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Back When Reading was Fun & Mental
10/9/2013 10:28:50 PM

By Hakim Abdul-Ali

In America, the celebration of Black culture is generally recognized on a national scale in February of each year. To me, it’s more than that and, if you’re a lover of African-American “our-story” like I am, you’re a universal student of “our” story year round.

I proudly, but humbly, admit that I love to research, collect, study and learn all about Black folk’s origins and accomplishments in Africa and throughout the annals of time and place.

I was cleaning out a storage unit recently when I happened to come across some books that I had stored over the last eight years.

As I stopped to glance at some of them, I recognized that they were valuable in more ways than one.

They represented an impactful part of my vintage and resourceful reading library of authentic Afro-American source material which helped me gained more insight into the legacies of African descendant people. In the solitude of that storage unit, I reflected upon a time when reading and learning about Black folk and their culture was meaningful and purposeful.

The books that I held in my hands in the storage unit were “How Europe Undervalued Africa” by the late Dr. Walter Rodney and “The African Origin of African Civilization” by Cheikh Anta Diop. I was captivated by the power of these two pieces of literary genius that I possessed until I thought about some of the “other” gems of wisdom that were on my home library book shelves that I hadn’t touched in a long time.

It had been years since I read these works but the knowledge that I gained from Dr. Rodney’s and Chiekh Diop’s books enhanced my knowledge of Africa, Africans, Europeans, Arabs and the whole scope of slavery’s deleterious effects. I’ve tried to teach and write about what I’ve learn as a result of the things I’ve learn from reading, studying and collecting to this very day.

I also tried, in the din of a small storage unit, to fathom how much invaluable knowledge I had in that arena where I was trying to retain and maintain such valuable treasures as “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” and “The African Origin of African Civilization” over the years.

As I decided to take the aforementioned two books back to my abode, I seriously thought of some more conscious books that I had in my personal collection that were invaluable to me in my growth as a continual student of universal “our-storical” knowledge. I thought about the vast “Charleston Chronicle” readership and other inquiring “colored” folk who may and would want to know also of some of these mentally conscious books for reading.

If you’re a collector, researcher or a serious reader of stimulating Afro-minded books, I thought I’d offer a few selections from my own private collections for perusal. I believe that these books house so much thought-provoking knowledge and data that maybe, just maybe, if read, we, as community, might be able to restore self-scholarship to a renewed level, because most Black folk who I know simply don’t, nor care, about reading and learning legit Black History.

Black “Our-Story” is a vast mind field to explore and unless we cultivate said interest, I don’t expect the subpar plantation instruction mills, commonly referred to nationally as inner city school systems, to supply an interest in furthering a motivated acquisition of legitimate knowledge of Black self. Maybe, by encouraging committed private reading enhancement, we can cultivate more respect of “our” noble heritage and culture on a yearly basis.

Here are some of the books from my personal collection that have helped me be more mentally conscious of being and knowing what being Black was, is and should be all about. They are:
“The Holy Qu’ran” and “The Holy Bible”
“Before the Mayflower”-Lerone Bennett, Jr.
“The Souls of Black Folk”-Dr. W.E.B. DuBois
“Stolen Legacy”-George G.M. James
“The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual”-Harold Cruse
“The Autobiography of Malcolm - Malcolm X
“In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens”-Alice Walker
“The Destruction of Black Civilization”-Dr. Chancelor Williams
“Letter from the Birmingham Jail”- Dr. Martin Luther King
“Maat-vs-Hip-Hop”- Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu
“Women, Race and Class”-Dr. Angela Davis
“Black Families in White America”-Dr. Andrew Billingsley
“Mis-education of the Negro”-Dr. Carter G. Woodson
“Seize the Time”-Bobby Seale
“Black Religion and Black Radicalism”- Gayraud Wilmore
“Message to the Blackman”-Elijah Muhammad
“The Black Church and the African American Experience”-Dr. C. Eric Lincoln and Lawrence Mamiya
“Introduction to Black Studies”-Dr. Maulana Karanga
“Black Bourgeoise”-E. Franklin Frazier
“The Middle Passage”-Tom Feelings
“Where and When I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America”- Paula Giddings
“Black Pilgrimage to Islam”- Dr. Robert J. Dannin
“The African Heritage Bible”
“The Endangered Black Family: Coping with the Unisexualization and coming Extinction of the Black Race”-Nathan and Julia Hare
“Blood in My Eye”-George Jackson
“Their Eyes were Watching God”-Zora Neale Hurston
“Wretched of the Earth”-Dr. Frantz Fanon
“Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys”-Dr. Juwanza Kunjufu
“Slave Religion”-Albert Raboteau
“Invisible Man”-Ralph Ellison
“Introduction to African Civilization”-John G. Jackson
“The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America”-Samuel Yette
“There is a River”-Vincent Harding
“African Religions and Philosophy”-John Mbiti

The various selections that I’ve mentioned are from my private collections, and they by no means address the length of distinguished wisdom from Afro-minded scholars, thinkers, educators and writers. There are thousands of valuable books about the Black Experience that are available to collectors, thinkers and other caring intellectual “colored”folk, who still desire to learn as much as they can about the “our-storical” relevance of Africa and her scattered descendants throughout the earth.

I believe that it’s still a must to never deny being Black, educated and knowledgeable of self. Just like all other ethnic segments of “hue-manity,” if one doesn’t know where he or she (legitimately) came from, where is he or she headed? It’s still fun and mentally sane to be “Black and Proud.”

We may live in contemporary America, but we are still tied to our noble “our-storical” culture and heritage just like every other ethnic groupings in this salad bowl conglomerations of individuals we call “The American People.”

Learn about and be proud of who are, no matter who you are, because God Alone created you. Love to everyone in “The Chronicle” readership universe. As always, that’s, “As I See It.”

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