IN HONOR OF BABA JAKE
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (January 19, 2006)
Since the transition of our beloved Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers, Jr. two significant events have taken place and a third has been planned to keep his contributions and his memory alive. The first occurred on November 18, 2004, when upon the recommendation of Northeastern Illinois University President, Salme Harju Steinberg, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rename the Center for Inner City Studies, in honor of our great intellectual warrior, the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies. The community came together on January 18, 2005 to publicly acknowledge this renaming project at a community tribute and ribbon cutting ceremony.
The second event took place on December 2, 2005 at the Carruthers Center, located at 700 East Oakwood Boulevard when a monument created by Master Artist, Professor Ausbra Ford was unveiled. This beautiful monument entitled, “Maa Kherew,” which means “True of Voice” was created in honor of Dr. Carruthers. It is a four sided structure that stands over 10 feet tall with a pyramid at its crown. Each side reflects those ideas and concepts that Baba Jake promoted and lived by. The unveiling ceremony was hosted by the Kemetic Institute and the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies. Members of Dr. Carruthers’ family were in attendance at this historic event along with some 250 members of the community. It was an occasion that was truly reflective of the man, his ideas, and his works.
The third event will take place this February, the month in which Dr. Carruthers was born. The Kemetic Institute will be hosting a Birthday Commemoration and Celebration in honor of the life and works of Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers on Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19, 2006 in the Kemetic Institute Suite at the Carruthers Center. Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. will be dedicated to reviewing some of Baba Jake’s works and listening to some of his lectures with commentary and discussants. The Sunday, February 19th session will culminate with a gravesite ritual from 12:30 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. at Oak Woods Cemetery, in remembrance and celebration of his birthday which is February 15th.
These very significant events will help Baba Jake’s contributions to the world wide African Liberation struggle remain in perpetuity for eternity. As we prepare for African American History Month let us review the life of our beloved Baba Jake.
It was on Sunday, January 4, 2004 at 9:55 a.m. that the African World Community lost one of its greatest scholars, educators, activists, and “Deep Thinkers,” Dr. Jacob Hudson Carruthers, Jr. In memory of, in honor of, and in tribute to Baba Jake, I encourage all those who loved and appreciated his outstanding contributions to the African world to read or reread his classic work, Intellectual Warfare.
We are still challenged today to create an educational climate that inspires African youth in America to understand that the purpose of education is to develop the skills and historical understanding of the past as it relates to the present and future in preparation for working for self and the liberation of African people.
Our challenge of the twenty-first-century is to defeat the one hundred year tradition established by white educational leaders who created curriculums for Africans in America designed to prepare them to work for white folks.
We should all read or reread Dr. Carruthers’ profound book, Intellectual Warfare, especially as African American History Month approaches. African American History Month is a very important, continuing effort, for us, as African people in America to educate and reeducate ourselves about our history and its relationship to the important ideas that shape how we see the world.
For over thirty-five-years, Dr. Carruthers played a leading role as a scholar and intellectual activist in the development of the African Centered Education Movement.
Dr. Carruthers was a tenured professor in the College of Education’s Inner City Studies Education undergraduate and graduate programs at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois and retired as Professor Emeritus. Along with Dr. Anderson Thompson, Dr. Carruthers helped shape both the undergraduate and graduate curricula that have become known throughout the country for providing a theoretical and practical understanding of the impact of the political, economic, social, and cultural forces on people who live in the inner cities throughout the world. Of course, one of the largest groups to live in the inner cities is African people.
Therefore, a great deal of Dr. Carruthers=s writings and lectures concentrated on the white supremacy intellectual assault on African people and the world. Dr. Carruthers has been magnificent in exposing the European intellectual tyranny and its impact on the education of African people.
It was through his association with the late, great Senegalese scholar, Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop and the late, great scholar / teacher, Dr. John Henrik Clarke that helped propel the genius of Dr. Carruthers=s insight into the “Deep Well” of the African Worldview.
As the founding President of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC), Dr. Carruthers helped shape an organizational format for African Centered scholars, teachers, students, and the overall African Community to have a collective vehicle in which to pursue the building of the African Centered Education Movement. His leadership, in this regard, has been monumental and inspiring to hundreds of scholars, teachers, and students throughout the African World Community.
In this connection, Dr. Carruthers=s book, Intellectual Warfare, prepares us to function in the twenty-first-century with a sharper understanding of our challenges as an African people.
The book is organized into five sections. Part I: The Nature of the War; Part II: Defenders of Western Civilization; Part III: Intellectual Civil War; Part IV: The Champions of African Centered Thought; and Part V: Toward the Restoration of African Civilizations.
In the preface of Intellectual Warfare, Dr. Carruthers explains, “These essays reflect the thought of the ‘Chicago group’ and the ‘African Community of Chicago.’ I was simply a vehicle through whom ideas flowed. Even the mistakes are our mistakes rather than mine alone. The conceptualization of our work as Intellectual Warfare emerged out of the actual battles in which we were engaged.”
In the first chapter, Dr. Carruthers instructs us by pointing out, “Thus, those who have been waging the long war to liberate African history and culture have been fighting the following two battles: (1) an international war against the European intellectuals and (2) a civil war against the colonized African spokespersons who are trained by Europeans to undermine African independence. The war is truly, as Anderson Thompson says, a battle for the African mind, or as Asa Hilliard and the First World Alliance put it, a battle to free the African mind.”
Those who believe in the just cause of the long war to liberate African history and culture must read and reread and study Dr. Carruthers=s most insightful observations, wisdom, and his “Deep Well” of understanding that is shared in Intellectual Warfare.
As we fondly remember Baba Jake, let us read and reread his writings. Let us follow his teachings and discuss his ideas. And most important of all let us follow his wise instruction and continue the great work that Baba Jake was engaged in during his lifetime.
Res em hotep, Baba Jake! Awake in peace, Baba Jake!
National Black United Front (NBUF)