Self Reflection Of A People Evolving
Black consciousness for the most part has nothing to do with spirituality. In black communities, we’re defined or labeled conscious, if we’re aware and sensitive to what Europeans have done to Black people and if we openly embrace our Blackness. We usually study and are informed about Black History and conspiracy theories. We’re probably not a biblical person (though this is not always the case). Many times we reject Christianity and run to Islam after being told it is the Black man’s religion. If we don’t totally reject Christianity we start painting everybody in the Bible Black. Others become Pan-Africans and many embrace an African religion. Last but not least, we change the name our mother gave us.
I will list the following organizations and individuals I believe have been instrumental in the Black Conscious movement in America.
1. Moorish Science Temple
2. UNIA (United Negro Improvement Association)
3. Nation of Islam and its offshoots (5% Nation & etc.)
4. Black Panther Party
5. Shrine of the Black Madonna
6. Black Hebrew Israelites and all its splinter groups
7. Ansaaru Allah Community and its many names (Nubian Islamic Hebrews, Holy Tabernacle Ministries, Nuwaubian Nation, & etc.)
8. Ausar Auset Society
1. Duse Mohamed Ali
2. Noble Drew Ali (born Timothy Drew)
3. J. A. Rogers
4. Marcus Mosiah Garvey
5. Dr. Carter G. Woodson
6. Elijah Muhammad (born Elijah Poole)
7. John G. Jackson
8. Dr. George G.M. James
9. Dr. Chancellor Williams
10. Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan
11. Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop
12. Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little, changed his name El Hajj Malik El Shabazz)
13. Clarence 13X (born Clarence Smith)
14. Dr. John Henry Clark
15. Ben Ami ben Israel (born Ben Carter)
16. Imam Isa Al Haadi Al Mahdi (born Dwight York)
17. Dr. Ivan Van Sertima
18. Louis Farrakhan
19. Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman (born Albert Cleage Jr.)
20. Ra Un Nefer Amen (born Rogelio Alcides Straughn)
21. Maulana Karenga (born Ronald Everett)
* Yahweh Ben Yahweh (born Hulon Mitchell)
* Dr. Sebi
* Dr. Paul Goss
* Dr. Llaila Afrika
I would also say the organizations and people on my list have contributed greatly to the awareness and influence of black people and its culture (including Hip hop). I acknowledge I have studied many things and read many books from the individuals and organizations listed above. I’m thankful for the scholars that have come to teach us. But I also acknowledge, we as a people need to transcend the dogmas that have come out of the Black conscious movement, especially the religious ones.
Every individual listed above (except 3) have made their transition. They are our ancestors now. May they rest in peace.
I have journeyed down this same road. Thus, I’m not coming from a place of judgment. These organizations and individuals have been a part of our experience and growth as a people. I just want us to continue to grow and not let any man or woman take our individual identity or divinity away from us. I humbly state this.
Personally I don’t consider myself a Black conscious person. I’m a conscious being who happens to be Black. Now stating that, I’m not saying being Black isn’t significant …on the contrary. It’s a part of me and I’m an extension of my people and culture. But I will not limit myself to tribal thinking.
I learn and embrace my tribe (black people) and accept its wisdom, but I won’t be imprisoned by it. Some people may ask does this mean you’re not concerned about black people. My response would be of course I’m concerned about black people. It’s part of my mission to enlighten my brothers and sisters, but I will not let cultural or religious dogma limit my thinking. I embrace my culture, but I’m not blinded by it.
Last but not least, you religious people run to a beautiful African spiritual system and dogmatize it by trying to be someone other than yourself. Stop it! You’re such religious fanatics.
Example … Buddhism was founded in India, but Buddhists in Thailand, Cambodia, China, & etc., are not trying to be like Buddhists in India. Buddhists in India have their own traditions and greetings and other Buddhist cultures have theirs own traditions and greetings.
Hindus in India have their traditions and Hindus in Bali (Indonesia) have their own. The cow is sacred to Hindus in India and they don’t eat beef, but Hindus in Bali (Indonesia) do eat it beef.
Black people in America i.e. Africans in the diaspora in the United States, accept who you are. Love your mother (Africa), but embrace who you have become.
The boundaries of spirituality are forever expanding. A seeker shouldn’t let ANY religious dogma or ideology prevent him/her from evolving.
Africa is alive, but all is not well. It is time for us to face our issues. Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or being in poverty, we need to deal with it truthfully and heal. So mote it be!
Christopher W. Brown