port of harlem magazine
Theo Hodge, Jr. M.D.
From Our Archives:
Urban Safari: Africa’s Influence on the Nation’s Capital

November 7 – November 20, 2019

egyptian tekhen

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.

Some students from Washington’s Hart Middle School and I joined Browder on a tour of Washington. Browder has conducted his own Nile Valley research and completed books and videos based on his research.

Our discoveries began on a blustery day at Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcom X Park, at 15th and Chapin Street, N.W. Looking south from the upper level of the worn, but magnificently landscaped urban greenery, we viewed the pinnacle of the Washington Monument.

“What is the Washington monument?” quizzed the plainly dressed Browder. “The symbol of Washington,” shyly replied then 11-year-old Kevin Carter.

“Yes, but it is much more than a symbol of the city or a tribute to the first President,” Browder enlighten as he pointed toward the tall, tapered, plain, but majestic stone tower, “it is a copy of an Egyptian tekhen built over 3,000 years ago and many are still standing there.”

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Also See: 100 Black 2 Egypt

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