Fellow activists, associates and educators attended going home services at the Williams Institutional CME Church, (2225 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.) this past Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning to bid farewell to one of Harlem’s stalwart African scholar warriors. Dr. Jack Felder, 78, joined the ancestors Dec. 3, after serving the Harlem community with his wealth of knowledge and wisdom for many decades.
African drummers ran off some rhythmic beats to set the tone for the ceremony as several hundred gathered to pay their respects to the uncompromisingly proud African, who devoted his life to researching, and sharing, the true heritage of the Motherland and his people.
Professor James Small recalled knowing his colleague for several decades, and mentioned his tireless efforts in making sure his people were properly informed about their true African ancestry, whether as an instructor at Harlem Prep during the early 1970s, at the assorted universities where he taught or at the Harlem communiversity along 125th Street.
“He never lost touch with the young,” Small noted. “I used to say, ‘We deposit ourselves in our children.’ He said, ‘No, we deposit ourselves as our children.’ That’s African culture.”
Throughout the years, Felder spoke at local lecture halls, namely the Oberia Dempsey Center on 127th Street and Brooklyn’s Slave Theater on Fulton Street, with the United Afrikan Movement, as well as at the First World Alliance in Harlem, so that he could get his thoroughly researched information to the common people.
Nana Camille Yarborough led a chant to spark the African spirits before speaking about Felder’s unconditional love for his African people.
She then added, “Some people, when they leave here they leave a little dust, or nothing at all, but you can always judge them by their children.” She heaped praises on Felder’s son, Nova, and how the two were a regular fixture on 125th Street in front of Mart 125, as they distributed CDs, DVDs and literature to the community.
“He wanted us to know who we are,” commented street scholar, Brother Sekou, who also remembered his fellow activist being a very hospitable, non-egotistical humanitarian who was consistently at many socio-political events and truly loved his people. “Anything that’s for Africans—what we’re going through, how to get out of it and helping people do so—he’s willing to help. Before he went to the hospital, he was on 125th Street. The only thing that stopped him was death. And guess what? Where he’s at now, he’s probably doing the same thing there.”
Several others reflected on how the well-read biochemist revealed the man-made origins of the deadly AIDS virus in his 1986 book, “AIDS—U.S. Germ Warfare at Its Best with Documents and Proof,” way before it became common knowledge. Some spoke about his close relationship with Dr. Khalid Muhammad, his love for Africans, his hatred of Caucasian-led racism and his wanting to “wake up people so they’ll stop praising the European Jesus.”
Dr. Leonard Jeffries also traced his relationship with his courageous comrade several decades, before concluding, “This great African spirit brought the scientific dimension to work with, as well as the spiritual, cultural and intellectual dimensions. So we lost a great partner in this great intellectual warfare that we are winning against this system that has been dehumanizing us for hundreds of years. So we have to understand how he played such an important role he helped restore the truth and our dignity. His legacy continues through the many lives he touched through the spiritually awakening information he disseminated amongst the Harlem community.”
Felder was interred at Queens’ Springfield Cemetery Wednesday.