African Intellectual Heritage

A Book of Sources

edited by Molefi Kete Asante and Abu S. Abarry
Philadelphia Book Clinic Certificate of Award, 1997
Molefi Kete Asante, recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Communication Association
Book Cover

PB: $46.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-403-1
Publication: Jun 96

848 pages
7 x 10

This comprehensive volume brings together documents from the richly textured intellectual history of Africa and the diaspora


Organized by major themes—such as creation stories, and resistance to oppression—this collection gather works of imagination, politics and history, religion, and culture from many societies and across recorded time. Asante and Abarry marshal together ancient, anonymous writers whose texts were originally written on stone and papyri and the well-known public figures of more recent times whose spoken and written words have shaped the intellectual history of the diaspora.

Within this remarkably wide-ranging volume are such sources as prayers and praise songs from ancient Kemet and Ethiopia along with African American spirituals; political commentary from C.L.R. James, Malcolm X, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Joseph Nyerere; stirring calls for social justice from David Walker, Abdias Nacimento, Franzo Fanon, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Featuring newly translated texts and documents published for the first time, the volume also includes an African chronology, a glossary, and an extensive bibliography. With this landmark book, Asante and Abarry offer a major contribution to the ongoing debates on defining the African canon.


"This marvelous volume, African Intellectual Heritage, is indispensable for anyone interested in the life of the mind. Molefi Asante and Abu Abarry are to be congratulated for this fine gift." Cornel West, Harvard University

"This impressive work shows a profound appreciation for African intellectual ideas."H. Patrick Swygert, President, Howard University

"Remarkable for its extensive coverage of the African world, African Intellectual Heritage brings together the information for which scholars, students, and the general public have been waiting. Mary McLeod Bethune, Julius Nyerere, Marcus Garvey, and Ptahhotep in the same book! This is a bold and positive enterprise."Rebecca Hankins, Senior Curator, Amistad Research Center, Tulane University

"This is not a book to be read at one or two settings; rather it should be treated as a Bible, studied slowly. Ponder the words and contemplate the ideas, allowing the information to seep into one's mind. ...African Intellectual Heritage: A Book of Sources should be a must for all academics, especially those in African/Black Studies area. This work is an important contribution to African/Black intellectualism." MELUS

Table of Contents

An African Chronology
1. African Sources: An Introduction

Part I: The Creation of the Universe
2. The Heliopolis Creation Narrative
3. The Memphite Declaration of the Deities
4. Vision of the Universe – Pharaoh Unas
5. Vision of the Universe – Pharaoh Teti
6. Vision of the Universe – Pharaoh Pepi
7. Tomb Inscription – Princess Ni-sedjer-kai
8. Tomb Inscription – Hotep-her-akhet
9. Tomb Inscription – Nefer-seshem-ra
10. Memorial Stone – Ni-hebsed-pepi
11. The San Creation Narrative
12. The Khoi Creation Narrative
13. The BarozviCreation Narrative
14. The Dogon Creation Narrative
15. The Yoruba Creation Narrative
16. The Asante Tower to Heaven
17. The Asante Concept of the Creation of the Lesser Gods
18. The Creation – James Weldon Johnson

Part II: Religious Ideas
19. The Prophecy – Nefer-rohu
20. Tomb Prayers – Paheri
21. Selections from the Papyrus of Ani
22. Hymns to Aten – Akhenaten
23. Prayer and Hymn – Haremhab
24. Penitential Hymns
25. Selections from the Book of Henok (Enoch)
26. Religion and Ancestor Veneration – Jomo Kenyatta
27. Asante Praise Poems to Tano River and the Earth
28. A Lodagaa Libation to the Ancestors
29. Recurrent Themes in Ga Libation (Mpai) Oratory – Abu Shardow Abarry
30. Igbo Invocations
31. Wapele: The Concept of Good Character in Ifa Literary Corpus – Wande Abimbola
32. Akan Religion – Mensah Sarbah

Part III: Culture and Identity
33. Her Assertion of Her Power – Queen Hatshepsut
34. Yoruba Praises to Ogun
35. The Resources of the Oral Epic – Isidore Okpewho
36. Kouroukan Fougan, or the Division of the World by Sundiata
37. The Ozidi Saga – J.P. Clark-Bekederemo
38. The Rise of Shaka – Mazisi Kunene
39. A Myth of Origins: Esu-Elegbara and the Signifying Monkey – Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
40. Identity, Culture, and Kidnapping – Olaudah Equiano
41. Indigenous Institutions of Ghana '85 – J. Caseley Hayford
42. The Condition and Destiny of Africans in the United States – Martin Delany
43. W.E.B. Du Bois and The Souls of Black Folk – Houston A. Baker, Jr.
44. Notes on a Return to the Native Land – Aimé Césaire
45. The Origin and History of the Black World – Cheikh Anta Diop
46. Africa's Tripartite Heritage: Towards Cultural Synthesis – Ali A. Mazrui
47. The Origin and Growth of Afro-American Literature – John Henrik Clarke
48. First Congress of Negro Writers and Artists (1956)
49. Second Congress of Negro Writers and Artists (1959)
50. On National Culture – Frantz Fanon
51. Identity and Dignity in the Context of Struggle – Amilcar Cabral
52. African Classical Concepts of Tragedy – Wole Soyinka
53. The Akan Blackened Stool and the Odwira Festival – Peter Sarpong
54. The Ga Homowo (Hunger-Hooting) Cultural Festival – Abu Shardow Abarry
55. Africa as the Nursery of Science and Literature – J. Africanus B. Horton
56. The Principal Issues in Afrocentric Inquiry – Molefi Kete Asante
57. Genetic Linguistic Connections of Ancient Egypt and the Rest of Africa – Théophile Obenca

Part IV: Philosophy and Morality
58. The Study of African Religions and Philosophy – John Mbiti
59. The Idea of African Philosophy – Kwame Gyekye
60. Moral Teachings – Ptah-hotep
61. My Victory over Circumstances – Sinuhe
62. Instructions for Well-Being – Amenemope
63. The Pharaoh’s Speech at the Installation of Rekhmire as Prime Minister
64. The Doomed Prince
65. The Story of the Two Brothers
66. My Journey to Asia – Wen-Amon
67. The Lion in Search of Man
68. African Socialism – Léopold Sédar Senghor
69. Consciencism – Kwame Nkrumah
70. The Zulu Personal Declaration
71. The African Writer and the English Language – Chinua Achebe
72. Igbo Proverbs
73. Luyia Proverbs
74. African American Spirituals
75. On African Rights and Liberty – Maria W. Stewart
76. Philosophy and Opinions – Marcus Garvey
77. The Concept of Race – W.E.B. DuBois
78. The Ethics of Culture – Alain Locke
79. The Life and Times of Anton Wilhelm Amo, the First African (Black) Philosopher in Europe – William E. Abraham

Part V: Society and Politics
80. Autobiography – Weni
81. Autobiography – Harkhuf
82. Theory of Human Society – William E. Abraham
83. On the Fante National Constitution – Mensah Sarbah
84. Mohammedanism and the Negro Race – Edward Wilmot Blyden
85. Christianity and the Negro Race – Edward Wilmot Blyden
86. Racial Accommodation – Booker T. Washington
87. The Atlanta Exposition Address – Booker T. Washington
88. Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others – W.E.B. DuBois
89. A Critique of Booker T. Washington's Plan – Monroe Trotter
90. Women as Leaders – Amy Jacques Garvey
91. Brazilian Quilombismo – Abdias Do Nascimento
92. Pan-African Congress Resolution (1919)
93. Pan-African Congress Resolution (1945)
94. The Power of Negro Action – Paul Robeson
95. Declaration and Resolutions of the First Conference of Independent African States (1958)
96. The Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles): Their Meaning and Message – Maulana Karenga
97. One-Party Government – Julius K. Nyerere
98. The Need for a Union Government for Africa – Kwame Nkrumah
99. The Rise and Fall of Nkrumah – C.L.R. James
100. My Dungeon Shook: Letter to My Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation – James Baldwin
101. W.E.B. DuBois: The Jamesian Organic Intellectual – Cornel West

Part VI: Resistance and Renewal
102. The Expulsion of the Hyksos – Ah-mose
103. The Commemorative Stone of Thutmose III
104. Annals – Thutmose III
105. Pharaoh Piye and the Victory over North
106. The Portuguese Fortress at El Mina – King Kwame Ansa
107. A Shona Song
108. Narrative – Nat Turner
109. Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World: Our Wretchedness in Consequence of Slavery – David Walker
110. Fourth of July Oration – Frederick Douglass
111. We Are All Bound Up Together – Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
112. Womanhood: A Vital Element in the Regeneration and Progress of a Race – Anna Julia Cooper
113. Lynch Law in All Its Phases – Ida B. Wells-Barnett
114. The Mis-Education of the Negro – Carter G. Woodson
115. Address to the League of Nations – Emperor Haile Selassie
116. My Last Will and Testament – Mary McLeod Bethune
117. I Have a Dream – Martin Luther King, Jr.
118. Colonial War and Mental Disorders – Frantz Fanon
119. Revolutionary Culture and the Future of Pan African Culture – Amiri Baraka
120. Charter of the Organization of African Unity
121. How Africa Developed before the Coming of the Europeans—up to the Fifteenth Century – Walter Rodney
122. Message to the Grassroots – Malcolm X
123. Towards the Sixth Pan African Congress: Aspects of the International Class Struggle in Africa, the Caribbean, and America – Walter Rodney
124. Letter from a Birmingham Jail – Martin Luther King, Jr.
125. Negroes Are Not Moving Too Fast – Martin Luther King, Jr.
126. Cultural Revolution and the Future of the Pan African Culture – Abdias do Nascimento
127. Black Women and Music: A Historical Legacy of Struggle – Angela Y. Davis
128. Black Sisters, Speak Out – Awa Thiam
129. The Million Man March/Day of Absence Mission Statement – Maulana Karenga

Glossary of Names and Terms
Suggestions for Further Reading
Sources and Credits

About the Author(s)

MOLEFI KETE ASANTE is professor and chair of African American Studies at Temple University and author of several books, including The Afrocentric Idea (Temple) and The Historical and Cultural Atlas of African Americans. ABU S. ABARRY is assistant chair of African American Studies at Temple University.