by Paul Kurtz Chairman, Council for Secular Humanism
We believe that the publication of The AAH Examiner and the founding of African Americans for Humanism last year, under the leadership of Norm Allen, are of tremendous historic significance. How and why did this come about? Two years ago, Norm Allen expressed his dismay at the continued influence that religion -- especially fundamentalist Christianity and Islam -- played in the Black community in America and Africa, and the lack of awareness of humanist ideas and values. We challenged him to create a new humanist organization. And this he has done. Humanism is an affirmative eupraxophy (a system of good conduct and practical wisdom for living) dedicated to the improvement of conditions of human beings in this life here and now. It wishes to draw upon our own resources without worrying about eternal salvation or obedience to dogmatic creeds. Undoubtedly, the churches in America have played a positive role in the Black community, especially in the struggle for civil rights; and they have often provided the oppressed with consolation. But humanists believe that, in the last analysis, the only way to ameliorate the human condition is to overcome poverty and disease and to achieve the good life by human efforts. Humanists emphasize the importance of education, reason, and critical intelligence for understanding nature and solving human problems. Humanists wish to fulfill the highest human potentialities, to cultivate ethics, and to build a truly democratic world community. The Council for Secular Humanism, publishers of Free Inquiry Magazine, cooperates with Norm Allen and others who wish to make humanism better known in the Black community. Impressive strides have already been made, and considerable attention to AAH and the project to build a Monument to the Unknown Slave has been given in the Black media. This newsletter, we hope, will help to stimulate the growth of this fledgling organization. There is much work to be done. We invite men and women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to support African Americans for Humanism in order to implement and extend its noble ideals.