Harlem’s First World Alliance Teaches What Was Omitted From The U.S. History Books
“When people have knowledge-of-self, they gain power-of-self… then they realize who they are, what they can do, and what they have done in the past,” explains Sister Kefa Nephphys, co-founder of Harlem’s groundbreaking educational forum – The First World Alliance.
Despite attempts of imperialistic indoctrination by the misleading, mis-education curriculum which programs people to become life-long slaves to the blood-sucking system of capitalism, alternative education has been a staple of indigenous communities throughout the Western-hemisphere for centuries.
Harlem’s First World Alliance has been a vortex regarding enlightening information for the past few decades, helping Amerikkkanized-Afrikans seeking to remember who they are, find their path.
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This past weekend at Harlem’s Clarke House on Convent Ave., the Sons Of Afrika sponsored a ceremony commemorating the 13th anniversary of Dr. John Henik Clarke becoming an ancestor. As a founding member of the First World Alliance, Clarke’s colleagues paid homage to the groundbreaking educational forums.
“The First World Alliance became that Afrikan university that was missing in the Harlem community, it filled the void. It’s one place where people could go to get the truth about Afrikan people and their contributions to both, ancient and contemporary civilizations,” determined Prof. James Small, consistent contributor to the long-standing educational forums.
Back in 1977, Sister Kefa, and husband Brother Bill Jones wanted to positively contribute to their Harlem community:
“We went to Dr. Ben after seeing him on Gil Noble’s ‘Like It Is’. He gave us some books to read and told us to come to his home on Saturdays and study with him, which we did,” reflected Sister Kefa. “Once we learned certain things about ourselves – which we previously didn’t know – then we decided to also present it to the community.”
Scholar, Dr. Rosalind Jeffries touches on the forum’s attribute: “The term ‘First-World’ came about thru Brother Bill Jones… he used to say that the majority of the people in the world are of color, and not Caucasians. At one time we were all used to hearing the term ‘third world’… so we thought of ourselves as second-class.”
From the study groups attended by only a few at the home of Cornell University’s Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan a.k.a. Dr. Ben, to the hundreds which eventually packed Mt Zion Lutheran Church at 421 West 145th Street, the truth about the Motherland’s glorious existence was shared on a weekly basis with the lost and found Amerikkkanized-Afrikans who sought their true heritage.
“Because of Dr. Ben’s ability to speak and put together a lecture, he electrified the audiences and they’d recruit others,” added urban erudite scholar Brother Sekou. “He’d tell people how they were being bamboozled by religion, and they’d come back week-after-week to challenge him – and he’d put his foot in their behinds, because he knew the history.”
Dr. Ben invited Dr. John Henrik Clarke, and he in turn brought in Professor James Small and Drs. Leonard & Rosalind Jeffries, expanding from there. Any subject related to Alkebulan/Afrika could be heard at First World Alliance – archeology, culture, health, our-story, psychology, science, etc.
Afrikan-centered scholars with PhDs were now challenging the misinformation which was being indoctrinated by the public fool [school] systems, and they utilized First World Alliance as a platform to get information to those who could not afford college.
“The scholars were giving the information to the students, which was good… but what we did was give them a platform so they could give the information to the community – because that’s important too,” recalls Sister Kefa. “We opened the doors to the community to hear the scholars.”
Dr. Rosalind Jeffries points out: “When very significant people who had been studying didn’t have a voice within their own campuses they could come to First World Alliance and express what they knew to be true, without losing your job.”
Her husband, CUNY’s Dr. Leonard Jeffries assesses: “First World Alliance established a vehicle to put it in the hands of the masses. Dr. Ben wrote his works for the masses, but the masses generally don’t read, so if you have an intellectual forum where speakers are presented, then the masses can walk in and get this information and become part of the great awakening.”
It is generally acknowledged that prior to the inception of the First World Alliance, there were no public forums where common people could access true information regarding the Motherland. The closest being Harlem’s Afrikan Square on the 4 corners of 125th Street and 7th Avenue
Much was revealed during the weekly seminars and people would then go back to their home areas and form their own study groups and forums, many times with assistance from the First World Alliance.
Minister Clemson Brown– founder of the United Afrikan Movement (U.A.M.) commented: “The First World Alliance was a living, spiritual forum that provided an international education foundation for Afrikan people. It was a place where scholars from all over the world disseminated the knowledge, research and experiences of our ancient and present times.”
First World Alliance also spawned other educational venues as well: “According to Dr. Jeffries, Prof. Small and the brothers who travel around the globe, every place they go people have started forums called ‘First-World’…” explains Sister Kefa. “which is great because people are learning.”
Minister Brown admits: “First World Alliance had an impact on the forums of UAM, they were the first forums, so they provided a blueprint, a prototype, a model; that others duplicated… and the United Afrikan Movement was one of those.”
Comuniversity educator Trust Graham added: “They weren’t shy about speaking truth to power. In 1983 we decided to start ‘Afrikan Echoes’ in Newark… those particular voices that began to vibrate a whole new Afrikan renaissance about history and culture, and most of all – consciousness.”
Quite a few Hip-Hop artists, either themselves or their family members/friends, attended regularly, and later incorporated the enlightening information into their art-form, influencing the general public during the period known as the Golden Era of Hip-Hop. Attendees included: Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Mo Dee, Kurtis Blow, Stesasonic, KRS, Channel Live and dead prez; just to mention a few.
Rare information, backed up by thorough research, was readily shared with audiences, such as when Dr. Francis Cress Welsing first revealed that A.I.D.S. was man-made and that she had been to the laboratories where it was manufactured. Also, the true properties of melanin as explained by Dr. Richard King, and the psychological effects of genocide, as expressed by Dr. Amos Wilson.
“The value of the First World Alliance is that you could listen to a speaker who’s way out in their field… we didn’t understand them, but as they continued to come back, you would have an in-depth grasp on a particular discipline,” stated Dr. Rosalind Jeffries.
“You could hear revolutionaries without having to rely on the propaganda and syndicated information that came through the media. Make it part of your value system and it will help you to create a sacred mission to restore Afrika to its greatness!”