A Word from Chancellor Williams – “Animism”

In The Destruction of Black Civilization, Chancellor Williams writes:

The Blacks’ conception of God was on a scale too grand to be acceptable to Western minds.  They had to reduce it by using a term that is equated with paganism, “primitive” backwardness and barbarism.  The word is “animism.”  But the historian and anthropologist are witnesses against themselves, still proving the very opposite of what they intend.  In documenting animism as the chief characteristic of the religion of the Blacks from the remotest times they are also documenting the fact that the Blacks’ belief in the existence as well as the nature of one Universal God also goes back to time immemorial.

And what is animism?  As applied to Africans, it is the belief that the spirit of the Creator or the Universal God permeates all of His creations, living and dead.  Therefore, any object, animate or inanimate, may be sacred.  This concept of God and His creations would be regarded as highly “civilized” if expressed by a Westerner in some such terms as a “reverence for life.”  Indeed, precisely the same African religious belief becomes the doctrine of “Immanence” in Christian civilization.”

Food for thought on a Sunday morning.


  1. Greetings Dr.Williams, I’ve read your book, “The Destruction Of Black Civilization”, a great writing which I feel is crucial to all young black youth. I aspire to get my Degree, so I can teach on the College level. I believe the more we educate our people, the better chance we have of coming together. The more I learn about my past, the more I feel a burden to pass these findings on to future generations. Things from the past tell us what is to come, and they shed light on what we go through everyday, why things are the way they are. I plan on being an instrument as to which others can learn from. Eventually, you and I will cross paths and have a conversation on which we can both learn. Determined, Danny

  2. FYI Danny:

    “Dr. Chancellor Williams was born in Bennettsville, South Carolina. He received his undergraduate degree in Education and Master of Arts degree in history from Howard University. He studied abroad serving as a visiting research scholar at the Unversity of Oxford in England and at the University of London.

    Chancellor Williams began field research in African History in Ghana (University College) in 1956. His primary focus was on African achievments and autonomous civilizations before Asian and European influences. His last study in 1964 covered an astounding 26 countries and more than 100 language groups. His best known work is “The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.” For this effort, Dr. Williams was accorded honors by the Black Academy of Arts and Letters.

    A little known fact about Dr. Williams is that in addition to being an historian and professor, Dr. Williams was president of a baking company, editor of a newsletter, The New Challenge, an economist, high school teacher and principal and a novelist.

    Dr. Williams remained a staunch advocate that African historians do independent research and investigations so that the history of African people be told and understood from their perspective. Dr. Williams stated clearly, “As long as we rely on white historians to write Black History for us, we should keep silent about what they produce.” Dr. Chancellor Williams joined the Ancestors in 1992.”


    The window for your meeting with Dr. Williams has been closed for some time now. Of course a spiritual connection is always possible. Best of luck.

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