From Wikipedia encyclopedia
Yosef Alfredo Antonio Ben-Jochannan (/ˈbɛn ˈjoʊkənən/; December 31, 1918 – March 19, 2015), referred to by his admirers as “Dr. Ben”, was an American writer and historian. He was considered to be one of the more prominent
Early life and education
Ben-Jochannan claimed that he was born in Ethiopia to a Puerto Rican Jewish mother and an Ethiopian Jewish father. Other sources say that he “was probably Puerto Rican but claimed to be of Ethiopian Jewish extraction.” Colleagues and family members have presented evidence that contradicts most of his account of his origins.
Ben-Jochannan’s academic record is disputed, with claims he was educated variously in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Cuba, or Spain, earning degrees in either engineering and/or anthropology.[unreliable source?] In 1938, he is said to have earned a BS in Civil Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico; this is disputed as the registrar has no record of his attendance. He stated that in 1939 he earned a master’s degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Havana, Cuba. He also claimed to have earned doctoral degrees (PhD) in Cultural Anthropology and Moorish History from the University of Havana and the University of Barcelona, Spain, respectively, and advanced degrees from Cambridge University in England. Both Barcelona and Cambridge say that he never received a degree from either university and, furthermore, Cambridge University said it had no record of Ben-Jochannan ever attending any classes there.
According to his obituary, Ben-Jochannan holds honorary doctoral degrees from Sojourner-Douglass College (Baltimore), Marymount College (New York), and Medgar Evers College (Brooklyn).
A New York Times article published after Ben-Jochannan’s death discussed the lifelong inconsistencies in his reported academic record:
“Documents from Cornell University show Mr. Ben-Jochannan holding a doctorate from Cambridge University in England while, conversely, catalogs from Malcolm-King College list him as holding two master’s degrees from Cambridge University.
According to Fred Lewsey, a communications officer at Cambridge, however, the school has no record of his ever attending, let alone earning any degree. Similarly, the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez, where he also said he had studied, has no records of his enrollment. Indeed, it appears that Mr. Ben-Jochannan consciously falsified much of his personal academic history. ”
Accounts agree on little else other than that Ben-Jochannan was raised in the Caribbean and immigrated to the United States about 1940, where he reportedly worked as a draftsman and continued his studies. He later stated that in 1945, he was appointed chairman of the African Studies Committee at the headquarters of the newly founded UNESCO. He said he worked for them until 1970. However, UNESCO staff state that they have “no record of Mr. Ben-Jochannan ever having been employed by the United Nations.” Ben-Jochannan also stated that he began teaching Egyptology at Malcolm-King College in Harlem in 1950, but this volunteer-run effort was not founded until 1968, when it started with 13 students. He later taught at City College in New York City. From 1973 to 1987, he was an adjunct (part-time) professor at Cornell University.
Ben-Jochannan was the author of 49 books, primarily on ancient Nile Valley civilizations and their influence on Western cultures. In his writings, he asserts that the original Jews were from Ethiopia and were Africans. He says that the Semitic (white) Jews later adopted the Jewish faith and its customs.
According to his obituary, Ben-Jochannan began his educational teaching in Harlem in 1967 at HARYOU-ACT. He worked as an adjunct professor (1973-1987) at Cornell University in the Africana Studies and Research Center, then directed by James Turner. He also taught at other institutions, including Rutgers University. In 1977 he accepted an honorary faculty position with the Israelite Rabbinical Academy at Beth Shalom Hebrew Congregation in Brooklyn. (See Capers Funnye.) Ben-Jochannan appeared several times on Gil Noble’s WABC-TV weekly public affairs series Like It Is.
During his career in the 1980s, Ben-Jochannan was well known for leading guided tours to the Nile Valley. Ben-Jochannan’s 15-day trips to Egypt, billed as “Dr. Ben’s Alkebu-Lan Educational Tours,” using what he said was an ancient name for Africa, typically ran three times a summer, shuttling as many as 200 people to Africa per season.
Ben-Jochannan earned the respect of a later generation of black intellectuals. Cornel West said he “was blessed to study at his feet.”  Ta-Nehisi Coates, the son of Ben-Jochannan’s publisher, praised him for teaching that history “is not this objective thing that exists outside of politics… It exists well within politics, and part of its job has been to position black people in a place of use for white people”.
In 2002, Ben-Jochannan donated his library of more than 35,000 volumes, manuscripts and ancient scrolls to the Nation of Islam. In the years before his death, Ben-Jochannan lived in the Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City, in an apartment complex known as Lenox Terrace.
Ben-Jochannan married three times and had a total of 13 children. He died on March 19, 2015, at the age of 96. at the Bay Park Nursing Home in the Bronx.