Dr. Asa Hilliard transitions in Egypt at age 73.

Updated: The Funeral of Dr. Asa Grant Hilliard III: I returned from Dr. Asa Grant Hilliard III's homegoing last evening, exhausted but able to get my first full nights's sleep since I received Regent Adelaide Sanford's call from Luxor and Runoko Rashidi's e-mail that our beloved Asa was now an ancestor.

The two day Celebration of Life of Dr. Hilliard at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College was attended each day by more than a thousand celebrants, many of whom were, themselves, outstanding scholars, educators and historians. They came from many parts of the US and the world. There were Ashanti Chief rites, drummers, dancers, an outstanding choir and wonderful soloists. The oratory was magnificent, highlighted by the Reverend Doctor Jeremiah Wright of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ whose sermon was a brilliant treatise on the life of the extraordinary scholar, humanitarian, Africanist we were there to enshrine, woven into the white supremacy and racism that African people face and that Asa forever challenged, interspersed with the names of other great African warriors, some of whom were in the Chapel. I had learned earlier that Senator Barack Obama had been instrumental in the early return of Asa and his wife Patsy Jo from Cairo. Yet, it should have been clear to anyone in the Dr. King Chapel why Senator Obama's handlers had convinced him to withdraw the invitation to his pastor, Dr. Wright, to be present when he announced his candidacy for president at Springfield, Illinois. Too Black, too truthful, too courageous. I was honored that Mayor Patsy Jo had asked me to be one of the many speakers. My presentation, limited understandably to two minutes like most of the speakers, nevertheless, constrained the encomium I wanted to give for my dear friend of a quarter of a century. I was able to give a little of the praise for the man I consider to be the most important African American educator, historian of the last fifty years.

At breakfast the morning of the funeral with my friends Dr. Thomy Joyner and Dr. James Turner, our waitress Lisa at the famed Pascal's restaurant asked us what brought us to Atlanta. When we told her we were there for Dr. Hilliard, she responded passionately "He was my baby"! Lisa had served Asa on many occasions and she recited his favorite foods. Lisa knew of his greatness and also his appetite. Clearly Asa was a man of the people who was beloved at many levels.

As I read the article in today's New York Times about the Black celebrities who attended the service for the great musician Max Roach, I could not help but think that the mainstream print and TV media had almost completely ignored the passing of the psychologist whose influence in all levels of education for African people, instruction, administration, African-centered curriculum, testing, research, whose self-taught Egyptology allowed him to challenge the historic assumptions that King Tutankhamen was not African, whose intellectual genius was equaled by his humility and compassion. The tallest tree had fallen and few heard it. The thousand celebrants at Atlanta heard it, and the hundreds who signed the online guest book heard it, and those who had been privileged to hear him at conferences or participate in his training workshops heard it, but most of our people of African descent will probably never know that what progress we have been able to make, though limited, in the education of our children in the United States, was significantly influenced by the great Asa Grant Hilliard III.

As I looked at their faces, I believe I could see that Asa's family his beloved wife, Patsy Jo, his children Asa Grant Hilliard IV, Robi D. Hilliard Herron, Dr. M. Patricia E. Hilliard-Nunn and M. Hakim Hilliard, Esq. greatly appreciated the love we had brought them.

[Donald H. Smith, Ph.D.]

Original Post: Kamille just sent report that Dr. Asa Hilliard, founding member of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC) died yesterday in Egypt from cerebral malaria just 10 days before his 74th birthday. He will be missed greatly, and even that doesn't describe the half of it.
(PRNewswire-USNewswire) The following is being issued by 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.:

"100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc. and its members are deeply saddened by the loss of its member, Asa G. Hilliard, Ph.D. A teacher, historian, psychologist, activist and leader, Dr. Hilliard served as a formidable catalyst for social change as well as a beacon for the preservation and advocacy of African cultures throughout the world.

"Dr. Hilliard served as the chairman of 100 Black Men of Atlanta's Programs Committee and was a leading contributor to the ongoing development of Project Success, the organization's flagship program, which provides tutoring, academic support, cultural enrichment and scholarships to students attending Atlanta Public Schools from challenged communities. His impact upon our organization, its members and the communities we serve has been immeasurable.

"We also would like to offer our sincerest sympathies to the Hilliard family, our thoughts and prayers are with you. The nation has experienced a significant loss today. Dr. Hilliard was truly an American hero and we pay homage to his legacy."

We're a human development centered cooperative, producing in part through the generous and faithful contributions of our North Star members. Choose your membership: Annual ($36), Monthly ($3), ($5), ($10), ($15), ($30), ($70), ($200), ($500), ($1000).