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Black History Extravaganza: Honoring Dr. Ben-Jochannan

Frederick Monderson

Black History Extravaganza: Honoring Dr. Ben-Jochannan

BLACK HISTORY EXTRAVAGANZA honoring Dr. Ben-Jochannan is a labor of love for someone intimately associated with the master teacher for some 40 years as student, traveling companion, mentee and friend. In repayment, this effort to help acknowledge and sustain his name, life's work and historical and philosophic outlook is necessary so the younger generation know of the enormous intellectual light this extraordinary scholar represented in those extremely challenging social and intellectual times of the last half century. As the systematic onslaught against African (Black) personality continued, one particular scholar, lecturer, historian, publisher, archaeologist and Tour Guide to Egypt stood unmoved and unrelenting in defense of an entire people's history, culture and spiritual well-being. In this, Dr. Ben took on all disparaging comers as he educated and nurtured intellectual "cubs" becoming equipped to challenge historical distortion and omission manifested from the false mantle of global white supremacy. To accomplish the enormous task, Dr. Ben wrote, innovated self-publishing, lectured, and took students to museums and then to Egypt pointing out contradictions between the Existential Data and the symbolic Representation of Ancient Egypt. As all this unfolded, Dr. Ben took "offensive" and "friendly fire;" yet the great man continued to extol the cultural and historical achievements attained by Africans, placing them in proper perspective within the natural and historical process of humanity's cultural progress represented in Nile Valley and other African "high cultures" of intellectual, scientific, and art and architectural achievements. In the many areas dealt with in Extravaganza's Table of Contents, viz., Introduction; The Awesome Egyptian Temple; Who were the Ancient Egyptians;? The Archaeology of Egypt; The Art of Ancient Egypt; Architecture of Ancient Egypt; The Religion of Ancient Egypt; and the History of Egypt, Dr. Ben made a substantial impact while educating students as to the utility and benefits of studying the illustrious African past, he emphasized they accentuate the positive and reject negative aspects of that memorable experience. Like many intellectual lights, "warrior scholars," of his age, viz., Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Ivan Van Sertima, Leonard James, Carter G. Woodson, Benjamin Carruthers, J.A. Rogers, Jitu Weusi, Leonard Jeffries, among others, Dr. Ben subscribed to one unmistaken academic admonition pursuing excellence, "Publish or Perish." This continuum of praise (Celebrating Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan), Black History Extravaganza seeks a starting point for readers, young and old to delve deep and drink from the remarkable fountain represented in fields of study which engaged the great scholar for more than half-a-century. Young scholars particularly must therefore realize it's up to them to continue high standards of intellectual pursuit armed with the requisite tools of critical analysis to problem solve, challenge misconceptions regarding African history and culture, and to never forget "The Struggle Must Continue" until Africa and Africans attain their proper place in the global historical narrative. Fundamentally, Dr. Ben emphasized the vast reservoir of knowledge ancient Nile Valley Africans of Egypt and Nubia bequeathed to posterity rightfully belongs to African people's legacy and any person honestly in search for historical truths. Therefore, the photographic images, like his masterful archaeological manual, From Abu Simbel to Ghizeh, are arranged as the Nile flows issuing Africa's cultural effluence northward, and so the architectural, art and landscape images, adjuncts to the "Chapters," Bibliographic references, etc., all serve the purpose of highlighting a multi-faceted variety of knowledge to aid truth seekers that also beckons; visit Egypt, visit Karnak and other temples of this ancient African civilization to be enlightened by their wonderful, existential cornucopia of knowledge.

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