www.alkebulan.org We are a nation in mourning. At around 3.30am on Nia-Day (Thurs) 19/03/15 at the Bay Park Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in the Bronx, New York, Baba Yosef Alfredo Antonio Ben-Jochannan, fearless Race Man, People’s Professor and father of the global Afrikan nation passed into the Ancestral Realm 2½ months into his 98th year. Baba Ben was born on December 31, 1918 as the only child of an Afrikan Puerto Rican Jewish mother named Julia Matta and an Ethiopian father named Kriston Ben-Jochannan, in a Beta Israel (“Falasha”) community in Gondar, Ethiopia. He was educated in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Cuba, and Spain, earning degrees in engineering and anthropology. At the age of 16, Dr. Ben applied to and was accepted into Tuskegee Institute, but he was denied entry into the United States. In 1938, he graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico. The following year Dr. Ben earned a Master’s degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Havana. He received doctoral degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Moorish History from the University of Havana and the University of Barcelona. Dr. Ben immigrated to the United States in the early 1940s, where he worked as a draftsman and continued his studies, before beginning his life’s work as a professor and a writer of Afrikan history, and as a Kemetologist. Alongside Baba John Henrik Clarke, Baba Ben was a friend and advisor to Omowale Malcolm X and served as an inspiration to subsequent generations of scholars such as Ivan Van Sertima, Baba Jedi Shemsu Jehewty (Jacob Carruthers) Runoko Rashidi, Tony Browder, Nana Kwaku Duah Agyeman II (Dr Leonard Jeffries), Dr James Small, to name a few. Baba/Dr Ben was indeed the last man standing of a towering generation of late 19th/early 20th century born Warrior Scholars – e.g. Chancellor Williams (Destruction Of Black Civilzation), John G Jackson (Introduction To African Civilizations), Edward Scobie ( Black Britannia), Chiekh Anta Diop (African Origin of Civilization: Myth Or Reality) and of course Baba Clarke (Africans At The Crossroads) whom Dr Ben worked closely with for several years. Having authored 28 major publications Baba Ben was the most prolific of them all, with many of his works regarded as certified classics: African Origins of the Major Western Religions (1970), Africa Mother of Western Civilization, The Black Man’s North and East Africa (with George E. Simmonds) (1971), Black Man of the Nile & His Family, Cultural Genocide in the Black and African Studies Curriculum (1972); The Myth of Genesis and Exodus and the Exclusion of Their African Origins, The Need for a Black Bible (1974); Our Black Seminarians and Black Clergy Without a Black Theology (1978); A Position Paper (1985); and We, the Black Jews: Witness to the ‘White Jewish Race’ Myth, Volumes I & II (1993). Also known as an electrifying, uncompromising speaker, some of his messages, like State Of The Race and Black Man Wake Up! that achieved cult status via global circulation on audio tape. As a testament to his international appeal when Baba Ben last visited the UK in October 2001 for a sell out national tour it was reported that hundreds were locked out of the first event. Baba Ben had little time for the mores of European academia, his focus – through his books, papers, TV appearances (on programmes such as ‘Like It Is’ with Gil Noble) and his public messages was to make our history relevant and uplift our people. He summarised his purpose in 1985 pamphlet A Position Paper thusly: “My aim, from the date of birth to the ultimate cause, can be represented as follows: ONE [African] RACE, ONE DEITY [Amen-Ra-Amen], ONE TRUE DESTINY [Salvation on Earth as in the Netherworld].” May he rise on the wings of Ma’at, after a favourable judgement in the counsel of Asar. TENDAI MWARI So we ask the question: Honouring Baba Ben: Why do we need to know our history? How can we measure Baba Ben’s influence? Which of his books have you read? What impact did it have? Are there any scholars today continuing the work of the likes of Babas Ben, Clarke, Jackson, Williams, Diop, etc? Should Afrika UK hold a memorial event for Baba Ben?