The beginnings of modern Afrocentric scholarship can be found in the work of African-American and Caribbean intellectuals early in the twentieth century. Publications such as The Crisis and the Journal of Negro History sought to counter the prevailing view in the West that Africa had contributed nothing of value to human history that was not the result of incursions by Europeans and Arabs.
"Black" in this context is an ethno-racial classification label applied to certain human populations. The English word was spawned by the European colonization and conquest of non-Europeans, however the concept of Black people can be found as early as the 2nd Century B.C.E.. It solidified into popular culture during the enlightenment as one of the four major categories into which European philosophers tried to organize the newly discovered human diversity. The categories were based upon skin tone as perceived by Europeans of the time: Red (Native Americans), Yellow (East Asians), White (Europeans), and Black (Africans).
Since the dawn of recorded history humans have tried to classify each other with various descriptive names in an attempt to organize their environment. The Ancient hebrews used the word "Kushim" from the Egyptian "K'sh" as a specific label of identifying people from Africa who were of naturally dark complexion. It is difficult to discern whether this label was originally applied merely to skin tone or if it considered the regional or ethnic identity of groups. This is because ancient cultures did not usually associate skin tone with group identity. A dark-skinned person was not considered less of a Hebrew or Egyptian than someone of lighter complexion. The early Greeks and Romans called various dark skinned peoples by various names: Aegypts and Aethiops referred to their burnt colored skin. Melanogaetulians were dark skinned people in the north. Leukaethiops meant light burnt faces. Until at least the 14th century, this word Aethiops had been the word of choice in Europe and much of the middle east to describe darker skinned people, especially those from Africa.