Dr. Frances Cress Welsing
**FILE** Dr. Frances Cress Welsing

As has been the case in years past, the third annual Know Thyself Book Fair will feature literary works from a bevy of locally, nationally and internationally acclaimed authors of the African Diaspora. An accompanying forum will give book lovers the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions with notable writers and scholars.

Among those scheduled to speak at the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service & Heritage (TMCSH) on Saturday, Feb. 1 is a woman who, in the years since Dr. Frances Cress Welsing’s death, has kept alive the teachings of the well-regarded psychiatrist credited with defining racism as a global system created out of fear of white genetic annihilation.

“Dr. Welsing and her analysis of the System of White Supremacy and all of its behavioral dynamics among those who classify themselves as white and those who they classify as nonwhite has changed the course of history,” said Sabrina Johnson, longtime student of Welsing and coordinator of the Cress Welsing Institute.

Since January 2016, when Welsing died, Johnson has taken the mantle in organizing lectures, much like what her mentor hosted under the Cress Welsing Institute for decades on the campus of Howard University in Northwest.

Those interested in learning about the depth and complexity of the global system of white supremacy (racism) spend the second Thursday evening of the month between September and June analyzing excerpts of “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors,” Welsing’s work in which she, inspired by fundamental principles articulated by Dr. Neely Fuller, Jr., analyzed the system of white supremacy.

Between the hours of 12 noon and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Johnson and other affiliates will sell books from Welsing’s personal library which highlight Welsing’s acquisition of knowledge about the problems Black people face in economics, education, entertainment, labor, law and other areas of human activity.

Johnson’s appearance at the Know Thyself Book Fair precedes a commemoration and call to action in honor of Welsing scheduled for March 15 at TMCSH.

“Dr. Welsing’s functional definition of racism/white supremacy is the foundation we must help all nonwhite people grasp and get a master-level understanding of how the system of white supremacy works and why,” Johnson said.

On Feb. 1, Lorne Cress Love, Welsing’s sister, has also been scheduled to speak, as well as Dr. Von Martin of WPFW 89.3 FM who will explain the history of Trinidad’s steel pans. Authors expected to showcase books that afternoon include: Dr. Jeff Menzise, Nana Farika Berhane, Dr. Acklyn Lynch, Cress Welsing Institute archivist Danny Queen, Bill Reeves on behalf of Dr. Fuller, Mike McIver of Black Seeds Calendars, W. Bruce Willis, Ayo Handy-Kendi, Dr. Akmal Muwwakkil, Mama Jeanette Carson, Yohance Maqubela, son of the late Dick Gregory, Sherrita Berry-Pettus and Mama Sala from Kuumba Kollectibles.

The Know Thyself Book Fair also features two youth authors, Meleik and Mehkhy. Other guests include: booksellers and publishers like Rafu of Children of the Sun, Paul Coates of Black Classic Press in Baltimore, and Nati Natakati from Afrikan World Books, also in Baltimore.

Saturday’s event counts as one of UNIA-ACL Woodson Banneker Jackson-Bey Division 330’s annual functions intended to further cement the legacy of UNIA-ACL founder Marcus Mosiah Garvey and stress revolutionary, African-centered education’s role in making Black people more self-determined. It culminates weeks of planning by members of the Division 330 Education Committee.

“This has become a tradition, so everyone is looking forward to it,” said Laureen Butler, who chairs the UNIA-ACL Woodson Banneker Jackson-Bey Division 330 Education Committee alongside her husband and fellow former educator Charles Butler.

“This happens on the first Saturday of February, which is Black History Month,” she continued. “What better way [to celebrate] than a book fair? We’re pushing and aiming for that, and it’s been turning out well.”

Sam P.K. Collins

Sam P.K. Collins has more than a decade of experience as a journalist, columnist and organizer. Sam, a millennial and former editor of WI Bridge, covers education, police brutality, politics, and other...

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