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Molefi Kete Asante

A Critical Afrocentric Reader


Edited By James L. Conyers, Jr.

Conceptually, Molefi Kete Asante: A Critical Afrocentric Reader is a reflexive analysis of the editor’s space in higher education over the past three decades. As a historical assessment, this reader is a narrative that offers a constructive perspective of Afrocentricity, as the sheer mention of the word draws reaction and fear from either uniformed or conventional personnel. The book organizes Asante’s writings into four categories: history, mythology, ethos, and motif. Arranged theoretically, these are the four concepts that describe and evaluate culture from an Afrocentric perspective. This study offers an assessment of Asante’s body of literature that continues to position the philosophy and ideals of the Afrocentric movement internationally. In the context of being a public intellectual, the core of Asante’s analysis draws inferences in locating Africana occurrences in place, space, and time. Advancing this idea further, the purpose of these presages is to motivate scholars in the field of Africana studies to contribute to the intellectual history of W. E. B. Du Bois, Maria Stewart, Carter G. Woodson, John Henrik Clarke, and the countless others who have advanced Africana research and writing. For many cynics and associates, the scholarship of Asante has not been thoroughly vetted. Directly or indirectly, Asante offers a foundation of optimism in forming the outliers of breakdown and breakthroughs for victorious thought of an Afrocentric perspective.

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While a M.A. student in the Department of Afro-American Studies at the State University of New York at Albany in 1983, our departmental chair, Dr. Frank G. Pogue, urged graduate students to advance the banter of the Afrocentric perspective. Not familiar with this philosophical movement, I began to read Dr. Maualana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies. From this point, I then was introduced to the research and writing of Dr. Molefi Kete Asante. From a distance and up close, the analysis made sense and fit to my intellectual quest to learn more. Luckily, during the summer of 1987, I attended the National Black Holistic Retreat in Mount Tone, Pennsylvania, which is considered the Poconos. Networking with Asante personally, he explained Temple University approved the proposal for a doctoral program in African American Studies. Leaving the three day weekend retreat, I was overwhelmed, knowing I could continue my graduate studies, with developing an alternative interpretive analysis of Africana agency and sovereignty. The possibilities, optimism, and the future became brighter for posturing engagement probing institutional barriers and disparate treatment of African Americans from a systems analysis. During the spring of 1988, this became a reality and the process has continually been a grind for describing and evaluating the Africana social, political, and economic experience.

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