The Spirit of Charshee McIntyre Will Live

By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill, NBUF National Chair

On Saturday, May 15, 1999, the African Liberation Movement world wide learned of the passing into eternity, in New York City, of our great Queen / Sister Mother, Dr. Charshee Charlotte Lawrence McIntyre. She leaves behind her husband of 41 years, the renown instrumentalist, Dr. Makanda McIntyre and her two "perfect sons," as she called them Kheil and Kaijee.

Sister Charshee was one of our leading behind the scenes scholars, leaders, organizers, and activists, who worked tirelessly for the liberation of African and Native American people. [Sister Charshee had indigenous (Native American) lineage in her family.] She was a professor of Humanities and Chair of the English Language Studies Program at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Old Westbury.

Dr. Sister McIntyre was the first woman President of the African Heritage Studies Association, founded by our recent ancestor, Dr. John Henrik Clarke. She served on the Executive Board for many years and used this position to help mentor numerous young researchers and scholars in their development.

Dr. Jacob Carruthers, who worked closely with Sister Charshee over the years, wrote a beautiful and succinct statement that I was able to present to the family. It read in part:

"In behalf of the Temple of the African Community of Chicago and the Kemetic Institute, I wish to make our tribute on the occasion of the transition of our beloved Sister and fellow worker, Dr. Charshee Charlotte Lawrence-McIntyre, Maa Khru (The Voice is True). Sister Charshee was our Chief, a selfless leader in our movement who contributed mightily, spiritually, and materially to our projects."

"Dr. Charshee McIntyre's specialty was promoting good will, friendship, love, and unity among the various organizations and personalities in our movement. In this regard, she was without peer. She promoted us all, often remaining in the background, although her spirit was always at the forefront."

"Charshee always exuded the qualities of African Womanhood: an obedient daughter; a caring sister; a devoted wife; and a loving mother. Whatever the measure, she set the standard."

One of Sister Charshee's great scholarly contributions was her book, Criminalizing A Race: Free Blacks During Slavery. This book is a rare and profound African centered analysis of the structural design of this nation that has produced the disproportionate number of imprisoned Africans in America, particularly African males in America.

A key revelation in Dr. McIntyre's book is her explanation of the development of America's prison system and its immediate impact on Africans in America. She points out, "To distinguish the prisons from earlier jails and to suggest the essence of what the institution should be doing, these do-gooders coined a new name, penitentiaries, implying that prisoners would be taught to be penitent regarding their crimes."

In this connection, Dr. McIntyre asserted, "These do-gooders created penitentiaries for the reformation of deviants. They considered free Africans in America a natural population for these new institutions that began imprisoning African males in America as far back as 1790.

Those of us in the National Black United Front (NBUF), and other Black Movement organizations, will truly miss Sister Charshee. We know that her spirit will remain among us as we continue her work and the work of our other great-departed ancestors.


Conrad Worrill