Nova Felder—a Pan-African teacher on a mission

OLAYEMI ODESANYA | 8/24/2018, 10:46 a.m.
If you have ever walked on 125th Street between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, just across ...
Nova and Amara Felder Contributed

“Some people say they are ‘woke’ or ‘conscious’ but don’t live by it. The people around you always reflect you and your interests. So you should be going to rallies and conferences, making sure that you are supporting our causes and etc. It’s more than just knowing about it.”

As for his outside classroom on 125th Street, the man who studied psychology with a minor in biology, said, “We get asked about these pictures all the time. It is to keep them informed a conscious. We want people to get involved. You have to understand who you are in order to make decisions in the current times, because it will always affect you in the future. In the ancient world, every temple said ‘know thy self,’ so we should follow behind that ideology. Having knowledge of self as well as understanding or culture, know your history and knowledge.”

Passersby would always stop to get words of wisdom from the elder Felder, now the son continues in that tradition.

“If you don’t understand your history culture, then you really can’t understand the politics or the society that you live in,” said Felder. “So educating people how to read and write the language of where they live is essential. If you cannot understand that language of instruction, you will miss out on opportunities or how to better yourself in the future, and the community as a whole. So historical, political and social knowledge is very important to everybody. It is crucial to expose our children to their culture; whether it’s in the home, at a conference or just a street festival. Keep your children educated and close to your interest, woke or conscious. They should identify with their culture.”

A writer and a documentarian, Felder concluded, “I am the true product of Pan-Africanism. My daughter has just started going into public school. I do believe that it is important that we start to educate our children about our history before they go to school, and that is what my family and I are doing with all the children around us.”

Felder is a recipient of the first Dr. Jack Felder SaNeter TV Award in scholar activism. He is also continuing his work in Harlem and the world by giving lectures and doing a podcast (“The Shizt Holes Strike Back”).

He can be reached at