Loyalists devoted to the aim and purpose of the Association of Classical African Civilizations in the eastern region will repeat an annual tribute they have been marking for 20 years by honoring the storied legacy left by revered Pan-African educator Dr. John Henrik Clarke.
Guided by principles adopted by their council of elders and an executive committee, the significance of paying homage to the revered ancestor will be manifested on June 23 from 2 p.m. at Countee Cullen Library, 104 West 136th St. in Harlem, when the 21st annual event presents a keynote address by Reginald Mabry titled “The African at the Crossroads.”
Mabry, who has been affiliated with ASCAC for more than three decades, is expected to present his honest assessment of the path the continent will embark on given the examples set by “male and female great elder warriors” in the association.
Also acknowledging positive leadership from those in Africa, Mabry might even echo sentiments expressed by founding fathers Dr. Asa Hilliard, Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannon, Prof. Leonard Jeffries and his wife Rosalind, Jacob H. Carruthers, Maulana Karenga and Dr. Clarke who mobilized in 1984 to form a study group devoted to Africa.
Throughout that decade the scholars travelled throughout Africa gathering and disseminating information to keen ears and curious ears.
“We have to remember the past so that we can mold and shape the future. Reshape the future in view of the errors of the past. You can’t do it without learning from the mistakes you made.” Rosalind Jeffries previously stated.
“We have the authority to affect others because everything is connected,” Jeffries reportedly told a convening group of participants.
“What we do affect other races, what we do affects the ecology of the planet.”
At that same gathering, Mabry reportedly added that — “We cannot do anything for our youth without putting something in their minds, without giving them a vision.”
According to the web portal outlining the principles guiding ASCAC membership: “ASCAC provides a body of knowledge that continuously contributes to the rescue, reconstruction, and restoration of African history and culture. Our purpose is to promote the study of African civilizations for the development of an African world view. Our aim is to build African-centered study groups and strengthen existing institutions. Our goal is to provide excellence in all dimensions of our association. Our strategy is to use our accumulated knowledge for the liberation of African people wherever they may be. Our commitment is to the truth. Our achievements and accomplishments will provide the resources necessary for ASCAC to grow and be recognized as a world class African organization.”
More than anything, the organization unequivocally regularly emphasizes that Blacks here, in the Caribbean as well those living in Europe, South America, Asia and Australia should always acknowledge the fact “we are an African people.”
Foremost, the site continued, is the understanding and acceptance that “we walk in the footsteps of our ancestors.
“We lead through competence, creativity and collective consciousness. ASCAC’s leadership is founded on progressive scholarship, innovative ideas, and community activism. We are scholars, scientists, artists, students and determined workers. Our mission is to reclaim our history through Research, enlighten our people through Education, inspire our people through Science and Spiritual Development and raise our consciousness through Creative Productions. Our continued success requires developing people and rewarding their achievements therefore we recognize it is the responsibility of all of us to educate and develop ourselves as well as those whom we lead, touch and influence.”
Drumming, spoken word recitations and other rituals will highlight the tribute.