Introduction The appeal of the Middle East among black scholarly elites was evident long before the Gaza Strip, jihad, Operation Desert Storm, Saudi Arabian oil, the Taliban, and Osama bin Laden entered the popular lexicon. This paper will demonstrate the scholarly attraction and popular fascination African Americans have long had with the Middle East. Given the prominence of Christianity in Blacks' lives one could easily surmise that African American interest and expertise in Middle Eastern history, languages, arts, religions, and politics sprang largely from a fascination with those faraway lands mentioned in the Bible and the places where Christ and his disciples once trod. Indeed, several book-length travelogues like Caroline Bagley's My Trip Through Egypt and the Holy Land (1928), Adam Clayton Powell Sr.'s Palestine and Saints in Caesars Household (1939), and numerous religious works such as Benjamin T. Tanner's impressive etymological tract The Color of Solomon--What? (1895) and Charles L. Russell's book of translated proverbs, Light From the Talmud (1942), aimed to enlighten and inspire the growing masses of the faithful who were both black and literate.