Bringing a feminist perspective to contemporary findings of geneticists and archeologists, Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, cultural historian, points out that the oldest veneration we know is of a dark mother of central and south Africa, whose signs-ochre red and the pubic V-were taken by african migrants after 50,000 BCE to caves and cliffs of all continents. The oldest sanctuary in the world was created in 40,000 BCE by african migrants in Har Karkom, later called Mt. Sinai, foundation place of judaism, christianity, and islam.
Lucia documents the continuing memory of the dark mother and her values in prehistoric images of the dark mother, in historic black madonnas and in other dark women divinities whose sanctuaries are on african paths. She tracks the memory in rituals and stories of her sicilian grandmothers, in persecution of dark others in patriarchal Europe and the United States, in the rise of nonviolent dark others since the 1960s,in the banners of the 1995 world conference of women at Beijing, and in art. She finds the dark mother's values-justice with compassion, equality, and transformation-in everyday and celebratory rituals of the world's subaltern cultures-and suggests that the image and values are in the submerged memories of everyone.