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

Andre Johnson Honored for Distinguished Service in Africana Communication

“I am indeed honored to receive this prestigious award named for a person who meant so much to the study of Communication," said Dr. Johnson. “My aim is to continue to serve and work in ways that not only highlight and center Africana communication but also to continue to build on the legacy of Dr. Orlando Taylor.”

Jackson State University Chosen to Participate in Battery Workforce Challenge Program

The Battery Workforce Competition Program will provide students the opportunity to design and build their own electric vehicle battery. Jackson State University was the only historically Black school chosen to participate in the program.

Black Film Project and Film Studies Fellowships Established at Harvard University

Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, will direct the newly established Black Film Project, an initiative aiming to support independent films focusing on Black history and culture.

Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Featured Jobs