Venerating Ancestor William Edward Burghardt DuBois

by

 

Geoffrey �Jahwara� Giddings, Ph.D., Antioch College

 


DuBois prepared the world for Afrocentricity; the protector of an idea who did not fully recognize its power but who would have shouted to see it come. � Molefi Kete Asante (1988:16)


 

����������������������� In light of new attention on W.E.B. DuBois to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of The Souls of Black Folks publication, including David Levering Lewis� (1993, 2000) monumental two volume biography of DuBois, it is fitting to add an Afrocentric reading of this great African American Ancestor. The apparent popularity of Afrocentricity is reflected in movements of African Americans who resist Western cultural hegemony by embracing their African heritage. This development is herein commended because it suggests that African American communities are boldly engaging a functional cultural philosophy[1] the lack of which Harold Cruse lamented in his Crisis of the Negro Intellectual. Cruse (1984) sees W.E.B. DuBois as the first African American intellectual to point explicitly toward a functional cultural philosophy,[2] directed, as it were, toward: a) developing and maintaining the integrity of African American culture, b) relieving African American economic plight and c) recognizing the African agency and unmistakable influence on �American culture.� Curse�s recognition of DuBois� contribution, was a passing exemplum. The objective here is to reveal DuBois� specific contribution to such a philosophy and by extension, his ancestral bearings on the Afrocentricity - a normative, socio-axiological corrective, intellectual paradigm and one of three formidable Afrocentric answers to Cruse�s culture crisis thesis.

����������������������� A fundamental imperative of the Afrocentric paradigm is promotion of a vindicationist commitment to the welfare of African peoples everywhere. It is in this light that DuBois is viewed as an archetype for contemporary Afrocentric scholars. Molefi Kete Asante (1993) has proposed specific guidelines by which one can assess scholarship for alignment with Afrocentric goals. Analysis or �location" of the language, attitude and direction of writers assists in the vindacationist need to determine a narrative�s relevance to African peoples' well being.����

This essay affirms the sankofa principle in its assessment of DuBois as an inspirational force under-girding such seminal Afrocentric works as Asante (1987, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993), Harding (1981) Carruthers (1972), Carruthers and Harris (1997) Karenga (1980, 1998, 2002), Ani (1980, 1994), Nobles (1986) Welsh Asante (1994), James-Myers (1994), Alleyne (1988), Gayle (1971) and Kambon (1998).

 

Development of an Afrocentric Sensibility

 

W.E.B. DuBois� path toward accepting the cultural imperative to forge a functional or corrective philosophy, as seen particularly in his writings between 1903 (Souls of Black Folk) and 1940 (Dusk of Dawn), is illuminated by the developments and influences on his life before and during this period. Considering some of the forces that shaped DuBois� consciousness, we understand better his connections to the Afrocentric project.�����������

Despite relative freedom from overt racism while growing up in Great Barrington Massachusetts, it was racism and white paternalism that steered DuBois from a Harvard undergraduate degree. Nonetheless, it would have been impossible for DuBois to regret, in retrospect, attending Fisk. For it was there in rural Tennessee that DuBois� profound respect for the African American culture was developed through extensive and dynamic contact with the masses, who still exhibited African cultural world views and aesthetic sensibilities, maintained because of their large numbers and relative segregation from white society. During this period, assessed as a �magical� fulfillment of his fondest dreams, he �willed and lo! my people came dancing about me, - riotous in color, gay in laughter, full of sympathy, need, and pleading; darkly delicious girls. Boys...who knew and understood, wrought out with me great remedies.�[3] Such reflections on his Fisk years, reveal an appreciation and love for African American culture and recognition of the imperative that �rank imposes obligations.�[4] In addition, serving as a teacher in rural Tennessee during summer breaks, DuBois observed and understood the poverty that imprisoned most African Americans, although not his particular experience growing up in Great Barrington. His struggles to fund a Harvard and Berlin education, coupled with the realization of social limitations at Harvard were realities that vented constructively toward serving local communities in Boston via article submissions to local African American periodicals.

�����������

����������������������� Publication of The Souls of Black Folk in 1903, affirmed DuBois as a significant intellectual culture agent. His first works, Suppression of the African Slave Trade (1896) and The Philadelphia Negro (1899) had already distinguished him as a social science voice of note. The Philadelphia Negro was the result of another opportunity, since Fisk, to intimately interact with the African American masses. In fact, this experience revealed insights such as realization that African Americans �had a natural dislike to being studied like a strange species� and his own confession that �I did not know so much as I might about my own people.� (Huggins 1986, 14) Nonetheless, DuBois was involved in the process of taking time to meaningfully connect with and truly understand, the �souls of black.� This process would prove important to the formulation and expression of the corrective cultural theories for which DuBois is herein credited as progenitor.

����������������������� In Souls of Black Folk, Dubois (1969: xi) tries to �show the strange meaning of being black� in the U.S., which reveals his process of getting to know African Americans and by extension, their deep-structure cultural store - all the better to formulate ideas for a liberating philosophy later explicit in such later books as Darkwater (1920) and Dusk of Dawn (1940). His Atlanta based sociological studies of the Black Belt, partly presented in Souls, further affirms DuBois� commitment to engaging the cultural power of the African American masses. Concerning the spirituals, when DuBois (1969: 265) asserts that �they are out of the south unknown to me ... and yet at once I knew them as of me and of mine� he affirms his cultural connection, across class, to all African Americans and by pan-Africanist extension, Africans everywhere.

When DuBois (1969: 265) further argues that these �rhythmic cr[ies] of the slave ... stand today not simply as the sole American music, but as the most beautiful expression of human experience born this side of the seas� he does two additional things of significance. He affirms Cruse�s (1984:189) assertion that �the cultural and artistic originality of the American nation is founded, historically, on the ingredients of a black aesthetic.� This assertion confirms the �dogged� strength of African culture - a resiliency DuBois (1969:45) metaphorically attributes to our ability to keep from �being torn asunder� by the struggle between two different and �warring� cultural asilis[5] as Africans enslaved by Eurocentric hegemony. Secondly, DuBois� (1969:265) statements are nascent responses to what constitutes an African American aesthetic. In fact, he clearly vindicates African Americans from the cultural crisis that finds them �neglected...half despised...persistently mistaken and misunderstood.�

 

����������������������� For DuBois, the next logical step was to establish a propaganda apparatus by which he could dialog with as many African Americans as possible. He found tremendous success with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) backed monthly The Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races from 1910 until 1934. In fact DuBois� path to establishing a successful periodical exemplifies one of the stumbling blocks Cruse attributes to African American cultural agents� failure to procure a functional cultural philosophy. DuBois� prior attempts at editing a periodical by way of The Moon Illustrated Weekly (1905-1906) and the Horizon: A Journal of the Color Line (1907-1910) failed for a lack of financial and political support. In fact, DuBois� famed political rows with Booker T. Washington resulted in Washington�s effectively undermining the success of the Niagara Movement and other �radical� efforts. (Marable 1986:58) DuBois� dream for a successful and autonomous propaganda machine was deferred yet again with the dissolution of the Niagara Movement and its organ, The Horizon in 1910.

In an attempt to salvage the Niagara Movement, the resilient DuBois (Marable 1986:70) proposed �a most ambitious proposal for black unity� by proposing a coalition with the American Negro Academy, the Afro-American Council, and the National Negro American Political League, whereby resources could be pooled for effective civil rights battles. However, this proposal was defeated by Archibald Grimk�s near-sighted insistence that the American Negro Academy, as an academic institution, should steer clear of politics.��

����������������������� Despite the fact that the NAACP was not conceived or organized by African Americans, DuBois appears to have strategically supported this nobly intended, even if paternalistic civil rights project. (Marable 1986:71) In fact, even as the only African American to sit on its original board of directors, he undoubtedly jumped at this opportunity to edit a periodical assured of sustained financial support. David Levering Lewis describes DuBois� work on The Crisis as a tremendous success, achieving a circulation of 350 thousand between 1910 and 1912. DuBois packed each issue with critical views and information of the day, providing readers with reviews of relevant books, profiles of accomplished African Americans, and new research such as the March 1911 article on the �black� characteristics of Ancient Egypt by Mary MacLean. For DuBois, the Crisis was an opportunity to offer the gift of his blessings to inform, enlighten and inspire African American masses from whom he had gained much insight, including a sense of group identity. DuBois had done similar work with the Atlanta University People�s College, which offered affordable evening courses to local folks. (Marable 1986:151) Thus, despite these distractions, DuBois remained attentive to the compelling imperative to remain attuned to the pulse and needs of the African American masses.


Historical Limitation

 

����������������������� Assessment of DuBois� role as a prototypal Afrocentrist is plagued by his early civilizationist sensibility. Wilson J. Moses (1978:85) conceptualizes civilizationist as the pervasive Eurocentric ideology inflicting 19th and early 20th century �nationalists� such as Henry Highland Garnet, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Martin Delany, Alexander Crummell and Marcus Garvey. The civilizationist imperative places responsibility upon the shoulders of those who achieved European education, �freedom and enlightenment� (Moses 1990:85) to bring about universal African redemption. Important to this perspective was an understanding of civilization as a social developmental process based on European notions of progress, technology and �enlightenment.����

Moses� (1978: 85) assessment of Crummell as the �African civilizationist par excellence� is important here because DuBois (1969, 234) admittedly �bowed before this man, as one bows before the prophets of the world.� Moreover, DuBois (1920:70) is directly implicated by his conviction that �Negroes in the United States ... could easily furnish ... leaders of thought, and missionaries of culture for their backward brethren in the new Africa.� Such a position that conceives a hierarchy among African peoples, based on the degree of acquisition of European education deserves assessment beyond what Moses offers. Despite, its merits for identifying DuBois� intellectual climate and his entrapment by Western hegemonic myths of �progress� and �modernism�, Wilson�s conception neglects interpretation of the motive force behind this perspective. In attempt to resolve the problem of the African colonial holocaust, DuBois suggests that, faced with European domination Africans would do better to have their sympathetic sisters and brothers of the Diaspora assist their negotiations out of colonialism. Concerning African Americans, DuBois� assessment that:

Negroes live in districts of low cultural level; ...their contacts with their fellow men involve contacts with people largely untrained and ignorant, frequently diseased, dirty and noisy, and sometimes anti-social ... not usually protected by the police - rather victimized and tyrannized over by them ... saloons, brothels, and gambling seek these areas with open or tacit consent���� (DuBois 1968:182)


is one of convicted vindicationist insight instead of empty, malicious critique.

Toward A Functional Cultural Philosophy

 

����������������������� During the time period of 1903 to 1940, DuBois published eleven works, including two novels, a biography, historical treatises and anthologies of essays on such topics as African history, geography, socialism, labor, women, children, and human rights. Of this DuBoisian canon Darkwater: Voices from within the veil, and Dusk of dawn: An essay toward an autobiography of a race concept, exemplify DuBois� archetypal contributions to a functional cultural philosophy. The scholarship of this period demonstrates DuBois� operation within an Afrocentric direction in that his explicit goal is to liberate the African American ethos from the clutches of Eurocentric hegemony.

����������������������� In addition to Darkwater�s fictional vignettes, DuBois engaged other works to assist his application of art as functional propaganda. According to Moses (1993), DuBois� novel The Quest of the Golden Fleece (1911) is an aggressive challenge to outsiders� view of African American sexuality. Although this novel�s use of Eurocentric tropes may be analyzed as lynched by Afrocentric critical standards (Asante 1992), it paints a clear distinction between the African dynamic kugusa mtima[6](move the heart) and the Western static aesthetic of art-for-art-sake. The protagonist asserts that although he likes his women as well dressed and groomed as rich white women, he �did not want them like the whites - so cold and formal and precise, without heart or morrow.� (Moses 1990: 254; DuBois 1911: 235).

����������������������� More so than earlier works, Darkwater employs scholarship, polemics and kugusa mtima to wage, unflinchingly, cogent historical and sociological criticism of Eurocentric hegemony and its abuses. For instance, in the essay �The souls of white folk�, DuBois (1920: 38) deplores Belgium colonization of the Congo as �invasion of family life, ruthless destruction of every social barrier, the shattering of every tribal law and the introduction of criminal practices...a veritable avalanche of filth and immorality� and concluding, as Fanon does decades later, that �this is not Europe gone mad; this is no aberration nor insanity; this is Europe; this seeming terrible is the real soul of white culture.� (DuBois 1920: 39) Such criticisms of Eurocentric abuses suggest DuBois' (1903: 45) progression from the civilizationist position that �America has too much to teach the world and Africa� to a more Afrocentric faith that �the destinies of this world will rest ultimately in the hands of darker nations� (DuBois 1920: 49)��

 

����������������������� By way of pointing out specific pathways to African recovery, DuBois advises that African American cultural productions even religion, ought to serve the collective - hold the potential to transform social conditions. Each chapter bears a fictional vignette, and the book opens with the poem �Credo�, which vows belief in �the Negro: in the beauty of its genius, the sweetness of its soul� and other such ideals and principles as God, Service, �war is Murder�, �liberty for all men�, �the training of children�, and �pride of race ... lineage and self.� (DuBois 1920: 49) This poem, which was also published in the Crisis, could be found framed and displayed in the homes of many African Americans of the time. (Marable 1986)

Most of the vignettes have religious themes and offer God�s redemption to the oppressed. Some are short stories in which God and Jesus are represented as African Americans, to the horrific realization of white characters. For instance, �Jesus Christ in Texas� features Jesus appearing in Waco as bi-racial, but initially mistaken for white and rejected after discovery. The story revolves around the lynching of an ex-convict whose accuser eventually realizes that her deed is equated with the persecution of Christ. Similarly in "The prayers of God�, a lyncher makes a startling realization:

����������������������������������� in thy Name,

����������� I lynched a Nigger ...

����������� Awake me God! I sleep!

����������� What was that awful word thou saidst?

����������� That black and riven thing - was it thee?

����������� That gasp - was it thine?

����������� This pin - is it thine?�� (DuBois 1920: 251)

 

Confrontations with religious regulations at Fisk and Wilberforce universities, where dancing was forbidden, clarify DuBois� subsequent disdain for religious myopia. The ends served by these vignettes are indicative of his Afrocentric view that spirituality is primarily for celebrating and serving human individual and communal needs.[7] The vindicationist intention of this work was so pioneering, courageous and nationalistic that it drew criticism from The Nation, which complained that the book �carries with it a note of bitterness, tinctured with hate and the teaching of violence.� (Villard 1920: 727) Similar criticism is leveled against contemporary Afrocentrists who are similarly unapologetic in challenging Eurocentric hegemony in the academy.���

 

����������������������� By 1940, DuBois had garnered the insight to write Dusk of Dawn: An essay toward an autobiography of a Race Concept. This work explicitly outlines an African American functional cultural philosophy, and is the source of Cruse�s celebration of DuBois above other �Harlem Renaissance� cultural agents. Typical of DuBois� broad humanist interest, this volume criticizes a variety of oppressive forces. He analyzes his then 72 years of life in context of grappling with racism, scientific �objectivity�, culture, the NAACP, the European World War II, and the Pan-African conferences.

����������������������� Two essays in this volume are of particular interest to the intellectual heritage of Afrocentricity. "The Concept of Race� sets out to define what it means to be of African descent beyond the villainous pseudoscientific constructs of the time. Maintaining that �race lines were not fixed and fast� in America, which led to �inner racial distinction in the colored group�, DuBois (Huggins 1986: 628) asserts the need to �emphasize the cultural aspects of race.�[8] Such a maneuver anticipates the contemporary Afrocentric emphasis on African cultural reality in analyzing African and Diaspora phenomena.

����������������������� DuBois� account of his first trip to Africa in 1923 reinforced his pan-African conception of African American culture. Whereas, continental Africans were once described by DuBois as �backward�, here his re-conceptualization of the African ethos is revolutionary:

What of Africa? Here darkness descends and rests on lovely skins until brown seems luscious and natural. There is sunlight... that wraps you like a garment. And laziness; divine, eternal, languor is right and good and true.

(Huggins 1986:628, 646)

Such a view and celebration of aspects of African life in African terms instead of through conventional Eurocentric lens, anticipated today�s Afrocentric concern �with African people being subjects of historic and contemporary social experiences rather than objects in the margins of European experiences.� (Asante 1993: 99)

 

����������������������� With the �The colored world within�, DuBois (Huggins 1986: 681) asserts that the overall plight many African Americans face �have clear � well-known and remedial causes� and proposes an ambitious social organization plan for remedy. The plan was to create new social institutions because organizations such as the American Negro Academy and the NAACP lacked a nationalist thrust[9], had not meaningfully affirmed or employed African cultural values and imperatives.�� In fact DuBois (Huggins 1986: 693) warns against �those who most vehemently tell the Negro to develop his own classes and social institutions, [but] have no plan or desire for such help� a view very much in keeping with Cruse�s (1986:518) concern with the cooption of African American cultural agents by their European American colleagues and patrons.

����������������������� DuBois' (Huggins 1986) Cooperative Commonwealth proposal capitalizes on the fact that African Americans constitute a segregated social milieu within the larger U.S. society. He is also attentive to and thus motivated by the African American bourgeois concern over being forced to live among the poor masses - fearing detrimental effects of proximity to �elements of low culture.���� Thus to secure �cultural development� for all and avoiding internal conflict, DuBois' corrective commonwealth plan sought to raise the "cultural level" of those most oppressed with the following aims and objectives:

a. �Double taxation� to fund independent schools

b. Unification of African American church denominations

c. Artistic productions �deliberately planned� and propagandized

d. Non-profit hospitals and socialized medicine

e. Interest politics

f. Community-based legal defense initiatives

g. Organized African American consumer power

h. Autonomous publishing firms

 

����������������������� Although such a plan would require extraordinary sacrifices from African Americans committed to sewing seeds for future generations to reap, DuBois has left a remarkable legacy which a number of contemporary African American cultural agents have embraced.�� Since the 1960�s Black Power movement, Black Aesthetics, Kawaida Philosophy, Black Studies, Black Psychology and Afrocentricity as a refinement of Black Studies have consciously accepted and carried this torch. Maulana Karenga�s Kawaida Philosophy maps out a cultural guide for recovery from what he diagnosed as an African American cultural crisis. Kawaida employs the best of African cultural values from Ancient Egypt (Kemet) to the extant Dogon and Yoruba, in creating the ritual holiday of Kwanzaa. Kawaida philosophy was developed in the works of such artists as Amiri Baraka and Haki Madhubuti who have built institutions that apply Kawaida imperatives. Indeed, DuBois� cooperative commonwealth is poised in the same corrective direction as Kwanzaa�s community-building principles: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith).

Beyond the larger African American cultural crisis, Afrocentricity has addressed the cultural crisis in Black Studies. Asante (1988, 1990, 1991) outlines a path for scholars and lay intellectuals to revive African cultural integrity, which should be achieved when there is more discourse respectful of African cultural reality. In fact, efforts at Temple University (led primarily by Molefi Kete Asante, Kariamu Welsh (Asante), Ama Mazama, Abu Abarry and T. C. Kato) to refine African American Studies into an autonomous Africalogy discipline, fulfills DuBois� (1933) call for a culturally centered pedagogy and curriculum for training knowledgeable, conscious and committed African American intellectual agents.������

Additionally, efforts to employ the culture nationalist imperative to the work of African American artists is articulated by Addison Gayle (1971: XVI), who credits DuBois for striking �a note that has found accord in the breast of contemporary black artists.� Gayle offers a forum for the committed voices of such artists as Hoyt Fuller, Larry Neal, Richard Wright, Amiri Baraka, Adam David Miller and John Oliver Killens, articulating an impressive move toward realizing a functional cultural philosophy. Speaking for these cultural agents, Gayle (1971:xxii) expands the standard American conception of aesthetics to offer that the �Black aesthetic� is �a corrective - a means of helping black people out of the polluted mainstream of Americanism." Adam David Miller (Gayle 1971:380) further asserts that �when we write about ourselves from a point of view that takes black life seriously, ...we are creating a black aesthetic.� Such a conviction is consistent with DuBois� (Lewis 1995:514) charge that the �Criteria for Negro art� should be determined by the extent to which African American artists promote and secure a cultural ethos that �believe[s] black blood human, loveable and inspired with new ideals for the world.�

����������� A great many African American Psychologists have also responded to the DuBoisian culture corrective imperative. Since its organizational emergence in 1968, Black Psychology has developed a committed discourse with a number of unique theoretical departures from the American Psychological Association brand of psychology. Black Psychology's culture-based personality, identity and mental health theories and treatment models are concerned with restoring and maintaining African American psycho-spiritual health, injured by the enslavement holocaust and its legacy of oppression. This paradigm shift in Psychology is attested by the works of Kobi Kambon (Baldwin 1981, Baldwin 1989, & 1998), Wade Nobles (1975, 1984, 1986), Naim Akbar (1979, 1985a,b), Linda James Myers (1987, 1993), Daudi Azibo (1991, 1996), Madge Gill Willis (1992) among others.

 

 

Conclusions

 

����������������������� Afrocentric location theory suggests that any literature that addresses African subjects, can be read in light of its language, attitude and direction to determine its value for African agency. The direction of DuBois� work is the attribute most in sync with the goals of Africology in that his commitment to African and African Diaspora cultural recovery is explicit. His conception of culture is as functional as that of Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral, Larry Neal, Maulana Karenga, Molefi Kete Asante and Kobi Kambon and has made profound theoretical contributions to the functional cultural philosophy to which we have moved a lot closer today by way of Afrocentric scholarship and praxis.

����������������������� I have assessed DuBois� attitude as vindicationist, an important Afrocentric imperative, defined in the 19th century as �the defense of the [African] against vicious assaults.�[10] Thus he identifies and vilifies sources of oppression against African peoples. European aggression is described as �evil� and �devilish� in keeping with a spiritualist tradition of demonizing oppressors who, for instance, are �never done talking of Man, yet murder men everywhere � in all the corners of the globe� tragically resulting in diminished "access to what is left of their human instinct." (Huggins 1986:694; Morrison 1994)

����������������������� DuBois� Cooperative Commonwealth is ammunition against oppression confronting African Americans. His advocacy of independent schools addresses his (still relevant) frustration that �it is almost impossible for a Negro boy trained in a white Northern high school and a white college to come out with any high idea of his own people or any abiding faith in what they can do.� (Huggins 1986: 694) Despite such vindicationist commitments, DuBois� description of the African American poor can be offensive to contemporary sensibilities. Such statements as �by practical and present measurement, Negroes today are inferior to whites� (Huggins 1986:681) abound in DuBois� early works. However, careful examination of the contexts of these statements yields a better understanding of DuBois� operation within his time. Today the Afrocentric imperative to defend African American cultural integrity makes us naturally very critical of such language[11]. However, appreciation of Dubois without falling prey to anachronism, would require a fifth Afrocentric location category, perhaps termed contemporary location, in order to fairly assess a writer in her appropriate historical context. Thus, examination of DuBois� work as dislocated by today�s Afrocentric standards, ignores the vast historical distance between him and us. It is safe to assert that DuBois� language use and attitude is in sync with the dominant influence of his civilizationist contemporaries, especially those with whom he shared the same political contexts and sensibilities. For instance, the more nationalistic Marcus Garvey is no less guilty of a civilizationist sensibility than DuBois. Thus, it is important to observe the flow of ideas around a writer�s life to determine if the lack of Afrocentric finesse is primarily a result of their time and context.

����������������������� Contemporary African American nationalist consciousness in the form of Kawaida, Black Psychology and Afrocentricity � especially in a neo-conservative political era - may be easily taken for granted. However, the task of determining the nuances of DuBois as a prototypal Afrocentric cultural agent, requires further inquiry into his direct influence on contemporary scholars. Further investigation of DuBois� contemporary context is also necessary for confirming the utility of this addition to Asante�s location theory for Afrocentric textual analysis. In this, we rightfully venerate a most worthy Ancestor in William Edward Burghardt DuBois.

�����������


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[1] The author has completed a study which explores Kawaida, Black/African Psychology and Afrocentricity as contemporary manifestations of the African American nationalist tradition toward addressing the issue of African American empowerment.

[2] By cultural philosophy, Cruse (1984:518) means "creative and artistic policies that will govern cultural program, organizations and self-sustained and -administered research institutions" and which would also "maintain a code of cultural ethics, a critical yardstick, � cogent and meaningful critique on society that might enable � viable and lasting institutions � that motivate progressive movements.

[3] Huggins 1986, 14

[4] Ibid., 6

[5] Asili is Marimba Ani�s (1994:xxv) conceptualization of the seed or essence of a culture.

[6] Marimba Ani's (1994) conception of the African dynamic sense of what's beautiful is kugusa mtima, ki-swahili concept meaning "to touch the heart." This dynamic sense of aesthetic includes the Black Aesthetic school's notion that the goal of art is to transform conditions from bad to good. Also see Gayle (1972:p.xxii)

[7] In fact, Ani (1980:52) advocates that African Americans "turn our spirituality, our ethos our Africaness into � a powerful political force for liberation and self-determination."

[8]Karenga (1980:18) has argued similarly that culture is poised in corrective directions when conceptualized as: "the self-conscious, collective thoughts and actions by which a people create, celebrate and present themselves to the world."

[9]Pinkney�s (1993:215) general definition of African American nationalist ideological orientation includes a collective desire for and promotion of: unity, solidarity, pride in cultural heritage, and some degree of autonomy from the larger society.

[10] St. Clair Drake (1987:xvii) draws this conception from the American Negro Academy�s mission statement.

[11] Interestingly, William J. Wilson (1987) would argue that DuBois was correct in painting such nominally harsh descriptions of African American poverty because realistic descriptions of the problem is seen as a critical step toward solutions.