With the world of science rapidly evolving and shaping better advanced societies we are going to talk about one of the early scientists that have laid a foundation for these new day scientists this week. One
of these scientists is Cheikh Anta Diop.
Cheikh Anta Diop was born in Diourbel, Senegal on December 23, 1933 to a Muslim Wolof family which was Part of the peasant class and his family belonged to the African Mouride Islamic section . Diop grew
up in both Koranic and French colonial schools. At age 23 Upon completing his bachelor’s degree in Senegal, cheikh anta diop moved to France, where he began his graduate studies at the Sorbonne in 1946 in physics and Mathematics. Once at the Sorbonne, Diop became involved in the African students’ anticolonial movement, where young intellectuals worked for African independence. He helped organize
the first Pan-African Student Congress in Paris in 1951 and in 1956 participated in the First World Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Paris.
After finishing his studies in that area he became drawn to the studies of philosophy and Africa so he enrolled to study philosophy in the faculty of arts of the university of Paris. In his studies he believed
that man had his origin in Africa. He also believed that Africa played a big role in origin and civilization in the world. But many scholars disagreed with Diop’s writings with the basis of being outdated because some of the writings by other scholars stated that the Egyptian civilization was set up by Africans with a lighter skin complexion and that dark skinned Africans didn’t have the mental capabilities to develop such and organized civilization but in one of Diop’s most famous quotes he stated that “Egypt is to the rest of black Africa what Greece and Rome are to the western world.”
Basing on Foster’s argument and Napoleon bornaparte’s scientists Diop was able to prove that Egyptians were negroid with dark skin and Woolen hair. He also argued the narrative that every African was dark skinned by telling people that Africans came
from different regions he presented anthropological and historical evidence in support of his hypothesis that Ancient Egyptians had a close genetic affinity with Sub-Saharan African ethnic groups, including a shared B blood group between modern Egyptians and West Africans, “negroid bodily proportions in ancient Egyptian art and mummies, microscopic analysis of melanin levels in mummies from the laboratory of the Musée de L’Homme in Paris, primary accounts of Greek historians, and shared cultural linkages between Egypt and Africa in areas of totemism and cosmology. In 1971 Diop served as a member of the UNESCO International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a General History of Africa and wrote the opening chapter about the origins of the ancient Egyptians in the UNESCO General History of Africa.
Diop’s 1951 PhD dissertation was rejected for over 10 years because it looked into
ancient Egyptian history and the influence it had on European culture. At a time when European cultural superiority was the accepted notion, Diop proclaimed that African civilizations were the inspiration and origin of European civilization and his work nevertheless received worldwide attention. In 1955 his work was published as Nations negres et culture (Negro Nations and Culture), a publication that would make
him one of the most widely known and controversial historians of his era which was Partly due to the response to the book, in 1960 Diop was awarded his doctorate by the Sorbonne.
That same year, Senegal gained its independence and Diop returned to his home country. In 1966 Diop created the first African carbon dating factory in the university of Dakar which is now named after him in Senegal. He left behind over 15 various publications such as the African origin of civilization,Civilization or
barbarism an authentic African anthropology and Precolonial black Africa etc. Unfortunately on February 7th 1986 Cheikh Anta Diop passed due to a heart attack.
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This article was written by Thelma Letasi.