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Kwaku Person-Lynn - Farewell to Dr. Asa Hilliard

Posted in: Essays/Articles
By BN-W
Aug 15, 2007 - 1:26:18 PM

Farewell to Dr. Asa Hilliard
By:  Dr. Kwaku Person-Lynn,
DrKwaku.com

Amankwatia Baffour II [Dr. Asa Grant Hilliard III]
22 August 1933 – 12 August 2007  

One of the giants in the academic world left us this past weekend in the most appropriate place it could happen, in Cairo, Kemet (Egypt), where he studied, wrote about, lectured, researched, conducted tour groups and redeemed his soul. He was attending the ASCAC (Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations) Conference, an organization he co-founded, and giving lectures to the Pastor Jeremiah Wright tour group.

Early reports state that he passed due to complications of contracting malaria. More details are yet to come and funeral arrangements have not been made thus far.

Those of us who knew Baba Baffour, and/or were familiar with him, knew him as one of the premier scholars/researchers/educators/authors this world has ever seen. He was supremely dedicated to the total liberation and education of Afrikan peoples specifically, but humanity in general. It was his efforts that primarily started the Curriculum of Inclusion Movement, balancing school curriculums by adding information and lessons on Afrikan people. He was an educational psychologist, but dedicated his life to improving teaching/learning methods for children, and educating Afrikan people about our history. Family was the highest point of his consciousness.

In an interview I conducted with Baba Baffour, seeing parents as the first teachers, he stated, “What kids get from us most of the time are instructions: ‘do this,’ ‘don’t do that,’ ‘watch out for this,’ ‘watch out for that.’ That’s a monologue. What has to happen, if you want to activate the child’s intelligence, and release that intelligence, that child has to be invited to engage in questioning, in critique, all of those kinds of things. Parents have to organize their communication with children. All we have to do is remember to do it. We know how to do it, but we slip into some awfully bad habits.

I’m not quite sure what the reasons are for those bad habits, but they are very prominent among our people. You know: ‘shut up,’ ‘be quiet,’ ‘sit down.’ That may give you control over the child’s behavior, but doesn’t give the child’s mind anything. The child has, if the mind is going to grow, it’s got to chew on something. It’s got to turn it over, try it out and not be directed from moment to moment. Nurturing that independent critical orientation is a part of what a parent has to do for a child.”

In the land he loved so much, Baba Baffour wanted to go beyond just admiring our ancient past, where the foundation of civilization existed. Being pro-active he did the following. “Somewhere in the late sixties, mid sixties to late sixties, I became acquainted with people who enhanced my information about Afrika, especially classical Afrikan civilizations. I knew that at some point I had to do more work to share this information. I tried to figure out a way to do that, mainly through slide presentations and lectures and so forth. But it occurred to me, that it would be much more powerful to be able to examine concretely whatever is left of that civilization, where it is right now.

The way to do that would be through a study tour. So my wife and I designed a study tour and tried to locate people who were really serious about study. We’re not interested in folk who want to collect ashtrays and float on the Nile and do all that. It’s a very hard working tour. We were up early and we go to bed late. We felt by being on the site, by visiting the museums, by visiting the monuments, by getting some sense of the space, geography, time perspective, that would help to make more real what this thing was in the past.”

In his parting statement, which applies even today, he leaves us with, “Let me say the thing that’s of course on my mind. We require a massive mobilization of Afrikan people around the world. We need to see what the future looks like for us in the next thirty to forty years. We need to take a long view. In fact, we need to think about the next two hundred years. To be real conservative, where do we want Afrikan people to be in the world twenty years from now? If you get an answer to that question that’s anywhere near correct, it tells you what you got to do now to get ready for that.

I’m concerned because we are not now doing what we need to do to get ready for the world I think we would like to have, if we thought about it. I just would really hope we begin to mobilize our thoughts and ultimately our resources toward creating a new future for Afrikan people. That we revise and revitalize the continent so we will be safe wherever we live, anywhere in the world.

And for the young, there was an old Bible verse that my mother emphasized when I was growing up, I still live by it and think of it all the time. One of the few I can remember completely. It was II Timothy 2:15 which says, ‘Study to show yourself approved unto God, not unto man, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.’”

Dr. Kwaku’s critically acclaimed and educational DVDs, “Afrikan World Civilizations,” and “Afrikan World Masters,” are available at www.drkwaku.com.

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