Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC)
is one of the leading African Centered research and scholarly
organizations in the African World that has become the foundation for
the collective work of our African Centered students, activists,
artists, and scholars.
December of 1977 one of the most profound, insightful, and
challenging books of the twentieth-century was published by ASCAC.
The title of the book is African World History Project: “The Preliminary Challenge”.
to our late ancestor Dr. Jacob Carruthers, founding president of
ASCAC and the conceptualizer of this project, it started “more
than two centuries ago when Africans began to read and discuss the
doctrines of the European philosophers of the eighteenth century.
European thinkers such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Hume, and Kant began
to fabricate the doctrine of white supremacy and Negro inferiority,
which led to the most brutal campaigns of cultural genocide know to
Carruthers explained that, “Their philosophical discourses
added fuel to the vulgar attitudes and reactions resulting from the
encounters of Africans with Europeans in the context of the European
process led to the writing of history that had its foundation in
white supremacy and that was aimed at wiping out the contributions of
African people to the world and humanity.
though many of our scholars, researchers and activists have resisted
the imposition of this kind of white supremacy interpretation of
history, African people still suffer from over 300 years of
falsifying the truth about Africa and African
Carruthers first wrote, “A Memorandum on
an African World History Project” and presented it at the
Association of African Historians Conference, February 18-21,
1982 at the Center for Inner City Studies in Chicago. This
memorandum began the process of clearly laying out the rationale for
the African World History Project.
this regard, Dr. Carruthers challenged,
“The time has now come when Black scholars must come together
and design a massive project which will culminate in a multivolume
history of the world… It should be noted that the
Europeans have already developed such projects; witness the Cambridge
and Oxford histories of practically every area of the world.
Unfortunately we have to rely on these sources all too often.”
people may ask the question “why are you so hung up on history
when we have all these problems of crime, poverty, joblessness,
broken families and general chaos in our communities.” I would
answer by saying that the reasons why we have so many of these
problems is because collectively as a people we don't know our
is an old African proverb that says: “To know where you are
going, you must know where you have come from. If you don’t
know where you are going any road will take you there.”
African World History Project is rooted in African-centeredness,
which places Africa (not Europe) at the center of our analysis
of the world. It
focuses on us centering ourselves as the core for examining our traditions, culture, and values as a people.
February 26, 1984 over five hundred Africans in America from all over
the United States attended “The First Annual Ancient
Egyptian Studies Conference in Los Angeles, California.”
It was at this conference that Yosef ben-Jochannan, John
Henrik Clarke, Asa G. Hilliard III, Leonard Jeffries, Maulana Karenga
and Jacob H. Carruthers met and developed the proposal for the
development of ASCAC. It was at that
conference that ASCAC was founded.
the leadership of Dr. Carruthers and its
current president Dr. Mario Beatty, served and still serves as the
vehicle for our scholars and researchers
to collectively test their ideas through research papers, books,
study groups, and presentations related to the African World History
1984 ASCAC has held regional, national, and international
conferences. These conferences led to the “Inaugural Meeting of
the African World History Project” in Detroit, Michigan,
February 1-11, 1996 convened by our ancestor Nzinga Ratibisha
Heru, (who was at that time ASCAC’s
International President). The outgrowth of this meeting led to the
division of labor that produced the book, African
World History Project: The Preliminary Challenge.
book is 399 pages and divided into four parts: Part 1, “The
Challenge: Restoring the African Way” with a lead essay
by Dr. Anderson Thompson; Part 2, “The
African Historical Imagination: Developing a Conceptual
Framework” with a lead essay by Dr. Jacob
Carruthers; Part 3, “Patterns of African-Centered History:
Applying the Vision” with a lead
article by Dr. Asa G. Hilliard; and the final section,
“African-Centered Perspectives: Continuing the Tradition - The
Next Generation” with a lead article by Adisa A. Ajamu.
is inspiring to read the African
World History Project: The Preliminary Challenge, first
premier book of the volumes to be produced. It is further inspiring
to reaffirm that when African people set goals, work together for
African interests, much can be accomplished.
Dr. Carruthers instructed us in his
first memorandum, “Such a project must be carefully planned and developed in stages so that effective utilization of resources
and division of labor may be determined. The project would
depend in the first place on the establishment of a broad range of
consensus among leading African scholars.” In this first
phase of the project, all of these criteria have been accomplished