“The Secret African City”: Ancient Egyptian’s Influences on Washington, D.C.’s Planning and Architecture in the 18th and 19th Centuries
Tenisha Senora Howard
Thesis DT 3.5 2009 H694
xvi, 113 leaves: col. ill.; 29 cm.
"The Secret African City" is a project that fulfills both my academic and personal interests. Throughout American history, ancient Egyptian's art and architectural concepts have served as a blueprint for the development of state capitols, one in particular being Washington, D.C. where monumental constructions have occupied its city streets devoid of any direct recognition of their African origins. Traditionally, people of African descent among other Americans were not aware of African and more specifically Egyptian contributions to Western Civilization in general; hence, many have not made the correlation between D.C.'s architecture and artifacts such as the Washington Monument, the u.s. capitol, and/or the House of the Temple on one hand, and African influences or origins on the other. One of the most significant reasons for such absences and omissions is based on the long practice of portraying Egypt as separate from the African continent. Although architecture is the focus of this thesis, the pattern of silence/omission is consistent with the contributions of people of African descent in the United States in relationship to the development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
By researching the works of scholars such as David Ovason, James Steven Curl, Ivan Van Sertima, Anthony Browder, and Martin Bernal among others an examination has been done to decode as well as unveil the significance of the ancient Egyptian inspired structural designs within Washington, D.C. As a result, the misconceptions that the edifices of the District of Columbia were initiated on behalf of the nation's "forefathers" appear to have different origins and roots. Also, the honorary legacy of President George Washington is investigated to demonstrate the ways in which his position of power as the U.S. president and also, his association with Freemasonry as a Master Mason influenced the evolution and construction of the U.S. Capitol and the planning of the city of Washington, D.C.