On Monday, December 31, 2018 Dr. Kobi Kambon made his transition into eternity. Dr Kambon was a dear friend and a highly regarded colleague in the African Liberation Movement Worldwide.
Dr. Kambon was born Joseph Baldwin on November 29, 1943 in Jasper, Alabama.
He retired as a distinguished professor of psychology from Florida A&M University. During his tenure there, Dr. Kambon provided leadership in developing the only psychology department known to have an African Centered thrust in its overall training program. He was an internationally recognized scholar in the area of African/Black Psychology, specializing in African personality, mental health and cultural oppression.
Dr. Kambon was very dear to the African community of Chicago where he was mentored by the late Dr. Bobby Wright, and the late Dr. Jacob Carruthers, both leaders in their respective fields of Clinical Psychology and Political Science. His written works in the discipline of African Centered Psychology are groundbreaking, and provided then, and now, a path of study for succeeding generations of African people entering the field of psychology.
Early in his career Dr. Kambon was one of the founding instructors at the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies Career Opportunity Program (COP) at Northeastern Illinois University. The COP Program laid the foundation for the development of the undergraduate major in Inner City Studies. This program provided a path for hundreds of Black teacher aides in the early 70s to obtain an undergraduate degree in Inner City Studies and become certified teachers in the Chicago Public Schools.
There is no question that Dr. Kobi Kambon was a Pan African/Nationalist African Centered freedom fighter who used his considerable intellect and skills to advance the cause of African liberation worldwide.
Services were held January 9, 2019 in Tallahassee, Florida.
We will miss him deeply, but his spirit will remain in our hearts and we will call his name regularly as he now joins the ranks of the ancestors.
What follows is a previously published column, written in 1992. In it I acknowledge the contributions of African centered scholars and especially the work of Dr. Kambon. What is striking is that the concepts discussed, introduced by Dr. Kambon decades ago, are as valuable to the psychology discipline, and to the community at large, today, as they were in the 1990s.
Read carefully and make note of his themes. They will help you to stay “woke!”
The African Personality In America By Dr. Conard Worrill
As I have repeated in my columns on numerous occasions, the African centered consciousness and the African Centered Movement is critical to the liberation of African people worldwide. The rise of African centered consciousness in our movement, for the liberation of African people in America, can be partially attributed to the research, teaching, and writing of the African centered scholars over the last 40 years.
In this connection, Dr. Kobi Kambon’s book, “The African Personality in America: An African Centered Framework,” adds to this growing body of African centered scholarship that is providing African people throughout the world with the intellectual weaponry needed to continue the fight against white supremacy and European domination.
Dr. Kambon is a retired professor of psychology, and former Chairman of the Psychology Department, at Florida A&M University. The Department of Psychology which he led is known for developing the only African centered training program in an American college or university.
In developing this stream of African centered scholarship, Dr. Kambon acknowledges two of his very special mentors, the late great Dr. Bobby Wright and the late great Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers. Dr. Kambon explains that “I encountered these two brilliant and dedicated African/Master Warriors early enough in my development that they could exert a powerful nationalist influence on my thinking.” This profound book has three fundamental themes that have been conceptionalized by Dr. Kambon in an African centered context.
The first theme he asserts is “that there is indeed an African reality system that is not only indigenous to Africans in America, but that most of us are almost totally unaware of it and how it determines our very lives.”
Dr. Kambon’s second theme is related to the model presented in this book that “asserts that the average African in America operates/functions in a mentally disordered state, on a daily basis, engendered by white supremacy domination over our African cultural reality here in America.” The final theme he addresses is “that in order for we Africans to escape and heal ourselves from this virtually unbelievable predicament of pervasive mental disorder, we must rebuild our African cultural infrastructure throughout the diasporian African community.”
Dr. Kambon “sounds the alarm to awaken the African world from its virtually stuporous state of Cultural Misorientation, but also proposed how we might, or rather must, begin the awakening and recovery process.”
In other words, he explains we must reverse this mentacidal process. The concept of “menticide,” developed by Dr. Bobby Wright, is “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a person’s or group’s mind.”
There is no question that at this stage in history we are in a battle to reclaim the African mind, spirit, and culture so that our rightful place in the world can be restored.
I would suggest that all students and teachers in the growing African Centered Education Movement, particularly those in the field of psychology, read this book immediately. It is the kind of book that should be read in study groups that allow for serious discussion, and exchange of the many concepts and ideas presented by Dr. Kambon.
Dr. Kambon states that the overall thrust of his book is to attempt “to address the argument that in order to restore African Self-Consciousness as a viable force within the African psyche, we have to revitalize the deeply rooted African collective consciousness/ unconsciousness/spirituality through reconstructing the traditional African cultural infrastructure.”
Continuing on this point, he further explains that “Because African self-consciousness was almost completely erased or wiped out by the Maafa (African holocaust of Eurasian enslavement-colonialism) we, the contemporary African world community, we must complete the arduous task of rebuilding and preserving African Nationhood.”
I remember that Malcolm X was asked repeatedly by reporters and people in audiences where he spoke, on why he talked about and made reference to Africa so much. Malcolm always replied in this manner: “Because you left your mind in Africa.”
This appropriate response by Malcolm X is the underlying spirit and direction of the scholarly work, “The African Personality in America: An African Centered Framework” by Dr. Kambon.
In the Spring 1975 issue of the Black Books Bulletin, Dr. Anderson Thompson wrote an insightful article entitled, “Developing an African Historiography.” Dr. Thompson wrote that, “The interpretation, writing, and teaching of history from an African frame of reference, prepares the African masses to face the challenges of the 21st century.”
Dr. Kobi Kambon’s book continues to fit into the category of preparing us to face the challenges of the 21st century. Read it carefully and digest its contents. It is a must!
Dr. Conrad Worrill, Professor Emeritus, Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies (CCICS). New office location is at 1809 E. 71st Street, Chicago, Illinois 60649, 773-592-2598. Email: [email protected] Website: www.drconradworrill.com.