Dr. Williams was an undergraduate student of William Leo Hansberry at Howard University. In 1935, Williams received his master’s degree in history from Howard and he later received a doctorate in sociology from American University, before joining the history faculty there in 1949. Following in the footsteps of Hansberry, in 1953 and 1954 Williams became a research fellow at Oxford University in England, and from the mid-1950s to 1964, he lived in Africa for extended periods, including a year as a researcher at the University of Ghana.

In 1964, Williams conducted extensive field research in 26 countries in Africa and among 105 different language groups to conduct original research on African civilizations, and this culminated in his classic work, The Destruction of Black Civilization (1971). His work was “concerned with Black civilization alone – what the Blacks themselves achieved independently of either Europe or Asia. This was an entirely new approach to the study of the history of the Blacks.” He makes many insightful observations about the political history and relations in the Nile Valley, dating back to 4500 BCE.

Among other things, Williams concluded that relentless invader groups from outside of Africa played a key role in destroying the great Nile Valley civilizations, and that the Ethiopian Empire was too large to effectively govern. His most important argument is that at 3500 BCE the middle and northern Nile Valley were the governing domain of the Ethiopian Empire and that Nubia was the southern part of the empire, while Egypt was the northern power in this vast empire.

He references historical details which interpret the data as showing political dynamics where the Ethiopians (Kushites) were unable to regain control of the Nile Valley region until the 8th century BCE, when they rose against the Assyrians and reestablished Kush as the power on the throne in Egypt (its northern province) during the 25th dynasty. King Piankhy proclaimed in his Victory Stelae that his Kushite dynasty represented a renaissance period in Egypt as he strengthened cultural institutions, restored temples, revived the economy, and he ruled the region from Kush (rather than Egypt) and began pyramid building at el Kurru in Sudan.

Ampim, Manu. “History Of African Civilizations, History 110 Course Reader.” Unit 3: Classical African Civilizations (Kush). Oakland, CA: Advancing The Research, 2016. 46.

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