Monday, May 07, 2007

Great Imperative Meme


I have been tagged by Geoffrey Philp concerning the “great imperative.” He is asking the question, what is the great imperative of my life? This is a great meme because it really made me think. As Arsenio Hall would say, it’s one of those things that make you go…hmmmmmm? Well, everyone gather around.

My greatest imperative in life has always been knowledge of self. I have always wanted to know who I am. This quest for knowledge started as a child when I would ask my grandmother dozens of questions about our family and the existence of God. My grandmother could talk about God all day, but family knowledge went back only a few generations. I would gain knowledge of and fall in love with the knowledge of my African ancestry after I was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1988. I was living in New Haven, Connecticut in the spring of 1988 when I entered a shop that sold African inspired books, incense and art. I inquired about some of the things I saw there and the shop attendant began to speak about Africa and the African American experience. I listened intently and held onto every word as he continued for what seemed like an hour. In the end, I was amazed at how much I didn’t know. I left that shop with a renewed sense of self and a thirst to find out more. I’d like to think I was reborn that day. I felt proud. I felt African. I felt powerful!

It’s amazing what knowledge of self can do. In retrospect, that moment helped me to understand the system of slavery in early America and why the US government felt it necessary to strip the captured Africans of their names, languages and overall knowledge of culture. They understood that knowledge was/is power. They knew that knowledge would only impede their mission to exploit and enslave the African. So, my great imperative has been to spread the knowledge that exists in the African Diaspora as often as I can. This blog has been a great catalyst for the dissemination of that knowledge. It has been a blessing. This leads me to something far greater; I can do nothing without the goodness and grace of God. He guides my spirit and gives me direction everyday. He leads me to the knowledge and grants me the wisdom to present it. So, I give thanks. I open this tag up to anyone who wishes to share their “great imperative.” Thanks again, Geoffrey. I enjoyed this. Peace~



Art by: Jonathan Green, Tales, 1988
Oil on masonite, collection of Richard Weedman
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