Professor James Small was born in 1945, on Arcadia plantation, located on the banks of the Waccamaw River. This Lowland rice plantation is located where the Waccamaw, Peedee, and Black Rivers converge to meet the Atlantic Ocean, on the shores of historic Georgetown, South Carolina. Prof. Small was born to a family that traces their descent from enslaved Africans, to the Yoruba, Akan, and Ewe people of West Africa. Prof. Small's heritage also stems from the Native American ancestors that inhabited these South Carolinian shores. Both his maternal great-grandmother and his paternal great-grandmother were members of the Chicora Nation, and made their home along the mighty Waccamaw River.
Prof. Small graduated from the all Black Howard High School in Georgetown, South Carolina in 1964. He then served in the U.S. Navy for two years during the Vietnam era. Upon his release from military service, Prof. Small moved to New York City where he joined the organization of Afro-American Unity founded by the legendary Malcolm X. In 1967, Prof. Small became Imam (minister) of the Muslim Mosque Incorporated, also founded by Malcolm X. In 1975 Prof. Small traveled to the Holy City of Mecca in Saudi Arabia to make his holy pilgrimage, the Hajjah. For eleven years Prof. Small served as principal bodyguard to the late Ella L. Collins, the sister of Malcolm X, the then President of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (O.A.A.U.)
Between the years of 1966 and 1980, Prof. Small held membership in the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (S.N.C.C.), the N.A.A.C.P, Uhuru fighters and O.A.A.U. During this period Prof. Small had the opportunity to interact with such historical giants as Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Kwame Ture, H. Rap Brown of S.N.C.C, Eldridge Cleaver, Zaid Shakur, and Lumumba Shakur of the Black Panther Party (B.P.P.) in which he served as a liaison between the B.P.P. and the O.A.A.U. Prof. Small has been a member of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilization (A.S.C.A.C.) for 14 years. He served as President of A.S.C.A.C. Eastern Region for two years, where he worked and studied with Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Yosef A. A. Ben Jochannan, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. Asa Hilliard, Dr. Wade Nobles, Dr. Amos Wilson and Dr. Francis Cress Welsing, just to name a few.
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