Origin of Races and Color

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Of the books authored by Martin R. Delany (1812-1885), The Origin of Races and Color is perhaps the most obscure. Out-of-print until now, it has been available to the public only through select libraries. At the time of its publication in 1879, this valuable resource presented a bold challenge to racist views of African inferiority. Delany wrote in opposition to a developing oppressive intellectualism that used Darwin's thesis, "the survival of the fittest," to support its demented theories of Black inferiority.

Skillfully blending biblical history, archaeology and anthropology, Delany offered evidence to the "serious inquirer" suggesting the first humans were African, and that these Africans were ". . . builders of the pyramids, sculptors of the sphinxes, and original god-kings. . . ." With such radical assertions, Delany advanced a model of ancient history that contradicted the very foundation of intellectual racism. He believed knowledge of one's past was essential, and that it could provide Black people with the regenerative force necessary to inspire their self-improvement. Were he alive today, Delany would certainly feel at home with the present generation of Africancentrists, especially since he developed and articulated so many of their arguments more than a century ago.