Yosef Ben-Jochannan

Yosef Alfredo Antonio Ben-Jochannan (born December 31, 1918), also known as Dr. Ben, is an African-American writer and historian.[1][not in citation given]

Early life and educationEdit

Ben-Jochannan was born the only child of an Afro-Puerto Rican Jewish mother named Julia Matta and an Ethiopian father named Kriston ben-Jochannan, in a Falasha community in Ethiopia.[2][dead link][1][not in citation given]

He was educated in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Cuba, and Spain, earning degrees in engineering and anthropology.[2] In 1938, Ben-Jochannan earned a BS in Civil Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico.[3] In 1939 a Master's degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Havana, Cuba.[2] He received doctoral degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Moorish History from the University of Havana and the University of Barcelona, Spain.[2][dead link]

Career and later lifeEdit

Ben-Jochannan immigrated to the United States in the early 1940s. He worked as a draftsman and continued his studies. He claims that in 1945, he was appointed chairman of the African Studies Committee at the headquarters of the newly founded UNESCO, a position from which he stepped down in 1970. In 1950, Ben-Jochannan began teaching Egyptology at Malcolm King College, then at City College in New York City. From 1976 to 1987, he was an adjunct professor at Cornell University.[4]

Ben-Jochannan is the author of 49 books, primarily on ancient Nile Valley civilizations and their impact on Western cultures.[2][dead link]In his writings, he argues that the original Jews were from Ethiopia and were Black Africans, while the white Jews later adopted the Jewish faith and its customs.[5]

Ben-Jochannan has also made a number of appearances on Gil Noble's WABC-TV weekly public affairs series Like It Is.

In 2002, Ben-Jochannan donated his personal library of more than 35,000 volumes, manuscripts and ancient scrolls to the Nation of Islam.[6]

Ben-Jochannan currently lives in the Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City.


Ben-Jochannan has been criticized[who?] for allegedly distorting history and promoting Black supremacy. In February 1993, Wellesley College European classics professor Mary Lefkowitz publicly confronted Ben-Jochannan about his teachings. Ben-Jochannan taught that Aristotle visited the Library of Alexandria.  During the question and answer session following the lecture, Lefkowitz asked ben-Jochannan, "How would that have been possible, when the library was not built until after his death?" ben-Jochannan replied that the dates were uncertain.[7] Lefkowitz writes that ben-Jochannan proceeded to tell those present that "they could and should believe what black instructors told them" and "that although they might think that Jews were all 'hook-nosed and sallow faced,' there were other Jews who looked like himself."[8]

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • African Origins of Major Western Religions, 1991. ISBN 978-0933121294
  • We the Black Jews, 1993, ISBN 9780933121409
  • Black Man of the Nile and His Family, Black Classic Press, 1989. ISBN 9780933121263
  • Africa: Mother of Western Civilization. ISBN 9780933121256
  • New Dimensions in African History
  • The Myth of Exodus and Genesis and the Exclusion of Their African Origins
  • Abu Simbel to Ghizeh: A Guide Book and Manual
  • Cultural Genocide in the Black and African Studies Curriculum. New York, 1972. OCLC 798725

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Gabriel Haslip-Viera, Taíno Revival: critical perspectives on Puerto Rican identity and cultural politics (Markus Wiener Publishers: 2001), p. 14.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Yosef Ben-Jochannan Biography". TheHistorymakers.com. 2008. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  3. ^ Velez-Rodriguez, Linda. "Tidal Stations and Benchmarks". Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Dr. Yosef A. A. Ben-Jochannan". raceandhistory.com. Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ Ben Jochannan, Yosef (1993). We the Black Jews. Black Classics Press. 
  6. ^ Shabazz, Saeed (October 29, 2002). "Prized library bequeathed to the Nation". FinalCall.com. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  7. ^ http://www.skepdic.com/refuge/lefko.html Not Out of Africa How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History
  8. ^ History Lesson, pp. 67-69.

External linksEdit

Last modified on 17 April 2014, at 00:57