Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, also Arthur Schomburg, Born January 24, 1874, was a Puerto Rican historian, writer, and activist in the United States who researched and raised awareness of the great contributions that Afro-Latin Americans and Afro-Americans have made to society. He was an important intellectual figure in the Harlem Renaissance.Over the years, he collected literature, art, slave narratives, and other materials of African history, which was purchased, to become the basis of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, named in his honor, at the New YorkPublicLibrary (NYPL) branch in Harlem.
By the 1920s Schomburg had amassed a world-renowned collection which consisted of artworks, manuscripts, rare books, slave narratives and other artifacts of Black history. In 1926 the New York Public Library purchased his collection for $10,000 with the help of a grant from the Carnegie Corporation. The collection formed the cornerstone of the Library’s Division of Negro History, at its 135th Street Branch in Harlem. The library appointed Schomburg curator of the collection, which was named in his honor: the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Schomburg used his proceeds from the sale to fund travel to Spain, France, Germany and England, to seek out more pieces of black history to add to the collection. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante named Schomburg to his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
In March 1925 Schomburg published his essay “The Negro Digs Up His Past” in an issue of the Survey Graphic devoted to the intellectual life of Harlem. It had widespread distribution and influence. The autodidact historian John Henrik Clarke, told of being so inspired by the essay, that at age seventeen he left home in Columbus, Georgia to seek out Mr. Schomburg, in order to further his studies in African history. Arturo Alfonso Schomburg died – June 8, 1938.
“The American Negro must rebuild his past in order to make his future. Though it is orthodox to think of America as the one country where it is unnecessary to have a past, what is a luxury for the nation as a whole becomes a prime social necessity for the Negro. For him, a group tradition must supply compensation for persecution, and pride of race the antidote for prejudice. History must restore what slavery took away, for it is the social damage of slavery that the present generation must repair and offset.” (Arturo Alfonso Schomburg )
Hubert Henry Harrison, born April 27, 1883; was a West Indian-American writer, orator, educator, critic, and radical socialist political activist…A fierce intellect and political voice of the Harlem Renaissance, Hubert Henry Harrison came to the United States from St. Croix as a child in 1900 and immediately delved into a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, devoting his intellectual prowess to civil rights and labor activism; he was a leading organizer of the Socialist Party of America and a founding father of Harlem radicalism. Harrison founded the Liberty League and the newspaper The Voice, both of which sought social change with a focus on race consciousness, internationalism, and the use of literature and the arts as political influences. His powerful oratory skill and profound knowledge of history, economics, and sociology made him a sought-after lecturer and writer.
An outspoken freethinker, Harrison advocated for birth control, separation of church and state, and the teaching of evolution and regarded religion as a force of oppression. Harrison, developed a lifelong, determined opposition to organized religion, remarking famously that any black man who believed Biblical material needed to have their head checked, and that he wouldn’t worship a “lily white god” and “Jim Crow Jesus”. He viewed the Christian Bible as a slave masters book, citing passages in it, that allegedly justify slavery (slavery in the Bible). He also said, that the only Blacks in Christianity were the devil and his demons; Jesus, God, and his angels were white. For these reasons, Harrison preferred remaining black and going to hell. He criticized the phrase “Take the world but give me Jesus”, as a tool for black oppression, and claimed that religion was used to wage war on the poor. “Though he drew controversy and at times to the point of fending off attacks, his gifts as a speaker, allowed him to present unpopular viewpoints with eloquence and earn widespread respect. Harrison died December 17, 1927
“Show me a population that is deeply religious,” he said, “and I will show you a servile population, content with whips and chains, contumely and the gibbet, content to eat the bread of sorrow and drink the waters of affliction.”. (Hubert Henry Harrison)
Dr. Chancellor Williams, was born December 22, 1898 in Bennettsville, South Carolina. His father had been a former slave, his mother a cook. He received his undergraduate degree in Education and Master of Arts degree in history from Howard University. He studied abroad serving as a visiting research scholar, at the University of Oxford in England and at the University of London.
In 1935 Williams took the post of Administrative Principal for the Cheltenham School for Boys in Maryland. Four years later he became a teacher in the Washington, DC public schools. He entered the employment of the U.S. Federal Government in 1941, filling a variety of positions, such as section chief of Census Bureau, statistician for War Relocation Board, and economist in Office of Price Administration. In 1946 he returned to his alma mater as a social science instructor until 1952. It was then that he transferred to the history department, where he remained until he retired in 1966.
In 1971, Williams sent his magnum opus The Destruction of Black Civilization to Kendall Hunt, a white-owned publishing company.The following year, the book received an award from the Black Academy of Letters and Arts. Feeling more comfortable with a Black-owned firm as his publisher, he sent the second version to Chicago’s noted Third World Press. When published in 1987, the second edition of the book received wide critical acclaim from the African American community. The book however was seen as Pseudo history Afrocentrism by most mainstream reviewers. In 1979, the 21 st Century Foundation honored Chancellor Williams with its first Clarence L. Holte International Biennial Prize. Chanslor Williams died December 7th 1992
“The true African historian must be on a relentless search for truth and must not tremble with fear when that truth is contrary to what one would prefer to believe.” (Chancellor Williams)
“Not ‘unity just for unity’ but unity for great achievements.” (Chancellor Williams)
John Glover Jackson, Born April 1, 1907, was a Pan-Africanist historian, lecturer, teacher and writer. Jackson was born in Aiken, South Carolina on 1 April 1907 and raised Methodist. At age 15 he moved to Harlem, New York, where he enrolled in Stuyvesant High School. During this time, Jackson became interested in African-American history and culture and began writing essays on the subject. They were so impressive that, in 1925 while still a high school student, Jackson was invited to write for Marcus Garvey’s newspaper, Negro World.
From 1930 onwards, Jackson became associated with a number of Pan-African historians, activists and writers, including Hubert H. Harrison, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, John Henrik Clarke, Willis Nathaniel Huggins and Joel Augustus Rogers. He also authored a number of books on African history, such as “Man, God, and Civilization” (1972) and “Introduction to African Civilizations” (1974). He also became interested in the idea of Christianity’s origins, in the Egyptian religion. A staunch atheist, he authored a number of books on the idea, including “The African Origin of Christianity” (1981), “Christianity before Christ” (1985), as well as writing the foreword to Gerald Massey’s “Lectures” (1974). He also wrote the controversial text, “Was Jesus Christ a Negro?” (1984), which argued that Jesus may have been a black man.
During his life, Jackson also served as Associate Director of the Blyden Society and lectured at many colleges and universities throughout the United States. He died on the 13th of October 1993.
“Mithra, a Persian sun-god, was virgin born, in a cave, on December 25th. His earliest worshipers were shepherds, and he was accompanied by 12 companions. The Mithraists, kept the Sabbath holy day and celebrated the Eucharist by eating wafers embellished with a cross. (John G. Jackson)
John Henrik Clarke, born John Henry Clark, January 1, 1915 was a Pan-Africanist American writer, historian, professor, and a pioneer in the creation of African studies and professional institutions in academia, starting in the late 1960s.
He was Professor of African World History and in 1969 founding chairman of the Department of Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, of the City University of New York. He also was the Carter G. Woodson Distinguished Visiting Professor, of African History at Cornell University’s African Studies and Research Center. In 1968 along with the Black Caucus of the African Studies Association, Clarke founded the African Heritage Studies Association.
Perhaps no other member of the Black community, embodied the links of the Pan-African world, as coherently as John Henrik Clarke. His devotion to the Pan-African ideal was exemplified, through his ability to bring people together throughout the African world. His dedicated involvement in over a dozen international organizations, was a testament to his personal commitment to Pan-African unity. He earned the recognition and fellowship of Africans on the continent as well as in the Diaspora.
Dr. Clarke’s life became a symbol of the qualities we wish to claim, to emulate, and to engender: commitment, self-reliance, communalism, intelligence, scholarly excellence, determination, discipline, conviction and achievement. He passed from this life July 16, 1998.
“History is not everything, but it is a starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves, on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are, but more importantly, what they must be.” (John Henrik Clarke)
Professor Yosef Ben-Jochannan was an Egyptologist. Having taught at Cornell University for over 15 years, Dr. Ben, as he is affectionately known, has lectured widely on both sides of the Atlantic. His theme – the ancient civilizations of Egypt. His presentations have placed him in great demand by students and community groups, especially those of African descent. Perhaps the high regard he enjoys today, stems from his long, unwavering theme that the ancient civilizations along the Nile were African.
We preached that the so-called major western religions were white folk’s religions and offered the historically incorrect but universally accepted, blond-haired, blue-eyed representation of Jesus Christ, as proof that our enemy had become our deity. We quoted Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who said in his book, The Mis-education of the Negro, that the European destruction of African civilization, was done under the guise of “saving souls.” And we asked the rhetorical question, must one be dehumanized, before one’s soul is saved? In retrospect, we had allowed someone else to define our reality.
“Without you, African mother, there would have been no us–African fathers, sons and daughters. Do we need to say any more African mothers, our own true goddesses! Let us praise you to the highest, telling the world about your righteousness. Let us tell the entire universe about your sacredness African woman.”
“Dipped in chocolate, bronzed in elegance, enameled with grace, toasted with beauty. My lord, she’s a black woman.” (Yosef Ben-Jochannan)
Cheikh Anta Diop, born December 29, 1923 in Thieytou, Senegal, was an Afrocentric historian, anthropologist, physicist and politician who studied the human race’s origins and pre-colonial African culture.
Diop’s first work translated into English, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality, was published in 1974. It gained a much wider audience for his work. He proved that archaeological and anthropological evidence supported his view, that Pharaohs were of Negroid origin. Some scholars draw heavily from Diop’s groundbreaking work, while others in the Western academic world do not accept all of Diop’s theories. Diop’s work has posed important questions about the cultural bias, inherent in scientific research.
Diop showed above all, that European archaeologists before and after the decolonization, had understated and continued to understate, the extent and possibility of Black civilizations.
The Swiss archaeologist Charles Bonnet’s discoveries at the site of Kerma shed some light on the theories of Diop. They show close cultural links between Nubia and Ancient Egypt, though the relationship had been acknowledged for years. This does not necessarily imply a genetic relationship, however. Mainstream Egyptologists such as F. Yurco note that among peoples outside Egypt, the Nubians were closest ethnically to the Egyptians, shared the same culture in the predynastic period, and used the same pharaonoic political structure. He suggests that the peoples of the Nile Valley were one regionalized population, sharing a number of genetic and cultural traits.
Diop argued that there was a shared cultural continuity across African peoples, that was more important than the varied development, of different ethnic groups shown by differences among languages and cultures over time.
His books were largely responsible for, at least, the partial re-orientation of attitudes about the place of African people in history, in scholarly circles around the world .Cheikh Anta Diop died February 07, 1986
“Africa can and will only advance through African integration, which can be realized through the Federal United States of Africa” ( Cheikh Anta Diop)
Ivan Van Sertima born January 26, 1935 in British Guiana, reveals a compelling, dramatic, and superbly detailed documentation of the presence and legacy of Africans in ancient America. Examining navigation and shipbuilding; cultural analogies between Native Americans and Africans; the transportation of plants, animals, and textiles between the continents; and the diaries, journals, and oral accounts of the explorers themselves, Ivan Van Sertima builds a pyramid of evidence to support his claim of an African presence in the New World centuries before Columbus. Combining impressive scholarship with a novelist’s gift for storytelling, Van Sertima re-creates some of the most powerful scenes of human history: the launching of the great ships of Mali in 1310 (two hundred master boats and two hundred supply boats), the sea expedition of the Mandingo king in 1311, and many others. In They Came Before Columbus, we see clearly the unmistakable face and handprint of black Africans in pre-Columbian America, and their overwhelming impact on the civilizations they encountered. Clarence Weiant wrote “Van Sertima’s work is a summary of six or seven years of meticulous research based upon archaeology, egyptology, African history, oceanography, astronomy, botany, rare Arabic and Chinese manuscripts, the letters and journals of early American explorers, and the observations of physical anthropologists…As one who has been immersed in Mexican archaeology for some forty years, and who participated in the excavation of the first giant heads, I must confess, I am thoroughly convinced of the soundness of Van Sertima’s conclusion. Ivan Van Sertima died May 25, 2009
“You can not make yourself whole again by brooding one hundred percent of the time on the darkness of the world. We are the light of the world.” (Ivan Van Sertima)
Leonard Jeffries Jr., born 1937) is an American professor of black studies at the City College of New York, part of the City University of New York. An Afrocentric/Pan Africanist he achieved national prominence in the early 1990s for his controversial statements about Jews and white people. In a 1991 speech he claimed that Jews financed the slave trade, used the movie industry to hurt black people, and that whites are “ice people” while Africans are “sun people”. Jeffries was discharged from his position as chairman of the black studies department at CUNY, leading to a lengthy legal battle.
In 1992 Jeffries first got his term shortened from three years to one, and was then removed as chairman from the department of African-American studies, but was allowed to stay as a professor. Jeffries sued the school and in August 1993 a federal jury found, that his First Amendment rights had been violated. The school held that the demotion was not because of his speech, but for inefficiency, tardiness, sending grades to the school by mail, and brutish behavior. However, only a month before the speech Jeffries had been unanimously reappointed as chairman. He was restored as chairman and awarded $400,000 in damages (later reduced to $360,000).
The school appealed, but the federal appeals court upheld the verdict while removing the damages. The CUNY Institute for Research on the Diaspora in the Americas and Caribbean, was created to do black research independent of Jeffries’ department. It was headed by Edmund W. Gordon, who had led the Black Studies Department before Jeffries was reinstated. In November 1994 the Supreme Court told the appeals court to reconsider, after a related Supreme Court decision. The appeals court reversed its decision in April 1995 and in June the same year Prof. Moyibi Amodo, was elected to succeed Jeffries as department chairman. Jeffries remains a professor at CCNY.
“Whoever controls the images, controls your self-esteem, self-respect and self-development. Whoever controls the history, controls the vision. ……If the social, economic, political and cultural system of the United States is racist, there’s no way you can insulate and isolate the educational system. So racism in the educational system has to be dealt with. That’s the number-one item that has to be removed, before we can have true education”.(Leonard Jeffries)
Amos N. Wilson, Born February 23,1941 in Hattiesburg , Mississippi, was an African American author, teacher and Afrocentric/Pan- African thinker. He went on to hold positions as a Social Caseworker, Psychological Counselor, Supervising Probation Officer, Training Administrator in the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice, and Assistant Professor of Psychology at the City University of New York.
He felt that true power and self actualization, could only come to African people, with the harnessing of the economics of their own community and extending that to a point of leverage, in the global economic community. He view the state of the African Community from the perspective of a clinical psychologist. “ In order for us to be in the state we’re in today as people, we have to be out of our MINDS! WE LITERALLY HAVE TO BE CRAZY! It’s necessary for us to be crazy, it’s necessary for us to be backwards, it’s necessary for us to be mal-adjusted, it’s necessary for us to be dis-united, it’s necessary for us to be self-hating, it’s necessary for us to be filled with an inferiority complex. When we talk about abnormality in the black personality, when we talk about feelings of inferiority in black people, feelings of self-hatred and self-alienation, feelings of incompetence and powerlessness, we must recognize that these feelings are A POLITICAL & ECONOMIC NECESSITY! For those in power over us and, we should start from that premise, if we are to understand the psychology of the present day black people.
“When we speak of African American/Pan African self empowerment, we refer not to bogus, illusory “power” of token Black house-servants, nor the mock White “power” of the Black bourgeoisie, nor the sycophantic, bootlicking “power” of Black politicians. We neither include the pie-in- the-sky, White God-fearing “power” of Black preachers, nor the oleaginous diplomatic “power” of puppet, neocolonial African “heads-of-state power”, which needs to ask the permission or authorization, of some other race to express and actualize themselves; nor the reactionary, self-destroying community decimating “power” of the Black-on-Black criminal! No! we speak here of a true and honest African American/Pan-African Power, which springs full-force from African manhood, womanhood and their humanity: a power which harnesses the abundant intellectual, emotional, behavioral, cultural, spiritual and material resources of African people; and uses them to secure and protect the survival, well-being and self actualization, of the total African community…” (Dr. Amos Wilson) Dr Wilson died January 14th 1995 (under what some say, was mysterious circumstances)
“Change your mind, your consciousness and you change your circumstances. See your consciousness in terms of its Africaness, its life enhancing benefits, its consequences for your survival and goals as a people, measured in terms of its characteristics and what it must acquire. You must have certain intentions to do this.” – Amos Wilson
Asa G. Hilliard III (August 22, 1933 – August 13, 2007) was an African American professor of educational psychology, who worked on indigenous ancient African history (ancient Egyptian), culture, education and society. He was the Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Education at Georgia State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education.
After graduation with his doctorate degree, he accepted a faculty position at San Francisco State. In his eighteen years at San Francisco State, Dr. Hilliard served at department chair and dean of education. Outside of the university, he served as a consultant to the PEACE Corps and superintendent of schools in Monrovia, Liberia. Hilliard has also served on the National level at the Department of Educational Policy Studies and the Department of Education Psychology and Special Education.
Hilliard’s career was dedicated to exploring ways to better educate children and to teach the truth about the history of Africa and the African diaspora. He developed African centered curriculum and lead study groups to Egypt and Ghana frequently throughout his career. As a board certified forensic examiner, Hilliard would lend his expertise as an expert witness in federal landmark cases on test validity and biasness. Hilliard’s final public lecture was on Aug. 7. He was the speaker for the opening plenary session in Egypt for ASCAC’s 24th Annual Ancient Kemetic Studies Conference. His lecture was titled: “From Sah, Spdt, Spd to the Drinking Gourd: ASCAC, KMT and Pan Africanism Not to Perish.”
Dr. Greg Carr, an executive board member of ASCAC who attended the lecture, says Hilliard did not appear to be his normal energetic self.
However, he still managed to dig down deep and give a powerful lesson about the importance of “carrying ourselves with a deep historical consciousness,” says Carr, an associate professor of Afro-American Studies at Howard University. “He implored us to raise our consciousness and enter the world as historical beings. He consistently emphasized that we pursue intellectual excellence, really be responsible to our communities and teach our children how to explore and engage.”
The next day — Aug. 8 — ASCAC held a banquet where the preeminent Black psychologist Dr. Na’im Akbar of Florida State University gave the conference’s keynote speech. Hilliard, who was on the main dais, had to be escorted out during Akbar’s speech because he was so ill. “That’s the last time he appeared publicly,” Carr says.
Hilliard flew to Cairo and over the next four days his conditioned worsened until he passed away on Sunday. Hilliard and his wife, Patsy Jo, have four children.
“When you begin to do things that raise the achievement of the poorest and disenfranchised students, you may not always get applause. You need to be ready for that.”
“Our genius is a part of the foundation of the revolution in knowledge in physics, mathematics, engineering and cyber-technology. Our genius is present at the deepest levels of the arts and humanities. All of this is in spite of overwhelming resistance to our learning by determined oppressors.” Dr Asa G. Hillard III (To Be An African Teacher).
Na’im Akbar Born April 26th 1944, in Tallahassee, Florida. His childhood was spent in a segregated southern community in Tallahassee, but he lived in a unique community where “academic excellence was the unquestioned standard” Upon graduating high school, Akbar moved on to the University of Michigan, where he completed his B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Clinical Psychology, and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Heavily influenced by the Black student movement at the University of Michigan, and freshly aware of racial tensions (his freshman year at Michigan marked his first personal contact with Whites), Akbar became active with the Black Action Movement (BAM) strike, which shut down classes at the University of Michigan for three weeks in the late 1960s. He went on to become a clinical psychologist, well known for his Afro-centric approach to psychology. Working towards his PhD. in Clinical Psychology, Akbar wrote a dissertation called “Power Themes among Negro and White Paranoid and non-Paranoid Schizophrenics”. In his dissertation, Akbar sought to define and explore the distinctive literature discussing definitions of psychology and mental health for Black people. Through this work, Akbar began to seriously question many of the accepted definitions of mental health for Black people, which had their genesis in European American psychology. Akbar credits this time in his career as the defining point about which his future work would be forged. In the 1970s, Akbar published his first critiques of the Euro-centric psychological tradition, asserting that this model maintained intellectual oppression on African Americans. Akbar criticized the pathology perspectives that had taken over as the dominant literature on African Americans. Many of his major works involved mental health among African Americans. Holding true to the Afro-centric view, Akbar strived to remain faithful to the African perspective and argued that Western culture had imposed and continued to spread its unnatural order upon others in the form of colonization, imperialism, and hegemony. After obtaining his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Akbar moved to Atlanta to work for the psychology department at Morehouse College, a historically Black college.[ Three years later, Akbar left Morehouse to work at the Nation of Islam’s headquarters in Chicago. where he remained for two years until he went back to teaching and accepted a position at Norfolk State University, a historically Black university located in Norfolk, Virginia. Akbar then moved on to accept a faculty position at Florida State University back in his hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, where he continued to teach courses in Black psychology After teaching at Florida State University for 28 years, Akbar retired in 2008. Akbar created the private consulting company, Na’im Akbar Consultants, and the publishing company, Mind Productions, in the late 1980s Akbar has become a distinguished author, writing numerous books and speaking publicly. His major contributions to the field of psychology have been centered on the topics of developing an African-centered approach in modern psychology – which for Akbar involves the deconstruction of Eurocentric psychological thought and the subsequent reconstruction/construction of an African psychology.
“When young Black boys learn that there are no limits to our possibilities on the basketball courts, we create the athletic genius of Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson and in their genius, they recreate the game of basketball. When our young people know that there are no limits to their potential in the world of manufacturing, communication, physics, chemistry or the science of the human mind, then those same young Black minds who create dances on the dance floor or compose music on their bodies with the ‘hand jive’ will recreate these fields of human endeavor with the same incomparability.”
“The implication of this is that the mind’s possibilities are limited by its concept of its potential.”
Na’im Akbar, (Breaking The Chains of Slavery)