew symbol.v20
According to Dr. T. Edward Bowdltch, perhaps the first
contemporary European to come into close contact with the Ashanti,
says "One curious evidence may be added to the former identiflca-
tion of the Ashanti nations: It is the tradition that the whole
of these people were originally comprehended in twelve tribes or
families in which they classify themselves still." 2 1 • This was in
the early 1800*s. In addition, Dr. Friedrich Ratzel in his
History of Mankind asserts that the Ashanti nation is composed of
"twelve stocks...the members of which are distributed randomly
throughout the tribes."•2 :
Professor A.B. Ellis in a book written almost one half
century later, in 1881, relates that the Ashanti representatives
"pointed to the gold plates on their breasts as being their
insignia of office"
when asked by the British official of the
Gold Coast for evidence of their authority. 2 3
Besides the breastplate, the illustration shows another highly
revealing symbol which links the Ashanti directly to the Hebrews.
Williams notes that "the head-dress of the herald (representative)
with its gold disc in front satisfies the description of the
Hebrew miznefet."? The miznefet is described in the Jewish
Encyclopedia as "a tiara, or perhaps a peculiarly wound turban,
with a peak the front of which bore a gold plate with the inscrip-
tion *Holy unto Yhwh.*"25
Does this description of the Hebrew mlznefet fit the head-
dress In the Illustration by Sir Stanley? The answer clearly Is
yes. Moreover It is verified by Professor Rwttray who says ״The
(Ashanti) head-dress of a herald Is a cap nyade from the skin of a
Colobus monkey with a gold disc In front.״ z" These two prominent
articles of clothing, the twelve-part breastplate and the gold-
disc tiara head-dress, are found in only one other civilization as
part of the priestly outfit. That is the Hebrew civilization of
The striking similarities do not end here, however. We might
pause to consider some other similarities Involving the herald or
representative of the Ashanti king or queen about whom we just
discussed. Although the relationship between the Ashanti and Hebrew
words for herald seem more vague than what we discussed heretofore,
they are worth noting.
In the Bible (Exodus 3 52 ff), the saga of the burning bush on
Mount Sinai ״heralds״ the beginning of the all-important Mosaic
Revelation. The Hebrew word for bush Is SeNE.;
By the same token,
Rattray tells us ״the Ashanti have a myth which states that the
Creator made a herald (osene), a drummer (okyerema), and an execu-
tloner (obrafo), and that the precedence of these officials in the
Ashanti court Is in that order.2 8 ״
Thus the Ashanti word OSENE,
whose root is SENE, is virtually Identical with the Hebrew word
SeNE. Both refer to a herald or heralding of an important revela-
tion or event.
To support this view, we find likenesses between the other
two Ashanti words, OKYEREMA and OBRAFO, and the scene of the
Mosaic Revelation on Mount Sinai. The Ashanti word Okyerema,
whose root is KYEREMA sounds much like the Hebrew word Khoreb,
the western height of Mount Sinai.
After dropping the prefix 0
and the suffix FO from Obrafo, we have BRA which resembles the
Hebjew.word Brith which means covenant. ״The Ashanti myth might
thus record progressive stages in the manifestation of Yahweh to
the Hebrews: the burning bush, Sinai, and the Mosaic Covenant,״
We find still other similarities between the Ashanti and
ancient Hebrew cultures, including observances held In early
autumn, נ" the legal authority of the Ashanti TORO or law-giver,
in many ways similar to the law-giving Torah of the Hebrews, 31
and others. While these illustrations may appear more vague than
some of the others, they none-the-less lend additional credence to
the conclusion that the Ashanti and Hebrew cultures have common
In summary, we find many striking similarities between the
religions and cultures of the Ashanti and the pre-Exllic Hebrews.
These similarities are too many and too close to be coincidental.
We find the concept and words for the Almighty God are identical.
We find the words for Creator are identical. We find the same
Sabbath reverence. We find the same historical view of the twelve
tribes. We find the same twelve-tribe gold breastplate and head-
dress of the priests. We find similar meanings for the word herald
which plays an important part in both cultures. We find many other
concepts using similar-sounding words. We find many similarities
in marriage and child birth customs, all of which play Important
roles in both societies. And we find the very name Ashanti derives
from ancient Israel.
It is important, however, to recognize that the similarities
do not end with the Ashanti. They also are found among the other
peoples of Black West Africa — and from Central and Eastern
Africa too. For insights Into the other peoples of Black Africa,
the following chapter digests what Williams and other scholars have
Other Hebrewisms in Black Africa
In this chapter, Dr. Williams introduces the peoples of West
Africa who are the neighbors of the Ashanti. In addition, there
is a discussion of the peoples who inhabit what commonly is known
as Central and East Africa. We have broken the discussion into
geographical parts roughly parallel to the countries of modem
Africa. However we want to make It clear once again that tribal
groupings never fit neatly into one nation or another. The
boundaries of the present-day nations are largely of European
colonial origin, conceived for reasons often having little to do
with tribal affiliation of the population.
To introduce his chapter, Professor Williams says that the
information which follows, together with that already discussed,
confirms his conviction that there , 1 is a strong infiltration of
Hebrew stock" among the peoples of black West Africa. 1
In addition, he re-emphasizes the "polytheistic" tendencies
among Jews during different periods In their history by quoting
Dr. Nahum Slouschz, a well-known white Jewish historian. He says
in his discussion of religious practices in Moslem-dominated
North Africa that the Jews of Morocco "often have a polytheistic
character which approaches fetichlsm. There still are some who
worship grottoes, and rocks and stones under the guise of saints." 2
The purpose of Williams re-emphasizing this polytheistic
tendency among North African Jews Is to remind the reader that such
reversions or abberations to more primitive religious forms do not
disqualify them as Jews or Israelites, whichever term you choose
to use. The proof that his conclusion is valid is that most of
the Moroccan and other North African Jews have emigrated to the
State of Israel where they are full-fledged citizens.
With this introduction, we can better resume our investigation
into the cultural affinities between black African and Hebrew
The observations of J. Lelghton Wilson are especially worthy
of our attention for any investigation in this region. The reason
is because he was a missionary in the Guinean area for 18 years.
He afterwards became a director of the American Presbyterian Board
of Foreign Missions indicating the high esteem with which he was
held by his colleagues. His book Western Africa 1 Its History.
Condition and Prospects was published in 1856. In the preface of
his book, Reverend Wilson states that "the great body of the book
is the result of my own observations and knowledge."3
He observes in his book that "there are many obvious traces
of Judaism, both In
Northern and Southern Guinea."
says that "In northern Guinea paganism and Judaism are united." 4
He then explains that in the Northern region, the practice of
Judaism is "prominently developed, some of the leading features of
which are circumcision, the division of tribes into separate
families, and very frequently into the number twelve, blood sacra-
flees with the sprinkling of blood upon the altars and door-posts"
and other usages which he classifies of Jewish origin.
Dr. William Bosman in his book about his travels in Guinea
observes that the women in this region must accept an oath-drink
to acquit themselves of any accusation of adultery. The law Is
that sickness or death which follows the taking of this drink is
evidence of guilt. Bosman claims that "this drink seems very like
the bitter water administered to the women of the Old Testament by
way of acquitting them of the charge of adultery." û
Bosman says elsewhere in his book: "The Negroes still retain
several laws and customs which savour of Judaism, as their marrying
of their brother״ s wife and several more. They seem the same
effect, a^s well a s the names, of which here (in Guinea) are several
which occur in the Old Testament."7
Mungo Park in his book entitled Travels in the Interior Pis-
trlcts of Africa, written in 1810, observes the legal whippings
among the Teesee people in the Kassob region. He says, "the
number of stripes was precisely the same as are required by Mosaic
Law, forty, save one."
He notes further that these people were
neither Christian nor Moslem at that time."
In the same book, Park notes that "on the first appearance of
the new moon, the natives say a short prayer...to the Supreme
Being. This prayer is pronounced in a whisper, the party holding
up his hands before his face. This ceremony seems to be nearly
the same which prevailed among the Hebrews In the days of Job.""
It is significant to note the words of Rabbi Kaufman Kohler
in a Jewish Encyclopedia article on the "New Moon." He maintains
"the period of the New Moon in pre-exillc times...was superior even
to the Sabbath day which formed but a part of it, but lost its
importance during the Exile (beginning about 586 B.C.)" He also
says in this article that "in the Temple, the New Moon was célébra-
ted by special sacrifices and by the blowing of the trumpet." K'
To study the Dahomian region of West Africa, we turn first to
a series of articles by Professor Williams which appeared during
1936 and 1937 In the Anthropological Series of the Boston College
Graduate School. These articles contain numerous scholarly and
eye-witness references which do not appear in his book.
One such scholar Is Professor Melville Herskovltz of North-
western University who Williams describes as "one of the most
distinguished American anthropologists." " Dr. Herskovltz, writing
about the Ewe (pronouced 8r*va־) of Dahomey and Togo notes that "in
the life of the Dahomian, Mawu is but another Vodu or Yehwe, the
two (sets of) terms being synonymous."'2
He also says elsewhere
that "Mawu Is but another Vodu or Yehwe, a generic term for Great
Although h i s phonetic spelling d i f f e r s somewhat, J .A .Sketcherly
writing about Dahomey confirms that "their Supreme Being is called
Mau or Mahu-no, and is vested with unlimited authority over every
being, both spiritual and carnal."1 4
Bishop Auguste Herman in a series of articles about the Ewe
people among whom he lived provides us with a most revealing
insight into their beliefs — and the similarities to those of the
ancient Hebrews :
He says, "This cult of Mahou presents certain particulars
which resemble survivals of primitive religion of a Hebrew tradi-
tion. It teaches its followers a high idea of purity and the
sanctity of God. Its ministers are clothed in white cloth. They
observe the laws of continence prescribed to Jewish priests when
they served In the Temple. Strict rules mark the periods when
women participate in the rites of the cult. The water intended for
ritual blessings can be brought only by a young woman who is a
virgin. The official day of rest is Saturday. On that day the
followers of Mahou (Almighty God) do not work in the fields. Once
a year they offer a solemn sacrifice in an enclosure, outside the
village. The priest takes in his hands a sheep which must be white.
Three times he raises it towards the heavens. A part of the soup
(made from the slain lamb) is poured on the ground as an offering
to God." 15
Herman rheotorically askss "This purification, this triple
oblation of the sacrifice, this sacred repast in common, this
Saturday sanctified by rest, does not all this recall old Biblical
Obviously, his answer is yes!
Elsewhere in the series on Dahomey, Professor Williams talks
about a map published in a 1790 edition of the Memoirs of the
Reign of Ba s sa Ahadee. King of Dahomey by Robert Norris. It was
an eye-witness account. The map shown in both the English and
French editions designate the region surrounding the town of Whydah
as the "Country of the Jews." In fact the town itself is called
Here we have visible evidence of a Jewish population living
in the very heart of Black Africa. As we have seen, the entire
area beyond the immediate region of Whydah also Is rooted ,in Hebrew
culture. The author simply pinpoints an area which contained a
Hebraic tradition which he was able to recognize.
The existence of an active Jewish community in this region
is confirmed by a native of Whydah whose name is Bata Klndal
Amgoza. He writes In a Scrlbner's Magazine article that the
"B״nal Ephram.. .have oopies of the Torah kept in a most holy place
....Otherwise they are simply naked negro״ people like everyone
else.'8 ' Dr. J. Kreppel in his book about Jews and Judaism also
reports a large Jewish community in the interior of Dahomey. He
says "they have a central temple (and) a Pentateuch written In
Hebrew l e t t e r s . " 19
Besides the map in the book by Norrls, we find reference to
still another map, the existence of which confirms the integrity
of the former. Pierre Bouche, a French historian, makes reference
to an earlier map by Jean D'Anville that states the country of
Nagos was formerly inhabited by Jews."2 0
He says this view was
found earlier In the writings of Edrisi, an Arab explorer of the
Eleventh Century. He adds: "One finds among the black many
Jewish customs." 2'
We are told by Reverend Christian Reindorf, a black pastor of
the Basel Mission on the Gold Coast, about the High Priest of the
Akra people. He asserts: "A close inspection of the priest in
his officiating garb leads to the conviction that his worship must
be of foreign origin....One is inclined to suppose that the Jewish
system of worship in the Old Testament style has been either
introduced by or imitated from the people who came out first to
the (Gold) Coast." "
G.T. Basden was for many years a missionary among the Ibo.
These people live mainly in the south-eastern region of modern
Nigeria though they can be found scattered throughout the entire
country. Because these people are largely non-Moslem, it is
likely that their ancestors were among the slaves transported to
America and the West Indies.
According to Basden in his book Among the Ibo of Nigeria,
"there are certain customs which point to Levitic influence at a
more or less remote time. This is suggested in the underlying
Ideas concerning sacrifice and in the practice of circumcision.
The language also bears several interesting parallels with Hebrew
idiom."2 ? He later notes that "among the Ibo people there is a
distinct recognition of a Supreme Being beneficent in character -
who is above every other spirit, good or evil. He is believed to
control all things in heaven and earth, and dispenses rewards and
punishments according to merit.""
Besides the Ibo, we also find reference to Judaism In the
northern half of the country populated today largely by the Hausa
and Fulanl (Feul or Peul) peoples. Edmond D. Morel devotes con-
slderable space to the Fulanl In his book Affairs of West Africa.
He concludes that after the overthrow of the Hyksos rulers in
Egypt, many of their Hebrew kinsmen found their way Into the inter-
ior of Africa by way of Cyrenaloa (Libya). 25
He remarks a few
pages later that "the Hebraic flavor, if one may put it so, which
seem to permeate many of the "Fulanl customs...has been recorded
by many observers." i6
Perhaps even more revealing are the following comments which
Morel made In his book In connection with the experiences of his
friend, Captain de Gulraudon, who lived for several years among
the Fulanl In the Senegambia region. Morel says he "was partlcu-
larly struck by their peculiar knowledge of Jewish history. So
familiarly did they speak of the chief Hebrew personalities of the
Old Testament, and so well posted were they with the principle
events related in it that they could not...have acquired their
knowledge through Arabic sources.
,,They referred to those times as though dealing with their
own national records. Moses and Abraham might have been Individuals
of the same race as themselves. (Morel quotes Gulraudon that) *in
their oral legends Moses plays a very important part, and although
certain passages of the Scripture are transformed or rather assim-
Hated, they have so Intense a Biblical and Hebraio tone as to
exclude all Arabic influence.*"
The strongest evidence of their
direct relationship to a Hebrew past rests in the fact, as Guir-
audon notes, " , that their Israelite chronicles ceased after
Gulraudon* s conclusions are best summarized In h i s own words.
He says "It would seem as if the Fulanl.. .were at least In perma-
nent contact with the Jewish people In remote times.••28 Morel him-
self concludes that the Fulanl , , are the lineal descendants of the
Hyksos," whom he identifies as Hebrews, "having migrated westward
with the overthrow of the Shepherd conquerors....Their presence in
West Africa dates back at least 2,500 years." »
Maurice Abadie, a French historian, asserts that "the Semitic
o r i g i n of the Peuls (Fulani) of the N i g e r . . . cannot be q u e s t i o n e d . " ^
He believes Jews from North Africa also Joined their brethren
many years later In the Second Century A.D. to found the Empire of
Ghana. 1י Dr. Williams thinks it therefore is not surprising to
find the Fulanl also living in the neighboring lands of the Camer-
oons and Senegal.'32
Central Africa (Congo, Angola. Kenya, etc,)
In Chapter Three, we noted on page 7 .that scholars believe
there Is a common origin for the Ashanti and Bantu peoples. They
both came, It is thought, from the northeastern part of the contl-
nent. The Ashanti eventually migrated westward below and roughly
parallel to the Sahara Desert; the Bantu moved mainly In south and
southwestward directions. Today we find the Bantu peoples a
majority throughout Central Africa in a belt extending from Zambia
and Mozambique on the east coast through the Central African
Republic (formerly French Equitorlal Africa) to the Congo and
Angola on the west coast.
Because most Black Americans are not related directly to the
Bantu, we will abbreviate our discussion about them. However
their significance historically (and In modern times) should not
be overlooked. Our knowledge of their Hebrew traditions simply
confirms what we already know about West Africa and that the
Hebrew strain exists In Black Africa far more extensively than most
In the Congo, Herbert Ward says there exists a remarkable
affinity of certain customs to ancient Hebrew law. He notes, for
example, that "if adultery is committed within the village, both
man and woman are considered equally guilty; outside the village
boundary, however, the man only is held at fault." ״
Keller of Yale University reports that many West African funeral
customs are in the same class with the ritual "sackcloth and ashes"
of the Old Testament. 34
Farther south, In Angola, we learn from W. Merlin Ennls that
"there are many indications that there was at least a common source
from which arose the Hebrew culture; and that this (Angolan culture)
arose from that. There are many place names in Palestine and more
especially in the eastern end of the Arabian peninsula (which also
was Inhabited by Jews in pre-Islamic times) that resemble Bantu
John Clarke, a British missionary, writes In 1848 that Olden-
dorf, an earlier traveler in the region then called French Equit-
orial Africa, "speaks of black Jews being in this part of Africa."3 6
Dr. Friedrich Ratzel also speaks about the "Mavumba, renowned as
potters and smiths, to whom some assign a Jewish origin."^
Father Gulseppe Clatti spent several years at the Kahetl
Catholic Mission in Kenya. In a manuscript written In September,
1932, he says "it can be easily concluded that the Agekoyo have
had some contact with the Hebrews after their departure from
He then enumerates. Leviticus 28:1-23, he says "is rigorous
law for the Agekoyo." Exodus 21:35.36 "Is scrupulously observed."
The same he says Is true of Exodus 22:10,13,18,22 and Exodus 23:4,
19,22 which "are fully observed precisely as written." Leviticus
19:14,26,32,33 "are also laws of the tribe." נ י
In summary we see clearly that Hebrew religion and culture
permeated Black Africa from coast to coast, and represents the
very core of the native civilization however much It may have
become corrupted through the centuries. The Interactions arose
during centuries when close personal contacts were required. No
radio, television or similar means of Instant or mass communication
had been Invented. Asa consequenoe, there can be doubt about the
veracity and logic of Williams and many other scholars that Black
Africa Is Infused with Hebrew blood besides being rooted In Its
We have concentrated our analysis mainly on pre-Exlllc times.
This refers to the centuries before 586 B.C. when the First Temple
was destroyed. As most students of religion know, this pre-Exlllc
period Included the Mosaic era about 1225 B.C. and the reigns of
Kings Saul, David and Solomon, the last from 972 to 933 B.C.
The reason we have concentrated on this period in antiquity
is to establish once and for all times that Black Africans, and
their Black American descendants, are part of the "root stock" of
what are commonly called the Original Israelites. We do not
wish to minimize the significance of the continuous series of
events which led to the establishment of the Ghanlan and Songhui
Hebrew empires of later centuries. However, any attempt tell this
part of the story would require many more pages, all of which simply
reinforce the conclusions already reached.
The remainder of our book, therefore, is devoted to a discussion
of the human links between Black Africa and the Hebrew Middle East.
It Is a discussion which dates back to the Patriarch Abraham. In
this way, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of history
by everyone and particularly for black people whose spiritual and
cultural reawakening has Just now begun.
TEMPLE BETH EL - VIRGINIA
AFRO-AMERICAN HEBREW LEADERS
African Hebrews : the Offspring
This chapter, as we Indicated at the end of the last one, Is
devoted mainly to establishing the human links between the Middle
East and Africa, particularly that region known as Black West Africa.
We established in previous chapters that Hebrew beliefs and culture
are foundatlonstones of native black African clvilizatlon. Obviously
this did not occur by magic. It happened through the course of
For this reason, we will explore in this chapter some of the
evidence about the movements from the Middle East into Africa
beginning in the ancient Biblical era. Notice we use the word
״,movements״״ in the plural. The reason is because Hebrew penetration
Into the heart and soul of black Africa came in waves over a long
period of time. At best, we can divide these movements into arbl-
Our purpose is not to pinpoint each and every wave or movement.
That Is impossible. Nor is It our purpose to discuss every impor-
tant one. We simply want to bring to the attention of the reader
some of the very earliest ones, particularly those dating back to
Biblical days, to establish once and for all that most black Amerl-
cans are, in fact, descendants of the ״״original" Israelites.
To start our Investigation, Professor Samuel A.B. Mercer, an
expert in Biblical history, Informs us that 1״About 1650 B.C., Jaoob
and his family went into Egypt and sojourned there, according to
Biblical tradition, about 430 years. 1
In other words, Hebrews
settled in Egypt no later than 1650 B.C. and remained at least
until 1220 B.C. when Moses led them out of bondage.
According to Professor Mercer, ״״this was a time of great
migrations; and we find that the Hyksos, a Semitic people, a branch
of whom Jacob and his family may well have been, entered Egypt and
became rulers of the land.״״ To support this, Mercer observes that
״״scarabs of a Hyksos ruler gave his name as Jacob-her or Jacob-el,״״
the latter name meaning God of Jacob, a common Hebrew appelatlon. 2
Dr. Harry Orlinsky, a Professor of Bible at Hebrew Union
College, says the word ״״Hyksos״״ means ״״rulers of foreign countries.3 ״״
To the ancient Egyptians that meant people who came from the
Middle East. This view Is held by most historians. Professor
Williams notes that ״״the Pharaoh who showed friendship to Joseph
and his (Hebrew) brethren must really have belonged to the
shepherd race. This fact might easily explain the emnity and
persecution to which the Hebrews were subjected after the expul-
sion of their kinsfolk, the Hyksos (about 1580 B.C.)4״״
In summary, we see that the Hebrews reached Africa no later
than 1650 B.C., or more than 3*600 years ago. Their presence In
Egypt, which began peacefully under so-called Hyksos rule, even-
tually deteriorated through discrimination, persec ution and
ultimately bondage. About 1220 B.C. they gained their freedom under
the leadership of Moses.
It is clear, however, that not everyone left Egypt with Moses.
Professor Sidney Mendelssohn in his book Jews In Africa tells us
t h a t "when the Children of I s r a e l crossed the Red S e a . . . . the exodus
was by no means universa 1.•5 י
Edmond Fleg in his The Life of Moses
observes that there Is a Rabbinic tradition that at the time of the
Exodus ,״many Israelites...remained with the Egyptians.״^
What happened to those Israelites who remained in Egypt after
the exodus northward into the Holy land led by Moses? The answer
is two-fold: Many remained in Egypt for centuries as Mendelssohn
and Fleg tell us. Others migrated south and westward into the
heart of Africa as Williams and other scholars tell us.
Edmond D. Morel tells us that the Fulani and related West
African peoples are the ״״lineal descendants״״ of these Hyksos and
other Hebrew migrants. " Williams says the ״״gradual migration of
the Jews Is perhaps the simplest, If not the only plausible explan-
atlon" for finding a black Hebrew culture throughout West Africa
not to overlook the Bantu country of Central and Eastern Africa.«
These conclusions in turn are affirmed by the fact that scholars
believe the ancestors of the Fulani, Ashanti, Ewe, Yoruba, Bantu
and other peoples traveled the same routes. 9
Another early period of Israelite migration into Africa was
climaxed during the reign of King Solomon who ruled between the
years 972 and 933 B.C. It wa s during this period that Solomon
through his numerous political and marital alliances greatly extend-
ed Israelite Influence in Ethiopia, the Sudan and neighboring lands.
Although some historians differ in certain particulars, the
Ethiopians believe themselves descended from the earlier Inhabitants
of the ancient kingdom established by King Solomon and his wife,
the Queen of Sheba, and their son, Bayna-Lehkem or Menellk as he
commonly I s c a l l e d .
Confirmation of this general theory comes from F. Balthazaar
Tellez who wrote in 1710 that ״״there were always Jews In Ethiopia
from the beginning.1 0 ״״ Professor Mendelssohn says ״״this statement
(by Tellez) may be conjecturally justified by the proximity of
Abyssinia, Ethiopia and their dependencies to the ancient homes of
the Israelites In Egypt and Palestine. 1 1
In fact, Sir Walter Plowden, British Consul General to
Ethiopia about 1868 maintains ״Two things are certain: that at a
far later period, six sovereigns of pure Jewish race and faith
reigned at Gondar (Ethiopia)....I think it also highly probable
that the whole of Abyssinia was of the Jewish persuasion previous
to its conversion (to Christianity in the Fourth Ce ntury A .D.)1 2 ״
Louis J. Morle, a French historian, thinks the Falasha Jews of
Ethiopia derive from the tribe of Levi.
The word Falasha is the
name commonly given Ethiopians who still practice Judaism. Job
Leutholf, among others, says the word means Exiles, to designate
their origin from the Holy Land.14 And many, says Dr. George A.
Barton In his Jewish Encyclopedia contribution, believe "they
derive from exiles, possibly after the destruction of the Northern
Kingdom (of Israel) but more probably from Judea after the destruc-
tlon of Jerusalem by the Romans.5 '״
The Bible provides us with still more evidence that Israelites
lived In Ethiopia and the Sudan. The Prophet Isaiah, who lived
about 725 B.C., believed that "the Lord shall set forth his hand a
second time to recover the remnant of his people...from Assyria,
and from Egypt, and from î^thros (Upper Egypt) and from Cush (now
Ethiopia and the Sudan).6 '״ Only 70 years later another Hebrew
prophet, Zephaniah, was to say ״From beyond the river of Ethiopia
my supplicants, even the daughters of my dispersed, shall bring my
offering. 7 ' ״
That an Israelite population already inhabited the inland
heart of Black Africa at this time is recorded by John Leo Afrlcanus,
a Fifteenth Century geographer and historian. In a translation of
h i s book A Geographical History of A f r i c a by John Pory, Africa nus
records that at the beginning of the Ethiopian Hebrew Empire founded
by King Solomon ״there inhablteth a most populous nation of Jewish
stock״ west of the Nile below the Sahara in a region between
״Abassin (Ethiopia) and Congo.״'"
A look at any map reveals that the region referred to by
African inhabited by Jews In the Seventh and Eighth Centuries B.C.
and afterward is precisely the ״Chad-Nile area" that Dixon" and
other scholars2 0 say the root stock of Black Africans came, bringing
with them the Hebrew oustoms of their forefathers as we have seen.
At this point, It might be worth noting that the concept of
the modern ״black״ man was largely unknown In ancient times. The
modern concept to which we have reference Is the one which classifies
as black or colored anyone who Is not pure white or does not have
very distinctively Caucasian features. This concept Is one of
later European origin, and a distortion of historical fact.
Most historians agree that the original Israelites bear little
if any resemblance to the so-called ״white״ Jews of modem Europe
and America. This Is especially significant because It helps us
better understand what Is meant by the term ״black״ Jew. In
addition, we can better accept the fact that Americans of Black
African descent are related by blood and culture to the very earliest
The conclusion that most white Jews do not descend from
Israelites in the racial sense is affirmed by many scholars. Prof-
essor Karl Kautsky in his book Are the Jews A Race? summarizes the
situation as follows:
1״A mixed race from the start, the Jews in
the course of their migrations have come into contact with a great
succession of new races and their blood has become more and more
mixed. 1 1 •״
Kautsky informs us that "As early as 139 B.C., Jews were
deported from Rome because they made proselytes in Italy. It is
reported from Antloch (in modern-day Turkey) that the majority of
the Jewish congregation In town consisted of converts to Judaism,
not of Jews by birth. Conditons must have been similar in many
other places. This fact alone shows the absurdity of the effort
to explain traits of the (white) Jews on the basis of their race." "
An Oxford University scholar, Professor Griffith Taylor,
writes: "There is of course little relationship between the orlg-
lnal Semitic Jews of Syria and the Russian Jew of Poland and
vicinity." This diversity is explained "mainly by an extensive
proselytizing movement among the Southern Russians in the early
centuries of our era." Indeed he affirms that the "Jews are not
a race, but only a people." î3
Professor Eugene Pittard summarizes the ethnic situation of
white Jews in this way: "It seems to us that the least Informed
reader will come to the conclusion that no Jewish race exists in
the zoological sense of the word. The Jews constitute a religious
and social community, certainly very strong and coherent; but its
(racial) elements are hetrogeneous in the extreme."•*
Even Biblical evidence reveals that those who inhabited
Palestine In that era were products of marriages with those of
other groups. For instance, Juda, the son of Jacob, took a Canaan-
lte wife (Genesis 38:2). Joseph married an Egyptian woman (Genesis
4:45). Sampson married a Philistine (Judges 14:2f.) Solomon
married wives from several different nations Including the daughter
of an Egyptian Pharaoh (I Kings 3:1). And his son, Roboam, who
was to succeed him, was born of an Ammonite mother (I Kings 14:31).
And it Is doubtful that these women ever were formally converted
in any modern sense of that word.
In retrospect, we see that the Hebrew peoples were a diverse
peoples almost from the start. They had no single ethnic background.
Because we know that the black African heritage is rooted deeply
in this ancient stock, it therefore should not be surprising to
discover that the very first Israelites, those who started with
Abraham, were themselves black, at least in terms of contemporary
That Abraham and his followers were black is not only plausible
In terms of our contemporary concepts of color and race. It is a
fact supported by certain Biblical passages and archeologlcal
discoveries relatif to that period some 4,000 years ago.
The Bible everyone agrees serves as a source of religious
Inspiration for Jews as well as Christians and Moslems. More than
that, it also is a source of historical information. Its main
historical significance Is not in the literal interpretation but in
its broader implications
In this framework, we might examine the Biblical account In
Genesis 10:8-10 that "Cush begat Nlmrod (whose) kingdom was Babel,
and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." This
means, according to the Encyclopedia Americana section on Nimrod,
that he "was a Cushlte, that he established the kingdom of Shinar
(about 2450 B.C.), the classic Babylonia, (and) extended his king-
dom northward along the Tigris over Assyria."*
W. Max Muller, Professor of Bible Exegesis, says in his article
In the Jewish Encyclopedia that Cush "evidently means the anoestors
of the Nubians"
who inhabited modern Ethiopia and Sudan. These
facts affirm another Biblical account, Genesis 2:13, that the Sihon
River bordered the land of "Ethiopia." This river today flows
through the Caucasus mountains to the northern border of ancient
Significantly, the Bible in Genesis 2:11-12 also calls this
same region the "Land of Havilah." According to the section on
this subject in the Encyclopedia Americana. reference to Havilah
is to a region that "was INHABITED by the sons of Cush."J7
Babylonia at the time of King Nimrod was known variously as Shinar,
Ethiopia and Havilah, the last two words signifying rule and
inhabitation by Cushltes or black people.
Some scholars prefer to place Havilah mainly along the Persian
Gulf shores of the Arabian peninsula. This view, however, is
entirely consistent with Havilah also being part of the Babylonian
kingdom of Nimrod. The reason is because the two areas are next to
each other or, more precisely, continuations of the same area.
A.H. Sayce, a Professor of Assyriology at Oxford University, notes
that the Bible in Micah 5*6 refers to the "land of Assyria" and the
"land of Nimrod" as synonyms or duplicates of each other in the
same verse, a common grammatical style in those days. This fact
he says signifies that the domain of King Nimrod was the Empire of
Assyria which then extended into and included the Arabian peninsula.2 8 '
The fact that black people lived in southern Babylonia along
the shores of the Persian Gulf extending into Arabia is verified
by certain archeologlcal discoveries. George G. Cameron of the
Department of Oriental Studies of the University of Chicago tells
us that "there is some evidence that a protonegroid population
once extended westward from India along the shores of the Persian
The word "proto" is defined in the American College
Dictionary as "a word element meaning *first, 1
•earliest form of•*"־•׳
Sir Harry Johnston, the noted authority on black anthropology
and culture, observes "There is a curliness of the hair, together
with a negro eye and full lips in the portraiture of Assyria which
conveys the idea of an evident negro element in Babylonia." He
also makes reference in the same section of his book to "the Asiatic
negroid strain of Jews," 511 undoubtedly referring to those living in
the Persian Gulf area.
Thus we have documentation that a negroid or black population
lived in ancient Babylonia which the Bible says was called Shlnar,
Ethiopia and the Land of Havilah and which was ruled by King Nimrod
about 2450 B.C. The question arises, why does the Bible put such
stress on the Ethiopie origin of King Nimrod and his kingdom and
what has this to do with the "original" Israelites? The answer is
that his reign or dynasty coincides with certain written records
about Abraham, the first Israelite, and Ur, the city-state from
where Abraham came.
According to both Arabic and Jewish histories, King Nimrod
plays an important part in the early life of Abraham. In the
Babylonian Talmud of the ancient Jews, we find for example reference
to King Nimrod wanting possession of the child Abraham from the
latter* s father, Terah.1 י In Arabic history, Terah is portrayed as
the chief vizier or minister of state to King Nimrod. Moreover
"a statement of the Arabic writer-historian Yokut (is) that Hawil
(viz., Havilah) was the dialect spoken" v,y the descendants of
Midlan, the son of Abraham.'־ The word Havilah, from which Hawil
derives, refers to land inhabited by Cushites or black people as
we just learned.
More generally, Alfred Louis Kroeber, Professor of Anthropology
at the University of California, notes that "some scholars find
similarities between the Sumerian of Early Babylonia and Modern
African languages."^ This conclusion helps support the more
specific findings that the dialect of Abraham*s family was of
Still another fact ties together the relationship of King
Nimrod to Abraham. That is that the city-state of Ur, from where
Abraham descended, was located in the southern plain of Babylonia
very near the shores of the Persian Gulf. George B. Cameron says
with reference to the years between 2500 and 2200 B.C. that during
this period "the influence of Ur reigned supreme." 4
almost precisely coincides with the time when King Nimrod estab-
lished his dynasty circa 2450 B.C. in this very same area.
Although it is difficult to postulate the exact circumstances
about anyone who lived in antiquity, it seems plausible that one of
the motives for Abraham leaving his home in Ur was the royal court
intrigues to which he was subjected. This can be Inferred from
Genesis 13 J2 which says that Abraham "was very rich in cattle. In
gold and in silver" when we went to Egypt to get permission from
the Pharaoh to settle in the Land of Canaan.
In summary, Abraham appears to have come from among the ruling
classes of a Cushite or black dynasty founded by King Nimrod and
which Inhabited the vicinity of the Persian Gulf in southern
Babylonia. His father appears to have been an Important minister
in the court of this king. And the language of his family probably
was a Cushite or African tongue spoken by those who lived there.
The Bible tends to confirm this view elsewhere. The Prophecy
of Daniel (7:9) written in Babylonia refers to the Ancient of Days
whose garment was snow white and "the hair on his head (was) like
pure wool." Biblical scholars assign this reference to God. How-
ever it refers In the anthropomorphic sense to a prototype Israelite.
In all likllhood it refers to Abraham himself as he is considered
the prototype of all Israelites. In any event, one thing is certain.
It is a physical description which only fits a black person as we
know him today. Who else, pray tell, has woolly hair!
Even though we can tie Abraham to the Cushite dynasty of King
Nimrod, the question remains about his relationship to the Semites.
The answer is that the term "Semite" has come to mean something
different from which it originally was intended. Historically,the
ancient Semites were not a single or unified race but a group of
disparate ethnic groups with, at most, a common cultural background.
Dr. Allen H. Godbey, Professor of Bible at Duke University,
concludes "there is no such thing as a Semitic race. We use the
term Semitic to describe a type of language and a sort of culture
which we can trace by means of that type of language."3 6
Biblical language can not be accepted literally for the explanation.
For instance, the Bible in Genesis 10:22 says the Elamites were
"children" of the Semites. Most scholars reject this literal
interpretation. Instead, they accept the view expressed in The
Biblical World that the relationship only reflects "a cultural
fusion," and nothing more,;7
Because it is culture and not race which is basic in the
historical determination of who is Semitic, it is not difficult to
envision dark-skinned Semites of Cushite origin. We already have
noted the Cushite antecedants of Abraham. In addition, we have the
support of certain Biblical passages of later date. For example»
in the writings called Lamentations, generally ascribed to cue
Prophet Jeremiah, we have evidence that Israelites living about
600 B.C. still retained a dark-skinned appearance־ Lamentations
5:10 records that "our skin was black like an oven," as an illus-
The close connection between Semites and Africa Is further
evidenced by the comments of certain scholars. For instance,
G.R. Latham in his book Man and His Migrations has "the conviction
...that the Semitic tongues are simply African and that all
theories suggested by the term Indo-European must be abandoned.""*
Dr. Sterling Means says "the language we call Hebrew is nothing
but a derivation or branch of the African tongue."
George A. Barton, Professor of Semitic Languages, cites in the
Jewish Encyclopedia that "From Southern Arabia emigrants...estab-
lished themselves in Africa....These Semites are known as
And they came, as you will note, from the direction
of Havilah, the region Inhabited by the Cushite descendants of
ii bra ham.
Without exploring other areas of Biblical and Middle East
history, the preceding examples of the existence of a black proto-
Israelite civilization under Abraham, and their ultimate infusion
Into the blood and culture of native black Africa dating back to
the eras of Moses and Solomon should suffice to prove once and for
all that the black man is part and parcel of the root stock of the
original Israelites. The full extent of this ancient civilization
is visible throughout Black Africa, not merely as subsidiary or
secondary influences, but as underlying concepts In the beliefs
and practices of native Black Africa«,40
Africa is the Homeland of Judaism Too !
In one respect the previous chapter may be misleading. It
may give the mistaken impression that Africa is merely the
recipient of a éulture that originated in another contient, Asia,
and was ultimately transmitted to Africa starting in antiquity.
This impression is totally incorrect.
The fact is that many If not most of the key events that
shaped Judaism and its subsequent Influence on world civilization
began in Africa. And this influence
The fact Is that many if not most of the key events that
shaped Judaism and its subsequent influence on world civilization
began in Africa. And these events, to the extent they underlie
native black African culture and beliefs, never left Africa. Here
are some of the reasons for this conclusion J
#1 Abraham appears to have been of Cushlte or African descent.
#2 Abraham first traveled to Africa where he received permis-
slon to settle in the Land of Canaan.
#3 Moses, In many ways the founder of Judaism as we know it
today, was bom in Africa.
#4 Tv!e scene of the all-Important Mosaic Revelation, when
the Ten Commandments were given, occured in the Sinai
peninsula, a part of Africa.
#5 The Levitical Laws of the Pentateuch, including the
establishment of the Day of Atonement and Passover, were
formulated in Africa.
In addition, we have already seen the evidence that native
African Hebrews settled Black Africa through their Ashanti, Fulani,
Songhul, Bantu and other related ancestors.
The final result Is that what commonly is known as native black
African civilization is rooted in a Hebrew culture as much at home
in the soil of Africa as in the Middle East. To be sure, it con-
tains much that is alien and corrupt as is true in Europe and Asia
as well. But this does not negate the fact that most black Americans
descend from the "root stock" of the earliest Hebrews.
Black Americans can be proud of their African-Israelite
ancestry. It is an integral part of their heritage, not Just an
alien overlay. It has played a major role in shaping world civi-
lization. And to the extent this ancestry is important to peoples
of other races and colors, it reflects the full glory of a united
The African Israelites of the United States
Rootless! This word, which means without roots, summarizes
the plight of the Black man in America. Ruthlessly torn from his
African roots, the black man was cast into slavery and denied his
humanity. He was treated worse than an animal. Upon emancipation,
he was left homeless, illiterate, impoverished, politically power-
less, and x-rlthout a family structure on which to draw sustenance.
He had nothing but alien cultural and spiritual substitutes to
comfort him in his anguish.
The book THE HEBREW HERITAGE OF OUR WEST AFRICAN ANCESTORS
tells the black man where his spiritual and cultural roots really
are. It is, as we have seen, to be found in the Hebrew heritage
of the Ashanti, and their Yoruba, Fulani, Songhui and kindred
There are many thousands of black people in the United States
who have awakened to the fact that they are descendants of the
twelve tribes of Israel. There are over 250 congregations and
other organizations throughout the country as testimony to this
Among the early pioneers of the Israelite movement Rabbi
William Crowdy was among the first. He founded the Beth El Temple
association of Prophetic Judaism after Emancipation during the
last half of the Nineteenth Century. Today, there are more than
50 temples which belong to this particular group. Its present
Senior Rabbi is Howard Zebulon Piummer.
There exist many other black Israelite congregations and
centers. In 1915, there already were at least eight congregations
in the New York City area alone. At that time, they had the benefit
of learning about their heritage from black Hebrews who came from
such far-flung places as Ethiopia, the West Indies, India, and
North and West Africa. Some of the early leaders included Rabbi
Joshua Ford who presided over Bf nai Beth Abraham, Rabbi Israel ben
Newman, Congregation Beth Zion, and Rabbi Wentworth Matthew of the
Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of Harlem.
Altogether there presently are more than two dozen congrega-
tions in New York, some fifteen in Philadelphia, and temples and
centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Youngstown, Ohio, and elsewhere.
There also are revitalized Israelite communities in the West Indies,
Nigeria, East Africa, Israel, and other parts of the world.
Besides their usual activities, most Afro-Israelite congrega-
tions have a program called "réclamation." Although similar in
some respects to conversion, its purpose unlike the former is to
assist the individual to reclaim for himself or herself his or her
original African Hebrew heritage.
Most Israelite congregations have their own schools where
they teach the Torah (Bible) for its moral, cultural and spiritual
insights, as well as African Hebrew language, sangs and dances,
history and rituals. Emphasis Is placed on education, good deeds,
manliness and an equal role for women. They celebrate the major
Hebrew holidays including Rosh Hashona (New Year), Yom Kippur (the
Day of Atonement), Passover and the Sabbath. In addition to
teaching African Hebrew history and culture, many congregations
have instituted courses in Twi (Ashanti), Yoruba and related West
In addition, the Afro-Israelites have their own schools of
higher learning such as the Ethiopian Hebrew College in New York.
Beth El Temple has its own seminary for training rabbis in Virginia;
The Afro-Asian Israelite Cultural Center In Philadelphia also
conducts elementary and advanced courses In all phases of Israelite
life. To offset the negative effects of racism which has permeated
our American society nearly its entire existence, Black Israel
places special emphasis In its own noble heritage. This book Is
one such endeavor.
For additional information about the black Israelite commu-
nity in your city or state, contact the Afro-^Asian Israelite
Cultural Center. Its address is 616 YJoodlawn Street, Philadelphia
Pennsylranla, 19144. Address your letter to the Director. All
personal correspondence Is kept In strictest confidence. Addition-
al copies of this book can be gotten from this Center or by writing
WOPE AKA ASEM AKYERE ONYANKOPON A, KA
KYEHE MFRAMA - If you want to talk to
God, tell it to the winds.
ON YAME NKRABEA MI KWATIBEA - The des-
tiny God has assigned you cannot be
CHAPTER 1. READ THIS FIRST
1. Johnston, Harry H., The Negro In the New World, 1910, page 27
CHAPTER 2. THE BROADER SCENE
CHAPTER 3. THE ASHANTI OF WEST AFRICA
1. Williams, Joseph J., Hebrewisms of West Africa, 1931, page 22
2. Williams, page 22
3. Chantre, Ernest, "Contribution a ! , etude des races humaines
de la Gulnee, Les Aschantis" - Bulletin, Société d״Anthropolgie
de Lyon, 1910, page 36
4. Arcin, Andre, La Gulnee Française, 1907, page 169
5. Dixon, Roland B., Racial History of Man, 1923, page 233
6. Dixon, page 233f
7. Baumann, Hermann, "The Division of Work According to Sex In
Africa Hoe Culture," Journal of the International Institute
of African Languages and Cultures, Volume I (1928), page 301
8. Newland, H. Osman, West Africa, 1922, page 94 (cfr. Clarldge,
Walton W., History of the Gold Coast and Ashanti, 1915)
9. Williams, page 35
10. Williams, page 36
CHAPTER 4. ASHANTI HEBREWISMS
1. Rattray, R. Sutherland, Religion and Art in Ashanti, 1927,
2. Christaller, J.G., Dictionary of the Asante and Fante Language,
1881, pages 9, 561
3. Dean, John Bathurst, The Worship of the Servant, 1833, page
4. Howey, M. Oldfleld, The Encircled Serpent, page 219
5. Williams, Joseph J., Hebrewisms of West Africa, 1931, page 45,
footnotes 14, 15
6. Desplagnes, Louis, La Plateau Central Nlgerien, 1907» page 106
7. Williams, page 61
8. Levi, Gerson B., "Ashan," Jewish Encyclopedia, 1902, Volume 2,
9• Brown, Driver and Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon, page 798
10. Williams, page 61
11. Rattray, Ashanti Proverbs, 1916, #1, page 23
12. Christaller, page xix
13. Rattray, #439, page 118
14. Williams, page 58, footnote 81
15. Williams, page 56 (cfr. to Rattray, Ashanti Proverbs, 1916,
#22, page 32)
CHAPTER 4. ASHANTI HEBREWISMS
16. Williams, page 58
17. Williams, page 61
18. Rattray, Religion and Art In Ashanti, 1927, Chapter XXIX
19• Williams, page 61
20. Rattray, pages 79.80,81,8*,85
21. Williams, pages 62-63 (cfr. Urlln, E.L., A Short History of
Marriage, 1903, page 108f. )
22. Rattray, page 62
23. Williams, page 63 (see Leviticus 15:19-29)
CHAPTER 5. THE SUPREME BEING OF THE ASHANTI
1. Moore, George Foot, Judaism in the First Centuries of the
Christian Era, 1927* Volume I, page 112
2. Blunt, A.W.F., Israel Before Christ, 1924, page 72
3. Ottley, R.L., A Short History of the Hebrews of the Roman
Period, 1923, page 102
4. Vlgouroux, F., Dictionnaire de la Bible, 1895, Volume III,
page 815 (cfr. Prêt, F.)
5. Bosman, William, A New and Accurate Description of the Coast
of Guinea, Divided into Gold, the Slave and the Ivory Coasts,
1721, page 179f.
6. Williams, Joseph J., Hebrewlsms of West Africa, 1931* page 71
7. Rattray, R. Sutherland, Ashanti, 1923, page 141
8. Ellis, Alfred Burton, Tshl-Speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast
of West Africa, 1887, page 309; The Yoruba-Speaking Peoples
of the Slave Coast, 1894, page 219
9. Christaller, J.G., Dictionary of the Asante and Fante Language,
1881, page 291
10. Clay, Albert T., The Empire of the Amorites, 1919. page 54
11. Clay, page 72
12. Rattray, Ashanti Proverbs, 1916, #1, page 18
13. Williams, page 75, footnote 31
14. Williams, page 75, footnote 32
15. Rattray, Ashanti, page 294
16. Bosman, page 179f.
17. Cooper, David L., ,,The God of Israel," Messiah Series, 1968,
18. Stanley, Dorothy, Autobiography of Sir Henry Morton Stanley,
1909, page 291
19. Stanley, Henry Morton, Coomassie and Magdala, 1874
20. Williams, page 82
21. Bowditch, T. Edward, Mission from Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee,
1819, page 229
22. Ratzel, Friedrich, History of Mankind, 1896, Volume I I I ,
23. Ellis, A.*., The Land of Fetish, 1883, page 221
24. Williams, page 82
CHAPTER 5. THE SUPREME BEING OP THE ASHANTI
25. Hlrsch, Emil G., ,,High Priest," Jewish Encyclopedia, 1902,
Volume 6, page 390
26. Rattray, page 282, footnote 5
27. Williams, page 83, footnote 71
28. Rattray, page 263
29. Williams, page 83
30. Williams, pages 85-86
31. Williams, pages 90-91
CHAPTER 6. OTHER HEBREWISMS IN BLACK AFRICA
1. Williams, Joseph J., Hebrewisms of West Africa, 1931» page 93
2. Slouschz, Nahum, Travels In North Africa, 192?, page 430
3. Wilson, J. Leighton, Western Africa: Its History, Condition
and Prospects, 1856, page iv
4. Wilson, pages 216, 220f.
5. Wilson, page 220f.
6. Bosman, William, A New Accurate Description of the Guinea
Coast, 1721, page 125
7. Bosman, page 180
8. Park, Mungo, Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa,
1810, page 116
9. Park, page 406 (see Job 31:26f.)
10. Kohler, Kaufman, "New Moon," Jewish Encyclopedia, 1902,
Volume 9* page 243
11. Williams, Joseph J., Africa*s Gods, Anthropological Series of
the Boston College Graduate School, Series 2 (Dahomey), June,
1936, page 161
12. Herskovltz, Melville J., An Outline of Dahomean Religious
B e l i e f s , 1933, Number 41, page l l f .
13. Herskovltz, page 77
14. Sketcherly, J.A., Dahomey As It Is, 1874, page 461
15. Herman, Auguste, A travers le Pays Ewe, Echo des Missions
Africaines de Lyon, T.XXVIII (1929), page 81f.
16. Herman, page 81f.
17. Williams, page 167
18. Amgoza, Bata Klndal, "An African Savage *s Own Story," Scribner's
Magazine, March-July, 1929
19. Kreppel, J., Juden und Judentum von Heute, 1926, page 807
20. Bouche, Pierre, La Cote des Enclaves et Le Dahomey, 1885,
21. Bouche, page 268
22. Reindorf, Carl Christian, History of the Gold Coast and Asante,
1895. page 6
23. Basden, G.T., Among the Ibo of Nigeria, 1921, page 31
24. Basden, page 215
25. Morel, Edmond D., Affairs of West Africa, 1902, page 140
26. Morel, page 148
27. Morel, page I48f.
28. Morel, page 148f.
CHAPTER 6. OTHER HEBREWISMS IN BLACK AFRICA
29. Morel, page 151
30. Abadie, Maurice, La Colonie du Niger, 1927, page 184f.
31. Abadie, page 184f.
32. Williams, Joseph J., Hebrewlsms of West Africa, 1931, page 249
33. Ward, Herbert, A Voice from the Congo, 1910, page 252
34. Sumner, W.G., Keller, A.G., and Davie, The Science of Society,
1927, Volume I I , pages 868,870,899,907
35• Ennis, W. Merlin, The Ovimbundu, Copy of H.C.C. Library, MS
Number 2103 (see Williams, Joseph J., Afrlca״s Gods, Series 3
(Congo and Angola), June, 1937, page 99)
36. Clarke, Johne, Specimens of Dialects: Short Vocabularies of
Languages: and Notes of Countries and Customs in Africa, 1848,
37• Ratzel, Friedrich, History of Mankind, I896, Volume III, page 134
38. Ciattl, Giuseppe, The Agekoyo of Kenya, H.C.C. Library, MS
Number 2025 (see Williams, Joseph J., Africa*s Gods, Series 4
(East Africa), December 1937» P®S® 191
39. Ciattl (see Williams, pages 191-193)
CHAPTER 7. AFRICAN HEBREWS: THE OFFSPRING OF ABRAHAM
1. Mercer, Samuel A.B., Extra-Biblical Sources for Hebrew and
Jewish History, 1913, page 9
2. Mercer, page 9, note
3. Orlinsky, Harry M., ״Moses,״ B*nai Brith Great Books, Series
1, pages 11-12
4. Williams, Joseph J., Hebrewlsms of West Africa, 1931» page
5. Mendelssohn, Sidney, The Jews in Africa, 1920, page 2
6. Fleg, Edmond, The Life of Moses, 1928, page 56f.
7. Morel, Edmond D., Affairs of West Africa, 1902, page 151
8. Williams, page 267
9. see Chapter 3
10. Tellez, F. Balthazaar, Travels of the Jesuits in Ethiopia,
11. Mendelssohn, page 5**•
12. Plowden, Walter Chlcele, Travels in Abyssinia and G^lla
13. MQrie, Louis J., Histoire de l*Ethiople, 1904, Tom. II,
14. Ludolphi, Job, Historia Aethlopica, 1681, Volume I, Chapter
15. Barton, George A., ״Falasha,״ Jewish Encyclopedia, 1905,
Volume 11, page 186
16. Isaiah 11:11
17. Zephaniah 3:10
18. Afrlcanus, John Leo, A Geographical History of Africa, trans-
lated by Pory, John, 1600, page 379
C H A 7 . AFRICAN HEBREWS: THE OFFSPRING OF ABRAHAM
19. Dixon, Roland B., Racial History of Man, 1923, page 233f.
20. see Chapter 3
21. Kautsky, Karl, Are the Jews A Race?, 1926, page 118
22. Kautsky,, Foundations of Christianity, 1925, page 261f.
23. Taylor, Griffith, Environment and Race, 1927, page 184f.
24. Pittard, Eugene, Race and History, 1920, page 350f.
25. *.Nimrod,." Encyclopedia Americana, 1965, Volume 20, page 356
26. Muller, Max W., "Cush," Jewish Encyclopedia, Volume 5• page
27• "Havilah," Encyclopedia Americana, page 766
28. Sayce, A.H., The Races of the Old Testament, 1925, pages 102-
29. Cameron, Ge orge G., History of Early Iran, 1968, page 17
30. Johnston, Harry H., The Negro in the New World, 1910, page
27 and page 27, note 1
31. Seligsohn, Max, "Nimrod," Jewish Encyclopedia, Volume 9,
page 309 (cfr. Babylonian Talmud: Sefer ha-Yashar)
32. Sayce, A.H., "Havilah," Jewish Encyclopedia, Volume 6, page
33• Kroeber, Alfred Louis, Anthropology, 1923, page 450
34. Cameron, page 51
35• Genesis, Chapters 12,13
36. Godbey, Allen H., The Lost Tribes a Myth-Suggestions Towards
Rewriting Hebrew History, 1930. page 155
37• The Biblical World: A Dictionary of Biblical Archeology,1966
38. Latham, G.R., Man and His Migrations, page 260
39• Means, Sterling M., Ethiopia the Missing Link in African
History, 19^5, page 20
40. Barton, George A., "Falasha," Jewish Encyclopedia, Volume 11,
CHAPTER 8. AFRICA IS THE HOMELAND OF JUDAISM TOO!
CHAPTER 9• THE AFRICAN ISRAELITES OF THE UNITED STATES
Other Rose-Lee Inc Publications
Some African Hebrew
Goals and Purposes
— by Rudolph R. Windsor
1. To teach our African Hebrew history, language and culture.
2. To teach our children to respect their parents, teachers,
neighbors, property, and themselves.
3. To teach and advocate strong and stable family ties which
Is the basic unit of any society or nation.
To encourage full participation and Involvement of women
In home as well as community life and activities, Including
their aspirations for education.
5• To stimulate the potentialities, creative powers, and
other energies of our Afro-American brothers and sisters,
and to direct them ln£o constructive channels.
6. To support brotherhood and unity among African Hebrew
Israelites and with other black people of whom we are part.
7. To support projects and activities of economic benefit to
our community without which It cannot survive.
8. To uplift the poor and oppressed.
9. To support political and community leaders who will be
accountable to the people, their needs and aspirations.
10. To encourage African Hebrew-Israelites to return to Pales-
tine which always has been tied to the African continent In
terms of history, culture, and peoples. (Thousands of
people born In Africa or of African Hebrew descent live
there today, Including hundreds from America.)