What's In Your Library? Here is a Glimpse Into Mine
By Fahim A. Knight-El
What's in your library? This writer has always been very fond of books and is a firm believer that what is in a person's library speaks volumes of who they are and it circumscribe the diameter of one's thinking and you often can tell a lot about person based on what they read. This writer attributes his own political, economic and social awareness to the type of information that he has fed himself and each stage of my mental development was sparked by my openness to receiving information (take it from me sometimes this can be a painful process).
Thus, information effects people in different ways, and how we process information often determines the ultimate value of our learning. For example, this writer has purchased books that had literally sat on his library shelf for over 10 years and without me ever opening certain books, perhaps in some cases, I just wasn't ready or prepared to receive certain lessons and it wasn't that I was negating knowledge, but often our readiness to receive knowledge isn't necessarily determined by us. It is sub-consciously being driven by an internal spiritual realization or intuition that ignites our inner being relative to a timetable of becoming an un-opposing vessel and giving into a willingness to be led to a particular mental or intellectual space. But it is the power of our experiences or the lack of that brings us to certain timely learning realities. There is wise axiom that I often quote: "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear"
This article is designed to give my readers a brief glimpse into my library (remember it is only a glimpse because this article would be entirely to long if I were to cite and talk about every book that's in my library). Thus, when this writer visit people's homes one of the first things he looks for, is a person's library and he often prays that it is in a conspicuous location (in most people homes they only have two books, the Bible and the phone book and it is not because they have downloaded their books on some new technological gadget such as I-Pad Apple or the Kindle, it is often our lack of respect for knowledge and information, in particular in western society. This writer knows and understand that the wave of the future will be increasingly technological based and has willingly embraced where the world is headed. However, there is nothing like having a book, that you can physically touch and hold, it somehow appeals to the psyche by creating a psychological attachment to the knowledge (a book seems to personalize the reading experience).
This writer loves to engage people about the books that they have chosen to place in their library and the reasons why. It is always an interesting discussion to find out, what people are reading? And to get some understanding of their literary intelligience and interest. I do not read for recreational purposes or for sheer entertainment, I do not have that type of leisure time to waste; for me it is about educating myself and evolving my thinking to the next level (some would argue that my position is typical male energy and full of male testosterone and they might be right) and I do understand the importance of possessing a balance. I am always in a quest for wisdom and looking to gain some knowledge that I did not know prior to reading on a subject (sometimes I might even stumble across valuable and pertinent wisdom).
This writer has spent thousands of dollars on books, but I must say it has been a worthy investment that has rendered huge intellectual dividends. You really can not put a value on knowledge and for me, there is nothing in the material world that equates. The buying of books exceeds the value of monetary and/or any medium of exchange instrument that it may have taken to acquire these most precious commodities.
This writer, constantly and often, get request from people in person and/or via the Internet enquiring about what I am reading and could I provide them with a suggestive biblography of books that this writer would recommend. They are covertly asking me what's in my library and could I share with them the story behind the story, relative why I have chosen certain titles and/or authors. Although, this writer does share portions of his book list with other people, but often it is difficult to convey the experience which may have led up to how this writer may have been introduced to a book and how it may have been mind altering or even life changing for me. Each person has to build their own intricate stories based on experiences and often, how one may have attained a piece of knowledge could be more exciting than the book itself.
This writer has a small library perhaps over a thousand books (it is not the quantity of books that exist in ones library, but the quality of books that are present), but it is my most valued treasure in my home. My 11 year old daughter, is always asking me, why am I always browsing over the books in my library and she constantly sees me reading and writing (I could only pray that she emulates me in that regard). She always says, "Dad, you know what's in your library and yet, you are always appearing that you are looking for something that's not there"
This this article is designed to give my readers a tiny glimpse into my intellectual sanctuary, as I have stated above and how I have arrived at this space and time. This writer loves reading history and delving into ancient societies and cultures that have impacted humanity politically, socially and economically. This writer over twenty-five years ago was introduced to the monumental works of Will Durant "The Story of Civilization" and its 10 volume set that evaluated and assessed many aspects of world history-- ranging from Ancient Egypt ,Ancient Greece and the Age of European Enlightenment. Durant's 10 volumes are: I. Our Oriental Heritage, II. The Life of Greece, III. Caesar and Christ, IV. The Age of Faith, V. The Renaissance, VI. The Reformation, VII. The Age of Reason Begins, VIII. The Age of Louis XIV, IX. The Age of Voltaire, X. Rousseau and Revolution. These volumes were published between 1963 and 1967. The Lessons of History was published in 1968. These reference books are invaluable, it must have taken Will Durant many years to document so much historical information.
I have not chosen to categorize the authors in this article in no particular or specific order of importance; moreover, to lead off with a Caucasian writer and social scientist do not imply that I perceive Durant's works or white scholars as having more intellectual value over some of the great African thinkers, true intellectualism is beyond race, ethnicity and gender. We must be willing to see the value in truth regardless of who the vessel may be and then possess an unconditional willingness to embrace credible scholarship. This writer has a very high level of respect for the scholarship of Will Durant. His works serves as very good historical references.
But let me once again restate for clarification purposes, I did not arrange this article of which authors or books had more importance to me. But there is no doubt, some of the works that I will mention in this piece profoundly impacted my life and deserved to be ranked high on the scale of literary importance.
However, the first book that intrigued me was the "Autobiography of Malcolm X" told by Minister Malcolm X and recorded by Alex Haley (this was the first book that I had truly internalized) . This was perhaps the most single book that gave me purpose and inspiration to believe in self and provided me, with a cultural intellectual paradigm and led me toward social activism. Minister Malcolm X's story was much more than the documentation of one man's life; it symbolically personified huge aspects of the black experience in America.
The story of Minister Malcolm X, further led me to appreciate reading autobiographies and biographies (there is so much to be learned from studying the life experiences of others). The story of Minister Malcolm X was essentially a critical evaluation of American life and this resonated with me as young man. This writer over the years has purchased a number of copies of the "Autobiography of Malcolm X" in order to give away to someone who might become personally empowered as I did. I often, tell a lot of younger brothers who are seeking for knowledge is to remain open to all good knowledge and start building a solid intellectual premises.
I started by purchasing all the writings of Cheikh Anta Diop, ("The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality" and "Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology" ), Drusilla Dunjee Houston ('Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire") John G. Jackson ("Introduction to African Civilizations" and "Man, God and Civilization" ), Chancellor Williams "Destruction of Black Civilization : Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C to 2000 A.D." and "The re-birth of African civilization" ), John Henrik Clarke ("Africans at the Crossroads: African World Revolution" and Christopher Columbus and the African Holocaust: Slavery and the Rise of European Capitalism") .
Ivan Van Sertima ("They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America") and ("African Presence in Early Asia"), J.A. Rogers ("World's Great Men Color") and ("Sex and Race"), Asa Hilliard ("SBA: The Reawakening of the African Mind"), Carter G. Woodson ("Mis-Education of the Negro"), Yosef A.A. Ben Jochannon ("African Origins of the Major Western Religions"), ("Africa: Mother of Western Civilization" ) and ("Black Man of the Nile and His Family"), Amy Jacques Garvey and Marcus Garvey ("Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey"), Naim Akbar ("Light from Ancient Africa"), ("Chains and Images of Psychological Slavery"), ("Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery"),(" Know Thyself"),(" Visions for Black Men"); True Islam ("The Book of God"), Edward Blyden ("Christianity, Islam, and the Negro Race"),and Ra Un Nefer Amen works titled, ("Metu Neter") Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and many other African-Centered scholars (these authors and their writings are a must).
I took a serious interest in African history and civilization, thus, this became my initial foundation because it was important that I had a total understanding of the African experience and the knowledge of self (there is no knowledge greater). These above mentioned authors helped me to build an appreciation for the African worldview; their works led me to discovering the knowledge of self and it provided me with the proper knowledge to defend myself and African (black) worldview and it led me to investigate Kemet (Egypt) and Cush (Ethiopia).
I discovered that it was these Nubian Nations in which I learned the true contributions that African people had made towards civilizations and this led me to embrace the concept of Afrocentrism where it furthered taught me to view Africa as a subject rather than as an object. This writer is grateful to Molefi Kete Asante who authored the book titled, "Afrocentricity" .
But, I must admit to my readers, that I first came into the knowledge of self via the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Mr. Muhammad was a masterful teacher--there would not have been a Minister Malcolm X, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, Clarence 13X, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Minister Khallid Abdul Muhammad, etc., if were not for the life giving teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He taught all of these men and then some. I am a student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad teachings (but he was not my only teacher because I am student of knowledge and I do not worship personalities) .
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave me a clear understanding of the nature of the white man and the nature of the original black man (God). This was extremely important because it provided me with the understanding of the black and white paradigm. I read and studied, "Message to the Blackman in America", "Our Savior Has Arrived", "Fall of America" "How to "Eat to Live" Book 1 &2 and the "Flag of Islam" and this gave me a theological foundation (the Messenger breaks down where we fit into Bible and Qur'an), which this became my initial introduction to Islam.
This writer is a student of all world religions (part of my focus has always been comparative religious studies) and I have many book is my library that deals with the three major world religions--Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but there were other "pagan" concepts that these three Abrahamic faiths borrowed. I started studying Esoteric, Freemasonry, Occult, Metaphysical science, symbolism, etc., all of these schools of thought put me on the path that I am on today. Thus another book that pricked my imagination and struck me deeply was a book written by Kersey Graves titled, "The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors" in which Graves brought to my attention that there were so-called other world Saviors from which Christianity borrowed the entire myth of the birth, death, resurrection and ascension story from more ancient societies such as in Egypt, Persia, India, China, Mexico, Greece, etc. In fact, the ancient story of Osiris (Asar), Isis (Aset), and Horus (Huru); (the Father, Son and Holy Ghost)—the birth, death, resurrection and ascension was an old story. Yeshua ben Josef (Jesus, the Christ) was actually predated by some thousands of years by the Osirian Myth, even before the advent of Isa bin Yusuf or Yeshua ben Yosef (better known in the West as Jesus Christ—the so-called Son of God) was ever a thought.
These legends are rooted in the Sun God and Solar God concepts. For example, right-minded historians and social scientists have traced these rituals and customs back to the worship of the Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice that was originally being practiced in Kemet (Ancient Egypt ). I found this knowledge intriguing and believable based on the standards that I applied to determining truth. I read the "Lost Books of the Bible" and many more like sources and most of it pointed to how Constantine and Bishops in 325 A.D. set-up Christianity and the Christian Creed.
This writer was recently given a gift (Book) by a brother of the Nation of Gods and Earths (I Love the brothers of the NGE and I enjoy Building with them) named Divine Being Allah in Durham and he gave me a book titled, "Black Arabia and the African Origins of Islam" authored by Dr. Wesley Muhammad (aka True Islam); this book is ground breaking and will rank high because he scholarly and empirically takes many of Nation of Islam's historical contentions to next level. This book verifies the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's theories relative to Mecca in particular and Saudi Arabia in general. I advise all who want a new and refreshing approach on Black Islam to add Wesley Muhammad's book to your library. Muhammad also further connects the dots where Drusilla Dunjee Houston in her book titled, "Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire" leaves off. This book is well researched and well documented.
A friend of mine some years ago named George Little from Prince George County, Maryland who was Rosicrucian and as many may know the Rosicrucian delves into the mystics relative to seeking spiritual meaning from studying Esoteric, Gnostic and Occult knowledge; thus, brother Little knew that I was a seeker of knowledge and he introduced me to Mr. Kessinger via telephone who was the owner and operator of Kessinger Publishing Company in Kila, Montana. He specialized in publishing hard to find old and rare books that were out of print. Mr. Kessinger and I back in 1990s would talk extensively about his collection, he was a well knowledgeable 32nd degree Freemason. His company pride themselves of re-introducing out of print books dealing with Alchemy, Ancient Wisdom, Astronomy, Baconian, Eastern Thought, Egyptology, Esoteric, Freemasonry, Gnosticism, Hermetic, Magic, Metaphysics, Mysticism, Mystery Schools, Mythology, Occult, Philosophy, Psychology, Pyramids, Qabalah, Religions, Rosicrucian, Science, Spiritual, Symbolism, Tarot, Theosophy, etc.
It was a huge blessing for me to meet Mr. Kessinger in which I purchased a number of hard to find books by Albert Churchward "Signs & Symbols of Primordial Man: The Evolution of Religious Doctrines from the Eschatology of the Ancient Egyptians", "The Origin and Evolution of Freemasonry" and "The Origin and Evolution of Religion" as well as other titles by Churchward. It is my opinion, that no library is complete without all the works of Albert Churchward (also all serious minded Freemasons must have Churchward's body of works in their personal library if we call ourselves students of Masonry). This writer also place the works of Sir Godfrey Higgins high on his list of books that impacted his ancient knowledge and worldview, in particular Higgins' book titled: "Anacalypsis - The Saitic Isis: Languages Nations and Religions". I came in contact with so much ancient wisdom and knowledge through Kessinger Publishing House and I am forever indebted to this great resource. Kessinger also use to carry a book in its catalogue titled, "Who Was Hiram Abiff?" by JSM Ward, it is a very good read for Freemasons who are looking to unlock the mythological and symbolic character Hiram Abiff.
This writer became aware of Theosophy via Kessinger Publishing where this writer purchased the three or four volume set written by Madam Helena Petrovna Blavatsky titled, "The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy" and "Isis Unveiled" once again these books can not be read, but have to be studied. I purchased a hardback cover of Albert Pikes monumental Masonic treatise titled, "Morals and Dogma" and William H. Grimshaw book titled "Official History of Freemasonry Among the Colored People in North America" although, this writer is fully aware of the criticisms of Grimshaw's work, nevertheless, some of his research on Black Freemasonry remains credible.
This writer also purchased some of Manly P. Hall's works such as the "The Secret Teachings of All Ages" (this book should be studied and not just read); perhaps next to Albert MacKey who authored "The History of Freemasonry" ; there is no other Masonic scholar like Hall in my opinion, who has tapped into the ancient wisdom and has been able to decipher what the ancient Gurus and Sages intended for humanity to understand. Manly P. Hall Hall's writings are a must to anyone who is seeking any type philosophical explanation and interpretation into the mysteries. Also the works of Gerald Massey, in particular "Ancient Egypt the Light of the World" and "A Book of Beginnings", which this Caucasian scholar viewed African history with a lot more objectivity than most white scholars of his time.
I use to attend the Melanin Conference and the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC) conferences, it was there that I came to appreciate the writings of Massey, Higgins, Churchward, James George Frazer who authored, "The Golden Bough" and James Henry Breasted "Conquest of Civilization" , etc., and it was there that I sat under some wise teachers. These conferences gave me a perspective on the Nile Valley Civilizations that I did not initially have. I learned from Anthony T. Browder how much the western world is indebted to Kemet (Egypt) in his book titled, "Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization" .
This writer was introduced to Marimba Ani book titled, "Yurugu: An African-Centered Critique of European Culture Thought and Behavior," this book is a classic and it took me five years to read. This writer value George G. M. James book "Stolen Legacy" and stands out as one of those golden nuggets. There were other great works that have become part of my library such as works by CLR James "Black Jacobins" and Eric Williams, "Capitalism and Slavery"; Walter Rodney, "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa". This writer was introduced to the works of Frantz Fanon by Kwame Ture, in particular "Wretched of the Earth" and "Black Skin, White Mask". Fanon in the former book deals extensively with colonialism in Africa and revolutionary politics. Fanon analysis is very decisive to understanding the long lasting and lingering effects that colonialism had on African societies. This writer would also recommend the works of Amos Wilson who I believe died to soon, but his works lives on titled, "Blueprint for Black Power: A Moral, Political, and Economic Imperative for the Twenty-First Century".
There was another set of books that led me to question everything around me and I do not like to use the term "conspiracy theory" because it is a cheapened term for people who have committed their lives and research to uncovering hidden truths, plots and decoys. This writer was inspired by the works of Eustace Mullins titled, "The Secrets of the Federal Reserve" in which Mullins untangled the 1913 plot where private bankers committed a bloodless coup d'état and overthrew the American people and the United States Constitution by the very establishment of the Federal Reserve System (this system is responsible for over 75% of the world's problems today. This writer was then led to a book written by William Greider titled, "Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country". Also, William Cooper book titled, "Behold a Pale Horse"; the authors Larry Abraham and Gary Allen's book titled, "None Dare Called it Conspiracy"; John Coleman book, "Conspirators' Hierarchy: The Story of the Committee of 300"; Carroll Quigley "Tragedy and Hope"; David Icke "Big Secrets"; Texe Marrs "The Circle of Intrigue", etc., these works and many more like them gave me an understanding of the Invisible and hidden Elitist--the Bilderberger, Council on Foreign Relations and Trilateral Commission, as well as Illuminati. Perhaps there is none better than Daniel Estulin book titled, "The True Story of the Bilderberg Group" that exposes one of these most powerful entities.These writer are liken to sophisticated chess players who have used their knowledge and pen to checkmate those who operate in darkness. This writer also studied the works of Nesta H. Webster titled, "Secrets Societies and Subversive Movements" and William Guy Carr Guy Carr book titled, "Pawns in the Game". This writer have written over 50 articles dealing with various aspects of these covert powers. Once again no library is complete without having all the above said authors in your library. This is where the real action is taking place.
This writer gets a lot of inquiries from Freemasons about what books do I recommend to Masons who are seeking knowledge. Here is an abbreviated list of some of the Masonic books in my library that deals with the science of Speculative Masonry and perhaps after I have published this article, it will give Freemasons some indication of the level of study that is required to show yourself approved. Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, "The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasonry, and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus", Robert Lomas, "Turning The Hiram Key", W.L. Wilmshurst, "The Meaning of Masonry", Robert I. Clegg; "Mackey's Jurisprudence of Freemasonry" , E. M. Stroms, "Should A Christian Be a Mason?", Zachery P. Gremillion, "African Origins of Freemasonry" .
Paul M. Bessel and Alton G. Roundtree, "Out of the Shadows: The Emergency of Prince Hall Freemasonry in America", Allen Roberts, "The Craft and its Symbols: Opening the Door of Masonic Symbolism", John Robinson, "Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry" , Alan Butler and Stephen Dafoe, "The Knights Templar Revealed", E.R. Johnston, "Masonry Defined", Marilyn Hopkins, "The Enigma of the Knights Templar", Arkon Daraul, "Secret Societies: A History", David Ovason, "The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington", R.T. Rundle Clarke, "Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt", Miranda Bruce-Mitford; "The Illustrated Books of Signs and Symbols", Rollin C. Blackmer, "The Lodge and the Craft".
Edmond Ronayne: "Master's Carpet or Masonry and Baal-Worship Identical", Martin Wagner, "Freemasonry Interpreted" , Joseph Walkes, Jr. "Black Square and Compass 200 Hundred Years of Prince Hall Freemasonry" , David Barton, "The Question of Freemasonry and the Founding Fathers", Three Initiates; "The Kybalion: A Study of Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece", Ralph M. Lewis; "Mental Alchemy", Peter Lamborn Wilson; "Sacred Drifts: Essays on the Margins of Islam", Noble Timothy Myers-El, "The Huevolution of Sacred Muur Science past and Present: A Theoretical Compilation" , Keith Moore, "Freemasonry, Greek Philosophy, The Prince Hall Fraternity And The Egyptian (African) World Connection", Mustafa El-Amin, "Freemasonry: Ancient Egypt and the Islamic Destiny", Mustafa Al-Amin, "Al-Islam Christianity and Freemasonry" , Manly P. Hall, "Freemasonry of Ancient Egypt", Frank C. Higgins, "The Mysteries of Freemasonry in Ancient Egypt", Norman Frederick de Clifford "Egypt the Cradle of Ancient Freemasonry" , Albert Churchward, "Origin and Antiquity of Freemasonry" , Barnes & Nobles Publishers, "Symbols of Freemasonry" .
I had purchased some of H.G. Wells non-fictional works (although, Wells authored some valuable science fiction works in which I must admit that I have virtually ignored the fiction realm of knowledge), but the book that standout in my mind is "Outline of History" and like Durant, Wells gives us a clear and an objective view of world history. This writer is of the opinion, that you can not appreciate and write history if you omit the works of Durant and Wells. I have a special shelf in library for these two worthy scholars. I also, was led early on to purchase Henrik Willem Van Loon book titled, "The Story of Mankind".
W.E.B Dubois works should be a mandatory and perquisite reading for all who are seeking to understand American intellectual thought. I have all of Dubois works in my library. He became the first African American to receive Ph.D in history from Harvard University in 1895 ("The Suppression of the African Slave Trade") and was perhaps one of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th Century. Dubois vacillated back and forward from being a pure academician to embracing an economic determinist theoretician position and later embraced Pan-Africanism and experimented with Black Nationalism. Dubois life was full of theoretical contradictions, but his scholarship was impeccable.
He magnificently argued against the accommodation position of Booker T. Washington in his book titled "The Souls of Black Folk" initially published in 1903. Although, this writer disagreed with Dubois Talented Tenth Theory and his bourgeoisie paradigm, as well as his opposition in sabotaging the good works of Marcus Garvey. Nevertheless, he stands tall as a pure intellectual. He was one of the founders of the Niagara Movement that evolved into the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP 1909).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 goodwill, of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolism and reinterpreted the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlightened 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 http://us.mc1123.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=fahimknight%40yahoo.com.
Stay Awake Until We Meet Again,
Fahim A. Knight-EL