Some of the ideas Garvey presents in the lessons from the School
of African Philosophy are also similar to thought current in the Ethiopianist
movement in Jamaica of the same period and to his own "African Fundamentalism."
The idea of finding antecedents of Egyptian civilization in ancient Ethiopian
culture---including the view that Ethiopians were the architects of the pyramids
and of the Sphinx---is one such common link. The "leprosy" theory of Caucasian
racial origin that Garvey presents in lesson 12 was also an ideological strain
of Ethiopianism. By 1937, when Garvey taught the first course in African
philosophy, the identification of the white man as a leper had become a part of
emergent Rastafarian doctrine in Jamaica, which drew upon the older Ethiopianist
reference to the Bible's Numbers 12:10, wherein Miriam becomes leprous---"white
as snow." Garvey taught that Adam and Eve and their progeny were black and that
Cain was the first leper, stricken white as a punishment by God for the murder
of his brother, Abel. Garvey differed from Ethiopianist teachings when he
claimed that Tutankhamen and other Egyptians were black people who enslaved the
Hebrews. For many adherents of Ethiopianism, people of African descent-enslaved
and subjected to dispersion from their ancestral African homeland---were
strongly identified with the Jews; indeed, some believed that black people were
actual descendants of the Jews who had experienced slavery. "The Negro must be
[the] original Children of the Sun, of Is-Ra-El," declared the Norfolk Journal
and Guide in 1924, "as the Lord appears to make an opening for them where none
appeared to exist."
A people without the knowledge of their history,
is like a tree without roots.