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On my journey now: the narrative and works of Dr. John Henrik Clarke, the knowledge revolutionary.

The Knowledge Revolutionary: Chapter 4

I've been teaching most of my life, one way or the other, from stepladders on Lennox Avenue, Seventh Avenue, to several colleges. When I began teaching fully, within the academic community around 1967, I had conducted courses at New York University for Head Start teachers before then. I was working on what they call soft money or government grant money. That means when the government grant is over, the job is over. You might work nine months, then three the next year, depending on the funding. For five years I was the trainer of teachers at the anti-poverty program in Harlem, at the section called the Community Action Institute.

I entered the academic community as a full time teacher in 1967, when I went to Hunter College. Concurrent with being in Hunter College, I was at Cornell University for two years. I stopped a year, and went back for another year. I've been teaching with some consistency most of my adult life.

I have lectured in London, Baghdad, Egypt, a lot of places. I've written one book and compiled a book on my London lectures with Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan, we call him Dr. Ben, which is still going well. This was done several years ago. The main unbroken streak of my teaching was at Hunter College, as one of the developers of the Department of African and Puerto Rican Studies. I taught in that department for most of the twenty years I was there. I was Chairman for three years.

One of the things that bothered me about being Chairman, it was an administrative job that took me out of the classroom most of the time. I still taught one course while I was Chairman, but I did not have the privilege of teaching the three courses, and confronting three sets of students at least twice a week.

I taught mostly Afrikan and Afrikan American history. I've taught courses on Afrikans in the Mediterranean world. I've taught courses on men and movements in the black urban ghetto, and courses on slavery. Afrikan American history courses 1 and 2, and Afrikan history 1 and 2., I taught all the time, and I always added one new course, a different course, every other semester.

When I would teach "Men and Movements in the Black Urban Ghetto," I would teach that in the Spring. I would not teach it again until the next Spring. I would not teach these alternate courses twice in one year.

I have never been satisfied with any of the textbooks, any of them. Not even one. I was satisfied with some of the basic improvements on their way to becoming an honest textbook, but I've never been thoroughly satisfied with any of them. They're not only unfair to the history of the Afrikans in the United States, they're unfair to the indigenous Americans. They're unfair to the fact that every person that came to America from Europe wasn't seeking any haven, or running from religious persecution. A lot of people came from Europe because there were no jobs and no way of life commensurate with their needs.

There were poor Irish, poor Slavic people, and poor people from other parts of Europe. Some of them had to indenture themselves to get their passes. They couldn't pay for their passes, so they indentured themselves to the sea captain who let them come over. The sea captain in turn literally sold their labor to a farmer, or some other person. They had to work for seven to ten years to pay back the initial cost of getting them here. That's at least part of the origin of white slavery in the United States. Lerone Bennett has written about it with more searching accuracy than most. Other writers have ignored it altogether.

This goes back to what Schomburg said in his own words, "Study the history of your masters. Study the people who took you out of history, then you might find out why they had to do it. Why they felt called on to remove you and an entire people from the respectful commentary of history."

We must understand the Europeans' intentions toward Afrika. Their intentions toward the non-European world has been to control. The idea of bringing enlightenment, the idea of civilizing, was really a cover up to disguise the fact that their main intent was to control. This is just as true in Asia as it was in Afrika. There wasn't enough manpower in Europe to hold down all Asia, all Afrika, or the islands in the Pacific.

The European really effected a massive propaganda machine and its greatest achievement was the conquest not of the body, but the conquest of the mind. The conquest of the mind through the use and misuse of the Bible. Through getting across to a lot of people, rather naive in the subject, that God ordained them to rule. They know how to rule. Therefore, when they declared war on the cultures, the art, the civilization of a people, because the people's lack of ability to deal with this rationale, they fell into this trap, and subsequently lost their freedom.

It's important to learn about the various European dynasties, only to the extent of how they affected us. Learn especially about those that reigned at the time the European began to expand beyond its shores and began to interfere with our way of life. Learn that first. In general, it would do no harm to learn about the rest, because you would see how Europe relates to the whole world. When you see how Europe relates to the whole world, you will have an inkling of how you relate to the whole world.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, after the Crusades, Europe fell on hard times. Famines and plagues had taken about one third of the population of Europe. Finally, they discovered longitude and latitude again, and began to put ships at sea again. They had lost sentimental attachment to other people. They had lost some sentimental attachment to themselves. Europe was land poor, people poor, and resource poor. Without sentiment, it began to expand, using their ships to take the resources, the land, and the energies of other people. They had no compunction, no mercy, and no hesitation. It used the church to justify, or rationalize this in 1455, settling an argument between Spain and Portugal. The Pope said to them, "You take the West. You take the East. You two good Catholic nations stop fighting among yourself." Then he added, "You're both authorized to reduce to servitude all infidel people."

In order to rationalize slavery, all you had to do is just to say that certain people were not Christian. That they were infidels, and they did not even use a knife or fork. That rationale would justify European expansion for the next three to four hundred years. The fact that if you are not a Christian, by their definition, you had no soul, and therefore, an assault on you was an assault on an object without a soul. They needed not to feel guilty for having done so.

At first, color was not an issue, but later on color became a major factor. There were other people in the world, other colored people who were not enslaved quite the same way as us. They came under European domination, but they did not inflict chattel slavery on these other people.

Afrika was exposed, because the Afrikan believed that they did not need any support, any protection from the outside. That was their mistake, because no European had to fight their way into Afrika. They came as guests, and stayed as conquerors. The Afrikan hasn't fully awakened to this day as to what happened to them.

The so-called curse in the Bible played a major role. To some extent, it still plays a role. The curse was a drug in the Bible, later on during the Babylonian period. It was not originally in there. This so-called curse not only labeled Afrikans infidels, but that they were descendants of Ham, who supposedly committed some crime against Noah. Even the church got the whole thing wrong. This curse was not placed on Ham, but on Ham's children. They use that same thing to mean all black people.

There's some confusion going around related to the term "Asiatic Blackman." Afrikans did relate to Asians. Some Asians have been our friends, and some have been our enemies. Some are still our friends. Some are still our enemies. People cannot classify us to ourselves, by dragging someone else into it. It's like some blacks today that have to say that they're black and Puerto Rican. Or they're black and Hispanic brothers. When the Hispanic speaks, he rarely says our Hispanic and black brothers. We are rather naive. Many times we're so democratic to other people, and undemocratic to ourselves.

Ali Mazrui, the Arabian Afrikan historian, argues that the Arabian peninsula should be part of Afrika, or something to that extent. I don't know where he intends to go with it, because Ali Mazrui's an Arab propagandist of the highest order. Though he's partly black, he's really not pro black. He's an apologist for Islam. Of course, there's a book on it called, When Egypt Ruled the East. The Arabian peninsula was really northeast Afrika. While I go along with this, I wonder what does he intend to do with it? It seems he's making a rationale for the Arabs grabbing more land.

The Arab nation evolved out of the human mixtures and migrations into the Arabian peninsula. They migrated into an area that had formerly been Afrikan dominated. They drove out the Afrikans in many ways. I refer you again to When Egypt Ruled the East, a book published by the University of Chicago Press. It's in Phoenix paperback. The author is Keith Seeley, he's dead now. He also covered up Afrikan history. He found many things that proved that the original civilization of Egypt started in the South, but he covered it up until one of his students opened up his files, after he was dead, and wrote an article called, "The Lost Pharaohs of Nubia." That was Bruce Williams, the archaeologist.

When someone approaches me and tells me that Islam is the black man's religion, in the first place, he's telling me he's a liar, a fraud, and a coward. How can it be a black man's religion when it started in the seventh century A. D. Black people had religions long before then. Some blacks have tried to project Islam into areas before Islam existed. They're being fools and dupes, Arabized. They can't distinguish the difference between Arabism, and Islam. If it's the black man's religion, then why is the black man being enslaved by the followers of that religion. Why are they so silent about it?

They say that Arabic is the black man's language. It's another silly lie. They're a bunch of cop outs. They're trying to avoid a commitment to black people. All this nonsense about the Asiatic black man, what are they talking about? Asiatic black man? There are dark skinned people in Asia of Afrikan extraction. There are dark skinned people in Asia, not of Afrikan extraction. When you say the Asiatic black man, who are you talking about?

Why don't they deal with the Arab slave trade of Afrikans? The genesis of Arab slavery against Afrikans was the Arab looking for labor. Looking for people to exploit. Looking for women to cavort with so he could create a mixture of a bastardized Afrikan and Arab people. He could use them to move inland and start the East Afrikan slave trade. That wasn't started until he had produced this mixed generation.

The Arabs, on sight, were forbidden to move into the hinterlands of Afrika. He moved down the coast of Afrika cohabiting with Afrikan women. After a generation or so, he had produced an Afrikan-looking Arab. These Afrikan-looking Arabs facilitated the spread of the East Afrikan slave trade.

They even created their own language for trade. Let's end some confusion here and put the language of Kiswahili aside for the moment, then we can give an explanation. The language, Swahili, is not a language at all. It's a lingua franca. It's a mixture of several languages. It was a trader's language. You can create a language with the bits and pieces of several languages. You could be understood by several types of people who spoke several different languages.

When you say Kiswahili, that means the Swahili that was spoken before its Arab intermixture. This is spoken in parts of the Congo, even right now, along with Lingala. Kiswahili really is pure Swahili. Swahili is that mixed with Arabic terms.

When we look at different slave systems, as we do the languages, I'm aware of the system of indentured servitude, when the Afrikan who loses a war, or is caught in between a war, or is weak, had to serve so many years of servitude in order to gain his/her freedom. I'm aware of the slavery of the Afrikans who were in the military in the Mediterranean. When the Arabs lost power, in 1492, the Arabs turned on the very Afrikan who had assisted him in power, and began to sell those Afrikans into slavery. These were the first Afrikans to come to the New World.

This accounts for the fact that many of the early Afrikans in the New World had great skill, skill in iron, skill in boat mending. They were practicing these professions before they got here. After 1492, the opening up of the plantation system, and the call for more labor to replace the Indians [indigenous Americans]--they were disappearing because of murder, suicide, neglect, and other forms of European encroachment. The Afrikan would replace him as a labor force. A lot of them died too, but the difference here is that you had replacements for the Afrikans. There were no replacements for the indigenous Americans.

In the Caribbeans, it was about the same, but the main thing about the Caribbeans and South America is that the slave buyers generally bought in large lots, and kept the lots together. They thought they could work them better that way, and they were right. They had miscalculated it, because they could also revolt better that way. Keeping Afrikans from the same lot together, they could keep an Afrikan culture continuity. They had a similarity of language and loyalty.

In the United States, they bought Afrikans like a brokerage. They might buy ten slaves early in the week, and sell five at the end of the week. Therefore, mother goes one way, cousin goes another way. When you're breaking up the family, you break up a cohesive group. You're breaking up the loyalty system. The new people that you met, not of your group, your color, not of your kith and kin, not of your customs, it takes you a while to manifest a loyalty system, or even learn to trust them.

The Caribbeans did not have to go through all of this quite the same way. Sometimes not at all. I visited Cuba in the early 1960s, and there were still Afrikans in the Sierra Maestra who had not gone to Havana.

Havana was maybe two and a half hours away by a fast moving train. Yet, they were obviously Yorubas. They still spoke Yoruba. They still ate Yoruba type food and engaged in Yoruba type ceremonies. They had not been broken up and resold, to the point where someone could still remember the people who came over on the same boat as they came over on, or their descendants. No such thing happened in the United States. The United States was rather ruthless. They were uncaring in selling a child from the mother or the father from the family.

The United States practiced chattel slavery. Chattel means that you are a slave, a piece of property, and you're owned to the end of your days. Indentured servitude means that you serve so many years, then you are basically free.

All of the slave revolts in the United States were partially successful. In the final analysis, they were put down or frustrated. There's a law in the military; if you don't control the line of supply, you're going to eventually lose, no matter how much you win within a given area. You can be surrounded, and people can keep out ammunition. Keep out the resupply. In the Caribbean islands, the slaves controlled the line of supply. Therefore, they could be resupplied, you know, shoes, guns and food.

In the United States, they could block off these lines of supply and limit the revolt. Subsequently, limit the success of the revolt. There were several slave revolts. Of the 250 that's on record, there were several massive slave revolts that were rather successful: Gabriel Prosser in the Carolinas; Denmark Vesey in Virginia; Nat Turner in Virginia.

When we look at that 19th century, we must understand that not only in the United States, but throughout the whole of the Afrikan world, the 19th century was the golden age of Afrikan resistance and protest. The golden age throughout the world, the United States, the Caribbean Islands, and in Afrika itself. The European had realized that the system of chattel slavery had become unwieldy, and was giving way to a more sophisticated form of slavery, that will be called colonialism.

England, who had the strongest navy, and for other reasons, such as strong resistance from the abolitionists, outlawed the slave trade--the transporting of slaves from Afrika. The movement by sea, the trafficking at sea was over. Plantation owners, while still keeping the slaves that they already had, adjusted. Besides, at this point, everybody who wanted a slave had one. They could breed slaves other than to bring them all the way from Afrika. They would breed slaves just like they would breed cattle and dogs. There were slave breeding farms. Women could free themselves on some plantations after having maybe ten babies. That represented a large profit for the plantation owner.

That had a major effect, because it introduced into the Afrikan family the element of the stranger, as father. The absentee father. That was basically unknown in the Afrikan family. It was a crime against the concept of the family, the structure of the family. We pay for that crime even today. We haven't escaped the effects of it, and we still feel the effects of it. The family, we tried to put it back together, after 1865. We did a commendable job, but it was almost impossible to do a better job, given the circumstances.

Many Afrikans, after emancipation, lacking land, went back and worked for the same land-owner they were working for when they were slaves. They worked as sharecroppers and as tenant farmers. Many of them tried to establish several black communities. Some were quite successful. They began to develop independent black institutions such as the Afrikan Lodge, or the first black Masonic order. They had churches, fraternal organizations and sororities. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Black folks built one of the most successful independent black towns in America, until the Ku Klux Klan burned it down. The building of independent black institutions was an event that we often forget.

During this period, in the 19th century, the first cadre of educated women in New England, white women, were coming out of college. The New England man, who was a good craftsman, good worker, was not accustomed to educated women in their homes. They didn't know what to do with them. Didn't know whether to send her to the kitchen, bed, or to the church.

Many of these New England women began to gravitate toward the South, to teach in the newly opened schools for blacks. They were called New England school moms. After a generation, some of them married southerners, and become southerners. They adopted a southern attitude. Some of them, in their later years, went back home to die in New England. It was a period, an interim period, when they gave our school system a kind of faculty that otherwise we would not have had. We had not had time to educate a large number of black women.

They also created a dilemma, and a detriment. They gave a lot of black youth New England finishing school training. How to set a table for a banquet. A lot of these kids didn't even have enough forks. When you set a table for a banquet, you gotta have a salad fork. Sometimes you have to use three different forks for one place setting. In their own homes, they didn't even have enough forks to go around. Black kids began to develop some aspirations of social mobility that were unreal. Under the sororities and fraternities, they became kind of snob clubs.

After emancipation, there was a government agency called the Freedmen's Bureau. It was set up to supposedly establish freed slaves in society. To some extent, it did. It helped to establish banks and some lending institutions. Some early black landlords could get loans from the Freedmen's. The Freedmen's Bureau was administrative. The Freedmen's Bank was financial. It was a stop gap help in the period after slavery.

After 1884, 1885, in the horse trading between the Democrats and the Republicans, blacks were sold out. The Republicans agreed to withdraw the troops from the South, and let the South handle what they called the Negro problem in a manner of its own choosing. This freed the South of its responsibility for resettling the former slaves. It opened the door for the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the Knights of the White Camellia, and other racist organizations. It betrayed the promise of democracy in this country. This period is best explained in a book by Rayford Logan called, The Betrayal of the Negro.

Later in this period, there were two great individuals, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, who had a difference of opinion on educational strategy and educational methodology. We have made this into a fight in our minds, and it wasn't a fight, because DuBois and Washington compiled two books together on education. They couldn't have hated each other. DuBois was scheduled to go teach at Tuskegee. It just so happened that the letter from Wilberforce arrived earlier and made him an offer. Wilberforce was offering him $900 a year. Tuskegee was offering him $950. DuBois felt obligated to go to Wilberforce, because Wilberforce had answered the letter of application for employment ahead of Tuskegee, who was late in getting the letter out. Tuskegee was going to hire DuBois, and this was before the Washington period was over. Washington was still alive at the time, so that means that these two men were not at each others' throat, to the point where DuBois couldn't have taught at Tuskegee. The real enemy of Booker T. Washington was not W. E. B. DuBois, but William Monroe Trotter of the Boston Guardian.

Trotter thought we needed an alternative, an option, and that no people should rely on any one man to make all the opinions relating to their destiny, or their children. He was basically right, of course, but a lot of people were going with Washington. Washington was getting the money from the whites after his famous Atlanta cotton expedition speech. Washington was declared, by white editorial writers, to be the leader of black America. He would be so powerful that if a black person wanted a streetcar to conduct his job in Cincinnati, then whites would want to know if it was alright with Booker. So Booker T. Washington, while he was a dictator of black America, and sometimes ruthless, he was a dictator that dictated some good, as well as some bad.

If he was an Uncle Tom, he was a strategic Uncle Tom. He might have scratched his head, when nothing itched. He might have done a shuffle, and probably did. He might have said yes, when he didn't mean yes. But he said it strategically, so another generation could come forth after him, and say "hell no." This is where we miss the point. When it came our time to say hell no, some of us tommed more than he did, and we got nothing for it. We have to remember now, for his strategic tomming, he got a school built, and the school is still there. For our tomming, we don't even have the memory of nothing, not even the sandwich, or the double scotch we got.

I think we've misinterpreted DuBois' concept of the "talented tenth." DuBois did not rule out all of the things that Booker T. Washington said we should do. He said that if we have a talented tenth, then that talented tenth should be responsible for setting the rules for making the institutions, and for negotiating with the opposition. DuBois discovered that the talented tenth had no talent, except to imitate white people and run from black people.

This is why we have to be careful who writes our history. People are still going around thinking Washington and DuBois were bitter enemies. Very few people sit down and read the literature or analyze who wrote it, and for what reason. People got degrees about a people without reading a single book about that people. One cocktail, you got your minor degree. Two cocktails, you got a major degree. Three cocktails, you got a Ph.D. Let's dispense with the gossip, and look at the documents. When we look at the documents, what they're saying about DuBois and Washington is not true.

Now, there were some problems between Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. DuBois, a terrible envy. DuBois could not bring himself to believe that this Jamaican, with barely a high school education, could bring off a scheme as big as returning thousands of people to Afrika, building ships, building industries, asking the question, "Where is the black man's captain of affairs? Where is the black man's ships? Where is the black man's men of great affairs?" He said, "Because I did not see them, I decided to build them." Which also proved that Garvey wasn't too clear about the upward mobility of blacks before he got here. He wasn't too clear about the black entrepreneurship before he got here.

Blacks had built buildings. Blacks owned ship repair shops in Newport News, Virginia. Blacks owned a lot of things. Blacks owned barbershops throughout the South, catering mainly to whites. Blacks had built one of the largest chain of churches of any people for a given space of time in human history. Blacks owned a lot of institutional buildings, large buildings, fraternity and sorority buildings.

Blacks did not wait in darkness for Marcus Garvey to bring the light. Marcus Garvey did bring a stimulant at a critical time, after World War I, when the Secretary of War told the black soldiers that "your lot will not appreciably change because of your participation in this war."

Garvey went to Chicago at a time when blacks were being assaulted, and rallied them, telling them all the time, "You see, they don't want you here. Let's get ready to go back to Afrika." Well, when you're being assaulted on every side, and you just came out of a war--some black soldiers were literally being killed in their uniforms. Garvey was something to listen to, under that pressure. When you're drowning, someone throws you a rope, you're not going to debate the morality of the person who throws you the rope. Later, but not then. You've got to get out of the water.

The bulk of Garvey's organization was from his mind. People around him assisted him into this enterprise. Yet, the Garvey Movement, administratively, was a Caribbean clan or cult. The membership was basically Afrikan American, and the money came mainly from Afrikan Americans. The money that was lost on the ships, was lost by Afrikan Americans. We had not discovered the money order or the check. We just put money in an envelope and sent it straight to Mr. Garvey.

A lot of that money was stolen right there in the office. It wasn't stolen by black Americans. Black Americans weren't that high in the administration of the Garvey Movement. Not even as minor clerks. There's an FBI report on all of this. The FBI report on black radical organizations in the United States. None of this are things that can't be proven.

The charges against Garvey were not true. The charges were true of his organization, but not of Garvey, personally. Garvey had to take responsibility because he was the head of the organization and should have known.

Garvey was internationally influential, because he was saying something people wanted to hear, and people needed to hear for stimulation. He was so effective, one chief in South Afrika started planting extra crops to welcome and feed the blacks who were going to return. That's his real effectiveness. Garvey's message came at a critical time in our history when we were looking for a messenger of this kind.

Garvey did not thoroughly understand the blacks in the United States, and many Caribbean people today have no real understanding of what the black in the United States have endured, and what achievement they have made, under so many great odds.

If the Garvey Movement had been successful, there would have been a transformation of Afrika. An Afrikan independence explosion would have happened, at least two generations before it did happen.

The Garvey Movement was also the political stimulant of the Harlem Renaissance, right in the midst of it. It was a literary renaissance, but the political stimulant of that renaissance was the Garvey Movement. I've written an article called "The Neglected Dimensions of the Harlem Renaissance," dealing with the impact of Garvey on the Harlem Renaissance.

The genesis of the Harlem Renaissance origin was really not Harlem, or black. The genesis of its origin was that a community had finally became black. There were a lot of unemployed college blacks who used that community as a home and haven. A lot of socially inclined whites, after World War I, began to patronize blacks as partially social equals. They began to furnish money for certain black artists and writers. They were sponsoring them to do their work.

A whole lot of gullible, well-educated, very articulate blacks began to tell great stories of what they could do, and what they needed to write, if only they had the funds. A lot of gullible whites supported them. Many of these blacks weren't going to write anything, not even a decent letter. They were social parasites, but not an obnoxious type. They were survivors.

They went to these parties and balanced a cocktail with the best of them. They spoke of Marcel Proust and Ludwig van Beethoven as though it was a regular menu. They spoke of European cultural figures as though they'd never tasted neck bones, hog maws and pig tails; all the regular fare of the black community. I think they made a contribution, a social contribution, though they were parasites. There were other writers who would have written just as well, even if there had never been anything called the Harlem Renaissance.

The Harlem Renaissance, the period of literary flourishing, would still have occurred, but not quite with the same flair. It still would have occurred, because when you see a great number of intellects meeting and bumping their heads together, talking and exchanging, trying to outdo each other, somebody's going to sit down and produce some literature. That was going to occur without white sponsorship. With white sponsorship, more of them got their books written, because whites said, "they can write a book."

I would say the most important figures to come out of that period were Langston Hughes and Countee Culleen. A little known novelist now, Wallace Thurman, who wrote Entrance of Spring and Blacker the Berry, was also a fine editor. He worked on some of the leading white publications. One of the significant critics was Alain Locke. James Weldon Johnson was important. There were social critics, Kelly Miller, DuBois, and the like.

What killed what is known as the Harlem Renaissance, which many black artists called the Black Renaissance, was the coming of the Depression. Many of the white sponsors had to withdraw their sponsorship. They could no longer come to Harlem looking for what they called the "Noble Savage," or the "Exotic Negro." The community was thrown on its own. Its own resources.

I think a Claude McKay would have done just as well without it, because there's fairly little that the Renaissance did for Claude. He would stand up to whites. He wouldn't have lowered himself to accept their money anyway.

There were some black writers, during that time, who were writing just to placate white folks. There was a thread of that going on. I don't know how common it was. I don't think they were any bigger literary prostitutes than some of those we've got today. We've got some today who can outdo them. Who can make them feel like little schoolboys in comparison. They write about things they want white people to hear. Things black men did to black women; desertion, and other things. Some of them write about lesbianism.

The majority of the literary prostitution among black writers today is dominated by women, probably because they seem to be the majority in the publishing business. I think many of our writers are not thinking clearly about the positions they take in their writing, or who have become completely blinded by financial figures that for them supercede any moral standards.

Dr. Ben and I have had this long standing discussion on which dynasty has been the most significant. The debate is based on, from my point of view, the strength of rulership in the 18th Dynasty, with two great women: Neferteri and Hatshepsut, along with the great religious reformer, Akhnaton, and the great military genius, the brother of Hatshepsut, Thutmose III. When we come down to the end of that dynasty, we have a teenager who accomplished absolutely nothing, except that he married well. Tutankhamen was known as King Tut. In responsibility, it was probably one of the most responsible dynasties to sit on any throne, at any time in human history. Their major accomplishments were stability, great building, and the spread of a strengthening spirituality, as against a religion.

When we look at Dr. Ben's side, the Rameses, their greatest strengths were consolidation of the previous gains and protection from a future Asian invasion. Both were dynasties of great achievements. The 19th dynasty was dominated by the Rameses. Rameses II was the greatest of the ones who bore that name. He built so many statues of himself that he's called Egypt's supreme egomaniac. That's not against him. His marriage to Neferteri, from the South, and his building her a temple equal to his own, represent one of the world's magnificent works. He provided massive building, massive sculpturing, and consolidation of the previous gains. It's a toss-up, really.

I happen to favor the 18th, because I'm a little partial to women in power. I was never of the school to separate women from anything that is theirs by right. This dynasty let them go as far as their minds would take them. Out of this dynasty came Akhnaton's mother, the great Queen Tiye, who differed with him on the monotheistic religion, but who told his enemies, and this gives her the role of one of the finest mothers in history, "He is blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh. If you try to harm him, even one hair of his head, I will pull down all the might I can muster down upon you. I still differ with him over this religion. I think he's taking Egypt too far, too fast." Now that's a beautiful qualification. That's his mother. "Being his mother that's one thing, as a person belonging to the old religion, I decry the new religion. That's a separate thing. But he's still blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh."

Opponents of the Afrikaness of the Nile Valley claim that blacks in the U.S. have no claim to that era, because the culture, as they say, did not spread. It did spread. It spread to India. The whole concept of the sacred cow thing was part of the religion of Hathor, sometimes called Hathoru. It did spread, and we need to be concerned. When you look at Egypt and the Nile Valley, the Nile river stretches 4,000 miles into the body of Afrika. There's no way possible, even if the Egyptians were white, there is no way possible they could have built that civilization without other parts of Afrika playing a role in it.

One of the main reasons whites want to claim it, they want to say that our mind did not have the capacity to build anything that massive and that strong. We're saying that you are a liar, and here is the proof. Deal with that. When you read Cheikh Anta Diop's The Cultural Unity of Black Afrika, I think his proof is quite substantial. The Yorubas claim their origin is in the Nile Valley, and even among the Wolofs. Both groups were transported heavily during the slave trade. Their descendants are right here, among us today.

We need to look at, what is terribly neglected, is when foreigners hit Egypt, the original Egyptians did not leave Afrika. They moved further down into the physical body of Afrika. They broke with some of their original customs, and amalgamated these customs with local customs. If you study the customs of the people of the South, to the customs of the ancient Egyptians, you find many similarities.

Read Father Temple's work, The Bantu Philosophy. He said, "If you want to find out how the ancient Egyptians lived and what they thought, study the Bantu." "Bantu" is a word misunderstood by some Englishmen who heard it. There's no such thing as a Bantu, but he was saying study the indigenous people of Afrika called Bantu. Cheikh Anta Diop has done the best work on the similarities in The Cultural Unity of Black Afrika.

This gets into the area confusion in terminology. A lot of this was created by the European, naming things he had no business naming. Some of it has to do with time periods. For instance, one territory may have different names, but the same territory was one and the same. What was Kush became part of what was Nubia. What was Nubia was once part of what is now Ethiopia. There's no contradiction, depending on what time and circumstances you are referring to. It comes down to slight variations with the same geographical area. Kush was mainly in the northern Sudan. Nubia was in the northern Sudan, stretching to the South.

We have to look at West Afrika very particularly, because the original slaves from Afrika came from there. We have to remember the Portuguese slave trade in East Afrika and the Congo. After they were driven out of West Afrika, they had to move their slave trading down, to what is now Angola. They subsequently moved around to East Afrika, and collaborated with the Arab slave trade moving from the North.

Parts of central Afrika held out against the Portuguese until the Berlin Conference, in 1884 and 1885, and built separate and distinct civilizations after the Portuguese entry. They expelled the Portuguese, and not only destroyed the Portuguese churches, but even threw Portuguese cooking utensils in the sea and still went on to build a great civilization in a place called Luanda.

Referring back to the Berlin Conference, European colonialism was in Afrika before the conference, but a good two thirds of Afrika was not under European control. After the Berlin Conference, nearly all of Afrika was under European control, one way or the other. European nations carved up Afrika like slicing a pie.

After colonialism, during the period of independence in Afrika, political anyway, the Organization of Afrikan Unity was formed. People like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Sekou Toure of Guinea, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, and others, worked toward a unified Afrika. This organization had its origin in the Pan Afrikan Congress in Manchester, England, in 1945. The ideas of Afrikan unity, Afrikan solidarity came out of this conference. It came mainly from the mind of George Padmore, a Trinidadian, who was advisor to Nkrumah. George Padmore is probably one of the most underrated men in the Afrikan freedom movement. The goal of the organization is defined literally, an Afrikan United States, so that Afrikans could protect themselves from the outside. The Arabs, who really have no Afrikan loyalty, saw fit to destroy the effectiveness of this organization.

Joseph Mobutu, head of the Congo, was instrumental in trying to destroy this organization. He's just one of the villains in the piece, and probably one of the most ignorant of the villains in the piece on what has happened.

There were master planners, including some white planners, who systematically planned the disruption of Afrikan nations. When the European colonial powers discovered that they couldn't rule Afrika and easily get its resources, they began to disrupt it. Subsequently, the resources fell into their hands through weakness and the assistance of people like Mobutu.

Though Nelson Mandela is free and President of South Afrika, the policies and sentiment of apartheid are still very much alive. Even if he developed a coalition government, the whites who control the mines and the finances are still going to rule that country. Mandela came into power with whites owning 87% of the land. They still own 87% of the land. Mandela probably doesn't even control his own chauffeur.

Land is essential to a nation's growth. As central an issue as it was in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Land is the basis of nation. If you don't solve the land problem, you might as well not solve any other problem. They are attempting to deal with it. The whites still control large areas of Zimbabwe. One man, Ian Smith, owned land almost equivalent to the geographical size of Delaware, one single human being.

As far as the future of Afrika, politically, it's going to have to get itself together, face reality, and stop imitating Europe. Europe did not plan Afrika and cannot plan Afrikan unity. Europe has no vested interest in Afrikan unity.

Economically, Afrika is going to have to start producing some of the things that they wear. Some of the things they eat. They're going to have to train Afrikans to be in charge of the mines. Be in charge of distribution. Afrikan sea captains must market the goods and services of Afrika to the world. In other words, the total framework of nations have to come together. Landlocked Afrikan nations will have to, through an association with coastal nations, work out some outlet to the sea.

I think things will come about. I don't know what choice the Afrikans have except to bring it about. I just don't believe an entire continent of people are going to concede the fact that colonialists outsiders and Europeans should rule them forever.

In the Unites States, the past Afrikan consciousness goes further than the seemingly resurgence of today. It goes back to Prince Hall and the Afrikan Lodge; William Wells Brown, who didn't vote; Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner; David Walker and his famous 'Appeal'. All of this was a form of Afrikan consciousness, calling for Afrikan redemption, and subsequently, a return to Afrika. Sometimes this was more than just in the physical sense. Bishop H.M. Turner, near the end of the century, was effective in taking more people back to Afrika than Marcus Garvey. He's unfortunately forgotten.

The consciousness of today is making its mark, in its stubborn raggedy way, without the support it should have. I don't see it giving up. It's part of a spirit, a new spirit. It's a long time coming. Now that it's here, I think it's not going to easily go away.

Looking back on my life from a teenager to eighty years old, probably the greatest feat I am proud of is, I've kept my promise. I have not betrayed the people or betrayed my words. When I honestly thought that I was wrong, I wasn't ashamed to correct myself. I've turned down all kinds of prizes and awards and boldly say that no one has bought my services at any price that was offered. I'm free enough to say that when everything is known about me, nothing will be known that will prove that I was ever, at any time, the enemy of my own people.

People have asked me if I felt our total liberation is hopeless. No, not really. I find situations frustrating, aggravating and unnecessarily complicated. I never once thought it was hopeless. There were times I did not see the pieces that were missing, the obstruction, the lack of understanding, the lack of commitment among large numbers of my own people. Maybe it's because I expected too much of them, because I expect too much of myself.

Our biggest obstacles are, other than European oppression, we have not made the best use of our opportunities. We have not studied our enemies well enough to know that they're weaker than anything we ever thought they were. Victory over them is not so difficult if we came together and really believed it.

If I started fantasizing, snapped my fingers and a hundred billion dollars suddenly became available, I would begin strategic planning. The first thing I would revolutionize, or try to revolutionize, are systems of education. I would be bold about propaganda. I would use it to the hilt. I would not mislead people by telling a lie. I would let them know that they have the same strength as other people, and sometimes more. History will not be a part time thing, but every day. I would not just train the youngsters, I would train the parents. What to do with them. What to do with all that restlessness once they find out.

The bulk of the money would be devoted to education, information, and clarification of the areas of confusion. I doubt if I'd buy a shoe string for myself, because to those who've been given a lot, a lot is expected. I will fulfill those expectations in relationship to others and still live on my own resources.

As far as history healing our families and relationships, I don't know too many who have, or too many who are getting along together. I know that my biological mother and my biological father got along better than any two people I know of. My mother, who was wiser than my father, respected him. She rarely lifted her voice above a whisper. She made suggestions to him of what to do and how to solve problems. Once he solved them, she congratulated him for having such great ideas that was hers in the first place. She never impinged on his manhood. She always made him feel good as a man, as a human being, a father, a provider, and as the authority figure in our home. For this, among many things, she will always be dear to me.

The Knowledge Revolutionary: Chapter 5

Afrikan women were the first women in the world to emerge in history, because the society was structured so they could. Afrikan women were the first women to rise to the head of armies. The first women to head a state, and the first women to become gods. The first clear figures in Afrikan history came out of the 18th dynasty. Hatshepsut, who took over after her father became ill, threw her brother Thutmose out of the lineage, and almost Amos-Neferteri. Within the Candace queens of Ethiopia, one faced down Octavius, who became Caesar Augusta.

Afrikan queens became deities. Nefertiti, is not to be confused with Neferteri. Neferteri became the wife of Rameses II, whose temple is side by side with his. Makeda, sometimes known as Belkis, better known as the Queen of Sheba, ruled an area which is now Ethiopia.

Afrikan women have also been prominent in the resistance movement to foreigners. Notable is Nzinga of Matamba, that later became Angola. She fought the Portuguese 51 of her 83 years, and really stayed the slave trade along that coast for a half a century. Then we come down to the period of Shaka's mother. The last leader of the Ashanti wars, in Ghana, was a woman named Yaa Asantewa, Queen Mother of Ejisu. I've done a series of articles for Essence called, "The Black Woman as a Figure in World History." I can dig that up quickly.

Some of the women had great warrior traditions. This continued with Amina of Zaria. She's not only a great warrior, but she built a protective wall around Zaria that still stands. Its called the Zaria Wall, to protect the city from its enemies. While she was of the Mulism faith, she rose to be head of state. Women don't generally rise high in a Muslim state, if it's Arab-oriented. Most people can't distinguish between Arab Islam, and Afrikan Islam.

In Europe, there was Queen Charlotte Sophia, the German-born consort of the English King George III, and great great grandmother of George VI, to name one. Look in J. A. Rogers' Worlds Great Men of Color, you'll find her. You'll also find a picture of her. That's in volume two. I think there's something on great women in Europe. There's Mary Seacole, a nurse. She was a forerunner of Florence Nightingale. She was from Jamaica and distinguished herself in the Crimean War. There are many others.

In the Americas, I would mention the early women in the antislavery movement: Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. I'll mention one, Elaine Wilkins Harper, who behind the scenes assisted in the building of the early independent black institutions, such as the church. There were black women in entertainment like Sister Retta Jones. The most famous white woman of that day was Angelina Patty. Sister Retta Jones was called the "Black Patty." This was during the late 19th century. Look in the book called Black Women Builders. I think Carter G. Woodson's organization published it.

In West Afrika, when we talk about matrilinear, that means the lineage comes down through the female part. The female line. That doesn't mean they rule the society, but when it came their turn, nothing could be done to stop it. They generally stood in substitute for the king. In many cases, when there was not a king, they were the king-makers. This goes on right straight to today.

In West Afrika, women control the marketplace. Even in Islamic West Afrika. In East Afrika, it's different. The Arabs believe in a patriarchal society. The men rule. But in West Afrika, the concessions are controlled by women. Although they're headed by men, they're controlled by women. If you read Cheikh Anta Diop's The Cultural Unity of Black Afrika, it shows you the origin of this. It did not mean female dominance. This is where we get confused. We get into the western thing about female dominance. It meant female privilege to share in the rule. It also meant female responsibilities. This carries on right straight to today, right here, because behind the scenes, women still control many of our churches and most of our social organizations.

Afrikan women do not need a women's liberation movement in the sense of what it means here. Maybe for some other reasons, like circumcision. The adjustment needs to be made within the context of their society. It is a disaster to bring in an alien society that has no understanding of their indigenous customs. The same thing is true about those who live away from Afrika. The women's lib movement has nothing to do with what they're about, their needs or their adjustment. There was no wife beating in Afrika. There was no teenage pregnancy in Afrika, until recently. I mean, what you've got in Afrika now are importations. In the first place, if you hit a woman in Afrika, in the older period, you got to deal with fifty cousins and uncles. She was so tied with both sides of the family, you brought disgrace on both sides.

When women from Afrika come here and imitate the European women, they're under the impression that this is a form of liberation. This is a form of buying into a degenerate society. They don't know that they had something better than straightening their hair. There's nothing wrong with their hair in the first place.

In Ghana, President Nkrumah, during his administration, almost underestimated the power of the market women. They damn near ran him out of office. They put him in power. If they had come to his rescue, they could have kept him there too. The beginning of his downfall started when he pulled away from the people, especially the women. Several times, they could see him whenever they wanted to, at least one day a week. You could have open sessions without appointment. They could just wait their turn, come in and talk to him. He stopped doing that, and lost communication with the common people. They could have been his ears and his eyes out there on the street. They could have told him what was happening. Prices were being risen and their own goods were being priced out of the market. A whole lot of people were talking socialism, but stealing the state deaf, dumb and blind. These women, they got no respect. They could walk around, see what was going bad, and say, "Look Kwame, there are thieves around you. Get rid of the thieves." There wouldn't have been no sophisticated effort about it.

There have been traitors among Afrikan people as far back as getting on the boat, getting off the boat, and in the plantation system. In the Caribbean Islands, certain language groups were held together. You could identify a man just from the neighborhood he lived in. You could recognize what cultural group he belonged to just by the area he lived in. There was a kind of loyalty. This continued up until about the middle of the 19th century. Most of the slave revolts in the Caribbean Islands were planned by house servants. Most of the slave revolts in the United States were betrayed by house servants. In the U.S., the house servant had no loyalty to the field servant, while in the Caribbean Islands, the house servant had a connection to the field servant.

Some of the traitorous acts caused disastrous events in both the Caribbean and the U.S. Traitors to the race began to divide themselves based on color, and who's related to the master in the house, who has the European blood, etcetera.

There are super traitors today in the highest of positions. Traitors with horn rimmed glasses, sachet cases, living at split-levels in the suburbs. We've got them very sophisticated now. Their main goal is to look after themselves at the expense of others, no loyalty to the group. They're sitting at your best schools, giving them the illusion that they're better than the rest of us. Building their nest at the expense of the rest of us, while still pretending that they're part of us. In the final analysis, they know they've got no place to go, except among us.

The Columbus myth is really a Western myth, the myth of the western hero. Around this myth is the basis of our protracted holocaust. To glamorize people who engaged in mass murder or set mass murder in motion, European history books have rationalized it for decades. They have annual parades in memory of these heroes, to the point where we're supposed to forget about what they actually did. If you had a parade in memory of Hitler, you'd start one of the greatest riots in history. Yet, what Columbus did was tantamount to what Hitler did.

Part of maintaining the European myth is dismissing what Afrikans did in the development of the Americas. Well, they furnished the labor and the strength. Without them there would have been no plantation system. The plantation system gave Europe the wealth to recover from the Middle Ages. All that money, time and energy spent on the charade called the Crusades. The slave trade laid the basis for the modern scientific and technical world and modern capitalism.

Several hundred years before Columbus, Afrikans played a major role in the development of the Americas. They proved something which people still haven't paid much attention to. They proved that Afrikans can mingle their blood, their culture, their language with other people, without destroying the original culture. They created a third culture that's a combination of the two originals without hardly any hint of war between them. Afrikans were able to make significant contributions to early American civilization. It's never been done quite the same way before or since. Look at all the evidence of the Afrikans among the Olmecs and Mayans. Their journeys in the Americas. We've got no evidence on any major wars between the Afrikans and the indigenous Americans.

It's extremely important that Afrikans today know of their contributions to early America. It's part of their whole self. It's part of our children's whole self to know that we contributed heavily in building this hemisphere. We laid the foundation for it. Without us, it would not be quite the same.

Getting at the truth of our history is a difficult task. Every human effort his been made to keep us away from it. In the 15th and 16th century, when Europe needed a rationale and a justification for the slave trade, they had to change the course of history. The church, principally the Catholic Church at first, gave them that rationale.

It is completely baffling how black people, when they learn that the church they pray in was the agent that initiated their enslavement, could continue to do so. It seems that someone should search to find a spirituality that never committed this kind of human atrocity. If you are involved in Christianity, Judaism or Islam, you are involved in a religion that openly and proudly sanctioned the worst human tragedy in the history of the planet. That has to work on the conscious of somebody.

Prior to that period, in historical terms, there was a well-recorded history. There was Europe coming out of the Middle Ages. There was Afrika, mostly North Afrika, involved. There were independent Afrikan states along the coast of East Afrika. There were independent states in West Afrika, and greater independent states in inner West Afrika. These states lasted a hundred and fifty years into the slave trade period. Some of them were empires. One state was larger than the United States.

Afrika never fell because she was corrupt from within. It was always attacked when it was at its height, but Afrikans never felt called on to defend themselves. They didn't think they needed it.

Now, how did the changing of history affect Afrikans? Firstly, they are not aware to this day how it affected them. And it did affect them profoundly. When they were being gradually left out of history, they were not aware of what was being done. They would awaken a few hundred years later, with missionary indoctrination and propaganda of the slave traders, they would suddenly awaken to discover that they were no longer a factor in history. The only history they knew was a history that was related to slave traders. That was their history.

I am a teacher, scholar and activist, a political activist as well as a teacher. In this late date, I am still a nationalist, a Pan Afrikanist, and socialist. I still hold with those terms in spite of the fact that socialism has been betrayed all over the world, especially in Russia. Pan Afrikanism has been misunderstood.

I will believe in Pan Afrikanism until my last days. That means I believe in the unification of the whole of the Afrikan world. All Afrikan people everywhere. Those in Afrika being the heart, the majority. Those in Asia, and those in the West Indies, or Caribbean Islands. Those in the United States. I mean all Afrikan people. I believe in a world union of Afrikan people, an Afrikan world community. Socialism, I mean a caring society, a society where a man will get according to his needs, irrespective of his ability to work.

A nationalist means that my first loyalty is to my own people, my own kith and kin. That doesn't mean I don't love and respect the people of the rest of world. But my own kith and kin gets first preference.

In order to develop an Afrikan world community, an understanding of Afrikan people, their role in history is essential. Realizing that we have to develop a nationalism that goes across all religious and political lines. We cannot say that one is a Holy Roller, one is a Seventh Day Adventist, and one is a Jehovah's Witness. It doesn't matter. If you're an Afrikan person, then you belong in the camp. Whether you're Mulsim or Christian, you belong in the camp. We cannot divide ourselves along those lines.

It is no secret that I was critical of the Million Man March in Washington D.C. My basic criticism is that it is a ceremonial waste of time, and a waste of money. If we take the same amount of money, the same amount of energy and put it into the community, we could revitalize our community's overnight. If we take the same amount of money it takes for transportation, we could have a chain of supermarkets throughout the community. We could have factories making our own shoes.

There are a whole lot of people leading the march who want to lead it. Who did not lift their voice while the Arab slave trade was still going on in Afrika right today, when it was mentioned. Why are they so vocal now, when they still haven't protested slavery in Mauritania and in the Sudan. Slavery in Afrika now, with the Arabs, is more brutal when it comes to black women. They're literally killing black men and imprisoning black women. They work in the fields in the day and used sexually at night. Nothing is being said about it. These people are cowards and hypocrites.

I happen to believe that this march is a Louis Farrakhan con game. That Farrakhan's mission is really to make us forget that he set up the atmosphere and the attitude that led to the assassination of Malcolm X. While I do not believe the Nation of Islam brought off the assassination, they did permit themselves to be used as the handmaidens of those who planned it. I don't think they were brilliant enough to plan it from beginning to end, but they fell into the trap of those who did plan it, and Farrakhan was one of those who led them into this trap.

There are going to be people critical of me for what I am saying, but I still think there are better things you could come together for, and spend with your time and your energy for. You're coming together and putting on a show to wash the ego of a faker. I don't think this is proper. Years from now, people will look back on this event knowing full well that the results were zero. Look back on it, and say this was the old hustler's greatest hustle.

Now if some men go back to their communities and use the March to do some positive things, I'll admit it if this happens, but I don't see it happening. All these announcements have been made before and nothing happened. I don't think anything will happen this time. In the first place, if they were committed to the community, they wouldn't have to march to do it. They wouldn't need the stimulation of a march. They'd just go ahead and do it. They wouldn't have to march to Washington to be stimulated.

Our forced migration in this country helped to make this country what it is. We have a claim that's outstanding. That's going to have to be satisfied. We've contributed to the culture and to the direction of this country. We live in an American society that's now dying and we can bring it alive if we think it's worth being brought alive.

With all of our faults and all the things that's crippling our development, we are a nation within a nation looking for a nationality. Once we find that nationality, our relationship to Afrika, we will join others in marshaling our true strength, our peopleness, our nationness once again. We will stop answering to the term "minority." We will stop acting like a minority. We will stop feeling like a minority. We will know then that we are world people.

We must stop killing ourselves about belonging to mother countries not of our making. Languages not of our making. Stop worshipping gods not of our choosing and realize that wherever we are on the face of the earth, we are an Afrikan people. No matter where our bodies are, our heartbeat, our future, our political being is in Afrika. We are an Afrikan people wherever we are on this earth. We have to learn how to relax about being an Afrikan people. How to use it as a source of strength, not as a source of retreat or regret. We must wear it like a badge of honor and contribute to it as though it was a new world religious order, which indeed is what it can be.

As for my library, 20,000 volumes have already been given to the Robert Woodruff Library Center at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, and some other libraries. In the event of my passing, all of the books that are not in the Woodruff Center, all of the African and African American, all of the relevant books, will be sent there. Where the Woodruf Library has duplicates, those books will go to the Africana Studies Center Library at Cornell University in New York. My children's books will go to Public School (PS) 121 at 140th Street and Eighth Avenue in Harlem.

I just hope the best use will be made of them, in as much as I have traveled over large portions of the world to collect them. I've collected books from different places, libraries and little book stores in little known countries. I have books that cannot be bought again because they were published in like 500 editions, and when that edition was sold out, neither the publisher or the author had enough money to get another edition out.

I am preparing the audio and video tapes to be sent first and foremost to the audio and video division of the Auburn Avenue Research on African American Culture and History Library in Atlanta. Some are already gone. A duplicate copy of those tapes will go to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.

Maybe one day there will be books of my papers published. That will be something that will be thought of later. I am limited in preparing for immortality. I think that my work is so unfinished, and I am so unready to leave. It is something I try not to let dwell on my mind too much. Inevitably, I know that everyone has an end, but I haven't planned mine as much as some people think I should.

Ten, twenty-five, a hundred years from now, if Afrikan historians feel obliged to write about me, I hope they can say that he did the best he could to tell the truth. When he discovered that he was wrong, he corrected himself. He was committed to liberation, uplifting of his own people and there's no evidence that he ever turned on his own advocacy of freedom and independence or betrayed any aspects of that long freedom struggle. And to our precious young people, they are really the seeds of tomorrow's crop, and our hope for immortality rests with them. They owe it to themselves, and to us, to pick out the finest things among us as examples, follow these examples and improve upon them. They are the makers of tomorrow. We changed the world once. We'll change it again.



We have had the opportunity to look into a portion of the life, knowledge and works of John Henrik Clarke, who is probably our main proponent in exposing us to Afrikan world history and how it relates to other parts of the world, especially Europe. Personally, I refer to that as "external history." The focus now is what I refer to as "internal history," the history of our families.

Dr. Clarke was the best at what he did, but the best historians we will ever know are the elders in our families. They retain a history that will more than likely never reach a book, but is so important in our own development. We must know where we came from and why we are the way we are. That can only be answered by researching our own family history.

Alex Haley, through his Roots, showed us how important it was to find his family in Afrika. Most of us will probably not go that far, no matter where our ancestral origin is. But some of us still have great grandmothers or fathers, great uncles, aunts and so forth, who carry the history of their families better than any one else. What is so final, and so cold a reality, is that when those elder members of our families die, the history they carry dies with them. If I had not interviewed Dr. Clarke over the years, look at how much we would have missed. Now that he is no longer physically here, his words become even more valuable.

For those just starting out creating a family, if they do not have the family history from their elders, they will have nothing to hand down to their children. That can be a tragedy. There will always be an empty void in their lives. They will not know who and where they came from. There will always be a detachment from the past.

The way to alleviate that is very simple. Just use your cassette recorder or video camera, or borrow one, buy some ninety minute tapes (Chrome--Type II, or Professional Quality video tape, because they last longer) and interview the elders in your family. You will be completely amazed at how much you will learn. It will probably be one of the most interesting experiences you will encounter.

What will make that experience even more remarkable, is when the young ones become old enough to appreciate their own family history and begin to ask, about it you will have something to which to refer them. That will be an exhilarating experience for them and will help to put some of the pieces together as to who they are.

If you want to take it to another level, have the tapes transcribed on computer disk so that if you want to print out a copy for younger members, family reunions, or whatever the occasion, you can always do so. You, or someone you know, will have a computer and printer. Who knows, you may even have enough data from a book.

What this all adds up to, if you are versed with your internal history, and have a working knowledge of your external history, is that you will probably be closer to being a whole human being than anyone you know, and you will never fall victim to that age old question, "Who am I?"
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Title Annotation:p. 108-132
Author:Person-Lynn, Kwaku; Snipes, Wesley
Publication:Journal of Pan African Studies
Geographic Code:1U100
Date:Feb 1, 2014
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