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

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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

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

  1. 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!!

  2. 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.

  3. Why did you stop at 1810 in the history of the Hawaiian Kingdom? In 1840 we went from a absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Declaration of Rights and seperation of powers. November 28th, 1843 The Hawaiian Kingdom’s independence was recognized by Great Britain and France. In 1852 The Hawaiian Kingdom abolishes slavery. In 1854 The Hawaiian Kingdom was declared a neutral country during the crimean war. On January 17th, 1893 the Comittee of Safety with help of the U.S military committed treason by illegally overthrowing the government and claiming themselves to be the new government. They arrested the Queen and put her in jail. They tried to annex Hawaii by treaty, but it was withdrawn by U.S President Cleveland. An investigation took place and they found out that U.S citizens assisted in the illegal overthrow. Two executive agreements were made by Queen Lili’uokalani and President Cleveland to restore the government and restore her to her throne. But the senate didn’t want that to happen, they wanted Pearl Harbor. So they made Cleveland into a lame duck for the next 4 years to end his term. McKinley gets into office and they try again to annex Hawaii. Hawaii is currently being ran by criminals who committed treason. The treaty of 1898 could not get the 2/3 majority in the senate because of the Ku’e Petitions. Instead of a treaty, in 1898 the U.S illegally annexed Hawaii by a joint resolution. A law passed by congress has no power beyond it’s own territory. How can they annex the Hawaiian Kingdom without a treaty? They can’t! Under international law that’s a warcrime. Also Americanization is a warcrime. Destruction of property is a warcrime. Illegally taxing a foreign country for 117 years is also a warcrime. Many warcrimes have been committed against my people for 122 years. The U.S has been Illegally occupying the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom for 117 years. Where is the treay? There isn’t any!

    1. Mahalo Keala for putting out the detailed history about the crimes against our people and islands by the US govt. which has never been resolved and I don’t know why when history speaks for itself.V4

      I don’t believe we came from Africa. As Denise explains so well, there’s no science to support this claim and King Kamehameha the great did not look popolo. I’m a descendant and I think I would know.

  4. I am a great great Great great great great great great granddaughter of King Kamehameha And of mixed racial ancestry. I have been studying Hawaiian and Polynesian history for over 20 years As well as African history. I want to interject some truths into this discussion. First of all Let’s start with some indisputable science. Polynesians are in fact a mixture of about 33% black African DNA, Then Asian, Middle Eastern and even some Caucasian.There are Hawaiians and Polynesians that look actually 100% black, curly hair, very dark skin, etc. there are Hawaiians who have straight hair and look more Middle Eastern or Asian. There are so many issues going on here such as skin color, cultural identity, etc. we who are descendents of Kanka Maoli should be respectfully entitled to present the facts with all due respect to our African brothers. If you have not lived in Hawaii and experienced An experienced Hawaiian culture It’s not really possible to tell the whole story. Just like Hawaiians do not know what goes on in Africa. This is not meant in any disrespect nor is it an attempt to whitewash away our black African ancestry. This has happened as we know in the past and some white people, not all, due to their hatred of blacks want to erase the achievements of black people all over the world. At the same time it would be hypocritical to have racial hatred for Caucasians as many Hawaiians have a majority of Caucasian blood in them. Kamehameha No doubt looks black, curly hair etc., some of the royalty does also but I think it’s an oversimplification and a bit of a stretch to say that Hawaiians are black. There is a big difference between having black ancestry and being black. If we want to get right down to it, the original black Africans are from Nubia and Sudan and are the darkest people in the world and in Africa. Race mixing has been going on for tens of thousands of years and one day undoubtedly most people will look less and less white because the majority of the worlds population is in India and China and the Chinese are spreading all over the world. Even in Africa there are now Chinese and African mixed-race people now showing up. Racial hatred is wrong regardless of its intended target and it’s also very hypocritical to say it’s bad for whites to hate blacks but when people hate whites there seems to be a free pass for that. Racial hatred of any kind never leads anywhere good. Racism goes back to tribalism because before the races started mixing, people were fighting and killing each other over resources in tribes. The Hawaiians kill each other in wars for land and resources just like they are doing in Sudan right now, in Sudan you have major bloodshed between the two major tribes. I don’t want to get off on that issue but it needs to be addressed. Hawaiian society before the white man was good but for the common people if you read your history it was not that great because they could be killed by the chief class for no reason And ironically the chiefly class was probably more of the black DNA class.Again this is not an attempt to whitewash the blackness out of Hawaiians but Hawaiians truly are a mixed race even before any white man came. Middle Eastern people and Asian people are mixed with some hawaiian and black but you need to understand that Middle Eastern and Asian people have been mixing with white people for 50,000 years, in fact why people are probably just a Subgroup of Asians who lost their melanin. It is also a fact that the darker skinned people have dominant genetics probably because our DNA is trying to get back to being dark skinned, when two people, a dark skin and white skinned persons mix, The dominant gene takes over and 99% people come out looking like the darker skinned person. It’s just like this whole Shawn King controversy where he is being questioned about being black, he obviously looks part black to me but his father was part black and part white and his mother is white but people will put him in the black category and that’s neither here nor there but it just goes to show you that people are so obsessed with skin color. Back to Polynesians, so the facts are Polynesians do have black DNA fact, they did a DNA study about it years and years ago 33% black African but I don’t think any Polynesian, who is a pure blooded Polynesian, would consider themselves a black African. Polynesians and Hawaiians in particular are very proud in my opinion even prouder than any black person about being Hawaiian because there are hardly any left so Hawaiians are very defensive about who is a Hawaiian and who is not and Hawaiians are also very racist because there are Hawaiians who are part white but unfortunately they do not look like to have a drop of Hawaiian blood yet Someone who has no Hawaiian blood, will make racial comments and do racist things to them even though they have Hawaiian blood. This goes back to the stupidity of racism. Hate somebody because of What they do not because of what they look like but this happens even when somebody is part black in part white but they look black, remember the Rodney King riots? A lot of so-called light-skinned blacks got accidentally beaten up By dark skinned blacks because they thought there were white, This is the madness of racism, racism is a mental disease and is really chicken shitt. Because people end up attacking their own people like their own cousin because they are so angry they can even reason like a human being. Now let’s go to Madagascar which is a very interesting place in Africa because it is a half Polynesian half African culture and ethnicity so this is probably where Polynesians came from but there is some dispute about this. Point being, our Polynesians part black and Hawaiians part black? Yes. Do Hawaiians consider themselves black people? No. This is not culturally Hawaiian. Hawaiians have her own distinct culture and history and I know some Hawaiians wrong or right will be insulted by being called a Polynesian or Samoan or black. There is no race on earth more proud of what’s left of their Hawaiian blood which is less and less. Maybe 200 Hawaiians of pureblood left so they want to be recognized as Hawaiians, yes many are part black but Hawaiians are Hawaiians and let’s give the pureblood Hawaiians that honor. So King Kamehameha was my ancestor and means I’m part black African and that’s fine it’s good, not ashamed of it but I’m sorry but I’m part Hawaiian and I would not call myself black, I don’t know how much black I have and I’m proud of it but black society will never accept it and if I was walking down the street I could be beaten up by black people for not looking black because I look Middle Eastern or maybe Mexican and those of the sad reality. Unless you are black looking people will not accept you because people only see What the little pea brains make them think, if they see somebody who looks Native American and white they will not think they are black even though they might be. Look at Quincy jones daughters, They do not look Black like Whoopi Goldberg Who there is no question she is black, Quincy Jones daughters look Puerto Rican or Mexican or something but they do not look under percent black and that is what makes race is and we just need to get over it. Tupac was saying that we should have no makes race people but when his Dick get hard for nice mixed-race girl he change his mind so this is the hypocrisy of it all. People say : we don’t like mixed-race people But they they marrying them.And even the moron who said the quote about Hawaiians look like niggers was married to a Hawaiian lady so let’s celebrate our black culture and heritage and whatever else race we are and focus on good deeds and helping each other and maybe we just need to Get rid of all the racist people whoever they are and we will have a better world

    1. So with all sincerity that was beautifully spoken up until the part where is pea brain racist people that’s black would actually beat a person up just because they looked Mexican or Native American. Now that was undoubtedly undeniably some racist ass shit!!!!. But you claim you got black and you in you proud. It seems to me like that’s a lot of self hatred and undoubtably by the spirit of your words you don’t like black people. And probably most of the Hawaiian community don’t like black people as well. You have leading renowned scientist, biologist, paleontologist, historians, some renowned and leading in their Fields who would tirelessly some not all, would passionately prove that people of dark complexions are not all of African descent. To me that saying we are undoubtably the most hated race ON PLANET EARTH!!!!! And you who claim to be of ancestral of the Great King Kamehameha, just spoke and conveyed thoughts and ideologies of a racist person!!!!!.. Black people need to wake up, and stop trying to claim races that undoubtably do not like us. We need to focus on us we are the most hated race on planet Earth. And this is sad but in actuality this is the truth. My black brothers and sisters of true African descent we need to teach our children of this truth, not hatred or blanket statements but the TRUTH…

      1. I agree with Colland Paine the black race is the most hated race on planet earth and black people being the most hated race on planet earth should stick together instead of trying to pick races that they do not look like because at the end of there black and the whole world knows this !!!!??

      2. One love you will be hated for my names sake lest he carry your cross a also be worthy tii the end is saved he that overcomes the truth shall set you free jeramiah remember your first love the ancient paths black is sacred to me my king I am slave now ashamed of the evil people Emanuel ??? God with us only I am called teacher besides me there is no other I sum the whole matter up love n help each other not hate or judging others forgive forget if you love me obey my words live them only no negativity there is no bad in good be holy as I am perfect sent by my father in heaven only him shall you worship serve each other in love peace heal feed clothes cash protect uplift carry teach befriend the poor at heart there’s is the kingdom of heaven my chosen ones are nice sing while you work happy in service feed my sheep teach them be meek humble sweet not angry hot mad love your enimies ect.

    2. Tanata,
      Very long demonstration. However it lacked any references, and seemed more emotiotional than factual. Though nevertheless raised many questions one of which is why do you refer to melinated peoples as “black” and those of pale European descent “white”? Are black and white nationalities?
      If Hawaii was and is a kingdom whose jurisdiction did it fall under for kingdoms and their kings/ queens have always been a part and subject to Empires

    3. Very true. While Blacks have traveled to most continents so have the Chinese. That doesn’t mean we’re ‘the’ first to settle anything. As far as we know multiple ethnic groups could’ve settled some of these places. In “Lies My Teacher Told Me’, Dr. Loewen talks about the races in the US intermarrying and living harmoniously before slavery. In Maryland alone there were over 600 biracial kids and that speaks volumes when some of the states had less than 100 residents!
      Factual history is one thing but saying we founded every country in the world is not true whatsoever.

      1. The first people were the purist form. Now, most are mixed. Biracial imply multiple races. There’s only one. All human differences can be explained. No one is better than the other. Lack of melanin, and why is a factor.

      2. Karina, blacks were the first people on earth. Not better, just first. We are only made special by those who attempt critique that fact. Why do we have Egyptology? Why isn’t there Asiantology, euopeantology, etc. Read and observe the world around you. The evidence is becoming more assessable.

    4. Right on, let the real Hawaiins stand up no matter how few of you guys are left BE PROUD BE HAWAIIAN but deny your ancestry which is african Asian and european Also many are miscommunicating the article. It’s not saying deny your Hawaiian cus your black no! It’s making you realize were you come from. We all originated from Africa. Anyone who researches science and history or reads the Bible knows this !!!!It’s not saying black in the sense of what we socially identify as black in today’s world. Be cus culturally a black person wont identify a Hawaiian as black or vice versa

  5. I’m also a blood relative of Royal Hawaiian lineage, my great grandmother and grandmother were called negroes back in the day when people really didn’t know the difference between blacks and Polynesians.

    Funny you say you look Hispanic or Arab, as that is the most common thing I get mustaken for although we have have very distinct and dominant aspect as Maori that I could say tends to lead towards African. We build body muscle up extremely fast, yet we share with africans the same problems associated with heart and cholesterol problems.

  6. Thanks for sharing this post. I presume the recent interest relates to the government sponsored push for a native political body to support the occupation of Hawai’i (

    Anyway, I am struck by the fact that the points here are largely and commonly grounded in colonial concepts of Europa. What did “black” used to mean and to what was it applied, in truly ancient times of original peoples? The words, their current meanings, and the proported scientific (?impartial) arguments that support one perspective over another are Not culture and politics-free. Black, mixed, white….the common person has no unbiased basis upon which to claim a precolonial knowledge of these word symbols or their cultural/contextual equivalent, in part, because the classification of “man” has been so muddled through genocide and extermination of people, cultures, and language. That is not to say an original understanding of such classifications are not documented…such understandings are simply uncommonly known and narrowly propogated.
    Using the contemporary word symbol “Archetypal Aboriginal” to describe the original inhabitants and their apparent descendants across this “planet” is about as shared a theory as we are likely to get. Does anyone seriously doubt the original peoples of this planet and its lands were richly melanated peoples? To be sure one does not have to strive for nor achieve conscensus from the miseducated or complicit masses to claim, research, or explore the logical truth of one’s heritage, especially when so many classification policies and laws were designed to make people fit into the boxes set by European colonialism. Choose one tribe in the post-European Americas, fully melanated inhabitants were deemed Aborigines rather than “native American” based on phenotype. Check the books….research….talk with the elders….non of whom shared family histories of being “African” (symbol etymology?) but were proudly and apparently Archetypal Aborigines mound builders and forest dwellers.

    1. Back in the days of slavery, a white man freed his slave and married her. His race status changed to “Negro” from that point on. Race is politically/socially constructed under colonialism.

      DNA is also interesting. We inherit 50% of our genes from each parent but we don’t necessarily inherent all genes our parents have. So, if a parent is 100% Asian and other parent is 30% African/20% Asian, that child’s DNA may show very little African DNA and pull more on the Asian side. That could affect phenotype. So DNA can mask our genetic heritage. e.g., many Black/Native American descendants’ DNA test results does not show Native American. They hear stories but DNA pulled towards African DNA. It’s not totally reliable.

      Genealogy is great but we have to live with a certain imagination of the origins of our ancestors. Some idiot told me King Kamehameha was from the Balkans lol. How could that be… we share common ancestors & no such theories exist! Actually I have heard about Kanaka Maoli coming from Northern Africa (e.g., Egypt) & the America’s. Our genealogy offers glimpse of where we come from, our relationship to our homelands, our relationship with our ancestors, etc.,. That is a stronger reality for us than our “blackness.”

  7. Come on with this stuff, man!

    Truly, if people originated from there then there would be no need to have any other group of people, like Chinese, Japanese, Chilean, etc. because that would be the portal of human production. More would pop-up in Africa without having to migrate there.

    To go 2 million years, they aren’t talking about people, brother (but ancestors of Homo sapiens). And even if they were, all people including so called Africans of this age would be equally distant from that ancestor. We don’t owe any homage to that group of people like they are the source of life. No idolatry here!

    And if it was true what validity would it have other than that everybody started from there.

    You know a man of honor does not seek to gain glory for them-self. To me this idea only brings glory to people, nothing else.

    To say a Korean, Samoan, or anybody originated there, is it just to say respect ‘us’, we are the originals, what’s the purpose.

    What did people do to make themselves, I have never seen a person come to life on there own, no and so will never glory to man.

    I can’t believe people actually believe this stuff.

    Give glory to GOD!

    People are connected but are also distinct.

    Proof is in the pudding put Sudanese with Sudanese and you will never, never, never get a Chinese, Tongan, Hawaiian, British, or Torrese Strait Islander looking baby.

    If they can do that and then we can talk.

    ITS A LIE.

    And It’s just what people have been programmed to believe.

    Peace to all and let’s lift up the oppressed everywhere, we owe that to each other. Peace to all people who care for there fellow man.

    GOD is true.

    1. God is the truth and will never let lies continue to be told. Have you ever seen the Khosian people of South Africa? One of the oldest people on the face of the Earth. No mixing with Asians yet they and Asians have a similar look from their eyes to coloration. More than likely, this is where the Asian phenotype derived from. It keeps being told to you that the first human beings came from Africa, with the racist ideology that has been spread for centuries, why do you think this kept being said? God loves the truth. This Asian scientist thought he was a 100% Asian and Asians developed outside of everyone else. Guess what, he found out he had African DNA, too. V

      1. That’s not racist the fact that every race came from Africa is not racist but I would also like to point out that sceintist have proven the black or African race is the only race that can make any other race in the world.

        1. Black people are not gods, so no they can’t create other races of people. It was the evolution and environment that created other phenotypes and races of people. The people who live in Africa have also changed and evolved over many thousands of years and do not look like their ancient ancestors either, just like other non African Eurasians.

          1. Your comment is exactly the reason there is this debate. IGNORANT. White man or any other derivative of Africa which is everyone is afraid that black people will think they are Gods if this truth is told. And we subconsciously know the strength and power of a black man but we as black people are much more humble and wiser than your statement cus we know God created homo sapians Adam and Eve and we also know that humans have evolved. So don’t be afraid Blacks are not Gods cus God is God but we are super human lol … just jokin every race evolved has made important Godlike contributions

          2. Once you realize that Jesus was black you will stand corrected. Try searching for the oldest images of Him and His mother Mary. Before European painters applied their features to images of Him. And by the way He said thou shall not kill so there for “survival of the fittest” evolution concept is null and void. Traveling around to conquer kill and exploit native people in order to preserve themselves, is not what He wants them to do. Someone else made a comment that Egyptians were Aliens Stop watching that stupid show ancient aliens on the History channel that has no black programming EVER.

            Any once we all get Jesus right the debate will squashed.

          3. Your an idot Zion, you comment is the epitome of dumb N*gga! Still worshipping your invented white god that your first master taught you and your kin.

    2. Who’s god? Don’t try to confuse to hide your ignorance. Is it difficult to understand that the first man was black based on scientific evidence. Accept that, and you might begin to understand your relationship. There are reasons that we look different, but we are all human. Black men being first doesn’t make him better, just first.

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