Sunday, April 14, 2024




by Chancellor Williams

Egypt, on the other hand, was undergoing one of her periodic convulsions from an invasion, the most fateful one to which we have already referred as the Muslim invasion of 639-42 A .D .This conquest, as was usually the case, had been made easier by still a previous Persian invasion (619-629 A.D .). Some sources suggest that the new wave of Persian invasions that began in 619 A.D. determined the course of the Blacks in conquering Nobadae and reestablishing their frontier at the great system of fortifications at the First Cataract. From there the Blacks had been raiding various areas in Egypt and attacking garrisons throughout the ten years of the last Persian occupation. In this and other similar instances, the picture that emerges clearly is that the Blacks, even after being pushed out of Egypt, were more upset by foreign invasions and resisted them more courageously than the “new” Egyptians who, by
comparison, appeared to be an easily conquered and rather cowardly lot. Otherwise, how could Amr-ibn-al-As, the Muslim general, conquer all Egypt so easily with only 4,000 men? The conquering Arab general apparently knew the difference between the fighting qualities of the Blacks in the south and those of the Egyptians and their mercenary troops; for despite the continued raids by the Blacks, he chose not to extend his operations into their land.

But not so disposed was Abdullah, the new Arab governor-general (viceroy) of Egypt. The year following the complete takeover by the Muslims, 643 A.D., he decided to bring the whole Heartland of the Blacks under Muslim control at once. He knew, however, that this would really be a war, not like the easy conquest of Egypt with an army of only 4,000 men. With a larger and better equipped army, the Arab expedition invaded the black country with a confidence that was heightened by what appeared to be hasty and confused retreats by frightened warriors. This Ethiopian strategy of pretended fright and wild retreat was so well-known in Egypt that it is difficult to understand how it could have been unknown to Abdullah and his generals. Or had this too, like everything else that was African, been blotted from memory? If so, for once they were going to pay dearly for ignoring an African invention.
They were allowed to advance deeply into black territory before 100,000 “retreating” and “frightened” Blacks turned in frontal and flanking onslaughts that almost completely wiped out the entire Arab army.

An Arab historian of the period felt compelled to admit that it was the most devastating defeat ever suffered by an Arab army. There were other eye-witness reports from the scene of the battle dealing with the remarkable training and dashing courage of the Black forces with the King of Makuria in personal command . (Those were the days when “king” meant leader. The leader led from the front, and not from some hill miles away from the fighting.) This immediate presence of their leader in the midst of danger with them may have had much to do with the courage and expertise of the African soldiers. The units that amazed the ancient world that memorable day between the First and Second Cataracts were the bow and arrow corps. These were so skillfully trained that they could aim their arrows at the eyes of the enemy and shoot with unbelievable accuracy.

For reasons which by now must be obvious, this battle not only does not appear as “one of the decisive battles of history” in any of your history books, but it is not even mentioned. Yet it was in fact one of the decisive battles of the world: The defeat of the hitherto undefeated Arab forces was so disastrous that it took them eight years to recover, reorganize, and regain the necessary courage to attack the Blacks again and thereby avenge that awful defeat and near-annihilation on the plains of Makuria in 643 A .D. This African victory, furthermore, delayed the Arab conquests in the black South and spurred the development of subsequent events in both of the southern kingdoms.

In 651 A .D., the Arab Viceroy of Egypt decided that he had the unbeatable armed might and was ready to avenge the disaster eight years before and bring the Blacks to their knees in the process.The Arab generals proceeded boldly but cautiously in order to avoid the traps and surprise tactics of the black generals, which arrogance probably caused them to ignore before. Yet the same African strategy was used: They were allowed to invade the Nobadaen state in depth with only “token” opposition. Hell broke loose only when they crossed the former Makurian border (before the union of the two kingdoms) and headed for the capital of Dongola. However, the Arabs captured it, and destroyed all of the principal public buildings, including the great cathedral. They had brought along huge catapults for the express purpose of razing all brick and stone edifices that were the pride and glory of black civilization. With the fall of their capital city, the seat of government, the Blacks were expected to surrender. But King Kalydosos, the African leader, and his generals had no thought about surrendering or The Two Who Carried On any doubt that they could defeat the Arabs again .

The spirit of their decisive victory over the Arabs in 643 A.D. still fired the black armies. The King withdrew from his burning capital only to regroup and plan strategies for a “no-surrender” war. As the fighting continued with increased fury on both sides, it became clear to the Arab generals that victory over the Blacks could never be won on the field of battle. Again, their previous defeat by the Blacks was still playing a determining role in Arab-African relations. An armistice was declared, and a treaty of peace was signed by the now undefeated equals, Abdullah for Muslim Egypt and Kalydosos for the Christian kingdoms of Ethiopia -Makuria and Alwa. The Arabs had in fact lost the war.

For with carefully trained and overwhelming forces filled with vengeance for the previous disaster, they were still unable to defeat the Blacks and bring their country under Muslim control. The historic significance is twofold:

(1) The psychological effects of being defeated by the Blacks twice on broad national fronts caused the Arabs to adopt a peaceful relationship with these countries that lasted 600 years.

(2) The treaty included provisions that were the basis for the expansion of slavery and the “peaceful” conquest of the Sudan. Goals which could not be achieved directly on the battlefield were to be achieved indirectly by Arab traders and Muslim missionary brotherhoods.

In a previous discussion, I wondered out loud whether the black race is lacking in one quality that seems to distinguish Caucasians and explain the reason for their long domination of the earth: Their deep concern about their posterity, the future role and welfare of their white offsprings to the farthest generation . Their plans and policies for today’s world are often based on expected outcomes centuries hence. The Blacks as a race, on the other hand, have been so split up and preoccupied with current problems that they seem to have lost this deep concern about the future of their descendents. This matter calls for serious reflection particularly on the part of Blacks in their relations with long-range planning whites . For from the earliest times and in almost every period of history, we find the whites carefully developing plans for future results which none expect to see realized in their lifetime.

And so it was here in the Sudan in 652 A.D., when the peace treaty between Arabs and Blacks was signed. First the Arabs had to make their failure appear to the world as a victory of some sort. An annual tribute, the conquerors’ Baqt, became an important provision in the treaty. The terms called for the annual delivery of 360 slaves near the frontier and forty extra slaves as a gift to the Egyptian viceroy.’ In order to induce the Ethiopians to accept what at first appeared to be a tribute in fact, the Arab leaders presented it as a treaty of trade and commerce, agreeing to pay in exchange wheat, barley and wine at a value in excess of the gifts by the Africans.

More important than this, however, was the provision for building a great mosque in the restored Dongola and allowing Arab traders in only as traders, not settlers. Since it was a treaty “between equals,” the provisions of the treaty were reciprocal: black traders could operate in Egypt and have a church on the same terms. Even if the Africans had not known that the Arabs in Egypt were busily converting churches and temples into Muslim mosques, there would still be no occasion for building a church for their traders in Egypt. They had no long-range plans for the eventual control of Egypt through the trade and religion routes. But the Arabs did have such a plan for the eventual conquest of the Sudan through mosques and traders. The Caucasians, unable to conquer the Blacks directly, were contented when they had set in motion the process of gradual infiltration and expansion that would eventuate in victory even though it was to take 600 years.

I am saying that the Blacks seem not only to have lost the grand vision of the future, but also (what should have been) the unforgettable lessons of their past. The pattern of Caucasian conquest had been cut out and made clear through thirty-seven centuries of their history. After they had allowed the Asians first to infiltrate and then to overrun all Lower Egypt, the Blacks drew a firm boundary line between the Two Lands beyond which the whites were not allowed to settle. Those were the days when the Africans were not so trusting that they were unable to perceive that the Caucasians were eternally restless unless they were the masters in every situation whatsoever. They were therefore barred from settlement in Black Upper Egypt until Narmer and Menes united the Lower and Upper Egypts. If there was ever a Pyrrhic victory in history, it could not have been more disastrous than that of Menes over 2. A “slave” was a captured prisoner of war, and in early history the term was no more degrading than that of prisoner of war today.

The Asians in 3100 B .C., for the decline of black civilization, not only in Egypt but throughout Africa, can be traced to that period despite all of its monumental achievements afterwards. The termites of its destruction, slow but steady, had been let in under the laudable dream of black white brotherhood. The long, drawn-out process of penetration and eventual domination was both visible and invisible. Yet from these tiny footholds, the Asian population grew and grew until the Blacks were not only outnumbered by Asians but overwhelmed. Substantially the same scheme was followed in every black city, town and village throughout Egypt.The record of the 5,000 years that ended with the European conquest of the whole continent in the nineteenth century shows that every African state remained relatively secure and independent as long as it maintained a strict policy of excluding foreigners from settlement within its borders. That same record makes clear that wherever this policy was abandoned and whites were admitted under any pretext whatsoever, the eventual doom of that state was certain. The single point that is being made here is that King Kalydosos and the other Black leaders already had, as early as 652 A.D., thirty-seven centuries of this record before them when they allowed the Arabs to establish a permanent base of operations in their land. They ignored the record, as other black leaders were to continue to do until Muslim Asia and Christian Europe swept the continent and left the whole black world prostrate at their feet.

In the seventh century this tragic outcome was still far away. The fall of Meroe and the break-up of the Ethiopian empire into kingdoms did not check the flowering of black civilization in these states. Indeed, Makuria and Alwa seemed determined not only to maintain the ancient tradition of progress, but to overcome the imperial breakdown by pushing forward more aggressively than ever on all fronts. The 600-year detente with the Arabs in Egypt was a period of such reconstruction and progress that the criticism made regarding the leadership above would seem to be unjustified unless viewed from the long backward perspective of history. Even church and cathedral building expanded from this center of black culture over the Western regions of Chad and adjoining states. The limited excavations have revealed this much.

Future archaeological work may reveal whether the Ethiopian empire in its heyday extended westward to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea. It was a great surprise recently to find buried structures in the
Chad region similar to those in the heart of the Empire along the Nile.


Between 700 and 1200 A.D., Makuria was more empire than kingdom. It was organized into thirteen major states with a subking over each and the “King of Kings” over all. The traditional African Council was the final authority no matter how powerful the king might seem to be. The great and colorful parasol of the “King of Kings” had to be wider than those of the divisional kings and theirs was larger than any lesser officials.

Cyriacus was “King of Kings” in 745 when Omar, the governor of Egypt, stepped up the persecution of Christians in Egypt in what amounted to a Muslim Holy War, destroying churches or converting them into mosques and even putting the Patriarch in prison. Since the Patriarch in Egypt was the head of all Christian churches in Africa, the Africans regarded this latest onslaught against the churches as an insult as well as a breach of the peace treaty, now almost a hundred years old.Strangely, the Muslims made Lower Egypt the area of greatest church destruction. When the arrogant Omar ignored all protests and pleas, the African king headed an army of 100,000 men and marched on the Arab center of power in Lower Egypt. The governor of Egypt quickly freed the Patriarch and promised to leave the Christians and their churches alone. Cyriacus accepted these assurances and withdrew his army from Egpyt.

It was during this period that an extensive body of church literature developed in the African language and the remarkable pottery industries were expanded; painting, like writing, was stimulated by the Church, just as had been the case in temple art. Mining was a principal source of wealth, but agriculture was the basic national activity and there is evidence of the people’s battles with the encroaching deserts. They followed the system of the “Mother Empire” and overcame certain arid areas by developing the system of terrace farming that was irrigated by water wheels constructed for high places. They were successful enough to produce -a surplus of agricultural commodities for export trade. Cotton had been produced from ancient times, and cloth making and other weaving arts were among the oldest crafts. That glass was made is certain, but the extent of this enterprise is not indicated by the archaeological findings. The reports of Arab scholars on the cities of the Blacks during these early centuries are significant for two important reasons. The first is that, like the European explorers, “geographers” and others referred to earlier, they were not concerned with writing African history and nothing could have been farther from their intentions than glorifying the achievements of the Blacks. But their mission was to make factual reports on the conditions and exploitable possibilities of Africa to their home countries. Such reports would be the basis for future penetration, exploitation and conquest.

The second highly significant fact about the accounts of Abu Salih, Ibn Salim and other scholars between the seventh and fifteenth centuries A .D. is that, unlike the case of Egypt, none questioned either the greatness or the origin of this black civilization. It was so clearly all African that it did not seem to occur to these Arab writers that any other position was tenable. Those familiar with the traditional African religion might question whether Christianity was in fact external to Africa. In any case, the beautiful churches they saw spread over the “Land of the Black Gods” had become almost completely Africanized for those gods. The prosperity the Arab visitors reported -the magnificent stone and brick palaces, temples, churches, cathedrals, wide avenues lined with palm trees, government buildings, public baths, water supply systems, beautiful gardens, countless craft industries, huge farms with extensive pastures where camels, horses, oxen, cows, sheep, goats and pigs could be seen grazing lazily-all this was reported as messages with an unwritten message: Such is this Black Paradise, Brothers of Islam. Come!

The prosperity in this center of the black world represented one of the last great epochs in the history of the Blacks. If near the final, it was also one of their finest hours on the stage of human progress. Here the measure of a people’s genius could be taken without speculation. Here the message of who Blacks were was wrought in stone and iron for the succeeding generations of Blacks who were to lose their very identity in the blood and tears of unbroken oppression. The Arab scholars were properly amazed at a way of life so superior to that of their own homeland. It was something to be amazed about. For there were not only public baths but public latrines, drainage and
central water systems, but the most remarkable evidence of prosperity and progress was reflected in the advanced standard of living among the masses. The massive brickmaking industry had led to homes of brick and stone in cities, towns and villages-brick houses, and larger houses for the great common people. In the eighth century this was something for the visiting Arab scholars to write home about. (It would be something to write about anywhere in this last part of the twentieth century.)


However, they really did not need to report all this, so well was it already generally known. The treaty barring Arab settlement in the all black countries had been ignored almost from the beginning, and certainly treated as non-existing after the death of Kalydosos. The Arabs came in steady streams year after year, but in an inch-by-inch system over widely scattered areas that appeared not to cause immediate concern. But they came in unchecked and alarming waves when the great schisms in Islam led to bloody wars in the Arab world. The character of the refugee movements out of Arabia and other Arab centers of power depended upon what sect had captured the Caliphate. Let the record show, therefore, that all the Arabs that swarmed into Africa across the Red Sea and Indian Ocean were not bent on either conquest or domination. Countless thousands were fleeing there for refuge, fleeing for their very lives.

Once settled there, however, they formed the ever-increasing population base for the Muslim leaders whose aim was to establish Islamic rule over the whole black world. They were to follow the Christian strategy of concentrating on the conversion of African kings and leaders in the belief that as the king goes, so goes the nation, a theory that did not work in Africa, except in a superficial way for expediency. However, the black kings were already dropping their African names for “Christian” names, the first step towards self-effacement. So as early as the ninth century, (831 A.D.), King Zakaria, alarmed at great incursions of Arabs into the Sudan, sent a delegation headed by his nephew (heir to the throne) to the Caliph at Bagdad, asking that the Treaty of 652 be respected and Arab migrations halted. This meant that a weak black king now held the destiny of the race in his hands. That he was so naive as to suppose that the Caliph could stop the Arab hordes even if he desired to do so was itself a sign of incompetence.

The highest ranking of the thirteen kings under the “King of Kings” was the Eparch of Faris, Lord of the Mountain. He was the commander of the frontier forces at the Egyptian border and his special mission was to bar Arab migration and settlement in the Land of the Blacks. Only the limited number of traders were permitted to pass and the time limit for their stay was fixed. The Eparch, therefore, had indeed been the most important official next to the “King of Kings,” for he was directly responsible for the security and independence of the nation. Under strong kings and strong eparchs the mission was carried out and Arab incursions southward were checked.’ That was now long ago. The Arabs had been passing the Lord of the Mountain and his garrisons for so many decades that by the ninth century Arabic was generally spoken below the First Cataract.


In the latter part of the thirteenth century David, King of Makuria, seeing no other way to forestall Arab occupation of his country, stepped up his raids in Upper Egypt. The raids were easier to carry out because of the chaos that followed the triumphs of the Mamelukes in Egypt. But in 1272 the Blacks, in what I have attacked as the pattern of their own self-destruction, made the first major step to that end. The usual impatience of heirs to the throne soon enough found full expression in Shakandu, the King’s nephew. He hastened to the Sultan of Egypt to secure an alliance and plan an invasion of his country that would assure his ascendancy to the throne.The Sultan had every reason to grasp this wonderful opportunity handed to him through the Blacks themselves. Not only would he be able to even scores with them, but he would also be able to create conditions for Mameluke hegemony over their land.

Moreover, the African king had not only been raiding Egypt with impunity, but he had denounced the Treaty of 652 and refused to pay the Baqt. Sultan Baibars, therefore, did not hesitate . He organized a strong invading expedition with Shakandu at its head and entered the 3. Because of the repeated emphasis on the fact, it should be quite clear now that reference to Egyptian, Asian or Arab invasions always include black slave armies as well as Mulattoes classified as “white.” Black Land.

The struggle was long and bitter, as the Sultan’s strategy in using his black army, along with Shakandu’s own followers, made it appear to be civil war between Blacks. In the end the Sultan won through the black heir to the throne, and allowed him to be crowned king as his protege. The dismemberment of the black kingdoms in the Sudan had begun.
Now a rival tribute was exacted and almost doubled without any pretense of being an agreement of mutual exchange. The tribute exacted was harsh and the Blacks were promised nothing. The kingdom was then divided into two parts, the Sultan taking the northern region as his personal fief. Muslim rule now extended over Egypt and into the Sudan. The pattern was set that was to continue into our times and probably beyond:

The Arabs in the Northern Sudan, while the Blacks were pressured into smaller and smaller areas in the Southern Sudan. Once again, learning nothing from even just yesterday, the black leadership paved the way for further Arab advances into their country. The black leadership’s struggle for personal power and, above all, their own personal security and welfare, precluded their concern for the welfare and future of their people. They were quite willing and ready to welcome the Arabs arid to surrender their people to them in exchange for “high” office and limited consideration. The days of the black immortals seemed to have passed forever. Mental pygmies again occupied the throne once held by Menes, Piankhi, Shabaka, and Kalydosos. In 1304, still another self-seeking black leader journeyed to Cairo to have himself crowned as the servant-king of the Blacks by the Sultan al

The Sultan sent an expedition to Dongola-a task now easier than before-and his new servant was crowned as King Amai. It should be noted here that the Mameluke rulers’ effective power was confined to Lower Egypt and that independent Arab tribes, of which the Bani Kanz were the most powerful, held all Upper Egypt. They were only nominally the sultans. In order to put an end to the endless coups and counter-coups among the Blacks, the decision was reached to overwhelm the South with united armies from both Upper and Lower Egypt and step up the Islamization of the Blacks, putting Muslim kings on the throne.

In 1316 A.D., the objectives were realized when Dongola was again razed for the fifth time and Kerembes, the last black Christian king, was
put to flight. A black Muslim, Abdullah, was made king temporarily while awaiting the pleasure, not of the Sultan, but of the powerful Chief Kanz ad-Dawlah of the Bani Kanz Arab tribe. His pleasure was to put the Black Muslim king to death and assume the kingship over the Blacks himself. Over the Blacks? This statement is misleading. This was no longer the “Land of the Blacks .” White and coloured Arabs now constituted the majority. Without this population base, the triumph of the Arabs in the Sudan could not have happened. Yet the Arab chieftain’s rule as king was short-lived because the Mameluke rulers played one group off against the other in an effort to defeat Arab objectives in one way or another. For one thing, they had been unable to break the autonomy of the Arab tribes in Upper Egypt, and these tribes were spreading over the Sudan and setting up their own kings.

This was a further challenge to Mameluke rule in Egypt. Who, then, were the Mamelukes?
The Mamelukes were the whites who had been enslaved by the Arabs in their wild and amazing sweep out of their desert homeland to conquer all adjacent countries and establish a world empire with a speed that shocked the world. Theirs was the original blitz. The enslavement of prisoners of war, which was the way general slavery began, was the order of the day. Race had no bearing on the matter then. Whites, blacks, browns or yellows, all were made slaves if captured.

The Arabs also made a practice of creating strong slave armies. The white slave armies were the Mamelukes. These, when stationed in Egypt, revolted, overthrew the government, and established their own line of ruling sultans. For this they were hated by the Arabs and looked upon with scorn, even though they had been converted to Islam. The white ex-slaves hated their former masters even more. This white slave revolt and its historical significance are underplayed. Yet its impact was such that it influenced the course of modern history in black-white relations. The effect of that revolt on the black world was tragic. For the murderous onslaughts of the white slaves against their erstwhile masters so shocked the white world that the general enslavement of whites ended forever. On this the record is clear:

White slavery ended after the Mameluke rebellion. Thereafter Black Africa became the exclusive hunting ground for slaves, a situation made easy by the developments outlined in this work. All the theories of inherent black inferiority stemmed from the urgently felt need to justify the success in confining slavery to the African race. The answer to the riddle of the centuries can be traced right here, for that great change in human history when only Blacks were enslaved led to the general degradation of a whole people. The way was now open and easy for all the relevant branches of science and scholarship to proclaim theories on the inherent inferiority of Blacks. Far worse than
this, since black populations were everywhere under white control, they could actually be forced into inferiority by a dehumanizing program “silently” structured in all institutions and phases of white national life.The Blacks were the immediate victims of those diseases born of poverty and planned deprivation.

Undernourished and diseased mothers
carried and brought babies into the world who were both physically and’ mentally handicapped even before birth.The Mameluke Sultan sent another expedition in 1323 to put the African king, Kerembes, on the throne, again, after his brother, himself, had deposed the Arab king only to die a few days later. The coups and counter-coups still seemed to be endless and not at all the presupposed
political phenomena characteristically confined to the Blacks. Therefore, as soon as the Mameluke forces withdrew from the South, Kanz al Dawlah returned, overthrew Kerembes a second time, and became kingagain. Meanwhile, another strong Arab tribe, the Guhayna, had been pouring into the Sudan in such great waves that they rapidly became
the dominant Arab group below the Second Cataract. The kingdom known to history as Makuria was no more. It was the kingdom that, together with its more southern neighbor, battled to maintain and expand the glorious civilization of the Motherland for another thousand years after the fall of the imperial city of Meroe. That was why it was
close to the fifteenth century before an Ibn Khaldun or anyone else
could report that the Guhayna Arabs were the complete masters of the
Land of the Blacks from the First Cataract to the highlands of Abyssinia.

The history of Black Egypt had been repeated in the Black South: The coming of the Caucasian, whether from Asia or Europe, or whether in the name of peace, trade, an “integrated society,” or in the name of the Allah of the Arabs or the God and Jesus Christ of the Jews and Christians, no matter under what pretext they came it meant the
destruction of the highly advanced civilization of the Blacks and their total degradation as a people. And the same ethnic phenomenon that accelerated the process of racial disintegration in Egypt also operated in the Sudan. This was, simply stated, the widespread sexual activities on the part of Arab men and black slave girls, the outcome of which was a new breed of Afro-Arabs, the same sexual process that produced “Egyptians” as a nationality group neither Asian nor African.

In the Sudan Arabization and Islamization had another outcome: Not only did the Afro-Arabs consider themselves Arabs and bitterly resented being called Sudanese (Black), but thousands of the jet-black, unmixed Africans insisted on being classed as Arabs. They still do (this fact was settled beyond question during my field studies in the Sudan in 1964). This fact also confuses and frustrates the black world both in and outside of Africa. For who, now are our “African brothers?”


With the capture and control of the biggest remaining kingdom of the Ethiopian empire completed through peaceful infiltration of waves of Arab refugees over centuries, the triumphant Arabs were not disposed to follow the same .long drawn-out procedure in taking over the last keyi kingdom of the formerly black empire. This was Alwa. The Arabs decided on a full-scale war against this last citadel of black power in the Southern Sudan. Although Makuria was most in the spotlight of the wars against the Arab incursions, she was ably supported by Alwa. Makuria had to. carry the brunt of the burden because it was right next door to the enemy and it alone had the awesome responsibility of holding the floodgates above the First Cataract through which the Arab tides ebbed and flowed.

Meanwhile Alwa, with ruins of the imperial cities of Napata and Meroe in its very midst, had a more direct responsibility for restoring and maintaining the glories of a black civilization that had refused to die with the fall of the Ethiopian Empire a thousand years before. Alwa had replaced Meroe with its beautiful capital city of Soba, and had developed its other towns and cities along such advanced lines that foreign writers could never fail to comment on the architectural designs, the wide streets lined with palm trees, the spacious homes and, in fact, all of the things they had observed in Makuria: the thriving industrial crafts, large scale cattle raising, a surplus-producing agriculture that kept alive an export trade in dates, wheat and garri, cotton fabrics and other produce not easily perishable, and an efficient administration, a strong army headed by formidable cavalry regiments. Alwa had made its defense system more secure by maintaining more walled towns and cities than Makuria. These walled places were rebuilt primarily as centers of refuge against the constant Arab slave raids. Now they were to serve as freedom’s final bastions of defense against local enslavement. Alwa was ready for what everyone knew was its last war as a natition.

For the Arabs had formed a great confederation of its feuding tribes.These, while perpetually at war among themselves, could always be counted on to unite quickly against non-Arab and non-Muslim peoples. Before the United Arab armies entered Alwa, the black leadership had ordered a general evacuation of the country by all women and children and the aged. The men, warriors all, remained to face the foe. It is not known whether the traditional Black Women’s Army Corps existed in Alwa. In any event, the Arabs did not find, and indeed, did not expect the conquest to be easy. They knew well the courage of the Blacks in battle and their unwillingness to surrender even when defeated. They had to take Alwa city by city, town by town, hill by hill and bush by bush. The Blacks were dying and fighting for the high order of life they had built. They fought nobly on the plains of Alwa in 1504, while their people, some never to be seen again, joined other countless thousands in the great migrations toward East, West, Central, and Southern Africa.

by Chancellor Williams
Illustrated by Murry`N. DePillars


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