With a purpose to inform African American and Middle Eastern American students of their high culture ancestries, a new chapter of the Queen of Sheba and Pharaohs Historical and Educational Research Foundation has been established on campus.
The organization's student steering committee and City College political science instructor Robert Kennon, who is president of the foundation, say that the true history of the racial origins of Africans and Arabians have been concealed from Americans or presented in a distorted, non-factual manner.
The Queen of Sheba, after whom the organization is named, was a ruler of Ethiopia and Arabia. According to Ethiopian tradition, she married King Solomon, and their son Menelik founded the royal dynasty of Ethiopia.
"We know that there is a whole block of history which has to do with our position as pharaohs and descendants of the Queen of Sheba that is being ignored," said Kennon.
Kennon and student members of the chapter said one of their main concerns is to have the "high side" of the black race presented in the community and in the curriculum.
One of their goals is to meet with the administration of City College to get a project approved to bring this curriculum into the schools. Eventually, they would like to see this curriculum implemented, not only at the college level, but at the elementary school level as well.
Students, especially those of African descent, should realize their heritage, instead of being exposed to the issue of slavery, and things that show the negative side of their heritage," said Wond Gashaw, a student from Ethiopia who wants African Americans to know their heritage is more than slavery in the United States.
Kennon said the foundation promotes high academic achievement and strives to match students' skills with career opportunities in cooperation with sources of black international capital, primarily from Africa and the Middle East.
Through his travels, Kennon said he has found the rulers, the U.S. representatives, and the people of African and Middle Eastern countries are hurt and deeply concerned that Americans do not understand who they really are, and what their cultural role has been in past and present-day history.
Many of these rulers, Kennon said, are interested in hiring students of African descent in their business development programs.
"We want to make a juncture between this high culture, past and present, and increase professional and business opportunities for our young people independently within the black race," Kennon said.
American community colleges headed by white administrators, Kennon believes, are not carrying out enough research or directing that there be instruction to inform students of African descent about these career opportunities.
"Dr. Harris is doing a fine job on this diversity, but we are sure nobody else has brought this sort of approach to him, and we want to be the ones to do it," said Kennon.
The organization also hopes to encourage a higher self-esteem for African Americans, and to let them know that they don't have to settle for less because of their race.
"For African Americans who are graduating from college, there aren't really many business opportunities," says chapter member Kemi Randolf. "Plus, if they do have them, there is so much racism that they are inclined to take just the bare minimum, when actually their talents are far superior."