The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Fred Hunter

Newspaper manager Frederick Fenton Hunter was born on June 15, 1936 in Asheville, North Carolina to Marjorie and Ray Hunter. Hunter’s parents divorced, and the family moved to Evanston, Illinois when he was eight. Hunter was an outstanding athlete at Evanston Township High School, where he graduated in 1954. He then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he spent three years, mostly stationed in Southern California. After his discharge, he enrolled in Illinois State University, a teaching college in Normal, Illinois. He earned his B.A. degree in social science with a minor in Spanish in 1962.

Hunter took a job teaching in the Chicago Public School System until he began work as a sales representative for the American Oil Company (Amoco) in 1965. In 1969, Hunter was able to secure his own Amoco filling station, which became very successful.

Looking for a new career path, Hunter earned his M.A. degree in public administration at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Because government jobs during the Reagan Administration of the 1980s were slim, he began working part-time as a newspaper deliveryman for The Chicago Tribune. Hunter’s ethic for hard work was noticed by his superiors, and he was offered a full-time position as a district manager for Evanston and Skokie, Illinois. Over the next few years, Hunter climbed up the managerial ladder, reaching the level of department head in 1990. Eventually, Hunter was promoted to Tribune Corporate Headquarters as the first Director of Diversity Management in 1996, a position he retired from four years later. Hunter mentored dozens of minority employees at The Chicago Tribune and now lives with his wife in South Carolina.

Frederick Hunter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 24, 2007.

Accession Number




Interview Date


Last Name


Maker Category
Marital Status



Evanston Township High School

Nichols Middle School

Wilbur Wright College

Saint Mary's School

Hill Street School

Illinois State University

Roosevelt University

Search Occupation Category
First Name


Birth City, State, Country




Favorite Season



North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Diego, California

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State


Interview Description
Birth Date


Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City




Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Newspaper manager Fred Hunter (1936 - ) was the former director of diversity management for the Tribune Company.


Tribune Company

Chicago Public Schools

Standard Oil of Indiana; Amoco Corporation

Chicago Tribune

Favorite Color


Timing Pairs

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Fred Hunter's interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Fred Hunter lists his favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Fred Hunter describes his mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Fred Hunter describes his mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Fred Hunter describe the wealth disparity in Asheville, North Carolina</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Fred Hunter describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Fred Hunter describes his father's personality and early occupations</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Fred Hunter describes his father's U.S. military career</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Fred Hunter describes how his parents met</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Fred Hunter remembers his father's later life</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Fred Hunter describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Fred Hunter describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Fred Hunter remembers shopping at department stores in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Fred Hunter describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Fred Hunter recalls the influence of Jackie Robinson's baseball career</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Fred Hunter remembers the black football players at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Fred Hunter describes the prominent African American families in Evanston, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Fred Hunter recalls the Hill Street School in Asheville, North Carolina</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Fred Hunter describes his mother's reasons for enrolling him at St. Mary's School in Evanston, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Fred Hunter describes his experiences at St. Mary's School</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Fred Hunter remembers Nichols Junior High School in Evanston, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Fred Hunter recalls the start of the Korean War</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Fred Hunter describes his football career at Evanston Township High School</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Fred Hunter talks about his religious upbringing</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Fred Hunter remembers the music and entertainment of his childhood</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Fred Hunter describes his decision to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Fred Hunter remembers his time in the U.S. Marine Corps</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Fred Hunter describes his decision to become a teacher</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Fred Hunter describes his experiences at Illinois State Normal University in Normal, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Fred Hunter recalls his teaching career in the Chicago Public Schools</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Fred Hunter describes his decision to work for Standard Oil of Indiana</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Fred Hunter remembers the riots of 1968 in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Fred Hunter recalls how he acquired a service station from Standard Oil of Indiana</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Fred Hunter reflects upon the benefits of business ownership</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Fred Hunter recalls how he came to work for the Tribune Company</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Fred Hunter describes his career at the Tribune Company</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Fred Hunter shares his advice to businesspeople of color</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Fred Hunter remembers his mentorship of younger employees at the Tribune Company</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Fred Hunter talks about his retirement from the Tribune Company</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Fred Hunter describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Fred Hunter reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Fred Hunter reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Fred Hunter talks about his wife and sons</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Fred Hunter describes how he would like to be remembered</a>







Fred Hunter remembers shopping at department stores in Chicago, Illinois
Fred Hunter remembers the riots of 1968 in Chicago, Illinois
But what I remember is--have you ever been to Evanston [Illinois]? Okay, back then there was an old Wieboldt's store [Wieboldt Stores, Chicago, Illinois], Wieboldt's department store, and my mom [Marjorie Rosemond Hunter], my brother's a year older than me so I'm in third grade, he's in fourth grade okay? She took off 'cause she was a domestic, she had two or three jobs. One of the things she did was domestic, one of the things she did was she was an elevator operator part time in Evanshire Hotel. It's out in Evanston [Illinois]. She took off from work one day and showed us how to catch the bus from where we were living, got us registered in St. Mary's Catholic school [St. Mary's School, Evanston, Illinois], showed us how to take the bus and get back home, okay, and it was September of 1944 and she bought us some heavy coats and some clothes, 'cause she obviously couldn't--had to leave everything we had down there, she couldn't--okay, and she says, "I'm only taking off one day to show you guys what you need to do. You guys have got to pay attention and you've got to do it, but if you behave yourselves, come out of the Wieboldt's store and you don't clown too much, we'll go across here to the Woolworths store [F.W. Woolworth Company]," which is right across from Wieboldt's, five and ten store, "and we'll get a soda, an ice cream soda." Oh, yeah, hell yeah we'll behave for an ice cream soda but, and she took us and after we got through with Wieboldt's and she took us into the Woolworths to get the sodas. She told us to sit down at the counter, she had to restrain us. There's no way in our minds we could sit down at that counter because we came from you know? I mean she had to physically restrain us and make us sit there because in our mind there was no way we could sit down at that counter and have a soda, you know, it's 1944 in Evanston, and I think about that so often because when my wife [Leila Hunter] and I got married in '61 [1961], I think the first time I had gone back south, I went down in '86 [1986] to bury my mother-in-law. I didn't go back 'til like '96 [1996], because I was working two and three jobs and hustling and trying to pay bills 'cause I had two other boys soon after that. So I'm trying to be a father and provider you know, so my wife went and took the kids [Stuart Hunter, Aubrey Hunter and Kenyon Hunter] down every year but I never went back. The first time I went back and had any time to spend there it was like '96 [1996] and I was just absolutely blown away and it still does a thing with my head to have white folks say, "Yes sir," and "No sir" because I was eight years old and I remember that's not what you were called in 1944 (laughter), that's not what you--believe me. Yes, sir and no, sir and thank you and however genuine or not it is, it just--I contrast that in my mind to that September 1944 thing where my brother and I were being constrained by my mom so that we would sit there and partake of what we--you know and so if you ask for a signature moment as a kid, that's probably the signature moment for me was that incident in the--at the dime store.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$I was the representative [for Standard Oil of Indiana; BP Corporation North America Inc.]--that was my sales territory where the riots started. I was on the corner of Madison [Street] and Kedzie [Avenue], right down the street from Marshall High School [John Marshall Metropolitan High School, Chicago, Illinois] when the riots broke out, but that was my sales territory.$$Now that was in 1968?$$That's '68 [1968] (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right after Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was killed April 4, '68 [1968].$$That was '68 [1968]. Right.$$What--$$I was standing right there on the corner of Madison and Kedzie.$$Now what did you see, I mean what?$$(Makes noise) And people looting and running and shooting and shouting and yelling and pulling folks out of cars, whites that were driving through they were pulling 'em out of car and beating 'em and, and I left there and I went down to twenty- to 22nd [Street] and St. Louis [Avenue] 'cause they had a station down there and I called into the office and they said, "Get the hell outta there, forget about that territory go home." And I left 22nd and St. Louis 'cause it was exploding down there and I went over I had a station at Warren [Boulevard] and Western [Avenue] which is one block north of Madison around on Western, just north of and all the way down all you could see was looting, TVs, clothes. Madison was--at that point in time I had two of the busiest stretches in the City of Chicago [Illinois] in terms of commercial business in my territory. There was on the corner of Madison and Western, there was the corner of Pulaski [Road] and Washington [Boulevard]. Retail--I also had Roosevelt Road, but I didn't get down that far and all you could see was looting, yelling and screaming, shooting and beatings, that's all you could see. So I made it to Western and Warren and from there I went straight north on Western and got the hell out of there, I didn't come back for a week. And when we came back there was just nothing but devastation.$$And they actually set the stations on fire, they--?$$No they didn't set any stations they were just looting, the worst thing you saw was looting, just yelling, screaming, running and looting.$$Now how, how did you first hear about Dr. King being killed. Do you remember when you first found out (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) I heard it right there, that's where I heard it, right there on the--there's a restaurant at Madison and Kedzie and I was in there, that's when I heard about it.$$How did you feel about it?$$I, I was surprised he lasted as long as he did, because when I first learned about him, I remember my buddies and I were saying this guy is either a saint or a fool. This is like '62 [1962], '63 [1963] something like that and if he's a saint he's not gonna last very long. We were surprised he lasted 'til '68 [1968]. Said the things he's espousing especially when he really became anti-Vietnam [Vietnam War], said things he's espousing they're gonna get him. I mean that's in our, my immediate circle that was the feeling, they're gonna get him and when he lasted 'til '68 [1968] they said, "Damn, we might be wrong, he might--he may actually get outta this," and because it had started to (gesture), you know it started to (gesture), it started to--by '68 [1968], but in essence we just said hey that guy's talking about--the things he's talking about can't last, that's, that's not what (laughter), that's not the mindset of the powers that be.

Na'im Akbar

Publisher, psychologist, psychology professor, and public speaker Na'im Akbar was born on April 26, 1944, in Tallahassee, Florida. Originally given the name Luther Benjamin Weems, Jr., Akbar changed his name in 1971, after joining the Nation of Islam. Akbar attended the Florida A & M University Laboratory School from grades K-12, graduating in 1961. Akbar attended the University of Michigan for the completion of his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in psychology.

Prior to attending the University of Michigan, Akbar lived within a completely African American social environment. His freshman year of college marked the first time that he had real contact with whites. At the University of Michigan, Akbar was active with the Black Action Movement (BAM) strike that closed down classes for three weeks during the late 1960s. After receiving his Ph.D., Akbar accepted a position in the psychology department at Morehouse College in Atlanta. There, he instituted Morehouse's first Black psychology course and eventually developed probably the first Black psychology program at a Historically Black College or University. Within two years, he became chair of the department.

Akbar left Morehouse after five years to work with the Nation of Islam's headquarters in Chicago to start their Office of Human Development. After two years, Akbar joined the faculty of Norfolk State University, again instituting courses in black psychology. In 1979, Akbar accepted a faculty position at Florida State University. In 1971, Akbar became active with the Association of Black Psychologists, the largest Black mental health professional organization in the world. He has served on the association's board for numerous terms and was elected its president in 1987. The association has bestowed all of its most prestigious awards on Akbar due to his professional contributions.

Akbar continues to teach a specialized course on the psychology of the African American at Florida State University. In the late 1980s, he formed his own publishing company, Mind Productions, and private consulting company, Na'im Akbar Consultants, to bring his teaching to a wider audience.

Accession Number




Archival Photo 1
Interview Date


Last Name


Maker Category
FAMU Developmental Research School
University of Michigan
Hampton University
Speakers Bureau


Archival Photo 2
First Name


Birth City, State, Country




Favorite Season


Speaker Bureau Notes

The state of his health prevented him from participating.


Knight Foundation



Favorite Vacation Destination

Accra, Ghana

Favorite Quote

This too shall pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State


Interview Description
Birth Date


Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City




Favorite Food

Cauliflower, Okra

Short Description

Psychology professor and publisher Na'im Akbar (1944 - ) pioneered the African-centered approach to psychology and founded one of the first Black psychology programs in the United States at Morehouse College.

Miner, Barnhill & Galland
Norfolk State University
Florida State University
Main Sponsor
Favorite Color


Timing Pairs

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Na'im Akbar Interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar's favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar's parents' names</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar shares memories of his maternal grandmother</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar shares memories of his maternal grandfather</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Na'im Akbar shares memories his paternal grandparents</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Na'im Akbar shares memories of his mother</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Na'im Akbar talks about his father</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Na'im Akbar discusses his parents' first meeting</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Na'im Akbar discusses his aunt</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Na'im Akbar shares his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Na'im Akbar remembers his childhood household</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Na'im Akbar as a child</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Na'im Akbar shares memories of Tallahassee, Florida</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Na'im Akbar discusses his neighborhood's mentors and role models</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar remembers his childhood paper route</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar discusses the influences of his childhood community</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar discusses the role of schools in his community</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar remembers an childhood emphasis on education</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Na'im Akbar remembers his childhood teachers and coaches</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Na'm Akbar discusses additional father figures</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Na'im Akbar as a student</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Na'im Akbar discusses his elementary and high school extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Na'im Akbar discusses skills gained through childhood activities</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Na'im Akbar discusses the 1956 Tallahassee Bus Boycott</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Na'im Akbar explains the early history of Tallahassee's black neighhorhoods, Frenchtown and Smokey Hollow</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar explains his understanding of the 1956 Tallahassee Bus Boycott as a teenager</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar remembers reactions of Tallahassee's black community to demonstrations</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar reflects on his community's fear of retaliation</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar describes his fear of the white response to the demonstrations</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Na'im Akbar remembers lessons of needing to staying in one's place</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Na'im Akbar reflects on his admission to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Na'im Akbar reflects on competing with whites in an academic environment</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Na'im Akbar discusses the race relations at Michigan universites in early 1960s</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Na'im Akbar comments on the resistance to legitimize Black Studies</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar discusses his decision to major in psychology</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar remembers his research mentors at the University of Michigan</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar discusses his mentor, Dr. Howard Wolowitz</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar reflects on the 1960s and its influence on his research</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Na'im Akbar confronts his own feelings of racial inferiority</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Na'im Akbar discusses his dissertation</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Na'im Akbar joins the Association of Black Psychologists</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Na'im Akbar talks about his birth name</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Na'im Akbar remembers his first academic job search</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Na'im Akbar discusses his experiences at Morehouse College</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar's introduction to the Nation of Islam</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar joins the Nation of Islam</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar describes the reactions of the Morehouse College community to his joining the Nation of Islam</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar explains the correlation between the Nation of Islam's teaching and Black Psychology</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Na'im Akbar describes the development of African Psychology</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Na'im Akbar moves to Chicago, Illinois to work for the Nation of Islam</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Na'im Akbar discusses working with the Nation of Islam in Chicago</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar meets and marries his wife</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar joins the faculty at Norfolk State University</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar joins the faculty at Florida State University</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar's exposure in the media</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Na'im Akbar discusses academia's response to Black Psychology</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Na'im Akbar discusses the Association of Black Psychologists</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Na'im Akbar describes the need for continued growth of Black Psychology</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Na'im Akbar discusses the black community's view of Black Psychology</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Na'im Akbar describes the practical use of Black psychologists</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Na'im Akbar discusses cultural differences among blacks and whites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar discusses the Black Church and Black Psychologists</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar discusses the difference between Eurocentric and Afrocentric Psychology</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar's hopes and concerns for the black community</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar describes his legacy and how he wants to be remembered</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar and Father on Toledo, Ohio Beach (1958)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar (Luther Weems, Jr) as High School Senior (1961)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar wih Dr. Art Mathis and Nigerian Psychologist at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1973)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Rev. Herbert Alexander (1987)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar (Luther Weems, Jr) at Eight Years Old on Easter Sunday (1952)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar and Daughter, Shaakira, at Elmina Slave Castle in Ghana, West Africa (1995)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Photo -- Shaakira Akbar with Maternal Grandparents in Ghana, West Africa (1995)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Mother, Bessie; Father, Luther; and Aunt, Eunice (1965)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Wife, Renee, and Children, Shaakira, Tareeq, and Mutaqee (circa 1987)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Minister Louis Farrakhan in Accra, Ghana (1995)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 16 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Drs. John Henrik Clarke and Asa Hilliard at the University of Louisville (circa 1998)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 17 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar (Luther X) (1973)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 18 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar at the Temple of Edfu, Upper Egypt (circa 1985)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 19 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Sons, Tareeq and Mutaqee, at Cape Coast Slave Castle, Ghana (1996)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 20 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Tony Brown and Drs. A. Hilliard, M. Asante, M. Karenga, L. James Myers, F. Cress Welsing (1995)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 21 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar "Instooled" as Development Chief in Abono Village, Ghana (1995)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 22 - Newspaper Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Dick Gregory, Tyrone Brooks and Dr. Ralph Abernathy in Selma, AL (1976)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 23 - Newspaper Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Khalilah Ali in Chicago, IL</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 24 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar Speaking at the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. (10/16/1995)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 25 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar Pouring Libation at Inauguration of Tougaloo College President, Dr. Adib Shakir (5/13/1989)</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 26 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar (Luther Weems, Jr.) on Senior Prom with Joan Bailey (1961)</a>







Na'im Akbar describes the development of African Psychology
Na'im Akbar discusses working with the Nation of Islam in Chicago
Was there any written books or anything, you can pull from to see, the way you were about to go and move psychology?$$No, we were invent -- we were inventing it as we went along. I wanted to come back to mention to you again this, these people who, who became really kind of key in terms of this whole scholarly development that became, what we call African Psychology. One of those people was my, my very good friend who I met, Phil McGee, who became my kind of connection with the Stanford [University, Stanford, California] group. And Stanford was where Cedric Clark was, who I mentioned to you. And their graduate student was Wade Nobles. Now, Wade Nobles was finishing a graduate degree in psychology at Stanford University. Through my connection with Phil, the four of us became kind of the Africanist group in the Association of Black Psychologists. So each year at their conventions, you know, we would do a major kind of presentation and dealing with this whole kind of redefinition of black people as basically African people. And to begin to somehow talk about psychology within the context of us continuing an African way of life as opposed to being deviations from a European way of life. And Cedric and I were very much directly influenced by the Nation [of Islam] in our thinking. And both Phil and Wade, who never joined the Nation, were also very much influenced by those kinds of ideas. In fact, Wade's wife became an active member of Nation for a period of time. And so all of that became very much a part of the way that we began to sort of like develop this whole kind of paradigm of what became kind of Africentric psychology. Interestingly, Dr. Molefi Asante some years later did the first book on Afrocentricity and he mentioned at the very beginning of the book that like, you know, this whole kind of notion of beginning to think of black scholarship from an African context with that whole paradigm shift where we began to see the world from our center, whether it's economics, whether it's art, whether it's theater, whether it's literature, whether it's psychology, whatever it is, to think of it from our center. He sort of like, he, he referenced the black psychologists, the African psychologists as having, you know, sort of started that paradigm. And he had reference to the work that, you know, the four of us had done. We did a paper back in, in -- it was actually published in first issue of the 'Journal of Black Psychology.' It was called "Voodoo or IQ: An Introduction to African Psychology." And we really kind of laid out -- the four of us, Phil McGee, Wade Nobles, Cedric Clark and myself, laid out the perimeters of this like paradigm of beginning to think of the world, you know, from this kind of Africentric, you know, point of view, and the, the work we began to do. So Wade coming in experimental psychology, he began to get research grants to study the black family. And to study the black family, not as a deviant European family, but as an African family. So he began to look at notions like the extended family system. He began to look at things about the role of spirituality in the black family. And he began to look at how, when that family was working well, people performed better in schools, staying away from socially deviant kinds of behaviors. So he began to like empirically demonstrate that when black people acted consistent with being African, we didn't -- we (unclear), we had more successful lives. You know, I began to sort of write much more in terms of the whole kind of importance of us understanding who we were as a means of finding mental health, you know.$Tell me about your experiences in Chicago [Illinois] when you go there to become, to work directly within the Nation of Islam?$$The first year was really exciting. I mean I -- because all these people came, Sonia Sanchez was in the Nation [of Islam]. She came there. Minister [Louis] Farrakhan was moved out to Chicago, so he was working there. So I was able to begin to interact with all of the major leadership of the Nation of Islam, Muhammad Ali was, you know, very active at the Nation at that point. Khalilah Ali, who he was still married to at the time, was very active around -- so all these people who had been sort of icons, like for the black community as a whole and certainly for the Nation, became my colleagues. We were all kind of working together. What happened, however, like shortly after the first year I was in Chicago, it really became fairly clear that the real agenda that Imam Wallace Muhammad had was to really kind of transform the Nation primarily into an Orthodox religious movement. And to really kind of de -- de-culturalize its, its impact. So, the move he began was to get rid of the businesses, really the schools themselves began to -- he closed the schools down in most parts of the country and eventually kind of phased out the schools altogether. And basically to convert the Nation from being like a, kind of like a social, cultural movement to being exclusively a religious movement. And, and this was very different from what we'd expected. However, during the beginning of that year, like, you know, we began to do some of the things that I indicated in terms of writing those pamphlets and things like that. And by the end of two years, it was much that the Nation was going in another direction altogether, you know. So those of us who had moved to Chicago, one, one very brilliant man who was a lawyer out of Richmond [Virginia], his name was Sa'ad -- well his name Gerard X. Green he became Sa'ad El-Amin, who subsequently became a city councilman and major prosecutor and a judge out of Richmond when he went back. But he'd moved to Chicago, two or three accountants from PriceWaterhouse out of New York [New York] had moved to Chicago. So we brought together this kind of brain trust of people who were kind of like parts of various [Black] Muslim communities around the country, parts of the Nation who (unclear) like, the (unclear) all centered there in Chicago. But it didn't go the direction, you know, that we had anticipated. But it was be -- it, it, it introduced me to a national network of people, number one. And it began to give exposure to the ideas that I'd been working with on a national basis as well because my articles were in the national newspaper of 'Muhammad Speaks.' I did the -- I, I published the first little pamphlets, the first one being, I think, 'The Community of Self' and then which I subsequently revised. And then a couple of others that I did as well which became like these little readable pamphlets that people could use to begin to develop and understand their psychology as black people. So that was the start of the work that, you know, subsequently I, I expanded much later on. So I spent those two years there. After finding out that the Nation was really not going to go that kind of way, really going much more to a religious movement, then I went to back to work at Norfolk State [University, Norfolk, Virginia].