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Kwame Speaks is the regular column from the Kwame Ture Society (KTS), a student organization founded to further the development, dissemination of knowledge, and the advancement of the Africana studies discipline. Members of KTS regularly contribute to The Liberator.
Sp Tpy is an ancient Kemetic term denoting the ‘the first occasion’. A few scholars from the Kwame Ture Society were able to experience the international conference of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations for the first time last weekend in Chicago.
While a few other scholars were experiencing this for the second occasion, we all were able to engage African people in the maroon space, known as the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies on the campus of Northeastern Illinois University, named for one of the most important African scholars of the 20th century. Themed “Wisdoms Instructions for Life”, this conference reminded us and those in attendance about African themes, concepts, and ideas that continuously shaped how our ancestors moved throughout the world and how we as a result should govern our lives.
An important and essential step in the development of the future scholars and defenders of the African way is the passing of the baton. As Queen Nzinga Ratibisha Heru stated we must have an intergenerational transmission of knowledge and worldview. Members of our organization were able to sit at the feet of elders and senior colleagues and accept the role of aiding in the development of what Dr. Mario Beatty, termed ‘liberation historiography.” That is the writing of the history of African people from an African perspective on African terms. We were introduced to the theoretical framework from approaching this work as outlined by scholars in ASCAC who were engaged in the work and vision of Carruthers of developing the African World History Project. The first release, The Preliminary Challenge, beautifully outlines how we are to engage the work and the challenges that we as African people must address. This work is aimed at rescuing the history of African people from European historiography allowing us to know our “political time of day”, which will bring us closer to the liberation of us all [humans]. Baba Anderson Thompson of ASCAC has provided us with the foundation of how to solidify the development of African historiography (AWHP -The Preliminary Challenge Chapter 1). Those interested in this liberation historiography must then be ready and willing to support the work of ASCAC, as they follow in the footsteps of African ‘old scrappers’ and scholars from Baba Hosea Eaton to Mama Druscilla Dungee Houston to Baba Cheikh Anta Diop. Professors at Howard University, too are part of this genealogy. If nothing else, this University should recognize the works of William Leo Hansberry and Chancellor Williams, and support the work of Dr. Greg Carr.
As we engaged the important research and presentations by African-centered scholars and even presented our own research, we were able to acknowledge the importance and depth of our work to reclaim our collective humanity. As Baba Carr presented, Diop reminds us that we must be “strong enough and serene enough to accept the facts as they are”. This means that as the world changes through globalization, new forms of imperialism, and other challenges, we must be ready to utilize lessons in our collective history to begin to meet those challenges. If African people are to survive the 21st century, we must adopt the African principle as Baba Thompson instructs in his piece. We must take off our masks and address the question of “Who Am I?”, as Baba Theophile Obenga suggests in the African World History Project’s The Preliminary Challenge. These are essential beginning steps of re-thinking the history and genealogy of African people. It develops a collective group identity that is not dominated by foreign ideals and allows us the space to begin to think about the question Carruthers often pondered “how we get out of this mess that we’re in.”
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