Intellectual maroons: architects of African sovereignty.
"The white man's propaganda has made him master of the world, and all those who have come in contact with it and accepted it have become his slaves."
One extraordinarily valuable gift bequeathed to us by the late Jedi Shemsu Jehewty (aka Jacob H. Carruthers) is the term "intellectual maroon." Mentioned only in passing in an essay entitled "Thinking about European Thought" published in his last major work, Intellectual Warfare (1999), my essay seeks to flesh with symbol and metaphor what is an exquisite idea. In addition, as a Banksian reconstructionist document, my essay provides Africans in the Diaspora with the rudiments of an Africancentric model of identify formation, mission construction, and selfrealization supportive of our drive for political and economic sovereignty.
"Intellectual maroons," according to Dr. Jehewty, are "Black thinkers" who after analyzing the "core of the European worldview" have "declared their freedom" from European intellectual bondage "through their publicly stated thoughts" (p. 52). Much like the Maroons of old who self-emancipated by escaping from European induced physical slavery, intellectual maroons self-emancipate by escaping from European induced psychological slavery. (i) Physical slavery and mental (psychological) slavery are merely opposite sides of the same coin, which is the standard currency of aggressors, oppressors, and exploiters. This essay identifies the core concepts essential for African centered self-actualization leading up to intellectual maroon status found in the "publicly stated thoughts" (published writings) of six leading African centered scholars, i.e., "Black thinkers" who fit Dr. Jehewty's description of intellectual maroons.
Finally, the intellectual maroon is the centerpiece of the Johari Sita, a six-part Africancentric leadership/followership training model I developed for the Kwame Ture Leadership Institute in 2000. In this model, the intellectual maroon is the transforming agent, but it is the African community via the family that is the chief beneficiary. To reach intellectual maroon status requires total immersion in five states of knowing. All five states are discussed in this essay. And all five states are facets of the Johari Sita (Swahili for "Six Jewels"). This term, however, will not be used except in this Introduction. But if one reads carefully, one will uncover the Johari Sita framework under girding this research.
"In order to change the African consciousness, we must change the information that is in the African mind".
The Black scholar's stock and trade is the pursuit of knowledge, which, if diligently practiced, will inevitably brings her/him to the proverbial "fork in the road" where she/he must choose between two mutually exclusive paths of intellectual development leading to radically different destinations. If she/he selects the pedestrian path, which is actually a four-lane super highway paved in silver and gold and marked "Negro Scholar," she/he quickly arrives at the states of subservience and dependence, the home base of what Anderson Thompson (1997) calls "Sambo historiography." On the other hand, if the poorly lit, single lane road full of pot holes, detours, steep grades, and sharp curves marked "Intellectual Maroon" is chosen and the Black scholar perseveres, she/he will ultimately reach the liberated states of sovereignty and independence, the home base of the intellectual maroon.
The above typology of African scholars is consistent with Dr. Jehewty's 1996 assertion that we have two "streams of African intellectuals: those who become the agents of intellectual neocolonoialism [Negro Scholars] and whose who continue to fight for intellectual freedom [Intellectual Maroons]" operating in the African community. As a product of this second stream, this essay will map the route to intellectual maroonage by noting the major "landmarks" and "signposts" situated along the way to this sublime state.
Here at the beginning of the 21st century, the cardinal task of the "Black thinker" is to break out of conceptual incarceration and comfortable captivity. To complete this task means breaking one's mental chains and then eluding these two ever-vigilant captors. As you can imagine, this is no easy matter. In fact, after a lifetime of Caucasian (ii) social conditioning, it is the greatest intellectual, psychological and emotional challenge we face as people of African descent. But try we must if we want freedom because until our escape from mental bondage is successfully planned and executed, life as an intellectual maroon is not only impossible, it is inconceivable.
Let us now examine these two constrictors of African thought and action. First is conceptual incarceration, a term coined by sakhu sheti (psychologist) Kwaku Berko (aka Wade Nobles) in 1986 to identify our mental arrestment by and then imprisonment in constrictive Caucasian belief systems, values, images, concepts, life-styles and worldviews. Africans who internalize the "concept" of White Superiority/black inferiority, for example, are "prisoners" of a myth (belief system) that will ultimately warp their self-image, subvert their self-esteem, undermine their selfworth, stifle their self-motivation and dim their prospects for high level achievement.
What Dr. Berko is telling us is that the words/concepts/beliefs/values/images that we allow into our mental space and then use for self-definition and self-referral will either liberate us or enslave us. No one knows this better than intellectual maroons, who after freeing themselves from the dungeons of conceptual incarceration, are now fashioning the tools, strategies and approaches to liberate others. This essay showcases their best Africancentric psychotherapeutic concepts and practices.
In the never-ending battle for African hearts and minds, conceptual incarceration is an enormously effective weapon. Over the past 1,000 years, it has been masterfully used by both the European Christian and Arab Muslim ruling elites to lock us--generation after generation--into belief systems and value structures that serve their interests, not ours. In our day, for example, it locks mainstream African American political discourse into an endless cycle of appeals to the democrat-republican party and its backers for token participation. In spite of the self-interment of our popular political thought, the small but thriving community of intellectual maroons offers living testimony that it is still possible to break the psychological bonds of 21st century slavery and live mentally free even in the "belly of the beast."
The second major pitfall facing the Black scholar traveling the road to intellectual maroonage is a direct result of the first and is what Kofi Addae (1996) calls comfortable captivity. Comfortable captivity is the psychologically constricted but economically expansive state of most U.S. Africans, and especially the professional class, who are also deeply engrossed in what Minister Louis Farrakhan (1990) calls the "illusion of inclusion." During the dark winter of our enslavement, comfortable captivity was the state of affairs skillfully maintained by wise slave masters to ward off rebellion and it was also the state toward which well-seasoned slaves habitually gravitated.
The illusion of inclusion construct was originally manufactured for and then sold to the most vulnerable, i.e., the most "comfortable" enslaved Africans--the house slaves. Because of their favored position in the American plantation economy, they were the group easiest to convince of their stake in maintaining the status quo. And so it is today. Our community of modern-day house slaves is just as committed to maintaining the black servant/White Master relationship between Africans and Europeans as their predecessors. It is always worth remembering that the European American enslavement of Africans, with all of its depravity and debauchery, could not have lasted some 400 years without the wholesale participation of select groups of enslaved and quasi-"free" Africans who were so "comfortable" in their "captivity" that betrayal of African resistance was the norm. These were the first acts of African treason committed on these shores.
During the 1960s and 70s, conceptual incarceration, comfortable captivity and the illusion of inclusion so affected/infected the U.S. Black leadership class that they fought for civil rights rather than sovereign rights, which is analogous to prisoners of war demanding window curtains to decorate their jail cells rather than immediate freedom. The problem then was that our leaders were so focused on winning mainstream inclusion for the Black professional elite, that they wholly ignored our group need for political and economic sovereignty. The problem now is that in spite of our plummeting group status, we are so comfortable in our captivity and so deeply engrossed in the illusions of inclusion that we are totally oblivious to our conceptual incarceration.
Welcome to the Orwellian world of 21st century Black slavery where the Amerikkkan nation state in silent partnership with multimedia conglomerates use the latest advances in mind-control technology to manage Black populations finding it far more effective (and profitable) than a million overseers with chains and whips. Under such conditions, only a handful of U.S. Africans will leave the comforts of the psychological plantation in search of mental freedom, and then once they obtain it refuse to exchange it for the promise of material gain. These blessed few are Jedi Jehewty's intellectual maroons, and because of the ever deepening contradictions in American society, their numbers are bound to increase. (iii)
Perhaps the quickest, surest, safest way for Black scholars to break out of the conceptual incarceration--comfortable captivity--illusion of inclusion matrix to become intellectual maroons is to study the works of Black thinkers who are intellectual maroons. What makes maroon scholarship both ground-breaking and emancipatory is its view of our long-neglected, often ridiculed, African cultural heritage as a treasure chest from which we can extract riches beyond measure. African centered researchers, writers and speakers, like Carter G. Woodson, Marcus Garvey, Cheikh Anta Diop, Yosef ben Jochannon, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, John Henrik Clarke, Molefi Asante, Maulana Karenga, Amos Wilson, Kwame Akoto, Marimba Ani, Mwalimu Shujaa, Baffour Amankwatia aka Asa Hilliard, Na'im Akbar, Ama Mazama, Chancellor Williams, Karimu Welsh Asante, Frances Cress Welsing, Phil Valentine, Llaila Afrika, and Chinweizu are the modern-day trailblazers in and the contemporary exemplars of what is now a 200-year-old liberatory intellectual tradition. Only their books, essays and speeches contain the tools to break the mental bonds of conceptual incarceration and comfortable captivity and destroy our illusions of inclusion.
Finally, it must be noted that when placed in a larger context, conceptual incarceration, comfortable captivity and the illusion of inclusion are outcomes of what Carter G. Woodson in 1933 called the "mis-education of the Negro," which in turn is a prime component of Felix Boateng's (1990) "deculturalization," his term for Western education's three-stage cultural relocation project. I have addressed aspects of these efforts at Black social engineering in service of White domination in previous essays, so they will be mentioned here only in passing. (iv)
Landmarks and Doorways
"Slavery of the mind is far more destructive than that of the body."
Edward Wilmot Blyden
There are three major "landmarks" on the road to intellectual maroonage. If recognized when encountered, they will assure the African scholar that he/she is in flight from conceptual incarceration and comfortable captivity and headed toward mental freedom. It seems strangely paradoxical, but at the same time completely appropriate that we must use concepts to free ourselves from concepts.
The first and perhaps the most readily identifiable landmark is what I call intellectual disobedience, which is a 21st century corollary to Henry David Thoreau's (1849) notion of civil disobedience. Conceived in 2000, this view holds that African scholars, teachers, activists and others have a moral imperative to resist all efforts by the Europeancentric educational/informational hegemony to restrict, constrict or otherwise regulate the content and scope of their intellectual life.
Back in the 1960s, Dr. King and his cohorts engaged in civil disobedience because they understood they had a moral obligation to resist unjust efforts by the state to deny their civil rights. Similarly, intellectual maroons have a divine command, as do all people, to engage in intellectual disobedience by resisting efforts by the state and its agents to deny, curtail or constrict their human rights. One of our most basic human rights is the right to intellectual sovereignty; and in this era of ubiquitous, state-sponsored efforts at mind control and "womb to tomb" state-sponsored surveillance, intellectual disobedience is the sine qua non of intellectual sovereignty.
The second major landmark found on the road to freedom from conceptual incarceration and comfortable captivity is nyansa nnsa da, a Twi term meaning "wisdom has no limits." Coined by Kofi Addae in 1996, (but alluded to as early as 1921 by Marcus Garvey), the nyansa nnsa da paradigm holds that African intellectual freedom, and by extension political and economic sovereignty, hinges on developing both the will and the skill to think and act outside of and independent from established Western categories and frameworks. At its highest expression, nyansa nnsa da brings forth models of excellence rooted our highest African cultural values and philosophical principles.
But as long as Black scholars rely like Negro scholars upon their slavery-acquired or colonial-acquired Caucasian cultural and intellectual heritage to the exclusion of their African background, at best they can be no more than first-rate servants or second-rate Caucasiam imitators. Like Africans who can only dance ballet or play basra, they bring nothing authentic or original to the world.
To complete the restoration of our 100,000 year-old tradition of sovereign nation/civilization building will demand that Black scholars travel far beyond Europeans and Arabs into preChristian, pre-Islamic ancestral, cultural and intellectual spaces. Among other skills, mastering the art of shifting seamlessly from 21st century Caucasian to ancient or traditional African modes of thought and feeling is paramount for Africans in the Diaspora. Thomas Kuhn (1970) calls this skill "shifting paradigms;" we call it nyansa nnsa da.
Our third major landmark is Maulana Karenga's (1997) concept of "liberational logic," which he defines as "reasoning directed toward undermining and overthrowing constraints on human thought and practice" by "promoting conscious emancipatory activity on the intellectual and practical level." Liberational logic's freedom-focused mode of reasoning is the ideal catalyst for W. Curtis Banks' (1982) deconstruction-reconstruction-construction (DRC) model for processing and interpreting data before creating new knowledge. (v) Two classic examples of Banksian deconstructionist thinking fueled by liberational logic are Amilcar Cabral's (1974) view that to be free we must not only remove the oppressor from our land, we must also remove his "spirit" (meaning his concepts, values, images and belief systems) from our homes, hearts and minds and Chinweizu's (1987) call for "decolonising the African mind".
Liberational logic in its reconstructionist mode is embedded in all activity that seeks to transform an oppressive social condition by bringing forth African centered concepts, practices, values and belief systems as solutions. When combined with intellectual disobedience and nyansa nnsa da, liberational logic in its constructionist mode empowers Black scholars to exorcise the ghosts of colonialism and slavery--like conceptual incarceration and comfortable captivity--from their collective psyches thereby freeing space for healthy orientations like Maat restoration-maafa termination to take hold and flourish. It is liberational logic that provides the rationality for our push to restore African societies to their pre-colonial status as sovereign powers. In the minds/hands of intellectual maroons, it is both a shield and a spear opening the way for defensive and offensive thought and action.
In closing, the Black scholar traversing the road to freedom will find upon close inspection that these "landmarks" are actually "doorways," secret portals into the glorious states of sovereignty and independence, which is the intellectual maroon's home base. To escape from conceptual incarceration, comfortable captivity and the illusions of inclusion to become intellectual maroons, Black scholars can begin by initiating a two-step process. First, they must deeply, lovingly immerse themselves in the books, journals, magazines, CDs, videos, and audio-tapes produced by our intellectual maroon community. And second they must fellowship and network with intellectual maroons and their supporters by attending their conferences, workshops and other gatherings. The widespread availability of the Internet makes the first step possible even in the most Europeancentric locales, and the fact that nearly every urban center boast a community of intellectual maroons makes the second step possible as well. Taking these two simple but courageous steps will position Black scholars to embrace intellectual disobedience, nyansa nnsa da and liberational logic.
"Standing on the Mountain Top:" The Training of Intellectual Maroons
"The language and logic of the oppressor cannot be the language and logic of the oppressed."
Intellectual maroons are thoroughly grounded in, and thus elevated by, four seminal disciplines:
* Reality Confrontation
* Sankofa or Re-Africanization
* Systematic Enemy Analysis
* Social Reproduction Theory
Each aforementioned discipline (or "signpost" in keeping with our travel metaphor) involves mastering skills that center the work of intellectual maroons on the life needs of African people; therefore, each will be briefly discussed.
First is reality confrontation, a term I coined in 2000 to describe the mental state produced by a process that weaves together sets of African-based psychotherapeutic practices to create a healing tapestry of mental-spiritual rejuvenation. For example, along side what is presented in this paper, Malcolm's (1965) three-step process for Black mental renewal, Myers' (1988) Belief Systems Analysis, Ashanti's (1993) Sankofa Nyansa Tumi, the Akotos' (2000) P.O.W. paradigm, Karenga's (1997) Kawaida Theory, and Berko's (1997/2006) Nsaka Sunsum and Sakhu Sheti, which include ancestral consultation, meditation, herbology, hydrotherapy, vegetarianism, fasting and other healing and transforming modalities are skillfully manipulated by intellectual maroons to provoke a confrontation with the reality of our group oppression as a stimulus for assimilating existing and designing new approaches to end it.
The intellectual maroon by definition is totally immersed in the act of reality confrontation, i.e., reality reconstruction. His/Her every thought and action is shaped by the flesh and blood needs of African people, here and abroad. For example, we desperately need a simple step-by-step strategy for organizing the extended African family's human and other resources for family wealth building and family financial independence. Along those same lines, but on a larger scale, we desperately need a strategy for rapidly moving the global African community to self-sufficiency in food, water, clothing, and housing production. And, along with all of the above, we Africans in the U.S. desperately need a strategy for developing our own independent, community-controlled educational/recreational, transportation, communications, medical and self-defense capabilities.
Reality confrontation demands that intellectual maroons meet head on the many global and local obstacles blocking the social, political, economic, and spiritual ascension of African people. Because of their psychological and emotional freedom gained by their immersion in intellectual disobedience, nyansa nnsa da and liberational logic, only intellectual maroons are known to possess the skills and attitudes needed to think global African thoughts and make global African plans that address first the survival needs, and then the developmental needs of African people, both at home and abroad.
Second is sankofa, a multifaceted idea (like reality confrontation) part concept, symbol, proverb and social practice all rolled into one. Among its practitioners, the Akan people of Ghana, Togo and Cote d'Ivoire, sankofa is used to promote the wisdom of learning from the past (Ancestors) as the best method for understanding the present and creating the future. Sankofa teaches that it is correct to reconnect with our ancestral heritage and its best traditions, customs and practices. In the 1960s, Seku Ture of Guinea and Amilcar Cabral of Guinea-Bissau called sankofa reAfricanization and used it to encourage their peoples to reject their oppressor's French and Portuguese culture and return to the best of their traditional African values, belief systems, and institutions. In the Diaspora, re-Africanization means not only embracing traditional African cultural expressions, it also means refocusing the African family and community on those core African values, beliefs and practices that support our push to regain our loss sovereignty. Continuous sankofa or re-Africanization, made possible by escaping from conceptual incarceration and comfortable captivity, is the hallmark of intellectual maroons.
Reality confrontation and sankofa immersion confirm that systematic enemy analysis, our third science, is an essential field of study for intellectual maroons who boldly face, when others will not, the brutal fact that we are at war. As scholar-warriors, they alone have internalized and are responding to the fact that we have historical enemies who have been warring against us for at least the past 3,000 years. Historian Chancellor Williams (1974) documents our Ancestors' battles with the Caucasians in his classic The Destruction of Black Civilization.
In summary, the continental phase of this war began with the Hyksos (Aryan) invasion of Africa (Kemet) in 1780 B.C.E.; the global phase began in 652 C.E. with the Arab trade in African prisoners of war and expanded in 1482 when the western Europeans entered this nefarious business. Our victorious or sankofan phase began with the birth of Pan Africanism in 1900, took root during the Garvey Era of the 1920s and 30s, blossomed during the Black Power Movement of the late 1960s, and bore its first fruit with the creation of Afrocentricity in the late 1980s and the intellectual maroon in the late 1990s.
Systematic enemy analysis was suggested as early as 1829 by David Walker, but it was Kofi Addae who actually coined the term in 1996. In short, systematic enemy analysis is a two-part process that entails: (1) in-depth study of European and Arab history and culture in search of the means and methods they use to dominate and control African people and (2) formulating "strategies of resistance" to end Caucasian domination and control over African people as well as thwart future European and Arab cultural and political aggression. Intellectual maroons excel at both of these tasks.
Our fourth field of study is social reproduction theory, which is the branch of sociology that examines the mechanisms that control the intergenerational transmission of social inequality. The African contribution to this discipline is the principle (and science) of Maat, a concept we will soon discuss in some detail. But at this point, suffice to say intellectual maroons are skilled at tapping the African genius for creating Maatic, i.e., just and humane, social systems. In this regard, their model is the Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) ideal of the geru maa, the truly selfrealized, spiritually-perfected human being. (vi)
Thus, as exemplars of African equality and architects of African egalitarianism called upon by history and Ancestors to re-create Africa's past splendors, intellectual maroons are well-versed in this important social science. Consequently, those who reach geru maa status are charged with the responsibility of bringing forth Maatic solutions to Africa's and the world's social problems. And so it is that the intellectual maroon's every thought and deed is informed by these four overlapping, interconnected disciplines and their end goals of human liberation and human perfection.
"Seeing the Promise Land:" The Work of Intellectual Maroons
"Every person is sent to this outpost called earth to work on a project that is intended to keep the cosmic order healthy."
The grand mission of the intellectual maroon is to launch a 21st century whm msw (African world renaissance) by restoring Maat (truth, justice, order, harmony and balance) to end the maafa (millenniums of Caucasian aggression, oppression and exploitation) in African affairs. These three concepts demand discussion beginning with the whm msw (weheme mesu), which is actually the Kemetic term for the world's first social recovery program. When initiated by the Kemetic leadership class, a whm msw sat the restoration of Maat as the chief indicator and prime measure of national health and prosperity. Meaning a "repetition of the birth" and similar to what Europeans call a "renaissance" but much more profound, a whm msw refocused the Egyptian citizenry on Maat, the teachings of their wisest ancestors, and their long and glorious tradition of nation-building.
According to Jedi Jehewty (1995), at least four times in its 5,000-year history, Kemetic leadership successfully set in motion whm msw that completely reinvigorated Egyptian society lifting the nation to new heights by restoring exceptionally high levels of peace, justice, harmony and prosperity through out the land. (vii)
Just like the first whm msw, our 21st century version has as its major goal, the restoration of Maat in African affairs. As previously noted, Maat restoration fueled the engines of past whm msw so we know it to be an essential ingredient, but establishing an exact definition of the term is challenging because there is no single-word English equivalent. In fact, it requires at least nine English words to begin to define Maat. According to Maulana Karenga (1986/2006), truth, justice, order, harmony, balance, reciprocity, propriety, goodness and righteousness are a few of the English words incorporated into this multidimensional idea.
The ancient Africans of the Nwy (Nile) River valley used the term Maat, personified as a goddess wearing an ostrich feather in her hair, to signify not only Ra's (God's) boundless creative energy, but also the act of tapping into this energy and using it to empower one's life. Going deeper, they believed that since Ra wants human beings to conduct their affairs in strict accordance with Maat, then practicing it at all times and under all conditions was certain to win His favor if not in this life, then more importantly, in the life to come.
To bring out our best, according to the ancient Egyptians, Ra gifted human beings with free will. This means that we can choose to practice Maat and reap Ra's blessings or we can choose to practice Maat's opposite, "isfet," and spread lies, discord and disharmony in our wake and thereby earn His wrath. The choice is ours.
Our ancient African ancestors rightly understood that the installation of Maat by the state as its highest value is the one indispensable feature of a good and just society. In the 21st century, Maat is the one social practice needed to build and maintain strong, sovereign African families, communities, societies and nations. With this as our backdrop, it is only fitting that launching a whm mw is the intellectual maroon's life mission and raison de existence.
The second major end goal of a 21st century whm msw is to terminate the "maafa." Maafa is a Swahili word meaning "disaster," but popularized by philosopher Marimba Ani (1994) as the "great disaster." The "great disaster" of which Dr. Ani speaks is the holocausts of Arab and European invasion, conquest, destruction and theft of African lands, minds, and resources, mixed with slavery and genocide and inflicted on the African people 652 C.E. to present. Because Maat and maafa cannot occupy the same space at the same time, one or the other must prevail. At present, the maafa has the upper-hand, which means that Caucasian engineered wars, famines, poverty, homelessness, incarceration, sickness and early death are the global reality for African people. The maafa will remain our group reality until we recognize that the quickest, surest way to end it is to restore Maat and restoring Maat requires launching a whm msw, which we now know is the work of intellectual maroons.
The final major feature characterizing the intellectual maroon state is the emphatic embrace and vigorous practice and promotion of Pan Africanism. Essentially a 20th century, African American political theory and movement in its early years championed by Henry Sylvester Williams of Trinidad and W.E.B. DuBois of the U.S., Pan Africanism's first golden age was ushered in by its three most celebrated practitioners, President-General Marcus Garvey of the UNIA-ACL, President Osageyfo Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and his close friend, President Seku Ture of Guinea.
But Pan Africanism today is a vision and a movement in need of visionary leadership, i.e., intellectual maroon leadership, willing to lead by pooling their collective talents and organizational resources and then thinking and acting strategically, boldly and decisively. For example, continental Africans would be well-served if their political leaders would discard the European concept of the Lugardist state, dissolve the present-day colonial-era borders, encourage regional, ethnic-based confederations, replace European national languages with African ones, and forge deep economic and familial ties with Africans throughout the global Diaspora, and especially the United States, Brazil, England, India, Indonesia, Australia and the islands of the Pacific
Pan Africanism has always called for the political, economic and cultural unification of the African continent, but we can thank Kwame Ture (2003) and the members of the All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) for keeping the Diasporian African presence active in the Pan African mix these past 30 years. And now that we are 1 billion strong and a global force for peace and justice, our 21st century Pan Africanism must openly promote Maat restoration--maafa termination on a global scale, not just for African people, but for all humanity. By embracing and then practicing a Maat-centered Pan Africanism, intellectual maroons bring global thinking, geopolitical clarity and transnational economic opportunities to African families and communities within the framework of our most ancient moral/ethical tradition.
In closing, actively acquiring the psychological-intellectual "tools" (like intellectual disobedience, nyansa nnsa da, and liberational logic) to break out of conceptual incarceration, comfortable captivity, and the illusion of inclusion to launch a whm msw to restore Maat and end the maafa demands unprecedented vision and courage. Acquiring a thorough grounding in the disciplines and perspectives of reality confrontation, sankofa/re-Africanization, systematic enemy analysis, social reproduction theory, and Pan Africanism calls for the same. Consequently, Black scholars aspiring to become intellectual maroons will enjoy many years of study and therefore must be willing to travel a long and arduous path. But the end goal of African intellectual and political sovereignty more than off sets the hardships and sacrifices they will endure.
"Once the African mind is liberated, there is no shackle which can keep the African enslaved."
At the beginning of what the Western world calls the 21st century, African freedom in European-dominated societies is essentially a mental construct. In other words, Black freedom today is primarily a set of ideas and beliefs about ourselves as Africans and our place in the world. This is vitally important because African people the world over are controlled and then manipulated by systems of thought originally imposed by force on our Ancestors by Europeans and Arabs to better exploit and oppress them.
Today, thanks to self-emancipated African thinkers Jedi Jehewty so aptly calls "intellectual maroons," Africans who are seeking to free themselves of anti-African systems of thought (that are nothing more than sets of false ideas and inappropriate beliefs) for the first time have real tools for mental-spiritual emancipation. The core anti-African belief systems and value structures have been identified and analyzed by maroon scholars like Amos Wilson, Na'im Akbar and Kobi Kambon and preventives and curatives have been formulated. This essay presented a number of these formulations.
In addition, this essay provides Africans in the Diaspora with the rudiments of an Africancentric approach to mission formation and self-actualization consistent with our group need for political sovereignty and economic independence. (viii) Twenty-first century African scholars will be compelled to choose between two mutually exclusive, antithetical worldviews and their attendant "paths" of development. One path leads to the intellectually subservient and dependent state of the Negro scholar, and the other leads to the sovereign state of the intellectual maroon.
Because it is fraught with psychic dangers stemming from deep psychological, emotional and intellectual challenges, we can safely predict that only fearless Black thinkers who are fervently-seeking African centered self-actualization will embark upon the pilgrimage to intellectual maroonage. And for those that do, the Kwame Ture Leadership Institute (www.ktli.org) is one of many fine rest stops along the way to this exalted state.
(i) See Price, R. (Ed.). (1976). Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press and Campbell, M. (1990). The Maroons of Jamaica: 1655-1796. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press for in-depth discussions of the Maroon presence and the growth of African freedom in colonial American societies.
(ii) Caucasians (aka Aryans) are Europeans and Arabs. Over the past 1,000 years, they have repeatedly invaded, conquered, colonized, and now control African lands and minds.
(iii) It is important to note that M. Sutherland's (1993) concept of "The Authentic Stuggler," A. Wilson's (1999) notion of "The True Nationalist," and A. Hilliard's (2002) Amharic-based Jegna are identical in all major respects to Jehewety's intellectual maroon.
(iv) See my essays "Decolonizing the African Mind: Further Analysis" and "Strategy and Dwt: A Tool for Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery" at www.nbufront.org for concise overviews of these topics.
(v) See N. Akbar. (1998). Know Thyself. Tallahassee, FL: Mind Productions, Chapter 5 for a concise summary of Banks' DRC Theory.
(vi) See Karenga, M. (2006). Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics. Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press, pp. 239-240 for a succinct discussion of the role of the geru maa in ancient Egyptian moral thought.
(vii) The leaders of the 1st, 12th ,18th and 25th dynasties are known to have successfully launched whm msw. See Carruthers, J. (1995). Mdw Ntr: Divine Speech, London: Karnak House, pp. 57-58, Hilliard, A. (1997). SBA: The ReAwakening of the African Mind. Gainvesville, FL: Makare Publishing, Chapter 1, and Nobles, W. (2006) Seeking the Sakhu: Foundational Writings for an African Psychology. Chicago: Third World Press, p. 26.
(viii) Dr. Chancellor Williams devotes the 25th Chapter of The Destruction of Black Civilization to the "specifics of a Master Plan" to unite and empower the African World. These 21 pages constitute the beginning point for all discussions regarding 21st century African liberation theory.
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Uhuru Hotep, Ed.D.
Kwame Ture Leadership Institute
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|Publication:||Journal of Pan African Studies|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2008|
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