Volume 6, Number 1 October 19, 2002
Dr. Benís Library
By Dr. Ridgely Abdul Muímin Muhammad
I feel that the pledge on October 16, 2002 by Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan of his 35,000 book personal library to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is one of the most historic events to have transpired since the death of Malcolm X and the departure of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. For me it holds a very personal meaning. It showed a most beautiful example of real atonement and reconciliation.
To me there are two great streams of Black national consciousness; one stemming from what Master Fard Muhammad brought to a dead people in the wilderness of North America and the other represented by the Honorable Marcus Garvey. The pride in Blackness started with Garvey. The knowledge of self and others started with what Master Fard Muhammad brought and deposited in the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. There was no visible "Black consciousness" movement until the Nation of Islam took over the large cities and deposited that seed of the Supreme Wisdom in the fertile Black mental soil of those just up from slavery and Jim Crow.
Many men and women were inspired to go out and research self based on the seeds dropped at the "Temple". The death of Malcolm X caused a rift within the Black nationalist movement between those who loved Malcolm and those that loved Elijah. Many of those that loved Malcolm were also immersed in the study of our history. They identify Malcolm as the person who inspired them to recognize the importance of history and research into that history.
Words like "Afrocentric" ,"Kemetic" and "Ta-Mera" were brought into existence due to the research of such great scholars as Dr. John Henrik Clarke and Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan. However, that same research showed how the Arabs used Islam as an excuse to take Africansí land and enslave them. This historical fact has caused tension between Blacks that practice Islam and Blacks that expose an African-centered theology.
The historical tension between Dr. Ben and the Nation of Islam may also stem from what Bro. Eric Ture, activist and writer for the Final Call, calls Dr. Benís characterization of Nation members as having a "lack of respect for scholarship" especially when it came to Ancient Africa. However, as Dr. Ben looked over his desire for extending his legacy like other great scholars, he wanted "to put his contribution in a certain light that people can build on." He must have felt that depositing his works with Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam was his best chance for such dreams to continue after his departure.
By donating the 35,000 books of his personal library that he used to write his own books, "It was a tremendous tribute and humbling honor to know that these books contributed to the knowledge that we have followed through him," Eric continued.
It was very significant that Dr. Ben donated his engineering books. Bro. Eric commented that, "This indicated his belief system on the Nationís desire to build and itís interest in land other than just having it."
I, personally, never expected Dr. Ben to come to the side of Min. Farrakhan and make such a great gift available to the Nation of Islam and our people. There are a few reasons why this is so special:
1. Dr. Ben said that he had looked into other places to leave his legacy including some Black colleges in Georgia. For him to choose the Nation over them speaks volumes.
2. Dr. Ben has a number of "followers" who would love to have such a collection and thereby receiving the mantle as the premier Black Egyptologist.
3. Dr. Ben left his books to Min. Farrakhan and the nation of Black people. This says that he believes that the Nation of Islam will be here and be able to preserve his legacy even after Min. Farrakhan has left us.
4. Considering the fact that much of the legacy of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was lost after his departure and not secured by that which took the Nationís place, it shows that Dr. Ben must believe that the Nation may have fallen, but has risen and will never fall again.
5. It gives the Nation of Islam a chance to show Dr. Ben and those that respect him that his characterization of the Nation of not respecting scholarship will be disproved by how we handle this great gift. Evidently the respect for research and scholarship manifested in the presentations by Min. Farrakhan has given Dr. Ben hope that the Nation of Islam will disprove all former allegations.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that Black people practiced "Islam" as a way of life before the advent of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah be pleased). He taught that all of the prophets including Muhammad, Jesus and Moses taught "Islam" from portions of the "Book" as a "moon" to temporarily light the footsteps of fallen humanity within this 6,000 year void until the true light of understanding was revealed. Some of Dr. Benís works such as "The African Origins of the Major Western Religions" verify Elijahís teachings if one reads with a scientific eye and open mind.
The two streams of consciousness which flowed from what the Messenger taught from the mouth of Master Fard Muhammad and what our great Black scholars found in the libraries have been brought together to potentially form a mighty "river". This great gift from Dr. Ben will unleash the power of that "river", if we now take the time to "READ".
I have begun such a task of reading. I started going to the libraries such as the Schaumberg Institute in Harlem in 1969. I have read many of Dr. Benís works and in 1988 I completed my first book entitled, "Amen: The Secret Waters of the Great Pyramid." I sent a draft of this book to Dr. Ben before its publication. The theories presented in my book are still controversial, but none have been disproved.
I said in 1988 and still say now that the pyramids of ancient Kemet (Egypt) were not tombs but parts of a vast water irrigation purification public works system that was the bedrock of agricultural development in Kemet. These waterworks made Kemet the breadbasket of the world at that time.
The keys to Kemetís (Ta-Meraís) power was not her military but her agricultural system. Therefore I am honored to be a farmer and love to fight for my other Black farmers.
I thank scholars like Dr. Ben who have provided the scholarship and Minister Farrakhan who is providing the revelation and example which keeps my fire burning. It is good to "know" while others guess and the rest just exist without a desire to know.