chapter  16
14 Pages

Myth-Making and Afrocentrism

It is ironic that Jews should play a prominent role in the mythopoeism of black nationalists. The trade proved so lucrative that at one point slave blacks outnumbered free in the Niger Valley by three to one. According to Eugene Genovese, a caste system permitting a class of black slaveholders existed in Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, and Santo Domingo down to the nineteenth century. Princeton scholar Bernard Lewis has recited a long list of these in two major studies—Race and Color in Islam and Race and Slavery in the Middle East. The Nation of Islam castigates Christians and Jews for removing blacks from their ancestral homeland, but the fact is that Arabs expanded the African slave trade 700 years before the Portuguese rounded the Bight of Benin. Arab slavers were trading in blacks as early as 641 when they arranged to import 360 Nubians per year into Egypt. Afrocentrists in the United States have a different agenda.