1001 Black Men #864


There’s something I like about the kind of beard this brotha is wearing. Some Black men I see around Oakland wear similarly shaped beards, but braided. Others wear them loose (like the man in this drawing), but with much the same effect. I think I like this specific beard style because it reminds me of the beards of the Egyptian pharaohs.

Let me be clear: Some of the kings of Egypt were Black Africans, and the people of ancient Egypt, prior to the incursion of the Greeks, were most certainly not white people. My belief in the greatness and wonder of Black people does  not, however, rely heavily (or at all) on the notion that there were (and are) Black kings and queens.  After all, most of us don’t have royal ancestry, and throughout most of human history, monarchs have not generally been known for their kind and compassionate use of their power.

Beheadings, foot servants, and excessive wealth aside, though, the Egyptian pharaohs are fascinating to me, if only because the artifacts of their dynasties enable us to reach back into the ancient past and lay our eyes or (in some cases) our hands on real material evidence of how far into the past the roots of our humanity–our feelings, concerns, and conceits–truly extend.

Ajuan Mance

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