Book Review: The Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire

Book Review: The Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire

KHARTOUM, 2nd Apr 2017 (Sudanow) - Drusilla Dunjee Houston’s book “The Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire’’, is not a history book in that sense;  nor it is a book on social anthropology, archeology or ancestry, even though it has included some shades of those sciences. It is, rather, an important cultural reference for any intellectual with passion for the Nubian civilization. The book is a well-documented and genuine testimony of how great the Cushite civilization was. In addition, the book contains an amazing supplement of rare photos, portraits and drawings for more documentation of the touching civilization of Cush (also written: Kush).

Ancient Greek and other European travelers and traders had used to call most of the territories South of Upper Egypt “Ethiopia’’ or “Abyssinia’’.

Important relics of the Kushite civilization exist in many places of Sudan, including the Bajrawiyya (formerly known as Meroe), some 100 Km North of Khartoum, Jebel Al-Barkal (400 Km North of Khartoum) and Kerma (450 Km North of Khartoum). All three locations are believed to be former capital cities of the Kushite dynasties that reigned thousands of years before Christianity.

An African-American, Houston had spent over 25 years in serious reading and researching about the origins of human culture. The outcome was an encyclopedic collection of writings about   Kushites and their civilization. “ Most of the collection was lost (or not printed ) save this book: The wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite empire.”

From her heavy researching Houston has drawn the conclusion that the Cushite Race (descendants of  Cush, son of Ham  who is son of Prophet Noah) were the bearers of human civilization to the World, from their settlements in Nubia (Sudan), Egypt, Yemen, India and the land of the Tigris and Euphrates (today’s Iraq).

Houston says that most of the ancient Nubians were literate and knew arithmetic. Education was so wide in the Nubian settlements that even craftsmen used to write or draw pictures on the rock walls and ceilings of temples and monuments. According to Houston, the Nubians had devised their own orthography, known as the Nubian Alphabet, which is more progressive than the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic script (represented by drawings).

Further, the author says she has found that the ancient Nubians were well versed in astronomy, history, mathematics, physics, engineering, geography, survey, surgery, textile industry, mining, sculpture and painting.

Houston, was born on January 20, 1876 in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Her parents were Rev. John William Dunjee and Lydia Taylor Dunjee. Her father was influential in the American Baptist Home Missionary Society and traveled throughout the U.S establishing Baptist congregations in areas inhabited by poor Black rural dwellers. During these times Houston lived in numerous states on the Eastern Seaboard, in the South, the Northeast and finally the Midwest in Oklahoma. Houston was one of ten siblings, only five of whom had lived to adulthood.

The most famous of her siblings was Roscoe Conkling Dunjee, Editor of the Oklahoma Black Dispatch, an influential mid-western newspaper with national prominence.  Houston was Contributing Editor but assumed major responsibility in keeping the paper financially solvent, while at the same time conducting her own research and writing on various historical and social matters.

Some researchers of her legacy say Houston was influenced by DuBois’  ‘’The Negro’’ (1915), which discredited white racist scholarship that Africans had no history. After publishing ‘’The Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire‘’, Houston wrote DuBois a letter in 1926 thanking him for inspiring her and informed him that she was not trying to ‘’reach the white race’’.

Houston dedicated her book to people of African descent and she ‘’ wanted to debunk the racist notions of the ‘(Klan and all race haters).’’

Although dated today, Houston landmark scholarship in 1926 helped establish the undeniable fact that Africans influenced civilizations in the ancient world, maintains one of Huston’s researchers.




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