CHINWEIZU IN CHICAGO

By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (December 7, 2000)

Chinweizu, who is one of our great African thinkers, scholars, and researchers will give a major public lecture in Chicago on Friday, December 15th at 7:00 p.m. at Northeastern Illinois University Center for Inner City Studies, 700 East Oakwood Boulevard.

This will be a rare opportunity for the African Community of Chicago to witness one of the giants in the African Centered Education Movement. Indeed, two of his most profound books, The West and the Rest of Us and Decolonizing The African Mind have been major contributions to our continued challenge to rescue our history and culture.

This historic lecture by Chinweizu, in Chicago, is being sponsored by the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilization (ASCAC), in conjunction with the National Black United Front (NBUF), The Kemetic Institute, The Black United Fund of Illinois, The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations In America (N’COBRA), and the Christ Apostolic Church.

Chinweizu was born in Nigeria. He was educated there and in the United States where he has mastered a variety of disciplines such as mathematics, philosophy, Americana Studies, history, and economics. However, Chinweizu’s training left him with an unsettled desire to further examine questions concerning the African condition.

In pondering this unsettled desire to further examine the real questions facing African people and oppressed humanity, Chinweizu explains, "For me, it took the grievous happenings of the 1960’s, in Nigeria and other places, to shock my colonized and properly miseducated consciousness into re–examining itself."

Continuing, Chinweizu explains that the "Conflicting reports and interpretations of the Congo Crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Viet Nam; the rather swift degeneration of the grand opportunities of Nigeria’s independence into riots, uprisings and civil war— these were some of the events that made me suspect that what I had been conditioned to accept as reality was, more often than not, a misrepresentation of reality, a mystifying, official misrepresentation of events and of the world by colonial and neo–colonial interests."

His two seminal works, The West and the Rest of Us and Decolonizing The African Mind, delves into this problem with great insight, wisdom, and research. It is difficult to refute that African people throughout the world have been miseducated. But very few of our thinkers, scholars, and researchers have illustrated this miseducation in the manner that Chinweizu sets forth in these works.

The following points from the foreword of The West and the Rest of Us, to some extent, summarize Chinweizu’s views on how we must not allow outsiders to write, define, and posture themselves as being the experts on us. Having been influenced by Malcolm X, Julius Nyere, and Franz Fanon, Chinweizu explains, "These have been, and remain my teachers and my guides as I continue my efforts to cleanse myself of the pollutions from a colonial miseducation."

In another context, Chinweizu was a major participant and presenter at the First Pan African Conference On Reparations that was held in Abuja, Nigeria on April 27-29, 1993. The impact of that conference has played a key role in the continued development of the African Reparations Movement worldwide. Therefore, in Chinweizu’s lecture he will be addressing the topic of Pan Africanism and Reparations.

Chinweizu has worked closely with the late, great Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop, with Dr. Théophile Obenga, Chinua Achebe, Dr. Jacob Carruthers, and a host of other leading African Centered deep thinkers, scholars, and researchers.

We will conclude the weekend of activities with Chinweizu on Sunday, December 17th by attending the Christ Apostolic Church at 1445 East 65th Street at 11:30 a.m., where Rev. Dr. Leon Finney, Jr. is the pastor. Just as many churches in our communities, throughout America, during the Free South Africa Movement, put signs in front of their churches that read, "FREE SOUTH AFRICA," we will be unveiling a sign in front of Christ Apostolic Church that will read, "BLACK REPARATIONS NOW."

We think this effort will spark other churches in the African in America community to join the Reparations Movement, with greater intensity, and to place similar signs in front of their churches. Chinweizu will participate in the church service along with all of us and witness this historic occasion to help broaden the Reparations Movement through the Black Church.

In addressing the question of Reparations in the paper he presented in Abuja, Chinweizu made this insightful observation; "Let me begin by noting that Reparations is not just about money, it is not even mostly about money; in fact money is not even one percent of what reparations is about. Reparations is mostly about making repairs, self made repairs, on ourselves; mental repairs, psychological repairs, institutional repairs, social repairs, etc."

We hope to see you at the historic Chinweizu lecture on Friday, December 15th in Chicago.

 
National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)


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