In Civilization or Barbarism, Cheikh Anta Diop offers an intelligent and fact-based reinterpretation of the false doctrines put forth by white European racists in the 19th century. The false beliefs that Egypt was a white civilization, and that Black civilization has failed to contribute to the collective knowledge base of humanity is effectively countered with linguistic, historical and archeological evidence that points to a Black Africa and Afrocentric origins of sophisticated early civilization.
In Part One of the book, Dr. Diop approaches the origins of mankind from a paleontological approach. Chapter One: Prehistory: Race and History – Origin of Humanity and Racial Differentiation reveals the fact that both the first humans AND the first inhabitants of Europe were Black. Fossil evidence found in the form of the Grimaldi Negroid is the link between Africans in Africa ant their migration into Europe. On page 13 of Civilization or Barbarism, he writes: “The first inhabitant of Europe was the Grimaldi Black man who was responsible for the first Lithic (stone) industry of the European Upper Paleolithic period, called the Aurignacian Industry.”
Both art and fossil evidence backs this claim up. Three examples are offered as evidence:
1. The Headless Venus of Sireuil – a piece of sculpture found in southern Europe that was crafted by the first human settlers there – has distinctly Negroid features.
2. Venus of Willendorf – another piece of craftsmanship – was sculpted as having dreaded hair and, again, Negroid features.
3. The bone structure of the very first Cro Magnon men was Negroid, as was evidenced by unearthed fossil evidence. According to Diop, this osteology had to adapt from a life of living in open-air savannah to a life in cold, dark caves. The result was a loss of melanin (the pigmentation that makes Africans Black).
The book also gives us a time line from the exodus of the first humans out of Africa to the end of human migration and complete planetary colonization. Thanks to Civilization or Barbarism, we have the following time line:
- 50 – 200,000 Years Ago: Blacks reached behavioral modernity in Ethiopia
- 43,000 Years Ago: Man began to migrate out of Africa (Ethiopia, specifically) and into the rest of the world.
- 22,000 Years Ago: the first evolutionarily modern Cro Magnon (White) walks the Earth.
- 50,000 – 60,000 Years Ago: Blacks in Africa continued to innovate and migrate. Shipbuilding technology led to the arrival of the first Aborigines on the Australian continent.
- 20,000 Years Ago: Northern icecaps began to recede enough for Cro Magnon to colonize Siberia
- 17,000 BC: The first Homo Sapien Sapiens reach China and develop Mongoloid features in response to climate change – reaching full Mongoloid appearance by 6 – 8,000 years ago. Simultaneously, the Homo Sapien Sapiens who negotiated the land bridge across the Bearing Straight would become the first men to set foot in North America, thus completing the conquest of the globe by 4,000 B.C.
Proof of the African origins of civilization lie in the fact that there are no older human remain sites than the sites found in Africa.
It should also be mentioned that the distance from Ethiopia to Australia is 7,435.8 miles. The distance from Ghana to Northwest Brazil is only 2711 miles. If early man was able to travel one, surely he was able to travel the second. That would support evidence presented in books like Ivan Van Sertima’s They Came Before Columbus.
Dr. Diop also noted the correlation between skin color and climate. Vitamin D is created in the body due to ultraviolet rays. Vitamin D then synthesizes itself into melanin, and these higher levels of melanin diffuse ultraviolet rays on the surface of the skin, thus providing humans with a natural defense against the harsh rays of the sun. It can be deduced that higher exposure to ultraviolet rays produce higher levels of melanin in populations over time, and less exposure reduces the need for higher levels of melanin.