Jacob H. Carruthers (also known as Jedi Shemsu Jehewty) was a well-respected African-centered historian and educator. He was a founding director of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC) as well as a founding member of both the Kemetic Institute of Chicago and the Temple of the African Community of Chicago.
He was the acting director of the Center for Inner City Studies, Northeastern Illinois University. He also served as a professor there. Carruthers authored many works, including “Science and Oppression,” “The Irritated Genie,” and “MDW NTR Divine Speech.”
Carruthers was born on February 15, 1930, in Dallas, Texas, according to Wikipedia. He went on to receive a B.A. from Samuel Huston College in Austin, Texas, in 1950, after which he joined the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1951. After leaving the USAF he earned an M.A. from Texas Southern University in 1958 and a Ph.D. in Political Studies from the University of Colorado in 1966.
From 1961 to 1964, Carruthers taught Political Science at Prairie View College in Texas and later he taught at Kansas State College in Pittsburg, Kansas. Carruthers was an assistant professor at Kansas State College from 1966 to 1968 before joining the staff of Northeastern Illinois University’s Center for Inner City Studies (CICS). Carruthers, Dr. Anderson Thompson, Robert Starks, Dr. Conrad Worrill, and others developed the CICS program with a focus on self-determination, activism, and study of the global Black community. Carruthers taught at CICS for 32 years.
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In 1986, Carruthers married his wife, Ifé. They had four children. Carruthers died in his Chicago on January 5, 2004, at age 73 of pancreatic cancer.
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Carruthers, one of the world’s leading experts in classical African civilizations, believed that the way to liberate Africans in America is through understanding and connecting history, culture, and heritage. Carruthers conducted study tours to Egypt, Ethiopia, the Nile Valley, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Ivory Coast, and other parts of West Africa.
Carruthers wrote or edited hundreds of essays and papers on his studies. “He has 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,” World Afropedia reported.
Carruthers used his expertise to inspire and empower others. He was founding president of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations and led a group of 1,000 Black teachers, students, artists, and scholars from the U.S. to the Nubian Cultural Center in Aswan, Egypt, for a two-week conference and tour of Nubia and Egypt.
Carruthers conducted study tours to Egypt, Ethiopia, the Nile Valley, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Ivory Coast, and other parts of West Africa. He wrote or edited hundreds of essays and papers on his findings, including “The Irritated Genie: An Essay on the Haitian Revolution.”
Carruthers was a founding member and priest of the Temple of African Community of Chicago. He was a founding member and director of the Kemetic (Egyptian) Institute, which sponsors the annual Teaching About Africa program for school teachers and administrators, according to History Makers.
In 1966, Carruthers became the first African-American student to complete a doctorate in political studies from the University of Colorado.
In 1975, one year after famed scholar-scientist Cheikh Anta Diop and his protégé and colleague Théophile Obenga successfully defended the African origin of ancient Kemet at the UNESCO symposium in Cairo, Carruthers met with Diop in Senegal.
After this visit, Ifé Carruthers wrote, “Diop impressed upon Dr. Carruthers the importance of the study of ancient Egypt and more importantly the need to center that study around the command of the Egyptian languages, commonly called hieroglyphics.”
After meeting with Diop and taking the advice of Diop, Carruthers began learning the ancient language of Kemet, Mdw Ntr. This led to the creation of several key African-centered study group movements.
Carruthers and a team of Afrikan-centered scholars created an Afrikan-centered context for the systematic study of African history.
The Kemetic Institute was launched to encourage learning about the Classical Afrikan civilizations of Kush and Kemet.
“The Kemetic Institute grew out of the organizational and scholarly efforts of what may be called the ‘Chicago Group,’ this being a group of African-centered thinkers which included Dr. Anderson Thompson, Dr. Harold Pates, Lorenzo Martin, and Dr. Bobby Wright, among others. Prior to the establishment of the Kemetic Institute, this group had launched the Communiversity, the Association of African Historians and the Association of Afro-American Educators. It had also published four issues of the “Afrocentric World Review,” according to the Kemetic Institute website.
In 1984, Carruthers and renowned Afrikan history experts John Henrik Clark, Asa Grant Hilliard, Leonard Jeffries, Yosef Ben-Jochannan, and Maulana Karenga founded the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations at the First Annual Ancient Egyptian Studies Conference in Los Angeles, California. Carruthers was elected the association’s first president.