Posted by: Dr. Y. | March 30, 2010

Alexander Pushkin, the Black father of Russian literature

Young Alexander Pushkin

Young Alexander Pushkin

Yes… that’s right! Alexander Pushkin, the father of modern Russian literature, was in reality Black.  His grandfather was actually an African slave, Abram Petrovich Gannibal, who later became a general to “Peter the Great”.  The regional origin of Gannibal is often contested as it is often said that he was born in 1696 in the village of “Lagon” in modern-day Eritrea (a statue of Pushkin was erected in Asmara in 2009), while others claim that he was from the Logone-Birni area in Cameroon (possibly from the Kotoko kingdom or the Kanem-Bornu Empire).  Interestingly enough, Alexander himself was very proud of his African ancestry.

Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Pushkin

Just to give you a time frame, Pushkin lived from 1799 to 1837 in Russia, and even wrote a book about his grandfather entitled “Peter the Great’s Negro,” also known as “Blackamoor of Peter the Great.” He is considered to be the greatest Russian poet and pioneered the use of vernacular speech in his poems, plays, mixing both drama and romance. Alexander Pushkin introduced Russia to all the European literary genres. He brought natural speech and foreign influences to create modern poetic Russian. Even though he lived a short life, he left examples of nearly every literary genre of his day: lyric poetry, narrative poetry, the novel, the short story, the drama, the critical essay, and even the personal letter. He lived a life entirely based on his favorite quote: “Live by the pen, die by the sword.” He lived a very provocative life, and was a real playboy. He died in a duel.

Pushkin's monument in St Petersburg

Pushkin’s monument in St Petersburg

Monuments have been erected in Russia, in St Petersburg, Moscow, and schools do carry his name. PBS did a piece on Frontline, entitled Pushkin Genealogy. It is said that Leo Tolstoy‘s book’s character Anna Karenina is based on Pushkin’s daughter (Maria Gartung), whom Tolstoy described as being extremely beautiful and intelligent. Check out some of his books on Amazon: Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades, Boris Godunov, and others… Check out Wikipedia to learn more about the father of modern Russian literature.


  1. […] was Black! Yes… the great French writer was just like the Russian Father of modern literature Alexander Pushkin: Black! Yes… you can paint it all you want… he was of African descent: he was Black! […]

  2. Look out for my suriname blue blood is black blood museum, based on my research which states that the nobility and regent class elite in Europe was brown or black of complexion, with some showing classical African facial traits, like Pushkin. He was fourth generation African, yet looked very black and prognastic, because all other ancestors were brown or black. He painted his mother in law with a extreme black face.
    We need to reexamine what these people have written about Blacks and find out what our real history is.

    Egmond Codfried
    Curator Suriname Blue Blood Is Black Blood Museum

  3. he is a black in fact..but his grand father Hannibal is Ethiopian not Cameroonian!

    • Studies have proven that his Pushkin’s grandfather, Hannibal, was in fact from the northern region of Cameroon.

      • That’s merely a subjective study. According to the letters that Gannibal sent, he was from Lagona. Lagona was a part of Abyssinia (Modern day Ethiopia). Eritrea didn’t even exist back then.

  4. I heard and read that his father was from the east African country Eritrea which was part of Ethiopia till 1991.

    • Monument has been erected in the capital city Asmara,Eritrea

    • There has been some misunderstanding for years about it. But it has been proven that Alexander Pushkin’s father was actually from northern Cameroon.

  5. No proof is from is cameroon the grandfather.
    Is Eritrean if anyone need proof we have!

    • Here’s a smart Eritrean dude from another forum explaining how and why Ethiopians and other Africans like cameroon always had claimed Abraham Hannibal, despite having no evidence!Most of the evidence places his origins in Ethiopia, in the area of present-day Eritrea. By Hannibal’s own account, he was the son of a prince of that region and was taken prisoner and enslaved as a result of war with the Turks.

      This is also why the Russian government stated he is of Eritrean in ancestry and built a statue of Pushkin and a museum of Abraham in Asmara, Eritrea. Abraham Hannibal’s son in law stated in an 18th century letter that Abraham was “Habesha”

      • Thank you Abdul for all the clarification. I will make the changes to show that Gannibal’s true origin (where he came from in Africa) is disputed. There is also the research by Dieudonne Gnammankou about Abram Gannibal’s Kotoko ancestry (Cameroonian).

  6. […] Amo in the 1700s, or General Gannibal the grandfather of the celebrated Russian poet Alexander Pushkin) in Europe! Imagine that! Africans were not just slaves, but noblemen, and much more! I simply love […]

  7. […] such as Paul Robeson and Langston Hughes, though ordinary Russians were frequently racist, despite the Black ancestry of Russia’s beloved national poet, Alexander Pushkin). The cartoon’s writer, Yuri […]

  8. I’m perplexed how Pushkin is black. I am black because my mother and father are bot indigenous africans. Puskin, at best, is biracial if not more european, since only his grandfather was black. The “one-drop” rule is racist. I am surprised we reject racism, yet accept one-drop as we do by saying Pushkin and A Dumas are black.

    • Sure… we could argue all day about the one-drop rule. However, the truth remains that Pushkin was Russian and he was a Black Russian.

  9. The man’s mother was full European. His father was half white and half black. He himself was therefore 3/4 European. How in this world does that make him black? Some even also say Beethoven was black. How starved of self-worth are we?

    As Africans, have we not moved beyond trying to impress Europeans with our accomplishments, which behavior had always been, historically, in lockstep with that of those traitors who undermined us for the benefit of the Europeans during colonialism and Apartheid? Are our accomplishments not worth much by themselves in our own eyes? Probably not, and that is why, from Ethiopia to South Africa, we are still so miserable, with foreigners, including some who were colonized as we were, trampling over our economies, and we merely sit looking on. If we truly cherished accomplishment this would not be happening.

    Without understanding identity and truly grasping what it means to respect oneself, we will make no progress. All those pretenders walking the “corridors of power” around the world, though they may seem to be accomplished yet, in the light of our troubles on the continent, are of no use whatsoever to us. Worse, they are merely lackeys of European imperialism.

    How has this “father of Russian literature”, even if he were “black”, helped Cameroun or Eritrea or Ethiopia. This is foolish and empty vain glory. I daresay some fools would one day erect a statue of this man at the african union, whiles our own, who look 100% like us, and who fought hard for the “freedoms” we have now to travel the enjoy the world are unknown by our children. Which Africans ever praised Martin Luther King or Malcolm X, or Paul Robson, or Sojourner truth, who were more worthy ancestors with accomplishments directly relevant to us?

    My achievement must be worth enough in my own eyes, regardless who regards or does not.

    • Hello The Bantu, yes… your achievements are worth enough in your own eyes. Just like the achievements of any child of Africa who lived in Africa or any other continent on earth. I think it is worth celebrating the achievements of ALL children of Africa, including those of African descents… . We celebrate outstanding achievements of children of Africa. Lastly, there is nothing wrong with stating the truth about someone’s identity. It is just correcting history. Moreover, it will be false to say that the works of Martin Luther King or Malcolm X did not influence many African leaders (and leaders around the globe), particularly those who were fighting for independence or fighting against apartheid. So their works too… need to be celebrated.

    • No Cameroun

      • Ha, Ha, He was proud to be African root Eritrean he see him self black
        and he look African. You need to asked him why he was to be proud!

    • Great to see Alexander Pushkin Abraham Hannibal here, I have been researching about him and I am so exited by what I read, yes Eritrean and Russian people are proud of the achievement of this linage of hero…..and they have the right to be, and the rest of the world that appreciates literature loves and respects Alexander Pushkin.

  10. Abram Petrovich Gannibal was Pushkins great grandfather!

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