On my journey now: the narrative and works of Dr. John Henrik Clarke, the knowledge revolutionary.

AuthorPerson-Lynn, Kwaku
PositionP. 108-132

The Knowledge Revolutionary: Chapter 4

I've been teaching most of my life, one way or the other, from stepladders on Lennox Avenue, Seventh Avenue, to several colleges. When I began teaching fully, within the academic community around 1967, I had conducted courses at New York University for Head Start teachers before then. I was working on what they call soft money or government grant money. That means when the government grant is over, the job is over. You might work nine months, then three the next year, depending on the funding. For five years I was the trainer of teachers at the anti-poverty program in Harlem, at the section called the Community Action Institute.

I entered the academic community as a full time teacher in 1967, when I went to Hunter College. Concurrent with being in Hunter College, I was at Cornell University for two years. I stopped a year, and went back for another year. I've been teaching with some consistency most of my adult life.

I have lectured in London, Baghdad, Egypt, a lot of places. I've written one book and compiled a book on my London lectures with Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan, we call him Dr. Ben, which is still going well. This was done several years ago. The main unbroken streak of my teaching was at Hunter College, as one of the developers of the Department of African and Puerto Rican Studies. I taught in that department for most of the twenty years I was there. I was Chairman for three years.

One of the things that bothered me about being Chairman, it was an administrative job that took me out of the classroom most of the time. I still taught one course while I was Chairman, but I did not have the privilege of teaching the three courses, and confronting three sets of students at least twice a week.

I taught mostly Afrikan and Afrikan American history. I've taught courses on Afrikans in the Mediterranean world. I've taught courses on men and movements in the black urban ghetto, and courses on slavery. Afrikan American history courses 1 and 2, and Afrikan history 1 and 2., I taught all the time, and I always added one new course, a different course, every other semester.

When I would teach "Men and Movements in the Black Urban Ghetto," I would teach that in the Spring. I would not teach it again until the next Spring. I would not teach these alternate courses twice in one year.

I have never been satisfied with any of the textbooks, any of them. Not even one. I was satisfied with some of the basic improvements on their way to becoming an honest textbook, but I've never been thoroughly satisfied with any of them. They're not only unfair to the history of the Afrikans in the United States, they're unfair to the indigenous Americans. They're unfair to the fact that every person that came to America from Europe wasn't seeking any haven, or running from religious persecution. A lot of people came from Europe because there were no jobs and no way of life commensurate with their needs.

There were poor Irish, poor Slavic people, and poor people from other parts of Europe. Some of them had to indenture themselves to get their passes. They couldn't pay for their passes, so they indentured themselves to the sea captain who let them come over. The sea captain in turn literally sold their labor to a farmer, or some other person. They had to work for seven to ten years to pay back the initial cost of getting them here. That's at least part of the origin of white slavery in the United States. Lerone Bennett has written about it with more searching accuracy than most. Other writers have ignored it altogether.

This goes back to what Schomburg said in his own words, "Study the history of your masters. Study the people who took you out of history, then you might find out why they had to do it. Why they felt called on to remove you and an entire people from the respectful commentary of history."

We must understand the Europeans' intentions toward Afrika. Their intentions toward the non-European world has been to control. The idea of bringing enlightenment, the idea of civilizing, was really a cover up to disguise the fact that their main intent was to control. This is just as true in Asia as it was in Afrika. There wasn't enough manpower in Europe to hold down all Asia, all Afrika, or the islands in the Pacific.

The European really effected a massive propaganda machine and its greatest achievement was the conquest not of the body, but the conquest of the mind. The conquest of the mind through the use and misuse of the Bible. Through getting across to a lot of people, rather naive in the subject, that God ordained them to rule. They know how to rule. Therefore, when they declared war on the cultures, the art, the civilization of a people, because the people's lack of ability to deal with this rationale, they fell into this trap, and subsequently lost their freedom.

It's important to learn about the various European dynasties, only to the extent of how they affected us. Learn especially about those that reigned at the time the European began to expand beyond its shores and began to interfere with our way of life. Learn that first. In general, it would do no harm to learn about the rest, because you would see how Europe relates to the whole world. When you see how Europe relates to the whole world, you will have an inkling of how you relate to the whole world.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, after the Crusades, Europe fell on hard times. Famines and plagues had taken about one third of the population of Europe. Finally, they discovered longitude and latitude again, and began to put ships at sea again. They had lost sentimental attachment to other people. They had lost some sentimental attachment to themselves. Europe was land poor, people poor, and resource poor. Without sentiment, it began to expand, using their ships to take the resources, the land, and the energies of other people. They had no compunction, no mercy, and no hesitation. It used the church to justify, or rationalize this in 1455, settling an argument between Spain and Portugal. The Pope said to them, "You take the West. You take the East. You two good Catholic nations stop fighting among yourself." Then he added, "You're both authorized to reduce to servitude all infidel people."

In order to rationalize slavery, all you had to do is just to say that certain people were not Christian. That they were infidels, and they did not even use a knife or fork. That rationale would justify European expansion for the next three to four hundred years. The fact that if you are not a Christian, by their definition, you had no soul, and therefore, an assault on you was an assault on an object without a soul. They needed not to feel guilty for having done so.

At first, color was not an issue, but later on color became a major factor. There were other people in the world, other colored people who were not enslaved quite the same way as us. They came under European domination, but they did not inflict chattel slavery on these other people.

Afrika was exposed, because the Afrikan believed that they did not need any support, any protection from the outside. That was their mistake, because no European had to fight their way into Afrika. They came as guests, and stayed as conquerors. The Afrikan hasn't fully awakened to this day as to what happened to them.

The so-called curse in the Bible played a major role. To some extent, it still plays a role. The curse was a drug in the Bible, later on during the Babylonian period. It was not originally in there. This so-called curse not only labeled Afrikans infidels, but that they were descendants of Ham, who supposedly committed some crime against Noah. Even the church got the whole thing wrong. This curse was not placed on Ham, but on Ham's children. They use that same thing to mean all black people.

There's some confusion going around related to the term "Asiatic Blackman." Afrikans did relate to Asians. Some Asians have been our friends, and some have been our enemies. Some are still our friends. Some are still our enemies. People cannot classify us to ourselves, by dragging someone else into it. It's like some blacks today that have to say that they're black and Puerto Rican. Or they're black and Hispanic brothers. When the Hispanic speaks, he rarely says our Hispanic and black brothers. We are rather naive. Many times we're so democratic to other people, and undemocratic to ourselves.

Ali Mazrui, the Arabian Afrikan historian, argues that the Arabian peninsula should be part of Afrika, or something to that extent. I don't know where he intends to go with it, because Ali Mazrui's an Arab propagandist of the highest order. Though he's partly black, he's really not pro black. He's an apologist for Islam. Of course, there's a book on it called, When Egypt Ruled the East. The Arabian peninsula was really northeast Afrika. While I go along with this, I wonder what does he intend to do with it? It seems he's making a rationale for the Arabs grabbing more land.

The Arab nation evolved out of the human mixtures and migrations into the Arabian peninsula. They migrated into an area that had formerly been Afrikan dominated. They drove out the Afrikans in many ways. I refer you again to When Egypt Ruled the East, a book published by the University of Chicago Press. It's in Phoenix paperback. The author is Keith Seeley, he's dead now. He also covered up Afrikan history. He found many things that proved that the original civilization of Egypt started in the South, but he covered it up until one of his students opened up his files, after he was dead, and wrote an article called, "The Lost Pharaohs of Nubia." That was Bruce Williams, the archaeologist.

When someone approaches me and tells me that Islam is the black man's religion, in the first place, he's telling me he's a liar, a fraud, and a coward. How can it be a black man's religion when it started in the seventh century A. D. Black people had religions...

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