My brother keeps telling me we need to profile Robert Rozier, the ex-NFL player / Black Israelite / murderer. So I started to research the Black Israelites, and Crowdy seemed like a better place to start...
I'm in no way familiar with Robert Rozier or his religious connections. But to shed some light on the context of the ministry of William S. Crowdy.ReplyDelete
As you know, Abraham was a native of the city of Ur in ancient Mesopotamia. Archaeological discoveries have proven that the earliest inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia were of a dark complexion. The racial origins of Abraham is not based on mere conjecture, it is in complete agreement with the picture one gets from examining the identity of the earliest inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia.
Further, biblical history relates that the descendants of Abraham, namely Jacob (Israel) and his twelve sons and their wives, 70 in all, migrated from Canaan to Egypt (Genesis 46). During their sojourn in Egypt the Children of Israel multiplied from being a family of 70 souls to a nation of thousands by Exodus chapter 1. This astounding number of people in so short a time can only be adequately explained by intermarriage between the family of Jacob and the native Egyptian populace. It is an established fact that the ancient Egyptians were a black African people. Thus, even if the Hebrews were not black before they arrived in Egypt, which is unlikely given Abraham's background, they were definitely black by the time they left Egypt under Moses.
The biblical Hebrews were indistinguishable from native Egyptians and Ethiopians. The Bible is full of examples which demonstrates this, and even ancient secular historians remarked of the physical appearances of the Hebrews. The historian Tacitus, for example, stated that it was a common opinion among the Romans that the Jews "were an Ethiopian race." In Roman times Palestinian Israelites were classed among Black Africans because it was almost impossible to tell them apart.
Hence, the Eurocentric notion of the Black Hebrew as a kind of "Johnny-come-lately" in Hebraic history does not accord with the facts.
The history of Black Hebrews in North America is perhaps one of the most important chapters in US history never fully written. The ancestors of African Americans came from West Africa during the era of slavery. That particular region of Africa was once home to a number of Black Hebrew tribes that migrated from North and East Africa over many centuries. In North Africa, just before the period of Christianity's legal entry into Rome - due to Constantine "the Great" conversion in the 4th century - there were many Hebrew (Jewish) 'tribes' that are of indigenous African origin.
Black Israelite immigrants from northern and eastern Africa merged with indigenous groups in western Africa to become the Fulani of Futa Jalon, Bornu, Kamen, and Lake Chad. They also formed the parent-stock of groups such as the Ashanti, the Hausa, the B'nai Ephraim (mentioned in earlier posts), and the Bavumbu (Mavumbu or Ma-yomba). All of these groups suffered tremendous population decreases during the years the Atlantic slave trade was in operation, others were completely eliminated.
Thus, every so-called African American has Israelite ancestry in their family tree whether he or she knows it or not. Even in the very crucible of slavery the descendants of West African Hebrew captives in America struggled to keep their heritages from being obliterated by forced assimilation and acculturation. Their distinctive traditions became submerged in Christianity but always remained a part of the oral tradition via the so-called Negro Spirituals which praise the memory of ancestors and kinsmen like Moses, David, Joshua, and Daniel.
So, it is not surprising that in 1896, William S. Crowdy established an Israelite congregation in the United States, uniting African Americans (and Caucasian Americans) to the religious heritage started by Abraham. Today, his congregation is the largest Israelite congregation headquartered in the United States with approximately 40 locations in the U.S., and additional locations in Jamaica and six African Countries. For more information, visit www.cogasoc.org.
If you want to hear more from the current leader go to www.wbai.org archive show April 12th, 2013 Caldwell Chronicles..show begins about 33 minutes into the 4pm segment. Amazing interview of Chief Rabbi Jehu CrowdyDelete