Florida: 'King Tut' Prompts Black Protests
Report; Posted on: 2005-12-06 12:40:10
Afrocentrists insist boy Pharaoh was Black
Michael Browning, Palm Beach Post
Normally, the skin color of a young man who died nearly 3,330 years ago wouldn’t be a hot political topic, but we live in strange, quarrelsome times.
The boy-king of Egypt, Tutankhamun, is back in the United States after nearly three decades. It took an act of parliament in Egypt to authorize his trip.
But this time, the upcoming King Tut exhibit, which is scheduled to open at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art on Dec. 15 and run through April 23, has traveled around the U.S. trailed by a cloud of controversy over whether the young pharaoh was white or black.
There were street protests on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles over this issue when the show, “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,” opened there June 16.
“King Tut’s back, and he’s still black!” the protesters chanted. The NAACP has also protested a National Geographic magazine cover, based on a CAT scan of the young pharaoh’s skeletal remains, that showed Tut as having a coppery-brown complexion similar to that of North Africans today.
The exhibit in Fort Lauderdale will take visitors through the artifacts, and deposit them at last in a large gallery where the CAT scans will be on display, along with three reconstructions of Tut’s face, done in black, white and copper-brown. Visitors can make up their own minds as to which representation they prefer, said museum Director Irvin Lippman.
“We are encouraging this conversation,” Lippman said. “It doesn’t need to be a protest either way. I think it is an interesting conversation to have.”
But Babacar M’Bow, who is the international program and exhibit coordinator for the Broward County Library, is setting up a series of lectures hosting speakers who are convinced that Tut was, indeed, black.
The series culminates on Feb. 15 with a panel of black scholars, including Martin Bernal, author of the Afro-centrist book Black Athena. The title of the symposium is “Egypt: Africa’s Eldest Daughter.”
( http://www.nationalvanguard.org/story.php?id=7112 )
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