BOOKS: ATTACKING AFROCENTRISM

A CLASSICS SCHOLAR SHARPLY CHALLENGES THE EMERGING THEORY THAT ANCIENT GREECE STOLE ITS BEST IDEAS FROM ANCIENT EGYPT

SOCRATES, THAT QUINTESSENTIAL Athenian, was black. And the ancient Greeks stole most of their great intellectual discoveries, including philosophy and geometry, from their African originators, the Egyptians.

Such eye-catching assertions, which beg the disputable question of whether the Egyptians actually were black, are being promoted by radical Afrocentrists in college classrooms across the U.S. today. The principal goal is to free the teaching of world history from its traditional Euro-focus. A secondary aim is to give minority students pride in the achievements of their ancestors. Up to a point these are unexceptionable goals, concedes Mary Lefkowitz, a professor of humanities at...

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