Professor Jacob Carruthers was born on February 15, 1930 in Dallas, Texas. He was a firm believer that a large part of liberating African American people comes from understanding and connecting history, culture and heritage. He received a B.A. from Samuel Huston College in Austin, Texas in 1950; an M.A. from Texas Southern University in 1958; and a Ph.D. in Political Studies from the University of Colorado in 1966. From 1966 to 1968, Carruthers worked as an assistant professor at Kansas State College before joining the staff of Northeastern Illinois University’s Center for Inner City Studies (CICS). Carruthers, along with Dr. Anderson Thompson, Robert Starks, Dr. Conrad Worrill and others shaped the CICS program into one that emphasizes self-determination, activism and study of the global black community.
In this context, Carruthers earned respect as one of the world’s leading experts in classical African civilizations. His interests carried him throughout the continent of Africa, conducting study tours to Egypt, Ethiopia, the Nile Valley, Zimbabwe, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, and other parts of West Africa. Carruthers wrote or edited hundreds of essays and papers on his findings and his major works included: The Irritated Genie: An Essay on the Haitian Revolution, Essays in Ancient Egyptian Studies, Intellectual Warfare, MDW NTR: Devine Speech and Science and Oppression. He lectured at various educational institutions; served on evaluation teams for many area high schools; and worked as a consultant to both the Dayton and Chicago public school systems. Carruthers served as founding president of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations for five years. In that capacity, he led a group of 1,000 black teachers, students, artists and scholars from the United States to the Nubian Cultural Center in Aswan, Egypt for a two week conference and tour of Nubia and Egypt.
“Okay. So, it seems to me that the idea of going to Kemet or Egypt for–to hold a conference is a tremendous undertaking. I mean, I don’t–I can’t think of many organizations that can pull something like that off in their third year of existence. And what was it like for you all?”
It was a–it was very–I was sort of reluctant about it as the president of the organization because I realized how much work was involved in it, because I’d been doing study tours for several years by then, and I really was reluctant about it. But there was such a popular demand for it. I mean, we had five or six hundred people in the [ASCAC] association at that time who were just demanding that they wanted to go and hold that conference there and take over–and announce to the world that we were there to take over African–the African antiquity. So we had to run to catch up with the masses, so to speak. It was a lot of work, tremendous work. But, as it turned out, we had one thousand people who went. And that was really something, because the airlines just went crazy trying to get us all there, and it interfered with the Hajj. In North Africa–the Africans in North Africa were trying to get to Mecca (laughs), and we were trying to get to Egypt. And we had all kinds of horrors. They had to–one of our groups we two days late getting there because the Hajj prevailed in northern Nigeria. I believe. The Hajj, who blew us away (laughs), it went and took over the plane and went on to the Hajj. So it was–but it was exciting. And when we all got there, the interesting thing, Aswan is in what they call Egyptian Nubia; and therefore, the people look just like us. When we got off the plane, the people who were–you know, in the town, looked like us. And they started calling us American Nubis. And they started taking various members into their homes and making them put on galabeyas and the galas [ph.] and so forth and so on. So, you know, if we’d kept our mouths shut, they wouldn’t have known the difference (laughs). But it was a wonderful, wonderful conference. It excited the non-African world though. The Egyptians who–many of whom do not considered themselves Africans, were very curious, and eventually the equivalent to the FBI in Egypt decided that they were going to record everything we did and
He was a founding member and priest of the Temple of African Community of Chicago and founding member and director of the Kemetic (Egyptian) Institute, which sponsors the annual Teaching About Africa program for schoolteachers and administrators. He married his wife, Ifé, in 1986 and had four children.
Lift Up Your Heads, Downtrodden And Discouraged Ethiopians, And Listen To This Marvelous Story Told Of Your Ancestors Who Wrought Mightily For Mankind And Built The Foundations Of Civilization True And Square In Days Of Old.
Carruthers passed away on January 5, 2004 at age 73.