ASCAC: A MAJOR AFRICAN CENTERED INTELLECTUAL FORCE
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (March 5, 2004)
The Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC) will convene its Twenty-first Annual Ancient Kemetic (Egyptian) Studies Conference at Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Van Buren Street, in Chicago, Illinois, March 11 14, 2004. The theme for is Instruction for Life: Deep Thought on the Condition, Elevation, and Destiny of the African World. The conference will be hosted by the ASCAC Midwest Region, Malcolm X College, and the Kemetic Institute.
This conference will be held in honor of the late Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers, Jr. who made his transition on January 4, 2004. Dr. Carruthers was a founding member of ASCAC and its first president.
The conference will be attended by some of the leading scholars in the African Centered Movement, including Dr. Mario Beatty, Dr. Greg Kimathi Carr, Dr. Asa G. Hilliard, III, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Jr., Dr. Théophile Obenga, Dr. Anderson Thompson, and Dr. Valethia Watkins-Beatty.
According to Nzinga Ratibisha Heru, International President, This historic event marks the 20th anniversary of ASCACs 1985 establishment in Chicago as a nexus of global African intellectual exchange and cultural transformation rooted in Nile Valley deep thought. Through its study group process, ASCACs thousands of active members representing millions more from every part of the globe have made the words and ideas of African an active part of the education, spiritual practices, creative work, and research agenda of a generation of individuals, organizations, and institutions on every continent.
ASCAC is one of the leading African Centered research and scholarly organizations in the African World that has become the foundation for the collective work of our African Centered students, activists, artists, and scholars.
In preparation for the conference we suggest reading or rereading the following book that provides the African Centered theoretical and philosophical orientation as we enter the twenty-first century.
In December of 1997 one of the most profound, insightful, and challenging books of the twentiethcentury was published by the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC). The title of the book is African World History Project: The Preliminary Challenge.
Dr. Jacob Carruthers, the conceptualizer of this project, revealed it started more than two centuries ago when Africans began to read and discuss the doctrines of the European philosophers of the eighteenth century. European thinkers such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Hume, and Kant began to fabricate the doctrine of white supremacy and Negro inferiority, which led to the most brutal campaigns of cultural genocide known to humanity.
Dr. Carruthers explained that, Their philosophical discourses added fuel to the vulgar attitudes and reactions resulting from the encounters of Africans with Europeans in the context of the European slave industry.
This process led to the writing of history that had its foundation in white supremacy and that was aimed at wiping out the contributions of African people to the world and humanity.
Even though many of our scholars, researchers and activists have resisted the imposition of this kind of white supremacy interpretation of history, African people still suffer from these 200 years of falsifying the truth about Africa and African people.
Dr. Carruthers first wrote, A Memorandum on a World African History Project and presented it at the Association of African Historians Conference (AAH), February 1821, 1982 at the Center for Inner City Studies in Chicago. This memorandum began the process of clearly laying out the rationale for the African World History Project.
In this regard, Dr. Carruthers challenged, The time has now come when Black scholars must come together and design a massive project which will culminate in a multivolume history of the world. It should be noted that the Europeans have already developed such projects; witness the Cambridge and Oxford histories of practically every area of the world. Unfortunately we have to rely on these sources all too often.
Some people may ask the question why are you so hung up on history when we have all these problems of crime, poverty, joblessness, broken families and general chaos in our communities. I would answer by saying that the reasons why we have so many of these problems is because collectively as a people we dont know our history.
There is an old African proverb that says: To know where you are going, you must know where you have come from. If you don't know where you are going any road will take you there.
The African World History Project is rooted in African Centeredness, which places Africa (not Europe) at the center of our analysis of the world. It focuses on the centering of ourselves as the core for examining our traditions, culture and values as a people.
On February 26, 1984 over five hundred Africans in America from all over the United States attended The First Annual Ancient Egyptian Studies Conference in Los Angeles, California. It was at this conference that Yosef ben Jochannan, John Henrik Clarke, Asa Hilliard, Leonard Jeffries, Maulana Karenga and Jacob Carruthers met and developed the proposal for the development of ASCAC. It was at that conference that ASCAC was founded.
ASCAC, under the leadership of Dr. Carruthers, served as the vehicle for our scholars and researchers to collectively test their ideas through research papers, books, study groups and presentations related to the African World History Project. Each year, since 1984, ASCAC has held national conferences. Also, over the last several years ASCAC has held regional conferences.
These conferences led to the Inaugural Meeting of the African World History Project convened by Nzinga Ratibisha Heru, ASCAC International President in Detroit, Michigan, February 111, 1996. The outgrowth of this meeting led to the division of labor that produced in book form the African World History Project: The Preliminary Challenge.
The book is 399 pages and divided into four parts: Part 1, The Challenge: Restoring the African Way with a lead essay by Dr. Anderson Thompson; Part 2, The African Historical Imagination: Developing a Conceptual Framework with a lead essay by Dr. Jacob Carruthers; Part 3, Patterns of AfricanCentered History: Applying the Vision with a lead article by Asa Hilliard; and the final section, AfricanCentered
Perspectives: Continuing the Tradition The Next Generation with a lead article by Adisa A. Ajamu.
It is inspiring to observe the African World History Project complete its preliminary volume. It is further inspiring to reaffirm that when African people set goals, work together for African interests, much can be accomplished. As Dr. Carruthers instructed us in his first memorandum, Such a project must be carefully planned and developed in stages so that effective utilization of resources and division of labor may be determined. The project would depend in the first place on the establishment of a broad range of consensus among leading African scholars. In this first phase of the project, all of these criteria have been accomplished and more.
For more information on the 21st Annual ASCAC Ancient Kemetic (Egyptian) Studies Conference check the web site at www.ascac.org or call 773-268-7500, ext.145. We look forward to seeing you! Hotep! (Peace!)
National Black United Front (NBUF)