Anthony ‘Tony’ Browder speaks about the importance of education

Originally posted on The Torch.

Browder is the first African American to fund and coordinate an archeological dig in Egypt. He is the founder of IKG Cultural Resources and has lectured around the world. 

Born and raised in Chicago, Browder moved to Washington D.C., to attend Howard University over 50 years ago. 

“Chicago when I was growing up was the most racially segregated city in the United States. So coming of age in the 1960s left an indelible impression on me and shaped the way I negotiate,” Browder said. 

On February 21, 1977, Broward heard Dr. Ivan Van Sertima for the first time, and it changed his worldview. Sertima had just published his book They Came Before Columbus,” and Browder realized how little he learned about Africa in school. 

“Sertima talked about ancient Egyptians who navigated the Atlantic Ocean and brought technology and culture to the Americas 2,500 years before Columbus. He said that the ancient Egyptians were Black. That was the first time in my life I had ever heard anyone say that the ancient Egyptians were Black. It contradicted everything that learned,” Browder said.

Browder realized early in life that if he was going to make a difference, he would have to assume responsibility for doing that himself. “I began to do the things that gave my life meaning, and that was learning about African history and culture,” Browder said. 

Browder founded IKG Cultural Resource Center 39 years ago. “EKG had led to me writing, organizing conferences, lectures and seminars. It culminated financing my excavation of three tombs in Egypt for the last 12 and a half years,” Browder said. 

The Torch then asked Browder the hard question: How do we get Black people to embrace this knowledge?

“You get black people or any people, in general, to embrace this information by presenting it to them in an easy-to-understand and digestible manner,” Browder said. “Repetition, repetition, repetition.” 

“Find ways to pique their curiosity, then lead them to information that will expand their curiosity until they find something they admire, and they will take a greater interest,” Browder said. “For me, it’s simply a matter of opening the door and reaching out to those people who are ready to learn.”

“My very first book, From The Browder File, is still a perennial bestseller after 34 years,” Browder said. “It’s a good beginner book. It’s 22 short essays with a bibliography at the end of each essay.”

“If you don’t know yourself or who you are, you can harbor feelings of inferiority,” Browder said. “One of the most important things you can learn to do as a person of African ancestry is to know the history of your people.”

“Not just the struggles of your people here in America over the last 401 years. But to know what we did 4,001 years ago,” Browder said. “That requires that you invest some time in yourself.”

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