The Black Folks of Hawaii: Muurs of the Western Island – A Retrospect

King Kamehameha
King Kamehameha
White Southerners, who settled the Hawaiian islands during the 19th Century had a song about the native people which ran, “You may call them Hawaiian, but they look like niggers to me.”

Setting aside their bigotry, the Southern settlers hit upon a fact which is studiously ignored by modern anthropologists and historians: the natives of Hawaii, America’s 50th State, were Black people whose ancestral roots extend back to the continent of Africa.

The story of the Black Hawaiians is one of the most tragic of modern times. It is a tale of adventure and gaiety in paradise that turned into a cultural nightmare. It is America’s best kept secret.

We must venture into antiquity to learn of the roots of the Black Hawaiians, whose glorious star, now vanished from the Heavens, once brightened the Pacific for two thousand years.

Most anthropologists, paleontologists and archaeologists around the world generally believe that human beings evolved on the continent of Africa, from 3 to 5 million years ago, and that they eventually spread from Africa into Europe, Asia the Pacific Islands and finally the Americas.

In time, these Black settlers developed very advanced societies that sent navigators to explore and settle various islands of the Pacific Ocean. They reached such places as New Guinea, Fiji, New Hebrides, New Zealand, the Society Islands, Tahiti, Easter Island and thousands more.

The first people to reach what is now Hawaii were Blacks from Polynesia – a name which means “many islands” – in the central Pacific. They sailed to Hawaii in giant canoes about 2,000 years ago.

The Hawaiians and their neighbors in the Pacific have long been the subject of controversy among scientists. The people in this part of the world are generally divided into three groups: Melanesians (the word means black islands), who are unmixed Black people; Micronesians (which means small islands), an ancient Black people who are now largely mixed with Asians; and Polynesians, a people who were also originally Black but have mixed historically with Asian Mongoloids and White Europeans.


The Black people themselves are an ethnological puzzle. Many like the Tasmanians, who were exterminated by English settlers were “pure” Blacks. The Australian Aborigines were also very dark with African features and curly hair.

“The basic strain of the original Hawaiians, as seen in their color and their faces,” writes historian J.A. Rogers in Sex and Race: Negro-Caucasian Mixing In All Ages and All Lands, “was undoubtedly Negro, with an admixture of mongolian.”

These people were of black and brown complexions with wavy or close-curled hair, broad facial features and fine physiques. In short, they had the same physical characteristics as millions of other people who now live in the Pacific Islands.

According to one early legend, these early settlers named their new home Hawaii in honor of a chief named Hawaii-Loa, who is said to have led the Polynesians to the islands. But the name Hawaii is also recognized as a form of Hawaiki, the legendary name of the Polynesian homeland to the west.

The ancient land of Hawaii was much like an African society. It was a series of islands ruled by strong-willed chiefs or kings who believed that they had descended from gods.

No written records of the islands were maintained, so a court genealogist, similar to the African griot, recited names, family exploits, battles and past glories of a proud people and their royal leaders.

Hawaiian life revolved around religious ceremonies. The heiau stone platforms, generally enclosed by stone walls, served the Hawaiians as temples. Inside these centers of worship were a number of objects for ceremonial use in various rituals.

They were used on numerous occasions, for to the Hawaiian people any new undertaking in life was cause for religious celebration. The principal Hawaiian gods were Kane (life), Lono (harvest) and Ku (war).

Closely linked to Hawaiian religious traditions was the kapu or law administered by the king. It was a rigid system of “rules and guides, do’s and dont’s, what’s and what-not’s” governing events from love-making and marriage to the season for catching certain fish.

It separated kings from commoners, men from women, and Hawaiians from foreigners. It was probably one of the most complex legal systems of the ancient world.


If ever there was a paradise on earth, the Hawaiians appear to have had it. Blessed by a glorious climate, the people basked in the sun, swam in clear water and participated in competitive games and sports.

They worked, to be sure, in order to live; but there was a fine line between work and play. Fishing, for example, was probably as much a water sport as a source of obtaining food.

The people shared their harvest so that no one was without food; and everyone found shelter in the marvelous huts built mainly from the leaves of palm and hala trees.

“The people worked, swam, sang and danced, isolated from most of the scourges of the rest of the world,” writes Maxine Mrantz in Hawaiian Monarchy, The Romantic Years. “But that was soon to be changed. The ‘Garden’ would be discovered.

“Gone would be the sunny static days of peace and order. Disease, decadence and cultural shock were to take a terrible toll of the Hawaiian people, decreasing their numbers alarmingly.”

This great change, however, was still far off in 1758, which was about the time of the birth of Kamehameha, nephew of King Kalaniopuu who ruled the island of Hawaii and the Hana district of the island of Maui.

At this time Hawaii was not ruled by a single king, but was a chain of islands (Kauai, Maui, Oahu, Hawaii, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau and Kahoolawe), each ruled by a different monarch.

In 1780, before a council of chiefs, King Kalaniopuu officially named his older son, Kiwalao successor to his throne. But this was not to be. Kamehameha coveted the throne and set out to do all in his power to become king.

Following the death of King Kalaniopuu, Kamehameha aligned himself with a number of chiefs in battle against his cousin Kiwalao. Kamehameha defeated Kiwalao and thereafter proceeded to battle against the chiefs of Maui, Lanai and Molokai.

By 1810, King Kamehameha was the first to rule all the islands. Six other kings and a queen would succeed him to the throne.

Generally described as very dark and “extremely handsome,” Kamehameha (or Kamehameha, The Great, as he is often called) was a very capable ruler. He encouraged industry, promoted international trade, checked oppression and suppressed crime. His greatest drawback, however, turned out to be the faith he had in Europeans.

Captain James Cook was the first white man to reach Hawaii. He visited the islands in January of 1778, traded with the natives and was well treated. After returning to Hawaii in November of 1778 and remaining into the next year, he was killed when a quarrel arose between his traveling companions and the Hawaiians.

Legrand H. Clegg II, Editor and Publisher, July 1997

16 thoughts on “The Black Folks of Hawaii: Muurs of the Western Island – A Retrospect”

    1. I have read this, it’s the only article that has answer my question about who the Hawaiians were. Thank you so much for the truth, that’s what I was looking for. It is a very sad story.

  1. Good article. Ive heard from reading a book called God of Light God of darkness that some Hawaiian people worshipped a god with no human sacrifices thye called “IO”
    if there is further knowledge about this it needs to be shared too. Im not sure what to make if it all but it rang tru in my soul when i read that book…

    1. You are on the right track…and yes…before Kamehameha the first, before the battles, before the arrival of other Polynesians; there was and always will be “I’o”. I have never read that book but was always told of the time when all was of pure light and the development of the spirit was at a higher level by all than it is today. There was only one, omnipotent.

    1. What does polynesian mean? Is it a race?

      Original Hawaiians do have black skin and woolly hair like Africans.

    2. Elizabeth get a clue. The only reason some Hawaiians do not look black today is because they are walking around with the blood of their conquerors and those the conquerors brought from Asia to dilute their blood. this entire continent was covered with so called black people long before the white man decided to set sail looking for blood. You are probably one of those that believed so called black people came out of Africa as a result of slavery. Africa had black people and so did the other 6 continents. Black people’s migration out of Africa did not start with whites. And there were black people sailing the seas long before the white man decided he needed to spill the bloods of other races to satisfy his thirst for blood. I know a native woman who told me that her ancestors were trading with black tribes long before the white man came along.

      1. Hawaiians are genetically more closely related to Asians then Africans, they are an offshoot of Asians. It doesn’t matter what a person looks like.
        Why must black people adsorb other cultures to feel good about themselves?

      2. afrocentrics have been doing this for years, comparing phenotype and using it to justify why we’re suppose to be Black. And I just read this somewhere recently about how Europeans are much more genetically similar to Africans than they are to Polynesians.

        If anyone should get a clue, it’s you Mike. Why aren’t there any evidence of Africa in any of the islands? And why is it now with DNA, we show no similarities whatsoever with Africans? We’re even much more distantly related with Asians (over 13,000 years) and yet we are related to them versus an African. Remember the year that the first group of people left Africa and crossed the Levant?

      3. As a “Polynesian” I appreciate your comment. It is true we have African roots. But we’re also mixed with the blood of our oppressor. I am working diligently to provide this information back to our people to be proud of our African roots. I hate being called Polynesian because it is a term given to us by white man.

  2. This is Incredible! Thank you so much, in sharing it with all my friends. And I went to Hawaii last year and they loved me (I’m black) and when I went to a luau and this gorgeous hawaiian man was telling me how hawaiians hate haoles for taking over their island and telling me how glad they were that king kamehameha killed some, but I find it really sad what they went through… Well thanks for showing this.

  3. Theory strewn with fallacies is no different than a drunk with a good story.
    Not one mention of DNA, very odd, because it has been proven through DNA that Kanaka Maoli is not connected to our African brothers and sisters. But, scientists have proven that white Europeans are genetically connected to their sister country, Africa going on 20 years now. DNA is just the seal of proof that for some reason is not being accepted by both of these country men.
    The author states it clearly, “The Hawaiians and their neighbors in the Pacific have long been the subject of controversy among scientists.”
    The division of race he states historically was not based entirely on scientific knowledge. Yet, scientists today continue to rely on this form of explanation to steer the direction of their own theories.
    This author quotes a very honorable, intelligent, well-traveled author, researcher and self-educated scholar who was a well-known humanist. Ultimately pursuing his own ideas of how humanity was interconnected and how Africans had contributed to the world, trying to establish and justify the rights of Africans in the development of the history of this world. Rightfully so.
    But here is where the words need to be analyzed: Rogers states that what he ‘Sees’ is ‘undoubtedly Negro with an admixture of Mongolian.’ The word is ‘sees” there is no science behind it, based only on what he has observed and lived. Which I take the liberty in guessing that any person whose skin is not white is ‘black’. Sadly, this is like saying any one whose eyes is slanted is Japanese. Which is obviously not so.
    Mongolians is not any closer in relationship to the Kanaka Maoli, either.
    For those whose comments refer to modern Kanaka as mixed, I agree with you, partially. There are pure Kanaka whose blood is not mixed and are not dark, nor are their features any where what people stereotype them to be. But, how many could you say you know and how many have seen a pure Kanaka, today? For some reason, there are many people who are not of the blood of Kanaka who claim to be. I am amazed at how many wannabes there are. Which means they are a people to be admired as it is their culture to accept all.
    Oh my, to compare ancient Hawaii to that of African society because they both believe that they are decedents of gods. So, are Africans related to those ‘Asian’ people who know their emperors are direct line of the gods, today? You are limited in your knowledge of the history of Hawaii and have not researched enough to speak on this subject.

    This is not to disgrace Rogers but to acknowledge his quest for humanity. We are all interconnected.
    We share the same land called Earth. We sleep in the same bed, Earth. We share One Race, the Human Race.
    All men were created by the Great Spirit Chief, they are all brothers. Chief Joseph.

  4. Yes, I believe the original race of Hawaiians are a black race. I saw the pic of the last queen at the museum and both she and all of those that surrounded her were black. All black races were integrated when the whites came but they continued the culture and now those people think they are the original sorry you are not. This world is so poisoned by white supremacy that everyone has a problem with the real truth. They are become lovers of the lie. The white man being the Father of it!!

  5. The website link isn’t mine, yet it covers the history of Hawaiians. Do check it out. I used to live in Honolulu, Hawaii for approximately two years. I lived on both sides of the island as well, the leeward and windward sides. The Bishop Museum holds the answer to the issue of were Hawaiians Black descended. Yes. The photos at the museum show a very dark complexioned, Afro wearing people. These people were of African descent and likely traveled by boat from the Mother Continent to populate the area as did many others. It is quite difficult to accept that Africans were the Original First People of the Earth. Truth cannot be contained forever.

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