An Open Letter to Molefi Asanté

By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (July 8, 1999)

I am writing you this letter in the hopes that you will accept it in the spirit of our Pan African / Nationalist ancestors, who paved the way for the current African Centered Movement that has had a profound impact on the epistemological foundations of the white supremacy ideas in the academic world.

The specific ancestors I speak of are David Walker, Martin Robeson Delany, Henry Highland Garnet, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Mary Shadd, Henry McNeal Turner, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Leo Hansberry, Druscilla Dunjee Houston, George G.M. James, Cheikh Anta Diop, Chancellor Williams, Malcolm X, and John Henrik Clarke.

These ancestors, and many more, created the intellectual framework for much of the work that has become popularly known as the African Centered movement, or as you have advocated the, "Afrocentric Movement."

Many of us in the African Centered Movement appreciate your contributions to this movement, through your writings and leadership in the Department of African American Studies at Temple University. The establishment of this academic program has been as inspiration to those of us who have been fighting for academic parity in the universities of this country. Specifically, the Ph.D. Program in African American Studies has given some of our brightest and highly committed students, in the African Centered Movement, an opportunity to pursue their scholarly interests at a very high level.

We are thankful for your role in helping to shape this academic program.

As you may be aware, three of your recent Ph.D. graduates have been active participants in the African Centered Education Movement through the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC). These graduates are Dr. Mario H. Beatty, Dr. Valethia Watkins-Beatty, and Dr. Greg Kimathi Carr.

We first encountered Dr. Beatty, Dr. Watkins-Beatty, and Dr. Carr when they were graduate students at Ohio State University. They had created a group of African Centered students who presented, through the rap style of African creativity, significant aspects of our history that were easily understood by all of those who witnessed their presentations. They were called the "New Jack Scholars."

Our relationship with them intensified as they became active members of ASCAC and became mentees of Dr. Théophile Obenga, Dr. Jacob Carruthers, Dr. Asa Hilliard, the late Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Kobi Kambon, Dr. Marimba Ani, and many other African Centered scholars, including yourself.

All of these young African Centered scholars are now pursuing their careers in the field of academic scholarship. Dr. Beatty is on the faculty of Morris Brown University in the Department of Africana Studies. Dr. Watkins-Beatty is on the faculty of Clark/Atlanta University in the history department, and Dr. Carr currently works for the Philadelphia Public Schools.

It has come to our attention that you and some of your associates have been launching a campaign against Dr. Carr that is quite disturbing to many of us.

Recently, we were informed that your colleague at Temple University, Professor Ama Mazama, was a guest on your radio program and articulated a vicious attack on Dr. Carr's character. Also, we have learned that people related to you have been trying to create a hostile climate in an attempt to force the Philadelphia Public Schools to terminate Dr. Carr's employment.

Those African Centered scholars that I have spoken with are not clear as to why you and some of your colleagues are apparently campaigning to destroy the credibility of one of our brightest and most outstanding students in the African Centered Movement. Maybe you can shed some light on why this is occurring. What is the breakdown?

Many of us are deeply puzzled by these attacks on Dr. Carr's character. We have worked closely with him over the last ten years and have found him to be one of our extremely talented students, whose potential as an African Centered scholar is unlimited.

We would appreciate you sharing with us why you and your colleagues now feel it necessary to attempt to damage Dr. Carr's reputation so persistently. Specifically, why you allow your radio program to be used for such purposes?

We certainly are aware of Professor Mazama's accusation that Dr. Carr allegedly assaulted her on the campus of Temple University. But our research reveals that Dr. Carr was attempting to protect his mother who was standing near a door that Professor Mazama pushed open in her direction nearly striking her. From those we have talked with who witnessed the incident, Dr. Carr never physically assaulted Professor Mazama. Even though no physical contact was made, this case went to court and Dr. Carr was placed on probation. We have always had a practice in the movement of not allowing the white supremacist Criminal Justice System to resolve our internal differences. We must resolve them ourselves. It is our responsibility to protect, correct, instruct, and nurture our young people, not throw them into the jaws of the hungry shark.

You wrote in the Autumn 1994, Journal of Columbia University that… "One knows, I surmise, that a people's soul is dead when it can no longer breathe its own air and when the air of another culture seems to smell sweeter…"

It seems to me that your statement should cause all of us in the African Centered Movement to pause for a moment and reflect on our behavior in terms of how we treat each other in this Movement. If we don't, we will destroy each other and our enemy will continue to prevail.

Again, I hope you receive these words in the spirit of the African Principle—"the greatest good for the greatest number."

National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)

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