HISTORY IS BEST QUALIFIED TO REWARD ALL OUR RESEARCH AND STUDY
By Fahim A. Knight-EL
The study of history develops the springs and motives of human actions. History serves, as much more than the study of dates and past events, but as a bridging of generational legacies that is passed on to the next generation for safekeeping and cultural empowerment. The ability of a people to recall their history allows them to experience in some instances, perhaps the un-experienced, but lead us towards the recognition, understanding and acceptance of the importance of past cultures and societies having the need to leave a written record, which not only chronicle prior events, persons and dates. But layout a road map of how these variables of yesterday will come to help shape our present day traditions, values, mores, folkways, customs, etc., perhaps even has the unwritten ability tell us more about ourselves and the future. (Reference: Joel Kotkin; “Tribes: How Race, Religion and Identity Determine Success in the New Global Economy”).
Some cultures accomplish the same objective by relying on Griots who are responsible for memorizing huge amounts of historical data and in the form of oral traditions; serving as the village historian who has the esteemed honor of passing down valuable lessons of historical evidence to its people, which they may pass down to next generation. Every people have a history, culture and heritage and all people find it important to tell their story and make every effort to remind its people and world of the relevance of their past. To recall past accomplishment and failures, is to sought of set the tone for each proceeding generation to follow. Thus, not to tell their story is to create a historical vacuum and emptiness, as well as, an unconscious disconnect with a legacy of their past descendents; believe me history telling is serious cultural business in most societies, be it modern or antiquity. (Reference: Gunnar Myrdal; “An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy”).
Moreover, in a subtle and not so subtle way, it is the standard in which every present people and society are too be judged by—past societies and whatever perception they created yesterday will impact how the world view their descendents today. Surely, a people with no history have always been likening to a tree that has no roots—the tree will soon die. I as a child used to love good storing telling and even now as an adult, I still love good story telling. The practice of story telling in which I came to appreciate as child, I even use it with my ten year old daughter (I actually have been telling her stories since she was in the womb), whenever the opportunity permits itself for me to impart some necessary wisdom to her. I always do it in the form of a story in order to pass on historical family jewels—knowledge and at same time keep her short attention span interested in the folklore. (Reference: Rogers D. Abrahams; “African Folktales: Traditional Stories of the Black World”).
But what has bothered me the most being a person of African descent and living in the United States of America is the untold story of American racism. My personal story and the African American story can not be properly and adequately told outside of the historical lens of racism. Many whites and Europeans who read my articles and blogs are often shocked at times to find out that I am a so-called African American (for the record proud to be one). May be they do not think African Americans have the intellectual ability to assess and evaluate serious topics and issues. Nevertheless, perhaps subconsciously even their thinking and comments are shrouded within a racist intellectual paradigm. Some of my writings cut across race, class, religion, culture, gender, etc., and addresses who is truly behind the political, social and economic trends that affects all of humanity. They often, applaud me, for taking on these serious topics in which we share common ground. But the minute, I write on an issue or topic that is germane to blacks and Africans, I always receive at least five or six emails cautioning me to stay away from such topics and remain focused and do not allow myself to be diverted by the question of race in America. (Reference: C. Eric Lincoln; “Coming Through the Fire: Surviving Race and Place in America”).
I truly understand their sentiments and respect their contrary opinions, because many of these people, I would do battle with them in the same foxhole against the enemy and perhaps many feel same way about me. They and I understand to advocate race, it will ultimately create divisiveness and the real social agitator will continue to hide their dirty hand. But my history is tied inextricably to the question of race in America, in fact for 310 years Africans living in America was denied a history and the ability to recall their past. How can a nation of people do this and expect for black people to forget this tragic past and move on? Who will be responsible for compiling such a scattered and fragmented historical past which to offer to my great grandchildren? (Reference: Sultan A. Latif and Naimah Latif; “Slavery: The African American Psychic Trauma”).
My response, to my white allies is that the United States of America has never had a serious conversation and debate on race and racism, which I can not and will not overlook the historical pain and suffering, as well as the naked human cruelty and brutality that my people have suffered. No one should ask me to overlook this history and the inhumanness it has caused the African race. I am sorry, if that causes us to break alliances, then so be it. I will never stop telling the history and legacy of African people and their struggles; yet at the same time I will not ask nor impede any other people possessing the right to tell their people’s historical legacy. (Reference: Chip Smith; “The Cost of Privilege: Taking on the System of White Supremacy”).
I am of the opinion, to deny one’s history is an unpardonable act of betrayal and it boarders on cultural treason. Some of my critics have at times made attempts to deduce a portion of my writings and views to the category of Black Supremacist (whatever the hell that mean) and/or Black Nationalism). My story, black people’s story in America can not be told outside the boundaries of race, it is almost virtually impossible to write and talk about the black experience in America without putting it within the context of race. It is ludicrous to refer to the recalling of history or the evaluation and assessment of an historical era as being reverse racism and discrimination; this is outright hypocrisy and sinister, the truth, is what it is. Yes, to tell the history of the African experience in America is a painful commentary, but being in denial gets us nowhere. (Reference: Cornel West; “Race Matters”).
The president of the United States, Barack Obama recently visited Ghana and the west coast of Africa and sadly to say, the first black president of the U.S. did not have one piece of Kinta cloth on or didn't learn one word in the Akan and/or Fulani tongues, which to greet his own African ancestral descendents in their indigenous languages (yes I know his people originated in what is present day Kenya, but these nations were divided by artificial barriers drawn by European powers at the Berlin Conference 1884-1885) another subject for another time. This is the kind of historical disrespect and cultural insensitivity he and other black Americans have toward their own people and some whites have toward Africa. (Reference: John Henrik Clarke; “Notes For An African World Revolution: Africans at the Crossroads”).
This ‘Negro’ President Barack Obama could go to the sacred Jewish shrines and temples of Israel and pray, as well put a yarmulke on his head, but visiting Africa, he did not put on any garment that would reflect his own historical connection to the history, culture, legacy, etc., of Africa—this was insane. President Obama’s non-cultural identification with the people of Africa was at best insulting and he too is perhaps acting out of the perception of how Africa and African people are viewed by the west. Why President Barack Obama didn’t visit one of the local Islamic Mosque there in Accra, Ghana Africa, which to make Salat (prayer) with the Ghanaian Islamic community (Jamaat)? (Reference: J.C.deGraft-Johnson; “African Glory: The Story of Vanished Negro Civilizations”).
He doesn’t know his history and more so than that, was fearful of what the public perception would have been if he was seen in the company of black Muslims making the Islamic prayer inside of a Muslim Masjid. But he always seemed to be quite comfortable praying in Jewish Synagogues in Jerusalem and never seemed to be concerned about the perception of being politically correct. Although, over ninety percent of his wife, the first lady Michelle Obama’s ancestors who ventured across the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Middle Passage and Transatlantic slave trade were Muslims. The roots of Islam on the continent of Africa go back to the 8th Century. (Reference: Edward W. Blyden; “Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race”).
Why do most societies place so much emphasis in socializing their people to honor and respect from whence they have come? Is there a deeper value that is being imparted relative to how cultures, subcultures and societies will come to view themselves and the world, if they embrace or ignore the lessons of history? This writer is a frequent viewer of the History Channel and National Geographic and has always been intrigued by distance peoples and cultures. It is always stunning to see how different civilizations have various Rites of Passage practices and cultural methods of enculturation processes, which to teach and cement within the psychological and social development of its young members the importance of their past. (Reference: Asa G. Hilliard; “The Reawakening of the African Mind”).
There is perhaps no other discipline with such a cultural priority than a people working to preserve their historical legacy. Many societies have lavished sacred religious rituals. For example, Jewish children are required to read the Torah (Old Testament) Bible day in and day out and is exposed to Talmud while the Jewish Rabbis and high priest creates a mental paradigm by insisting that the ancient people of the Bible were part of their line of ethnic, racial and religious descendents. And for them the words of Abraham and Moses written in the Torah have more of a significant to the Jewish cultural model because to them Yahweh (God) allowed their people to be the recipients of his word, as well as being the religious benefactors of his divine plan. (Reference: Arthur Koestler; “The Thirteenth Tribe”).
This gave them a so-called special privilege with Yahweh (God) and the prophets of old. So the prophets of the Torah from their perspective belong to their religious and historical experience. These historical lessons are often non-negotiable and become the internal and external foundation of the Jewish people’s culture. The Bar Mitzvah (ritual and ceremony of young Jewish males) and the Bat Mitzvah (ritual and ceremony of young Jewish girls) these ritualistic practices have both a practical and symbolic meaning far beyond the ritual itself. The Jewish child is essentially crossing over from childhood into adulthood and is prepared to fully embrace and carry on the Jewish legacy, which is rooted in the Torah and the Talmud. The Jewish culture and historical survival rest upon how well the parents, schools and the Rabbis (this statement is germane to almost all cultures) have imparted the Jewish worldview. (Reference: Jose V. Malcioln; “The African Origins of Modern Judaism: From Hebrews to Jews”).
This writer got the chance to meet Ben Ammi Ben-Israel and Prince Asiel Ben Israel leaders of the Original Hebrew Israelite nation some years ago. They claim to be the original Hebrew/Jewish descendents of the Torah and this writer must admit that their religious, ethnic, racial and theological claim appears to be very convincing. They have traced the bloodline of the original people who occupied Jerusalem a lot further than those people who claim a Semitic origin and those who migrated to Jerusalem—Israel from eastern Europe and are kith and keen to the Ashkenazi and the Khazars. This much we know for sure, that the original people that occupied ancient Israel were not white and/or of a European ethnic descent. (Reference: Ella J. Hughley; “The Truth About Black Biblical Hebrew-Israelites (Jews): The World’s Best Kept Secret’).
The Original Hebrews have Biblical traced their ethnic lineage and have proving that the ancient Hebrews were African in ethnicity, how can two different and distinct people occupy the same space, at the same time; meaning both the Ashkenazi Jew and the Black Hebrew Israelite are both claiming theological heir apparent to one history and the religious legacy of the Torah? Thus, in one sense, it does not matter to me who is right and who is wrong in this equation relative to this argument. But here is my point, as a writer and a witness; you can not help for admiring the Original Hebrew Israelite Nation, an African American group who in the late 1960s migrated to Dimona, Israel. It took some real faith and religious conviction, claiming to be the original lost tribe of Israel and migrating to Israel, there is no doubt in my mind, that the African Hebrew Israelites truly believed they had a divine right to the land presently called Israel. Imagine going into hostile territory facing perhaps one of the best armed and sophisticated military governments in the world—claiming that you are the true “Jews.” (Reference: Ben Ammi; “God, The Black man and Truth”).
Cohane Michael Ben Levi in a book titled: “Israelites and Jews: The Significant Differences” stated: “Jews are generally assumed to be white, as evidenced by the common reference to Blacks in the faith as "Black Jews." At the same time, many Blacks who maintain Hebraic culture and tradition see their belief as not faith, but nationality, and prefer to be called "Israelites." Still, this is not a book about race. It is about the differences in belief, practice and perception of two distinct groups of people ~ who claim the same heritage. Israelites and Jews: the Significant Difference is about the dissimilarity in culture, thought and practice adhered to by Jews and Israelites. (Reference: Cohane Michael Ben Levi “Israelites and Jews: The Significant Differences”).
Levi continues: “. . .In recent times, with the advent of thousands of so-called Negroes, throughout the world claiming to be Israelites, and their ever-increasing awareness regarding returning to their Israelite heritage and even the: homeland, Israel, has also brought about a growing curiosity as to what the difference between "Black" Hebrew Israelites and White European Jews. People all over the world would like to know the truth. They desire to understand these complex questions and issues. Just as the Creator used historical events to manifest the darkness which has clouded these, issues, today the Creator is once again manifesting historical events clarify these issues. The increased enlightenment and awareness Negroes about their past due to their deep quest for an answer to their identity crisis has led them to the truth which they themselves will know and understand along with people of other races. Truth can never be suppressed forever. Inevitably the truth will rise. We have now arrived at the time of the emerging of the truth concerning the vital issue "Who are the true people of God?" (Reference: Cohane Michael Ben Levi “Israelites and Jews: The Significant Differences”).
History instills inspiration, motivation, and self-esteem in a people; moreover, it connects a people to their contributions made towards human civilization. This is the discipline that builds the will of a people and encourages them to go forward. African people living in America had a brilliant and glorious history before and after Chattel Slavery (1555-1865). Those who control political, economic and social institutions recognized that they must forever hide the true past of African people in order to keep them a sleep to the knowledge of self; unless one day, they will wake up from their slumber and reclaim a glorious past that was systematically hidden from them. (Reference: Bruce Bridges; “Recapturing the African Mind”).
History is like a trumpet when it is sounded, the asleep must rise. Africans living in American were put to sleep during the period of Chattel Slavery; denied the right to read and write which to pursue an intellectual exchange of ideas and perhaps acquiring the knowledge of self would have proven to be diametrically opposed to the agenda. The slave masters denied African people the opportunity to develop a true value system, folkway, cultural system, etc. The study of history is one way to correct this deplorable mental state of amnesia that Africans living in American are presently experiencing. (Reference: Edward H. Berman; “African Reactions to Missionary Education”).
We not only lost our historical memory but were disposed of our intellectual faculties to find our home which is Africa, we are silently crying out for Zion—this lost home that has forsaking 30 million black people in America and hundreds of millions located throughout the Diaspora. A crime took place and it does not matter how the descendents of the perpetrators (Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, United States, Belgium, Germany, France, etc.) disguise their denial, we the descendents are the living testimony and the victims of this heinous criminal act. (Reference: Chinweizu: “The West and the Rest of us: White Predators, Black Slaves and the African Elite”).
My Keeping iT Real Think Tank has an African American base and it is my primary audience, but I would be foolish to deny or disregard like minds of other races and cultures who share and understand the struggle we are up against which affects all of humanity. But the African American has always been in a precarious situation in America, which stems from their history under Chattel Slavery (1555-1865). This history has never been redeemed and atoned; it therefore, continues to pose a dichotomy and creates and antagonistic contradiction inside of the United States. It easy for people from the outside to say, we should overlook the 310 years of subjugation and is not sensitive to one of most inhumane crimes ever recorded in human history. (Reference: Richard Williams; “They Stole it, But You Must Return it”).
Chattel Slavery literally devastated a people psychologically, socially and culturally and the present generation of African Americans were never allowed even to heal and yet just 150 years removed from the brutality are still dealing with this not so distant history. This is not a cry of victimization or seeking sympathy, but it is a reality, that haunts the psyche of most black people, if they are honest. The United States has never had a serious conversation relative to race and racism and as a nation we have been in denial and the issue of race, therefore remains unresolved. So, this sense of cultural and historical duality automatically breeds a position of nationalism because here goes a people that lost their names, religion, land and a cultural reference point, which has always rendered a need to remind them of the value of their history prior to Chattel Slavery. (Reference: Naim Akbar; “Chains and Images of Psychological Slavery”).
Thus, on the other hand, I write to expose them to where the real action is taking place and this on the globalization stage and the One World Government stage; many of them are not aware of the sovereign Invisible Rulers. This allows me to have a conversation with them and with others, who are fully aware of everything that I am writing about and I am constantly striking alliances with people from around the world who write me and they are not a bit concerned about race (in particular my race). They have accepted that race, religion, sex, culture, etc., are artificial barriers, which are set-up to divide humanity and there are others who benefit from such created ploys. (Reference: John Coleman; “The Story of the Committee of 300”).
I do think that we agree on much more than we disagree and we should not allow race to serve as a distraction and we must keep our eyes on the real enemy. I have been studying certain political, economic and social trends for some time now and it appears that at every turn in history, the same names and faces just keep on reoccurring throughout human history. I said to myself it is just not coincidental and this is what put me on my journey that has led me on different paths, but truth and real knowledge are connected and interconnected. (Reference: Gary Allen and Larry Abraham; "None Dare Call it Conspiracy").
We were robbed of the knowledge of self and for us to continually identify with the perpetrators history and culture is insanity. This is evident by the surnames we still hold on too and refuse to relinquish and divorce ourselves from being considered the former slave master’s property—by not giving back that which is psychologically binding and still legally define us as their property even in 2009—(slave master’s names) McCrae, Smith, Johnson, Jones, Rhodes, Kennedy, Brown, Lucas, James, Hines, Baldwin, Richards, Culpepper, Johnny Fatback, etc., (you all get the picture) are not indigenous African names. Yet Africans in America are still wearing European names and we call ourselves free, but these names belong to another man’s culture and heritage. (Reference: Elijah Muhammad; “Message to the Blackman in America”).
This writer continues ask the rhetorical question again and again; how can we as Africans living in American who claim to be free and have never divorced themselves from the slave master’s names and culture? It is not the norm to find a Korean or Chinese wearing the names Greg Fatback, Larry Hamhock, Darius Shortenbread, etc., because these alien names do not reflect their East Asian culture and heritage. History ask the six basic questions of who, what, where, when, how and why; moreover we have traditionally responded to the above questions with Eurocentric answers. (Reference: Carter G. Woodson: “The Mis-education of the Negro”).
Non-traditional scholars such as Dr. Yosef Ben A. A. Johannon, Drusilla Dunjee Houston, Cheik Anta Diop, John G. Jackson, Asa Hilliard, George G. M. James, etc., worked to redefine history by rescuing African history from misconceptions, half-truths and outright lies. History builds patriotism and nationalism by instilling pride and self-worth in a people by making them aware of their past accomplishments. Also, to pass down culturally that which to always remind them, of their obligation to make every generation aware of their glorious past and use it to inspire the born and unborn generations to aspire to create new history. (Reference: John G. Jackson; “Introduction to African Civilization”).
We as African Americans should work to retain the best national and international attorneys in the world and plead our slavery case within the international courts. The African Holocaust involved numerous criminal acts ranging from kidnap, rape, murder, assault, conspiracy, etc. Now, I do think reparations have to be part of that discussion. (Reference: Ida Hakim; “Reparations: The Cure for America’s Race Problem”).
It will be an extremely large task to overturn 310 years of dehumanization and historical trauma (no financial settlement could ever right the magnitude of the historical wrong) without being sensitive to the fact that the Africans who were made Chattel Slaves were stripped of their humanity (this is not a victimization cry), lost their culture, their right to a homeland, language, religion, names, etc., This is not essentially a comparison of oppression relative to the Jews or any other oppressed and enslaved people, but the world since Adolph Hitler has fully embraced the Jews suffering. (Reference: The Historical Research Department Nation of Islam: “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews”).
But the Jews did not lose their cultural identity (many of them have dual citizenship in America and Israel, which is an identifiable land base, which gives them a collective origin as a people. Many Eastern European Jews speaks Yiddish and some of them speak Hebrew—a common language is essential to any cultural cohesiveness. They had these essentials in tact in order to make a complete social and psychological transition (or recovery) from under the oppression of the Germans (1933-1945).
The African American has had a much more comprehensive and complex predicament because of the severity of the oppression. Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary states right off the back that the study of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” is not designed to make other people feel guilty, but solutions will require open and honest communication. But the ultimate solutions will have to be internal and not external. There has to be cultural models that reinforces African values, promote self-esteem and positive self-worth outside the system that has been historically structured on racism and was tailored for the dominant society to benefit and prosper. (Reference: Naim Akbar; “Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery”).
There must be educational models that are put in place to inspire African American children to want to desire to achieve academically in order to prepare themselves to make a positive contribution to their families and to the community. The issue of poverty must be addressed from the point of view of redistributing the wealth and nothing short of this will be sufficed. The United States Government can spend over three trillion dollars on a war in Iraq and will continue to spend trillions more in an unjust war in Afghanistan, but will not invest in the poor of these United States of America. We must have public policy that's sensitive to all its citizens, especially the have-nots (who are ordinarily your poor whites, Latinos, and African Americans). Economically there must-be more of an investment in the American people. Black leadership must-be held more accountable to its own constituents and truly work in the three major arenas—political, social and economic for the benefit of African Americans. No more window dressing and selling out the black masses for self interest. They have been too self-serving in the past and have been short on solutions and long on echoing the problem, which has been well defined for generations. (Reference: Harold Cruse; “The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: From its Origins to the Present”).
We can not turn the clock back and play the blame game, but at the same time we can not be in social denial. Black Churches must move away from this entire prosperity ministry foolishness and embrace a social Gospel which to truly aid our people in their quest for the basics of life—food, clothing and shelter. The Black Church is perhaps the largest institution in black America with tremendous power and influence—they must play a greater role in helping to solve this dilemma. Lastly, white America and all races must have that long awaited talk on race and racism and find common areas that all of humanity can work together to rectify some of these historical problems that still plague our nation. (Reference: Tavis Smiley: “How to Make Black America Better”).
Fahim A. Knight-EL Chief Researcher for KEEPING IT REAL THINK TANK located in Durham, NC; our mission is to inform African Americans and all people of good will of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolisms and reinterpret the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlighten world will be better prepared to throw off the shackles of ignorance and not be willing participants for the slaughter. Our MOTTO is speaking truth to power. Fahim A. Knight-EL can be reached at email@example.com.STAY AWAKE UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN,
Fahim A. Knight-EL