My Online Prose Portfolio

"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

Not out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History

By Mary Lefkowitz
BasicBooks, 297 pp, 1996

Have you heard that ancient Greece stole all its vast knowledge of philosophy, mathematics and science from Egypt? Have you heard that Socrates, Plato and Aristotle studied in Egyptian universities or ransacked an esteemed library at Alexandria, swiping all the material and claiming it as their own?

If you have heard this, and you believe it, then youíve been fooled. Itís all a myth.

Mary Lefkowitz, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Wellesley College, carefully examines the above and several other theories proposed by various writers and historians and demolishes them all. She shows that the sources these Afrocentrist writers rely on are false and misleading, and reveals the political motivation underlying these theories passing as the truth.

Itís really a sad state of affairs when blatant falsehoods are taught in schools and universities just to make some people feel better about themselves. Afrocentrism, otherwise known as Black Studies, dominates universities all over the country. Much of what they teach is valuable and real, and something that has been missing. But those schools that teach such nonsense about Greece stealing its knowledge from Egypt disrespect their students by misinforming them about such a critical chapter of history. Filling studentsí heads with lies and propaganda will not make them feel better about themselves, and it certainly will not educate or prepare them for life in the real world.

Finally, the book really isnít 297 pages. The actual text takes up the first 193 pages, and the rest is devoted to notes, sources, expanded notes, bibliography and index.

Back to Book Reviews