On History and Heritage
-Dr John Henrik Clarke-
It is the role of the writer, the thinker, to ask and
answer the question: How will my people stay on this earth? If there is nothing
else that is required of the thinker, of the writer, of the teacher, it is that
his people have a right to look to him/her to tell them their cultural,
political and historical time of the day. Timekeeping begins with history and
the preface of every messenger to the people should be about historical
definitions. History is a clock that people use to tell the
cultural, historical and political time of day. It is also a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. History tells a people where
they have been and what they have been. It also tells them where they are and
what they are.
Most importantly, the role of history is to tell a people
where they must go and what they still must be.
History and the proper understanding of it is the basis for all of a people's
honest and creative efforts to improve themselves and contribute to the broader
society. The role of history in the life of a people has the same significance
as the role of a mother in the life of a child.
Any person who calls
him/herself a teacher, who cannot give you some sense of where you are, so
you'll know where you've got to go, is unworthy of the name and we cannot carry
these people anymore. We cannot pretend these people are leaders; we cannot let
them off the hook anymore.
…The capitalist system that was based on slavery,
that built its empire on the misery of our people, cannot free our people. No
economic system devised in europe can be best (good) for Afrika or Asia. Because
systems, religions and cultures devised in europe were meant
to facilitate the european control of the world. These 'icebox' people
have never pretended otherwise. We have misunderstood them. They never said that
they wanted to do anything but control the world by any means necessary. When
they say 'universal' they mean themselves. When they say 'world' you are not
part of that world. So, therefore, you must fashion your concept of 'world' to
suit your condition and your destiny. So when you think 'world', if you mean one
thing and if they say 'world' and mean another thing, that is not a disaster, so
long as your people understand that when you say 'world' you
mean, first and foremost, the Afrikan world. And that your 'universality'
began with an understanding of where Afrikan people are in the world and what
they have to do, one to the other, to stay in the world.
If you were a
minority, we would deal with that…if you were land poor, we would deal with
that…but you are not a minority, you're not land poor, you're not people poor
and you're not resource poor. Then why are you so actually poor? Because someone
else is controlling your land, your resources, your geography; somebody else is
digging your gold, marketing your gold, marketing your diamonds and doesn't even
account to you for how many they take out. Afrikan People
are the rightful owners of the greatest piece of real estate on the face of the
earth. It is rich beyond measure.
(This is one reason why our enemy loves it when we
self-deny our Afrikan heritage,
our rightful inheritance.