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Sanyika (Dadisi) Aquarian Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Materials

  • Contributing Institution: California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections
    Title: Dadisi Sanyika Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: SPC.2015.002
    Physical Description: 14 boxes
    Physical Description: 7 Linear Feet
    Date (inclusive): 1940s-2005
    Date (inclusive): 1970-2005
    Abstract: This collection contains archival material and rare books related to Dadisi Sanyika and his interests in African American history and culture, African drumming and dance, and the study of astrology, metaphysics, occultism, black gnostic studies, and PermaCulture. Included in the collection are published books and periodicals, pamphlets, yearbooks, handwritten notes, study materials, lesson plans, astrology charts, ephemera, newspaper clippings, and VHS tapes.
    Language of Material: English .


    There are no access restrictions on this collection.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    For information about citing archival material, see the Citations for Archival Material guide, or consult the appropriate style manual.

    Acquisition Information

    Collection donated to CSUDH Archives Gloria M. Sanyika, and the Sanyika Family.

    Processing Information

    This collection was processed in 2015 by Kendall Hinesley and Willliam Marshall Jr.


    Dadisi Sanyika was an educational facilities planner, teacher, artist, writer, traditional African drummer and dancer, researcher, astrologer, ordained metaphysical minister, social activist, martial arts master, and philosopher. He was born John Carl Stitt in Los Angeles, California, November 30th, 1948, and later changed his name to Dadisi Feleji Sanyika. Though he appears to have solely used Sanyika as his last name from that point on, he regularly used several combinations of his birth and assumed names such as: John Sanyika, John Stitt Sanyika, Dadisi Stitt Sanyika, and Dadisi Sanyika. He was raised in Los Angels' South Central area, and attended Los Angeles City College and California State University Los Angeles. He married was to Gloria (Heshima) Sanyika, with whom he had three daughters: Timiza Kwa-utulivu, Sebek-Nefera, and Neith Ra.
    Professionally, Sanyika was the Director of Facilities Planning at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science for 15 years. Outside of this, he was involved in a number of endeavors and held multiple positions including: the Artistic Director of Dembrebrah West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, Director of Black Gnostic Studies with the Aquarian Spiritual Center, founder of Golden Thread Productions (an African Aquarian Cultural Educational Inner-Attainment Company), co-founder and editor for the Knowledge Broker newspaper, practicing astrologer, founder of the Malcolm X Community Youth Center, founder of the Watts Community Policy and Planning Institute, and teacher at Christ Unity Center in Los Angeles and the African Cultural Research Center in Long Beach.
    As part of his interest in metaphysics and occult philosophy, Sanyika was closely aligned with the Aquarian Spiritual Center and Bookshop in Los Angeles, studying there for twenty seven years, and acting as the Director of Studies from 1985-1991. Founded by Alfred and Bernice Ligon, the center was prominent within the black community. They hosted the first black history classes offered in Los Angeles, the founding of the US organization, Community Theater, occult philosophy lectures and classes, and black authors' autograph parties. In 1969 Sanyika and others from the Spiritual Center developed Black Gnostic Studies. They concentrated on the connections between metaphysical thought and Ancient African cultures including those in Egypt and Ethiopia. From these studies came the concept of Blacks as "Seed People" (the source of life and culture).
    Dadisi Sanyika passed away on January 28th, 2005 at the age of 56.

    Scope and Content

    The Dadisi Sanyika collection consists of over 800 published books (including small press and self-published works), published serials, pamphlets, paper ephemera, correspondence, newspaper clippings, newsletters, administrative documents, and VHS tapes. The collection is split between archival materials described to the folder level, and published materials catalogued individually and searchable through the California State University Dominguez Hills Library catalog.
    Published materials focus on African American history and culture, African dance and drumming, Egyptology and the study of Ancient Egyptian religion, astrology, Cabala, tarot, metaphysics, occult philosophy, Jungian thought and psychoanalysis, Gnostic studies, and other esoteric studies. Books in the collection were used heavily in Sanyika's studies and work at the Aquarian Spiritual center. Sanyika, Alfred Ligon, and others at the center used books on Egyptology and other ancient African civilizations in their work and teachings on the concepts of Black Gnostic Studies and SEED People. Because of the close relationship between Sanyika and the Aquarian Spiritual Center, books in the Dadisi Sanyika Aquarian collection are shelved together with books from the Alfred and Bernice Ligon Aquarian Collection. The two can be searched simultaneously by searching for "Aquarian collection," or individually by searching "Sanyika/Aquarian" or "Ligon/Aquarian".
    The archival collection focuses on biographical materials covering Sanyika's many endeavors as a cultural and spiritual community leader, his work in the study of occult philosophy and esoteric studies, his astrology practice, African American cultural events, African dance and drumming, and Permaculture (a sustainable mode agriculture and social planning based on natural ecosystems). The bulk of the collection material focuses on his work in these areas rather than his personal life or professional career as a Director of Facilities Planning.
    Biographical materials include his yearbooks from John Muir Middle School and Jefferson High School in South Central Los Angeles; newspaper and magazine articles about Sanyika's work with African dance and drumming, Golden Thread Productions, and his involvement with cultural events. Also included are notebooks with notes on planning and management.
    Materials concerning metaphysics and esoteric studies include notes, lesson plans, assignments, tests, readings, flyers and handouts, and astrology charts prepared by Sanyika. Topics in this area include astrology, tarot, philosophy, SEED people and Black Gnostic Studies, metaphysics, and other esoteric studies. Also included are flyers, handouts, and other materials from the Aquarian Spiritual Center. Materials concerning African and African American culture include flyers, handouts, event tickets, magazine and newspaper clippings, and VHS videos on African drumming and dance.
    Items found within individual books cataloged for the collection were removed unless the context of the book is necessary to understand the item. Removal is noted in the catalog record for the book when the connection between the item and the book is useful but not necessary for the item to remain in the book. Items include: bookmarks from local bookstores, event tickets, event flyers, notes, business cards, and publisher order cards.
    The collection also includes materials on Sanyika's interest and work with PermaCulture, a sustainable mode agriculture and social planning based on natural ecosystems. Included are notes on PermaCulture design and application, flyers and brochures, e-mails from the Los Angeles PermaCulture Guild, and project proposals and plans.


    Arranged in 5 series:
    1. Series I: Personal/Biographical, Dates 1962-2004; boxes 1-2.
    2. Series II: Esoteric Studies, Dates 1960s-2004; boxes 3-6.
    3. Series III: African and African American and Cultural Materials, Dates 1990s-2000s; boxes 7-12.
    4. Series IV: Items removed from books, Dates 1970s-2000s; boxes 13.
    5. Series V: PermaCulture, Dates 2003-2004; boxes 14.

    Separated Materials

    The collection includes over 800 published books and serials individually cataloged and searchable through the University Library catalog (www4.csudh.edu/library/), or WorldCat (www.worldcat.org). All items are labeled as Sanyika/Aquarian Collection.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    African Americans -- Culture
    African American dance
    Blacks -- Religion
    Dance -- Africa
    Drum -- Performance -- Africa
    New Age movement
    African Americans -- Poetry
    African Americans -- Civil rights
    African Americans -- History
    Alternative medicine
    Black theology
    Blacks -- Egypt
    Blacks -- Religion
    Civil Rights Movement
    Color -- Therapeutic use
    Egypt -- Civilization
    Geometry -- Philosophy
    Hatha yoga -- Therapeutic use
    Houses (Astrology)
    Jesus Christ -- Words -- Extra-canonical parallels
    Jesus Christ -- New Age movement interpretations
    Music -- Philosophy and aesthetics
    Psychoanalysis and religion
    Race relations
    Symbolism of numbers.
    Bailey, Alice, 1880-1949
    Ashby, Muata
    Budge, E. A. Wallis, Sir (Ernest Alfred Wallis), 1857-1934
    Aquarian Spiritual Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Churchward, Albert
    Baker, Douglas
    Besant, Annie, 1847-1933
    Clymer, R. Swinburne (Reuben Swinburne), 1878-1966
    Curtiss, Harriette Augusta, 1856?-1932
    Eliade, Mircea, 1907-1986
    Fortune, Dion
    Gadalla, Moustafa, 1944
    Gauquelin, Michel, 1928-1991
    Ghose, Aurobindo, 1872-1950
    Hall, Manly P. (Manly Palmer), 1901-1990
    Hartmann, Franz, 1838-1912
    Heline, Corinne, 1882-
    Hodson, Geoffrey, 1886-1983
    Jackson, John G.
    Jones, Marc Edmund, 1888-1980
    Jung, C.G. (Carl Gustav), 1875-1961
    Lévi, Éliphas, 1810-1875
    Massey, Gerald, 1828-1907
    Purucker, G. de (Gottfried), 1874-1942
    Regardie, Israel
    Rudhyar, Dane, 1895-1985
    Sakoian , Frances
    Saraydarian, Torkom
    Schwaller de Lubicz, R.A.