Friday, June 1, 2007
African Roots of Humanity and Civilization - Pat VI - Conclusion
There is an African proverb that says "Until the lion has his historian, the hunter will always be a hero." I would contend that not nearly enough energy is expended by us on the history of African people, whether in antiquity or modern times. Not nearly enough. All strong peoples emphasize their history all the time; weak peoples do not. Not only must intellectuals do their work, they must give the information to the masses. I believe that as Africans, if we are to be a strong people again, we must continually clarify who we are and where we are, and constantly emphasize the things that made us great in the past. Some peoples have gone as far as to essentially make their history sacred. No one questions the right of a people to engage in this process. Europeans, Chinese, etc., do it all the time as a matter of course. Even Malcolm X said, "Of all our studies, it is history that is most qualified to reward our research." And this is not just ancient history that Malcolm X was talking about, but history ancient and modern. Our greatest leaders and intellectuals, including David Walker, Martin Robison Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Marcus Garvey, J.A. Rogers, Drusilla Dunjee Houston, Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. DuBois, Kwame Nkrumah, Kwame Ture, Cheikh Anta Diop, Chancellor Williams, John Henrik Clarke, and many, many more were clear on this. Nkrumah, however, took it a step further and clarified the matter unmistakably when he said that "Thought without practice is empty, and action without thought is blind." I believe that we must use our history, not just for intellectual purposes, but to galvanize our people into action to solve our current problems. In other words, we must use our history as a springboard for struggle. I do not pretend to speak for everyone on this matter, but I do feel quite strongly about it. Nobody in their right mind would argue that we can simply return to the past. But certainly we must look at the past in another light. I say that history is a light that illuminates the past and key that unlocks the door to the future. We need that light and we need that key. Not only must we emphasize our historical greatness as a people, as well as analyze the mistakes that we have made, we must inject it into the minds of the masses of our people and build upon it. This is a fundamental step in our liberation process.
Africa will never be free until Africans outside of Africa are effectively integrated into the African liberation movement. At the same time, Africans scattered outside of Africa will not be free until Africa itself is free. And by African freedom I am talking about the complete unification of all Africa with her vast mineral resources utilized for and by African people. I believe that we must all, each one of us, see ourselves as endowed with a sacred mission in regards to African liberation. Mine, as a conscious African historian, is to help make Africans proud of themselves, to help change the image of Africa in the world at large, and, through the use of history and culture, clarify our identity as a people, and help reunite a family of people that has been separated far too long. Obviously, our individual missions will vary. But I am clear on mine. I believe that Ancestors have given me a divine task and I do not intend to flunk it. Thank you very much sisters and brothers.
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