In Memoriam: Martin Gardiner Bernal, 1937-2013

BernalMartin Gardiner Bernal, professor emeritus of government and Near Eastern studies at Cornell University and a frequent contributor to the pages of The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, died earlier this month in Cambridge, England. He was 76 years old.

Professor Bernal was the author of a highly controversial three-volume set, Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization. Professor Bernal presented evidence that Egyptians (who were influenced by Black Africans) and not the Greeks formed the foundations of modern civilization. Professor Bernal and Professor Mary Lefkowitz, then the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Wellesley College, engaged in a scholarly give and take on the issue in the pages of JBHE in the mid-1990s. Professor Lefkowitz was the author of Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History (Basic Books, 1996).

Professor Bernal’s Black Athena volumes were published by Rutgers University Press in 1987, 1991, and 2006. Professor Bernal also wrote a response to the critics of his thesis in Black Athena Writes Back (Duke University Press, 2001).

Dr. Bernal was a graduate of Kings College at Cambridge and earned a Ph.D, in Oriental studies at Cambridge University. He joined the faculty at Cornell in 1972 and remained there until his retirement in 2001.

We at JBHE remember fondly working with Dr. Bernal and greatly appreciate his contributions to our journal.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Placed on Accreditation Probation

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education stated that the university fell short in meeting requirements in financial planning and budget processes and compliance with laws, regulations, and commission policies.

Two Black Women Scholars Who Are Taking on New Assignments in Higher Education

Penelope Andrews was appointed the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School and Angela D. Dillard, the Richard A. Meisler Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, was given the added duties of the inaugural vice provost for undergraduate education.

Tuskegee University Partners With Intel to Boost Black Presence in the Semiconductor Industry

Participating Tuskegee students will have a chance to gain hands-on skills in engineering design, semiconductor processing, and device fabrication technologies and an overall valuable experience working in the microelectronics cleanroom fabrication facility at Tuskegee University.

K.C. Mmeje Honored by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Foundation

K.C. Mmeje is vice president for student affairs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The NASPA Pillars of the Profession Award acknowledges remarkable individuals within the student affairs and higher education community who demonstrate exceptional contributions to both the profession and the organization.

Featured Jobs