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  • Monday, November 05, 2018 1:04 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    In the Beginning

    “African people are indeed at a crossroads. Only clear thoughts and purposeful actions will determine if we will take the right road. But before we can successfully choose a road, we must solve our problems of spiritual and identity confusion.”   -- Dr. Asa Hilliard III

    One of the major problems that has created our identity and spiritual confusion is that we have allowed those who would oppress us to tell our story. Unfortunately, they have no interest in telling our story in a way that would empower us.

    Surveying the landscape of public opinion and social media one finds an absence of any dialog that illuminates and elevates American culture let alone Afrikan culture. In fact, what we find in American discourse is a burgeoning amount of social and political ignorance. America now has a president who is more ignorant than a third grader. What’s worst is the number of men of Afrikan ancestry who because of agnotology (culturally induced ignorance Proctor, 2008) find it difficult to separate themselves from their oppressor (Kanye). It is time for the Afrikan story/experiences to be told in a way that empowers, illuminates, and elevates Afrikan culture and makes sacred their experiences as a people. There must be a mass movement to end the effects of agnotology in our communities and there must be a telling of that story in a way that would help us end our spiritual and identity confusion.

    To do this we must start our story from the beginning of recorded history. We must start from the time man became conscious of himself. Today, there is no argument among anthropologist that human history began on the continent of Afrika. Yet it is never asked what the first homo sapiens thought, what they did, when they became conscious of themselves?

    It is as if Afrika remained dark until Europe brought the light. Reality starts with understanding that human beings are social animals. Human beings exist in societies, they exist in groups, and are born dependent with extended periods of dependency. It is there social relationships, Relations with those who give them life, that governs their thought’s and behaviors as they try to resolve or solve the questions of life.

    According to western civilization man exists as an independent individual. This is found in the works of Descartes “Cogito, ergo sum”/I think therefore I am and in Darwin’s idea of survival of the fittest.

    Afrikans understood that the individual exists for the social unit not for himself/herself (Mbiti 1970, Gyekye 1996). Individuality (Genetic Variations Lipton 2016, Diop 1991, Bradley 1991, Bradley 2013 ) becomes important and critical in helping human beings solve or resolve the problems they face. These differences or genetic variations contribute to the survival of the species. A major problem facing any society is maintaining the balance between what the society needs, and what the individual needs in bringing forth their creative spirit. Through trial and error, dealing with climate and environment changes these early humans came to appreciate that human beings are social animals and they respond more effectively and efficiently to these changes when they come together as a group. One of the many lessons early man learned was if it requires effort it requires others.

    When a collective group of people come together to solve and resolve the problems they face they create what social scientist call culture. Dr. Maulana Karenga once define culture as the “vast structures of behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, habits, beliefs, customs, languages, rituals, and practices which give people: a general design for living and patterns for interpreting reality”. Dr. Marimba Ana would add to this definition by saying “Human culture is defined by the shared or common experiences of a particular group (i.e. Biogenic, historical, and environment).” The type of culture, consciousness (mind, thought), conscience (heart, inner spirit), a collective group of people exhibit reflects the type of history, the type of environment they live in (Diop 1978, Bauval 2011, Assmann 2002) and experiences they have undergone as a people.

    Ultimately, one must see culture as a tool human being use to deal with the world. It is the instrument humanity uses to confront reality and adapt to that reality. More importantly, it is the instrument we as human beings use to attach reality to ourselves. Culture will determine the kind of consciousness and conscience we will have and the kind of consciousness and conscience we have will determine how we adapt to reality. In this way Consciousness becomes empowering. Power is the ability to do something to change something. This gives human beings the ability to adapt to different situations and to make changes as necessary.

    Culture is not static, it is dynamic. Some people of Afrikan Ancestry see Afrikan culture as being stuck somewhere in the 13th century. Afrikan culture is not stuck in one time or space, it is constantly changing and evolving. What makes Afrikan culture empowering is it is designed to operate in the interest of Afrikan people.

    Afrikan consciousness and conscience is measured by how it advances its people and maintains their survival. An Afrikan consciousness and conscience must be at the center of their cultural concerns and interest. Human history is the story of the experiences of a collective group of people from their beginning as told by them. Human history starts with the inhabitants of the continents of Afrika. Afrikans are the oldest living humans on earth and have the longest and deepest experiences in human existence. There is no human history prior to Afrikans becoming homo sapien sapien. At the Dawn of human consciousness and conscience our ancestors created what social scientist call values. Values are those things we prefer, those things we see as right, and those things which determines our behavior. Values, culture, Consciousness, and conscience are all types of power.

    If we let another group influence our values, culture, consciousness, and conscience, they have power over us and use it to empower themselves. When we speak of Afrikan culture we must make sure it is not reactionary. Even though Afrikan Culture on the continent and in the diaspora has gone through two thousand seasons of death, destruction, domination, and deception caused by white supremacy; this cannot be the determining factor of who we are as a people. If we are to change the conversation found in public discourse, then people of Afrikan ancestry can no longer adopt those things that do not illuminate and elevate our culture.

    Afrikan stories of creation/genesis are the first stories and the longest running stories. With the birth of humanity, we find Afrikans were the first humans that brought moral ideas and ideals into existence. When we study Afrikan thought and behavior we are studying the first thoughts and behavior of human kind.

    Afrikans established their collective thought and behavior around 4 major concepts that social scientist (Wright 1976, Mills 1999, Berger & Luckmann 1966) have deemed important in the development of civilization:

    1. Social Theory: determines the destiny of a people by establishing guidelines for life.

    • It defines their relationship with other living things,
    • Values and rituals
    • Methods of education
    • How enemies are dealt with

    2. Social Order: Fundamental way in which the various components of society work together to maintain the status quo.

    • Social order is an on-going human production
    • It is produced by man/woman in the course of his/her on-going externalization
    • Social structures, institutions, social relations, social interactions
    • Cultural features such as norms, beliefs, and values acceptable thought and behavior

    3. Social Contract Theory: it is a way a group of people who are equals agree to establish civil society and or government.

    The Social Contract is several contracts in one:

    a) “Contract” an agreement between two or more people to do something.

    b) Political Contract: is an account of the origins of government and our political obligations to it.

    c) Moral Contract: is the foundation of the moral code established for the society, by which the citizens are supposed to regulate their behavior.

    4. Ideology: The body of concepts and models reflecting social needs and aspirations of a group or a culture

    • forms a System of ideas and ideals
    • forms the basis of economic or political theory
    • forms societies beliefs, ethics, doctrines, creeds, faith, teachings, theories, and philosophy

    It was our Afrikan ancestors who conceptualized and conceived Ma’at (Truth, Justice, Righteousness, represented as the Feminine principle of creation) as an interrelated order of existence in human functioning and human development (Karenga 2006, Assmann 2002, Diop 1978, Obenga 1992). Ma’at became the central element in what was meant to “be human”.

    To answer Dr. Hilliard question of choosing the right road we must recover, remember and restore the what, the when, the how, the why, into our who. To paraphrase Dr. John Henrik Clark, it is the duty of the social, the political, and the economic scientist to answer the question: how will my people maintain, sustain, and perpetuate themselves on this earth? In other words, how do we solve or resolve the problems of food, clothing, shelter, safety and security needs (Maslow, Diop) as a collective group of people. History and heaven are waiting on us. Ase!!!

    References and Bibliography:

    Wright, B PhD (1976) essay “Mentacide”

    Berger, P. L. and T. Luckmann (1966), The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Garden City, NY: Anchor Books

    Mills, C.W. (1999), The Racial Contract. Ithaca, New York. Cornell University Press

    Carruthers, J. (1995), MDW NTR: Divine Speech. Red Sea Press, Lawrenceville, NJ

    Assmann, J. (2002). The Mind of Egypt History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs. New York: Metropolitan Books Henry Holt & Company, LLC.

    Browder, A. (1992), Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization. Washington, DC: Institute of Karmic Guidance

    Hilliard, A. G. III (1997), SBA: The Reawakening of the African Mind. Gainesville, FL: Makare Publishing Co.,

    Ani, M. (1994), Yurugu: An African-Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior. Trenton, NJ: African World Press

    Karenga, M. (1982), Introduction to Black Studies. Los Angeles, CA: Kawaida Publications

    Karenga, M. (2006). MAAT: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt. Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press.

    Obenga, T. (1992). African Philosophy. Paris: Per Ankh s.a.r.l.

    Mbiti, J. S. (1970). African Religions and Philosophies. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday.

    Diop, C. A. (1978). Cultural Unity of Black Africa. Chicago: Third World Press,

    Diop, C. A. (1991). Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology.

    Brooklyn: Lawrence Hill Books

    Gyekye, K (1996). African Cultural Values: An Introduction. Legon, Ghana: Sankofa Publishing Company

    Bauval, R., Brophy, T (2011). Black Genesis: The Prehistoric Origins of Ancient Egypt. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions Bear & Company

    Maslow, A. H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation in Psychological review. Richmond, CA: Maurice Bassett Publishing

    Proctor, R.N. (2008), Agnotology: The Making & Unmaking of Ignorance. Rosewood, CA: Stanford University Press

    Lipton, B. H. (2016) Biology of Belief. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House Inc.

    Bradley, M. (2013). Chosen People From The Caucasus. Third World Press

    Bradley, M. (1991). The Iceman Inheritance. Canada: Kayode Publications

  • Wednesday, July 05, 2017 12:25 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    What does America's independence day mean to People of Afrikan Ancestry?

    This week all across the United States people will be celebrating America's independence from Great Britain. The question those of us of Afrikan Ancestry should be asking ourselves is "What does America's independence day mean to People of Afrikan Ancestry?"

    In 1852 Fredrick Douglas gave a speech entitled "What, To The Slave, Is The Fourth Of July". He admonished White Americans for desiring freedom for themselves while at the same time having slavery as an American institution. He said, "New York has become as Virginia; and the power to hold, hunt and sell men, women and children as slaves remain no longer a mere state institution but is now an institution of the whole United States."

    We as people of Afrikan Ancestry sometimes get so caught up in America's Independence that we forget that we were still enslaved when America obtained its Independence. For that reason alone the fourth of July cannot mean the same thing to us as it does for those who are the descendant of the people who once enslaved us. We must view this day through the eyes and lenses of our ancestors.

    It is important we begin to see that America's 4th of July celebration of freedom was not our day of freedom. This does not mean we should not celebrate the ideals and ideas of freedom, independence, and liberation. We should celebrate freedom from our own perspective and through the lenses of our historical experiences as oppose to someone Else's.

    We must in our celebration come to know and understand the difference between Independence, freedom and liberty. Independence implies the ability to stand alone, without being sustained by anything else. Freedom implies an absence of restraints or compulsion. Liberty implies the power to choose among alternatives rather than merely being unrestrained.

    The fourth of July for us as people of Afrikan Ancestry should be a day to reflect on the freedom our Ancestors sought and gave their lives for. This should be a day of remembrance for those Ancestors who through their blood, sweat, and tears fought for our independence. This should be a time when we give thanks to those ancestors who understood that we must not only have freedom and independence, but we should also be liberated from the ideas and ideals of our enslavers and oppressors.

    To those of us who want to celebrate the 4th of July, let’s celebrate it in the name of our Ancestors. Celebrate it in the pouring of libation for those who fought for our freedom, independence, and liberation. Let our ancestors know that we have not forgotten them and their sacrifices.

    We must remember those who gave their life to our struggle and those who chose to live. If some of our ancestors had not chosen to live and to endure the incredible hardship of slavery and oppression none of us would be alive today.

    Let us at this time rededicate and recommit ourselves to repair that which has been damaged, restore that which has been ruined, and recover that which has been lost. We must reflect, remember and give thanks to our freedom fighters. Let us celebrate our heroes/sheroes for their sacrifices.

    Last but not least, let us have a conversation with our children about our struggles of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

    Aluta Continua

    Ase!!!

  • Thursday, October 13, 2016 4:25 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    By: Baba Derrick Jackson

    The Importance of Beginnings

    Recently, the Smithsonian Institute opened a new museum of Afrikan American history and culture. There are over 37000 artifacts on display which is quite impressive. It is my understanding that it took 12 years of politicking, planning, and fund-raising in order to bring this monument of history and culture to Afrikans in America into fruition. Kudos to those who were instrumental in making this happen. This is a very important chapter in our long Hi (gh) story and narrative. What I understand from those who were involved in the planning and production of the museum the exhibits only tell the story or narrative of Afrikans who came to America in the hauls of ships.

    This saddens me if it is true, because no one should start their story or their narrative in the middle of the story. All people should start their Hi (gh) story from the beginning. When we understand our story from the beginning our oppressors cannot claim that our genius, our imagination and our creativity was a product of our enslavement. In this way we truly pay homage to our ancestors, to our yet unborn and to our children who should be the reason why we tell our story. When we start our narrative from the beginning then we find "The Creator" involved in our coming into existence. We can then see the Creator as the source of our genius, our imagination and our creativity.

    We must tell our story from a time period in history known by many historians and anthropologist as pre-colonial Afrika. We must always ask and answer the question "what were we doing before the first person of European ancestry ever showed-up?" It is important to know that we had our own language, our own sense of family, culture, systems of Government and administration. We were planting, farming and cultivating crops. We had our own sense of the "Creator". We were designing and creating what many have called the first civilizations known to the world long before the first person of European ancestry ever stepped out of their nomadic, cave dwelling life style.

    Despite being subjected to the harshest and most cruel system of enslavement, our genius, our imagination and our creativity was displayed in how we knew how to plant and when to plant. How we knew how to build and develop cities, lay road and use the healing arts to administer medicine to the sick. It is our genius, imagination and creativity in knowing how to cook food from the scraps that our enslavers threw away that sustains some of us today. When I think of the many times I would look in the refrigerator and see nothing to eat and my Mother would come right behind me and see a whole meal to cook for her family. That is the everyday genius, imagination and creativity that show ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

    When we know about pre-colonial Afrika we begin to understand how is it that two years after the end of the civil war we were sending people to congress. We were building institutions of education and rebuilding families not based on our oppressors understanding of family, but on our understanding of family. Our understanding of family is what Dr. Wade Nobles calls the "extended - self". The first 50 years after emancipation is one of the most important time periods in our history and cultural development in America but it can never be fully understood until we know and understand what we accomplished before the first person of European ancestry ever knew the Afrikan being.

    We are not the by- product of our enslavement, we are in the image of our Creator. Our Hi (gh) story begins at the foothills of the mountains of the moon known as Kilimanjaro. We owe it to our ancestors, our children, our yet unborn, and most of all we owe to our Creator (No matter the name we give this Divine entity) to start from the Beginning. I will go to the museum and I highly recommend that we all go. Just remember, this is only a chapter in our Hi (gh) story. It is not our whole story. 

    Ase!!!

  • Thursday, September 15, 2016 12:50 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    An Open Letter From the Pastor: The Gospel According To Ancient Kemet: The Ma'atian Way

    Today, in my conversation with the Temple I want to discuss "The Importance of Ma'at." Ma'at is the persistent, unyielding, and unrelenting evidence that history does have meaning. Therefore each of us has importance, weight, and magnitude precisely insofar as we are part of a story, an extraordinary and impeccable story of a people dedicated to certain ideas and ideals. We are not free-floating atoms in infinite space. We are letters and figures on the papyrus scroll our sacred language is written on.

    We have been on a journey that begun in the distant past and has continued by every successive generation. This journey began with the first man and woman who stood up at the foothills of the mountains of the moon known as Kilimanjaro. A journey that was conceived and conceptualized in the heart of the Creator of the universe. The essence of our relationship with the Creator of Heaven and Earth is Ma'at which means truth, justice, and righteousness. We must become dedicated and be convicted by our narrative in order to honor our past generations and leave a legacy to our yet unborn.

    We must come to love the wisdom and teachings of our Ancestors found in the Husia our sacred text. It is in this sacred text we find the origins of our relationship with the Creator. We should stand when it passes as if it was the Pharaoh him/herself. We should dance with it as if we are newlyweds. If it is defiled or destroyed, we must bury it as if it were a relative or friend. We should study it endlessly as if in it were hidden all the treasures of our being.

    The Husia is our portable homeland for those who live in the Diaspora. We must find our heart and soul in the wisdom texts of our most ancient ancestors.

    "We must see our life as though it were a letter of the alphabet. A letter on its own has no meaning, yet when letters are joined to others letters they make a word, words combine with other words to make a sentence, sentences connect to other sentences to make a paragraph, and paragraphs join to other paragraphs to tell a story, our story."

    Ma'at represents our identity not as fact but as a value, not as the story of a distant past but as a duty to the future. We must control our narrative by controlling the conversation around who are we.

    Our narrative must answer 4 questions:

    • How does where I come from tell me who am I called to become?
    • Who are my ancestors?
    • What is my purpose? (Incarnate Objective - My reason for Being)
    • What is my Destiny? (Direction)

    Any religious groups, spiritual groups, or organizations we belong to must define themselves based on answering these 4 questions. We must have the narrative tell our story the story of the Afrikan Family. We must state clearly and precisely that this is what we value in our family and embrace it as valuable. Let no one speak about what's wrong with Afrikan men, women, or children. We must carry the narrative, "What's right with the Afrikan Family."

    Our ancestors are waiting on us to pick up the mantle and move forward with that which they have left us. We can no longer afford to wait until others catch up to what we are saying and doing.

    I leave you with this question: Now that you know, what are you going to do? History and Heaven are waiting on our answer. Ase!!!

  • Wednesday, June 08, 2016 11:52 AM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    by: Baba Derrick Jackson

    "Be always mindful of what you are doing and thinking. So that you may put the insight of your immortality on every passing incident in your daily life."

    Sufi Mysticism

    THE CRABS IN A BARREL EXPERIENCE: Another Perspective

    Many of us have heard the expression that some people of Afrikan ancestry act like crabs in a barrel? I would like to bring a different perspective to this expression. I decided to critique this expression when I heard “Sir Charles,” (Charles Barkley) as he is known in the world of entertainment, use that expression. Whenever there is a need for a more thoughtful critique or analysis of an event or situation that occurs in a community made up of people of Afrikan ancestry the media often interview's one of our entertainers, which insinuates that they are the experts on issues affecting our community. But that discussion is for another day.

    What I want to focus on was “Sir Charles’” use of this expression known as "crabs in a barrel". In that den of iniquity known as Wikipedia this is how the expression is defined: "Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket, is a way of thinking best described by the phrase, "if I can't have it, neither can you." The metaphor refers to a bucket or barrel of crabs. Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the bucket, but instead they grab at each other in a useless "king of the hill" competition which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise. The analogy in human behavior is claimed to be that members of a group will attempt to negate or diminish the importance of any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, spite, conspiracy, or competitive feelings, to halt their progress." If we were to take this interpretation on face value it would seem to be a plausible explanation that this metaphor refers to human beings acting like crabs in a barrel.

    Let us take a look at this metaphor through a different set of lenses by first raising some questions that are not normally thought of when hearing this phrase. I would like to offer a series of question that will hopefully focus our attention in a different direction:

    • Is the barrel a natural environment for the crab?
    • And do crabs in their natural surroundings act the same as they do in a barrel/bucket?
    • Who put the crabs in the bucket or barrel in the first place
    • And last but not least what were their intentions in taking the crabs out of their natural environment and placing them in an unnatural environment i.e. bucket or barrel?

    By focusing and asking some different kinds of questions, we can see that the bucket or barrel is not the natural environment for the crab. Research shows crabs in their natural environment get along very well together. In fact they get along through mutual cooperation and acts of common unity (community). This is why it is so easy for one to catch crabs when casting a net because they like being around each other, they display collective group behavior. What we may be witnessing when we see crabs hanging on to each other in a barrel are crabs yearning to be free and hanging on each other for support as they attempt their escape.

    When a person puts crabs in a barrel, are there intentions to free them or eat them? When placed in an unnatural environment where we sense danger do we sit quietly or do we do everything we can to move to safety. Using a different set of lenses in order to bring a new perspective to the expression "crabs in a barrel" is to see that people of Afrikan ancestry were taken out of their natural environment and placed in the hulls of a slave ships. They were then placed on plantations, and later moved to places in towns and cities were they could only live in certain parts of that town or city. This became our bucket or barrel and the behavior one see's is the behavior of those of us yearning to be free. Acting like crabs in a barrel becomes a normative state when placed in an unnatural environment. Our attention should be focused on the intentions of those who took us out of our natural environment and put us in barrel type communities. Only then can we come to terms with what happened to us and begin to develop principles, strategies, and techniques to free the minds and hearts of our people.

    This means “Sir Charles” might have been right in his use of the metaphor that some of us may act like crabs in a barrel. From another perspective we need to ask who put us in a barrel and what their intentions in putting us there were. We would be wise to do what is suggested in our sacred wisdom literature the Husia and adhere to the words found in the Book of Ankhsheshonqi "Examine every matter that you may understand it. Do not say I am learned but rather set yourself to become wise".

    Ase!!!

    Billingsley, Andrew (1968) Black families in white America Englewood Cliffs, N.J Published by Prentice-Hall

    Dubose, W.E.B. (1903) The Souls of Black Folks Chicago, ILL: A.C. McClurg & CO.

    Diop, Cheika Anta (1990) The Cultural Unity of Black Africa. Chicago, ILL.: Third World Press

    Frazier, Franklin E. (1939) The Negro Family in the United States. Chicago, ILL: University of Chicago Press

    Mbiti, John S. (1970). African Religions and Philosophies. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday.

    Woodson, Carter Godwin (1990). The Mis-education of the Negro. Trenton, N.J: Africa World Press.

  • Thursday, October 01, 2015 3:11 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    The Way of Ma'at and The Pristine Pathway
    by: Baba Derrick Jackson

    Every once in a while it does the soul good to take time out and reflect on what has happen to us as people of Afrikan Ancestry. Since 1619 with the landing of the first Afrikans to the American continent we have suffered 396 years of Bio-psycho-social-spiritual trauma with no clinical treatment. No group of people in the history of the world has suffered for as long and as much as we have. Yet, still been able to contribute to the world, become heads of state, build, and construct societies and other structures. 

    In order to deal with the present conditions we find ourselves in, we have to research and identify a time in our history when we were healthy and learn what were we doing and saying at that time.  As a people we have lost our way and we need to once again find our social and moral compass in order to be lead back to the path we once walked.

    We once lived in a time when the way of Ma’at was the pathway we took.  It was our moral and social compass guiding us in the direction of reaching heaven (Amenta) through desiring to be right in the sight of God. The way of Ma’at and the Pristine Pathway are one in the same.  Pristine is a clear and clean pathway, a way of life and the way of God.  This pathway stresses balance, impartiality and a commitment to correct governance as a way of life. 

    There are three components that define the Way of Ma’at or the Pristine Pathway:

    1. Speaking truth

    2. Doing Justice

    3. Walking in the way of Righteousness

    This leads us to engage in the works of compassion, caring, concern, altruism, unselfishness, devotion, veneration, reverence, and spirituality.  The practice of these works allows us to leave a blueprint for future generations. This means that one's conduct comes from the heart and mind in the spirit of Ma’at, not out of conformity with some societal law.  In other words, not because you may get locked up or sent to prison if you don’t abide by the rules of societal law. 

    In order to live a full and meaningful life according to Frantz Fanon three fundamental questions must be asked and answered.  

    1. Who am I – This is a question of Identity. On a deeper level it is asking who am I- in-Community? I know myself in relation to the community I come from, not in isolation.  I am a place-holder in a definite community and tradition and from this context and the relations those contain, "I know myself". John M’biti informs us that “I am because we are; and since we are, therefore I am”.  We have a communitarian concept of self. A person is not identified through their capacity to think as espoused by Descartes “I think therefore I am" but by a person’s relatedness to others.  In Ma’atian tradition one always speaks of himself/herself in relationship and service.

    2. Am I really Who I am – This is a question of Authenticity.  On a deep level this question is asking “How real are my moral and social claims as measured by my practices?”  In other words does my self-definition coincide with my practices and my community’s evaluation of me? 

    3. Am I All I ought to be? – This is a question of realizing one’s full social and moral potential.  Given who I am, based on my rootedness in family and community and given the standard of ma’at by which I and others measure me, am I doing all that is worthy and required of me? Am I responsive and responsible to others?  I am compelled by the way of Ma’at/ the Pristine pathway to be morally empathic to others. 

    The way of Ma’at or the Pristine Pathway is the path of life, the path of God.    We must heal the wounds caused by over 350 years of pain and suffering because of untreated trauma. The Pristine pathway is our moral compass that will lead us back to the wisdom of our Ancestors and to the God we once knew at the foothills of the mountains of the moon.  Ase!!!

    References and Bibliography

    Karenga, Maulana (1984). Selections From THE HUSIA Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt. Los Angeles, CA: The University of Sankore Press.

    Karenga, Maulana (1989). The Book of Coming Forth By Day: The Ethics of the Declarations of Innocence. Los Angeles, CA: The University of Sankore Press.

    Hilliard, Asa G. III; Williams, Larry Obadele and Damali, Nia (1987). The Teachings of Ptahotep: The Oldest Book in the World. Atlanta: Blackwood Press.

    Hilliard, Asa G. III (1998). Sba: The Reawakening of the African Mind. Gainesville, Florida: Makare Publishers.

    Mbiti, John S. (1969) African Religions and Philosophy. New York: Praeger.

    Carruthers, Jacob H. (1984). Essays In ANCIENT EGYPTIAN STUDIES. Los Angeles, CA: The University of Sankore Press

    Burns, William E. (2001). The scientific revolution: an encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 84.

  • Saturday, July 11, 2015 11:32 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    The Art of War: Contemplating The Meaning of The Confederate Battle Flag
    by: Notai Washington

    Although, the flag has finally come down in South Carolina less than thirty minutes ago, please remember that this act does not reflect a change in the racial consciousness for the masses of white residents in this state. The removal of the flag does not dismantle racism white supremacy nor has this gesture disrupted the racial ideologies the confederate battle flag represents. For example, South Carolina and Alabama's removal of the confederate flag from the grounds of its state capital is equivalent to Ku Klux Klan members trading in their regalia for business suits, judge robes, and law enforcement uniforms covertly carrying out the aim and ideas of its organization.  

    flag

    In what follows, is a Facebook post about my reflections on the meaning of the presence of the confederate battle flag. Despite, its recent removal it is important for us to remain cognizant that although the "battle" over the flag in South Carolina is over the war to perpetuate racism white supremacy continues. 

    Facebook Post: June 29, 2015

    Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the confederate flags which has led me to think about two important questions. If the first photo shown below is the official confederate flag and the second flag is the confederate battle flag, then what message(s) are states that currently fly the battle flag (I am going to include Alabama here) sending to its Black Amended Americans (as it remains the constitution does not recognize us as citizens of this country)? What ideologies are advanced through the far too pervasive symbol of the confederate battle flag? 

    Certainly, the confederate battle flag as a symbol is set to convey the idea that the “battle” for the continued enslavement of people of African descent has not and will not end. Moreover, Amended Americans of African descent who reside in the states flying this flag on state grounds or those residing in states whereby the confederate flag is in part incorporated into the state flag should make no mistake in recognizing that the state government is beholden to the ideals and principals that perpetuate the fanciful belief in the supremacy of whiteness. As such, the state government is an entity with many faces charged with carrying out the sadisms woven in the fabric of the confederate battle flag. The nefarious aims of the State take shape in the economic, political, educational, and environmental oppression of Black people (e.g. Strategically threatening the closing of South Carolina State University a HBCU). These aims emit the foul stench of slain black bodies in quest for racial domination each time the flag is waved or someone passes by with a t-shirt or bumper sticker and the like venerating this symbol.

    SYMBOLS ARE POWERFUL! Cultures throughout time have used them to convey their beliefs, their humanity (or lack thereof), and proof of existence since the beginning. Our African Ancestors understood that symbols operate within our conscience and subconscious mind. Cultural Critic Stuart Hall, advanced the concept of a racial signifier and here we can use the same concept as a way of viewing the confederate battle flag critically. The racial signifier “hails” a person (Hey! Over here!) into discourse/narratives/stories in a particular way. Basically, the flag as a racial signifier, stands in as a symbol of the enslavement of African people, the so-called inferiority of Black people, and all violence’s carried out against black folk since the first of us came to America as enslaved Africans. Thus, the flag hails Black people into the horrors of American History like “Hey, over here remember this?” 

    Parading this symbol in the faces of black folk each day is a violence of the State! It is the piercing dull rusty blade of American racism. This symbol has both conscious and subconscious psychological repercussions. This flag represents a system that has made many black people believe that they are indeed “wretched” and thus, the wretched of the earth (see the Doll Study 
    https://youtu.be/tkpUyB2xgTM ). "Wretched" has even become a colloquial term used by some black people to describe each other due to centuries of programming (through symbols/propaganda) to believe this of themselves. 

    Let us educate ourselves about the real “battle” we are in and in the interim, let us continue to take the flag down and confront systemic and institutionalized racism. #FreeBree #RIPRevSlave

    FYI: Reverend Slave was a brother who dressed in a Santa Clause suit who would frequently climb the state house dome to take the flag down. I just wanted to remember him too. He died a few years ago and is now our Ancestor living through sister Bree Newsome. 

    bree newsome

  • Sunday, June 28, 2015 8:03 AM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)
    From the Pastor's desk

    What does America's independence day mean to People of Afrikan Ancestry?
    By Baba Derrick Jackson

    This week all across the United States people will be celebrating America's independence from Great Britain. The question those of us of Afrikan Ancestry should be asking ourselves is "What does America's independence day mean to People of Afrikan Ancestry?"

    In 1852 Fredrick Douglas gave a speech entitled "What, To The Slave, Is The Fourth Of July." He admonished White Americans for desiring freedom for themeselves while at the same time having slavery as an American institution. He said, "New York has become as Virginia; and the power to hold, hunt and sell men, women and children as slaves remain no longer a mere state institution but is now an institution of the whole United States."

    We as people of Afrikan Ancestry sometimes get so caught up in America's Independence that we forget that we were still enslaved when America obtained its Independence. For that reason alone the fourth of July cannot mean the same thing to us as it does for those who are the descendent of the people who once enslaved us. We must view this day through the eyes and lenses of our ancestors.

    It is important we begin to see that America's 4th of July celebration of freedom was not our day of freedom. This does not mean we should not celebrate the ideals and ideas of freedom, independence, and liberation. We should celebrate freedom from our own perspective and through the lenses of our historical experiences as oppose to someone else's.

    We must in our celebration come to know and understand the difference between Independence, freedom and liberty. Independence implies the ability to stand alone, without being sustained by anything else. Freedom implies an absence of restraints or compulsion. Liberty implies the power to choose among alternatives rather than merely being unrestrained.

    The fourth of July for us as people of Afrikan Ancestry should be a day to reflect on the freedom our Ancestors sought and gave their lives for. This should be a day of remembrance for those Ancestors who through their blood, sweat, and tears fought for our independence. This should be a time when we give thanks to those ancestors who understood that we must not only have freedom and independence, but we should also be liberated from the ideas and ideals of our enslavers and oppressors.

    To those of us who want to celebrate the 4th of July, let’s celebrate it in the name of our Ancestors. Celebrate it in the pouring of libation for those who fought for our freedom, independence, and liberation. Let our ancestors know that we have not forgotten them and their sacrifices.

    We must remember those who gave their life to our struggle and those who chose to live. If some of our ancestors had not chosen to live and to endure the incredible hardship of slavery and oppression none of us would be alive today.

    Our freedom began in 1865 with the end of the civil war. Our independence began with the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Our liberation began in 1876 with the end of reconstruction when we as a people began to understand that we had to make different choices than the ones being offered by" Jim Crow".

    The question we must ask ourselves today is, are we any better off socio-economically than our enslaved ancestors? Yes, we have a President of Afrikan Ancestry, but are we any better off as a people. When we look at the socio-economic indicators showing where we were under the slaves codes we find we were at the bottom, and when we look at those same indicators today we still occupy that same position. The fact that we have not progressed is a testament to how far removed we are from the struggles of our Ancestors.

    To those of us who are still fighting for Afrikan liberation, God speed. To those of us who are still sucking on the breast milk of those who enslaved our ancestors it is time to wake-up and free yourself. Liberate yourself from the milk of dependence. Suck the breasts of freedom, and independence, and drink the milk of liberation from your Ancestors.

    Let us at this time reflect, remember and give thanks to our freedom fighters. Let us celebrate our heroes/sheroes for their sacrifices. Last but not least, let us have a conversation with our children about our struggles of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

    Aluta Continua

    Ase!!!

    Baba Derrick

    Douglas, Frederick (1852): What, to the Slave, is the fourth of July? found in the book Great Speeches By African Americans edited by James Daly (2006) Dover Publications, Inc.

  • Tuesday, May 05, 2015 6:14 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    What is our Theology?

    In order to answer this question one must define what we mean when we use the term theology. For the purpose of this paper we are defining theology as a discourse or conversation a people has had with their God and about their God.  When we look at the discourse or conversation a people has about and with their God it is as a result of their collective identity and experiences. 

    The essential element in any peoples’ conversation or theology about their God is the question of how did man and woman come into existence. Once one has revealed their ideas and ideals about how they came into existence they are going to create their social, political, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems based on the conversation they have had with their God and the conversations they have had about their God.

    We find in the Christian Bible, western man's attempt to write the conversation they have had with their God and about their God. Paramount in this conversation about God, we find that there are two different creation stories of how man and woman came into existence.  In the first conversation, in Genesis Chapter One, we find that man and woman was created in the image of God.  We find that man was given dominion over everything God created. Then in Chapter Two we find man, Adam, was created first and then woman, Eve, was created out of his loneliness.

    Let us for a moment reflect on what the writers of the Genesis story are saying to us;  man must dominate over everything God has created.  Man's job or duty is not to live in harmony with what God has created, but to dominate or have power and control over what God has created.  Then in Chapter Two, God did not know Adam would be lonely so there was no need for him to have a companion at the time of creation.  This is indeed interesting when one considers that all the animals had mates, yet God did not think man needed a mate.  We find in this story that God does not create Eve in the same way Adam was created, he (and I do mean "he") takes one of Adam’s ribs and creates woman, however not as his equal but as his help mate.

    Upon further reflection, we find that God at the time of creation has set-up a hierarchy. Man is at the top and woman is just an afterthought of God.  Man becomes the most important being that God created with woman having secondary status. 

    Western man's conversation about their God does not stop there, it goes on to say that there are two trees in the Garden of Creation. One tree is called the tree of life which man is allowed to eat the fruit it bears,  then there is the tree of knowledge of which man is not allowed to eat its fruit.  What we also find out in this story is God has this conversation with Adam, but not Eve.  So, Adam is told not to eat the forbidden fruit; there is no commentary as to whether Eve ever knew that the fruit from the tree of knowledge was forbidden to eat.

    Let us once again reflect on what this might mean.  Man, God’s greatest gift to the world is only allowed to eat the fruit from the tree of life but should not eat from the tree of knowledge.  So, I can have life without knowledge of how that life should be lived.  This would mean then that man can only “believe” and can never “know.”  This then leaves it up to man to determine what can be known and what should be known.

    As this discourse moves on, we find that Eve eats of the forbidden fruit and then persuades Adam to do the same.  God then comes to Adam, asks him about eating the forbidden fruit and Adam blames Eve.  God goes to Eve and she blames the snake/serpent.  

    Let us once again reflect on what this might mean, we see at the time of creation when man and woman are confronted about taking responsibility for their actions, they play the shift-the-blame game.

    Finally, when a group of people write about their conversation with and about their God they are revealing something they believe about themselves.  When we see that a hierarchy is created at the time of creation and man sits at the top and woman as an afterthought of God, then that people’s political, social, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems will reflect that kind of theology.  

    When a people's theology or conversation with and about their God tells them to have dominion over everything then their political, social, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems will reflect the power over and control of these systems and the people that use them.  

    When a people's conversation with and about their God includes a theology that says they can only believe and not know, then their political, social, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems will be based on what those who are in control want you to believe rather than know.

    When a people's conversation with and about their God includes a theology that says do not take responsibility for your own actions, even when their Creator asked what happened, then their political, social, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems will have people who take no responsibility for their actions.  

    When a people's conversation with and about their God says, sin, man's fall from grace was created by woman then the political, social, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems will blame woman for what is wrong with society and will dominate her through having power over her and trying to control her.   

    Welcome to the western world and America, where the political, social, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems reflect the theology, the conversation of those who founded this country.  We as a people of Afrikan ancestry have become enslaved by that conversation.  What is truly sad, is that we don't even want to change the conversation.   

    Shem Hotep!!!

    Baba Derrick

  • Saturday, November 08, 2014 6:15 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    Elders' Corner
    “Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is worse.” Wolof

    More powerful than Ebola that has killed less than 5, 000 by the writing of this article or Flu that has killed over 50, 000 people worldwide this year, is our desire not to know.  

    This is especially troubling when it comes to the acquisition of wealth, in our Afrikan communities.  Each of us can rise higher than the position of poverty, near poverty, nearly broke or whatever term we want to describe our financial condition.  We must know, understand and learn to use whatever economic system prevails and acquire wealth to rebuild our institutions.  The present economic system favors owners, distributors, and producers while only minimally protecting workers and consumers.  Though all money is worked for in our community, the truly wealthy make their money work for them.  These are two distinct different concepts.  While Warren Buffet goes to work daily, he makes little or no money working.  However, while he is working, his money is working for him and he is the second or third wealthiest man in the United States, if not the world.

    He works 35 to 40 hours per week and makes millions of dollars per hour and most of us work the same amount of time for millions less. What makes him worth more and how does he do it?  What is his and the other top 100 billionaires secret, how can we use their knowledge of wealth and wealth acquisition for our personal benefit and that of our family and community.  For the next few weeks, the Elders Corner will be looking at the issues of wealth, wealth acquisition and making suggestions that will improve our and our communities’ financial position in the world.  

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