By Valencia Mohammed and Bunnie Jackson Ransom
AFRO Staff Writer/Contributing Writer
Dr. Asa Grant Hilliard III, world renowned Pan-Africanist educator, historian, and psychologist, passed from this life on Aug. 13, in Cairo, Egypt. Dr. Hilliard was in Egypt to deliver a keynote lecture at the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilization (ASCAC), an organization he helped found. Hilliard was also lecturing for a study trip led by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago.
According to family members, the cause of death is attributed to complications from malaria. It is believed that Hilliard may have contacted the disease while in Ghana. However, he did not show deadly signs of the illness until reaching Aswan, Egypt. On tour with Hilliard were other great scholars such as Dr. Ben Jochanan, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Hanibal Afrik, Dr. Na’im Akbar, Dr. Wade Nobles, James Smalls, Conrad Worrill, Dr. Annette Kashif, Ife Carruthers and others.
Hilliard spent more than 30 years leading study groups to Egypt and Ghana, as part of his mission to teach true history of Africa and the African Diaspora.
“Dr. Hilliard was in his favorite place, with his favorite person —— our mother —— when he died,” said his daughter, Robi Hilliard Herron.
Hilliard was married for nearly 50 years to the Patsy Jo Hilliard, former mayor of East Point, Ga.
Born in Galveston, Texas on Aug. 22, 1933, to Asa G. Hilliard, II and Dr. Lois O. Williams, Hilliard received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver in 1955. He later received his master’s in counseling (1961) and doctoral degree in educational psychology (1963) from the University of Denver.
“I am a teacher, psychologist and a historian. As such, I am interested in the aims, the methods and the content of the socialization process that we ought to have in place to create wholeness among our people.”
~Dr. Asa Hilliard.
At the time of his death, Dr. Hilliard was the Fuller E. Calloway Professor of Urban Education at Georgia State University in Atlanta where he held joint appointments in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education.
As a distinguished consultant, Hilliard has worked with many of the leading school districts, publishers, public advocacy organizations, universities, government agencies and private corporations on valid assessment, African content in curriculum, teacher training, and public policy.
Several of his programs in pluralistic curriculum, assessment, and valid teaching have become national models. Dr. Hilliard designed the approach and selected the essays that appeared in The Portland Baseline Essays (Portland, Ore.) which represent the first time that a comprehensive global and longitudinal view of people of African ancestry has been presented in a curriculum.
“There is no educational scholar who has impacted the way we educate young people more than Dr. Asa Hilliard. He has been a great warrior,” said Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, author of The History of Africa. Asa was a multidisciplinary and multitalented intellectual. He has inspired generations to see ancient Egypt as the classical civilization of the Black World. He has championed the integrity of African culture and demonstrated that nothing could be greater for us than our own commitment to historical understanding and experiences.”
In 2001, Hilliard was installed as development chief for Mankranso, Ghana, and given the name Nana Baffour Amankwatia II, which means “generous one.” Hilliard co-chaired the first national conference on the Infusion of African and African-American Content in the School Curriculum in Atlanta. Dr. Hilliard was a founding member and first vice president of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations and a founding member of the National Black Child Development Institute. Dr. Hilliard was also a key advisor for the African Education for Every African Child Conference, held in Mali and sponsored by the government of Mali.
Hilliard has authored more than a thousand publications including journal articles, magazine articles, special reports, chapters in books, and books.
“Anybody who is sad about his passing should remember [that] my father was a freedom fighter. Please carry on his legacy,” said his son Michael Hakim Hilliard.
Dr. Hilliard is survived by his wife, Patsy Jo Hilliard and four children: Asa G. Hilliard IV, Robi Hilliard Herron, Dr. Patricia Hilliard-Nunn and Michael Hakim Hilliard and seven grandchildren.
Dr. Hilliard will lay in state on Aug. 22 at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel in Atlanta, Ga., followed by funeral services on Aug. 23.
For a selected bibliographyy click here