Note: In November 2020, Port Of Harlem will celebrate 25 years of publication. As we countdown to our birthday, we will republish some of our most popular articles from our print issues. Thanks for subscribing and inviting others to join you in supporting our inclusive, diverse, pan-African publication - - now completely online. We originally published this article in the May 2000 – October 2000 print issue.
Long before comedian Richard Pryor joked that D.C. - - as in Washington D.C. - - stood for “Dark Country,” the nation’s capital had a highly visible Black population with an illustrations past, but its African influence on its architecture has largely remained ignored.
My interest in exploring the city’s Africaness intensified after a trip to Egypt with renowned historian Dr. Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannan. Since 1938, Doc Ben, as he is commonly known, has explored the Nile Valley.
His studies are documented in more than 40 books and unravel white supremacists’ interpretations of history that stole Egypt out of Africa, chained her to the Middle East, and branded her a White civilization. Since1957, he has inspired thousands of Africans in the Diaspora to witness Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia for themselves, including Washington-based historian Tony Browder.