An anthropologist looks at a U.S. subculture inspired by ancient Egypt and its effort to foster a particular Black identity.
This is a treacherous field for discussion and it might be useful to cite an essay at Aeon on the Greek views of ‘black’ applied to…Greeks, as in ? ‘black Achilles’. One needs to be wary here of the terms used across different semantic/cultural voids.
The idea that the ancient Egyptians were ‘black’, in light of the cited essay, falls into such a void where the best view comes close to ‘dunno’.
The most probable answer to the issue of ‘black egyptians’ is, as above, the terms are not stable, BUT, all in all, the ancient Egyptians most likely looked like Semites, ancient and/or modern. But, again, the cultural field of the Egyptians spread south into ‘Nubia’, thence across Africa, perhaps, and north Africa, perhaps. The reverse diffusion from the south (‘Nubia’) over time just might have created multiracial population(s) in Egypt. And the data for cases of ‘black dynasties’ is more than an open question. But this may apply only to a later period, in the late second or first millennium, BCE
In my ‘Decoding World History’ I have tried to scotch the prejudice that subsaharan africa was ‘primitive’ when in fact is was, by and large, a classic exemplar of Neolithic culture, which via the migrations from West Africa soon produced a uniform Neolithic spread all the way to south Africa. Neolithic culture is a form of civilization, period. This culture is a variant of the kind of historical type present at the same time in a place like England in the period of the Stonehenge phenomenon. But England let us note was soon a part of the Roman empire sphere and pulled ahead as it entered the diffusion field of so-called higher civilization, i.e. the diffusion fields of Sumer and Egypt, then of Greece/Rome/Israel of the Axial Age period. Africa was thus, as almost everywhere else, stable in a Neolithic phase until modern times. Let us note that despite the question of reverse diffusion indicated by the ‘Nubian’ question mark, Africa as a whole received far less diffusion than elsewhere for a crucial reason: almost anyone who travelled inland into Africa was dead within a few weeks from the complex of disease factors. How Arab traders were exempt from this is not clear. The remarkable achievement of Neolithic culture spread to almost the whole continent, the San and Pygmies, apart and was therefore an entirely typical phase of ‘civilization’ a term that applies to all cultures globally (at least in my usage) as they threshold into Neolithic culture which emerges in the Middle East after ten thousand BCE, more or less. The periods around 8000 and 5500 BCE are pegs in a set of transitional phases in the Neolithic itself. To the idea of the independent discovery of agriculture, which must be entertained, we have the significant fact that by the second half of the Neolithic after about 6000 BCE agriculture was converging as a global phenomenon, including the New World. We confront questions we can’t quite answer. This sudden global presence leaves us to wonder. The case of the New World seems solid, until it also seems wrong. We confront a question of New World contacts with the old, an issue of utmost contention. Let us note that there is evidence of New World contacts with the old in some claims by authors usually denounced by mainstream scholarship. So we can’t finalize be sure about agriculture in the New World. We must distinguish the bare facts of agriculture, seeds and planting, and the typical level of agricultural civilization in the Neolithic. The two are not the same. We should cite one notorious case (why it is notorious I don’t know) of ‘black’ contacts with the New World in the period of the Olmecs, with their striking sculpture of ‘obviously’ African types, as the predecessors to the era of the Mayans, in period of the second millenium BCE. It is very difficult to find one’s way through this between academic dogmatists and so-called ‘crackpots’.