Updated: Dec 13, 2020
Black consciousness for the most part has nothing to do with spirituality. In Black communities, we are defined or labeled conscious, if we are aware and sensitive to what Europeans have done to Black people and if we embrace our Blackness. Individually we usually study and are informed about Black History and conspiracy theories. Typically not a biblical person (though this is not always the case), Christianity is rejected and Islam becomes the alternative after being told it is the Black man's religion. If we do not totally reject Christianity, we start painting everybody in the Bible Black. Others become Pan-African, and embrace African religions. Last but not least, we'll 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.
Organizations 1. Moorish Science Temple 2. UNIA (United Negro Improvement Association) 3. Nation of Islam and its off shoots (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
Individuals 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. Dr. Maulana Karenga (born Ronald Everett) 22. Yahweh Ben Yahweh (born Hulon Mitchell) 23. Dr. Sebi (born Alfredo Bowman) 24. Dr. Paul Goss 25. Dr. Llaila Afrika
26. Queen Afua
27. Dr. Frances Cress Welsing
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 am thankful for the scholars that have come to teach us. However 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. For the individuals on the list who are ancestor, may they rest in peace.
I have journeyed down this same road. Thus, I am 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 do not consider myself a Black conscious person. I am a conscious being who happens to be Black (a label). Now stating that, I am not saying being Black is not significant ... on the contrary. It is a part of me, and I am an extension of my people and culture. But I will not limit myself to tribal thinking.
I learn and embrace my nation (Black people) and accept its wisdom, but I will not be imprisoned by it. Some people may ask does this mean you are not concerned about black people. My response would be of course I am concerned about black people. It is 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 am not blinded by it.
Last but not least, we run to a beautiful African spiritual system and dogmatize it by trying to be someone other than ourselves. Stop it! We are such religious fanatics.
Africa is alive, but all is not well. It is time for us to face our issues. Whether it is physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or being in poverty, we need to deal with it truthfully and heal.
So mote it be!
Oloye Alatunse Ṣàngódaré Fágbèmí Odừtólá Epega (Christopher W. Brown)