What began as a movement of heightened love of self for many Black Americans in the 1930s re-emerged in the 1970s and 1980s. My name ‘Khary,’ is an African name found in a book of names from West Africa. Breaking the lineage and ties to American enslavement was an intentional action that many parents instilled into their children’s lives.
Detroit had an anchor of Pan African thought, organizing, and leadership in Kwame Kenyatta. Before his passing in the physical realm of March 15, 2018, he joined me for one of my best interviews to date on Detroit is Different on February 18, 2018. Less than a month before his passing, he opened up about his life story and love of Detroit, Black people, and life’s work.
Today I present his interview in full in honor of his legacy, his family, and as a fundraising effort for an organization he loved, the Malcolm X Grassroots Organization. Please support the organization by sending a CashApp donation to $MXGMATL.
This interview was a key stepping stone for me to understand how Detroit was a beacon and gateway for African Centered Education in the 1990s and 2000s. As a member of the Detroit School Board, Kwame Kenyatta ushered in a collection of child psychologists, theorists, educational developers, and thought leaders that eventually shifted the winds of change. Kenyatta and his community support made an impact on all of Detroit Public Schools to empower Black students to learn from Black scholars, writers, and theory. Nikki Giovanni, Amiri Baraka, and Maya Angelou became literary giants instead of Mark Twain.
Kwame Kenyatta shares his journey of protest in high school for Cooley HS to get an African History course (which was and is a historical precedent at what was once Eastern HS, Mumford HS, and Wayne State University). How in locking the school down, he was expelled from all DPS schools to later become a Detroit School Board member instrumental in guiding African Centered Education to be taught throughout Detroit Public Schools.
Learn and listen to hear more of his relationship with giants like Imari Obadele, Imani Humphrey, Chokwe Lumumba, and more. How his life’s work led him back in the Republic of New Afrika path, where he eventually settled in Jackson, MS, after the Mayoral post of Chokwe Lumumba.
Remember, give to Malcolm X Grassroots Organization in honor of Kwame Kenyatta and his work. Also, a special thanks to Kwame’s son Kofi Kenyatta and all his effort and love for our people.