First, I want to thank the Spokesman Recorder for a concerted effort to maintain a steady flow of important quality information about the life and times of our community. Many people of African heritage and some of other cultural groups have written different literature about the Black experience, including interpretations of the impact of the horrific conditions under which we have lived for over 25 generations.
There is a collection of written materials in several places such as libraries and universities like the Givens collection locally. Materials written about us by us include newspaper and magazine articles, peer-reviewed scholarly articles covering everything from the slave trade to awful public hangings of our people.
Many writers have pursued studies that document our pain, our suffering and our victimization at the hands of the people who enslaved us. Studies about the living patterns, customs and many other aspects of our lives are done in large numbers.
I can see in the body of literature that we have written or collected that there is a sense of reaction to our enslavement, but not so much emphasis on the development of a unity of thought to inform our future development actions.
It seems to me as I read and observe our direction in the community that there is a need for the development of a body of literature that is even more grounded in our cultural redevelopment and reaffirmation. This grounding should focus on our collective cultural self in relationship to a cohesive world identity.
As a student of culture, an observer of nation building and an institution builder I can see in the body of literature that we have written or collected that there is a sense of reaction to our enslavement, but not so much emphasis on the development of a unity of thought to inform our future development actions.
The Essential Black Literature Guide, written by Roger M. Valade III, is a must for your review because it does give you a list of top books and articles that are available at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The Schomburg Center, which began in 1925 as a division of “Negro” literature and history, was created to ensure accessible repository for materials on Black life.
To follow this tradition of our people who have sought to collectively think about how to think about ourselves, I wish to draw your attentions to a list of readings to begin a full campaign to build home-based libraries. I propose that we have personal collections of written documents that guide our recovery of culture and intellectual power.
For you who are studying with me, please contact me with your positive findings from your research on our culture and our intellectual heritage. Studying culture matters to our state of health; culture is the glue for holding us together and for providing us with the coping skills for life. Cultural wellness knowledge, which is my institution’s focus, is affirmed by the list of books below for your review and study in your continued self-improvement.
1. Akbar Papers in African Psychology, by Na’im AKkbar Ph.D.
2. It Just Ain’t Fair, The Ethics of Health Care for African Americans, edited by Annette Dula and Sara Goering
3. The Ethiop, by Ahmad A. Azzahir
4. Black Skin White Masks, by Frantz Fanon
5. The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois.
Dr. Akbar and Seba Akhmad have researched extensively the African origins of Black culture, which they document having been preserved, and which informs the underpinnings of African American identity .Both Dr. Akbar and Akhmad speak of an African cultural grounding tied to the creator and all of creation. Their perspective takes our humanity out of the hands of a secular constitution, the enslaver and the system of enslavement.
As we connect with this thinking, we place our past and our future in a context of human existence on the planet.
Elder Atum Azzahir is executive director and elder consultant in African ways of knowing of the Cultural Wellness Center. She welcomes reader responses to [email protected]