1] Cheikh Anta Diop (1923-1986) – I got a chance to see him before he died, and the Nile Valley Conference Meeting held at my alma marta, Morehouse College, if ever I could foster a man crush, it was with him. Got his PhD from the University of Paris, Sorbonne in 1960 in Egyptology after a nine-year struggle to do so.
I have read all of his books at least 5 times, and such may be an underestimation. The reason I rank him number one is because I read an interview conducted by the Third World Book Review. He said in essence that we as Africans in the Diaspora, for those of us who can just do one thing, do it and do it exceptionally. He said for the rare breed of folk such as he, master it all and don’t be afraid to self inculcate on new subject matter. He studied at the top physic laboratory in the country, was a paleontologist, historian, anthropologist, spoke nine languages and developed the test by which one could discern if melanin was I the bones of mummies found I archeological digs. Dr. Diop was the Director of Radiocarbon Laboratory at the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (IFAN) at the University of Dakar. Diop’s seminal pedagogic challenges, which was irrefutable via science was that African culture and history was older than any other, and influenced the course of other cultures more than usually given credit. I took up his challenge.
2] Martin Luther King Jr. – Enough said. Not to mention he had Coretta.
3] Rube Foster (1879-1930) – Founder of the Negro Leagues (in picture). Made a way when there wasn’t one for the love of his self, his spirit and the love of sport. Didn’t hurt that he was one of the first multi millionaires of our persuasion of his era. As a pitcher and owner, his brand of baseball was solid defense good pitching and hitting. The same way I coached my Old national Pirates – from 14 to 14 yrs of age, had them from T ball to 13,14). His American Giants won all other recorded championships from 1910 through 1922. He was the founder of two things pf importance t me, the Negro Leagues and the screwball or fade-away. In fact he was paid to teach the screwball to Christy Mathewson.
4] Frantz Fanon (1925 – 1961) - In 1953, he was the Head of the Psychiatry Department at the Blida-Joinville Hospital in Algeria Here he was in charge of patient care and learned of the horrified stories of torture his patients -- both French torturers and Algerian torture victims -- told him. This was the period he penned Black Skin, White Masks (1952) and The Wretched of the Earth (1961). A pupil of the philosophical tractates of Jean Paul Sartre, he took exestentialism to the human level. BTW my favorite book by Sartre is “Being and Nothingness" (had to read it at least 8 time). Fanon developed leukemia, and The Wretched of the Earth, was completed in 10 months, and published by Jean-Paul Sartre in the year of his death. He died at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland in 1961 a year before my birth.
5] Voltaire (1694 – 1778) - My Nigga, writer extraordinaire ( the person responsible the most for my motivation to write). I love this quote "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Jones made me, me, because he was the ultimate humorist, the ultimate satirist and intellectual philosopher. Only difference was that he was an admirer of John Locke. For me his books were the shit. Candide – the optimist, Micromagus (man and geospatial analysis in the anti Alexander Pope sense if you asked me – none center of the universe), Zadig, the philosophical dictionary and his play the fanatical. Must read, again, if u asks me.
6] George Clinton – “Not just knee deep she was totally deep, when she did the freak with me” and “no head no backstage pass”. What else can I say. Oh yea, can u say FUNKY?