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Watch Documentary ‘Rise of the Black Pharaohs’ – PBS Digs Into Kushite History

Watch Documentary 'Rise of the Black Pharaohs' - PBS Digs Into Kushite History

I learned about this really by accident, while flipping through channels last night. I’m surprised I didn’t receive any official announcement that it was scheduled to air. I typically do.

But, in short, if you, like me, didn’t know about it, PBS aired an hour-long program called “Rise of the Black Pharaohs,” which focused on Kush, the little-known state of Egypt around 800 BC, that rose up and conquered Egypt, enthroned its own Pharaohs and ruled for nearly 100 years. 

This unlikely chapter of history has been buried by the Egyptians and was belittled by early archaeologists, who refused to believe that dark-skinned Africans could have risen so high. Now, in the heart of Sudan, archaeologists are finding indisputable evidence of an *advanced* African society with powerful armies, vast reach and spiritually-driven imperial aspirations to rival the Egyptians’.

These were the Black Pharaohs of what is today Sudan – the Nubian kings – whose reign has become legendary, especially amongst those of us of African descent. 

In the program, archaeologists Geoff Emberling and Tim Kendel dig their way into a royal pyramid/tomb at a site called El Kurru that they hope will contain the bones of a Kushite king and the treasure he took with him into the afterlife. They also follow in the footsteps of famous archeologist George Reisner, who excavated most of the other major Kushite sites, but could never get past his racism and accept that these dark-sinned African people had built such an advanced and powerful society. Fortunately, more enlightened archaeologists are finally separating myth from fact and revealing the Kushites for who they really were, giving these Black Kings the exposure and respect they deserve as one of the great civilizations of the ancient world.

Watch the hour-long program below, which premiered last night on PBS and will air again tomorrow morning (check your local listings):

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