INTERVIEW: Al Dickens, author of Uncle Yah Yah the 21st Century Man of Wisdom (Parts 1 & 2)

Who is Uncle Yah Yah? What makes Uncle Yah Yah the 21st Century Man of Wisdom?

Al Dickens: He is the spiritual entity created and employed by me to convey and transport the reader through the wisdom filled pages of Uncle Yah Yah 21st Century Man of Wisdom (Part 1, Part 2).

Because of his approach to the fundamental and pressing problems, issues, and concerns of society in general; he is able to actually effect a sustained positive result. Within those who are wise enough to drink the healing elixir that is the wisdom of Uncle Yah Yah 21st Century Man of Wisdom (Part 1, Part 2). His approach administers solutions from the quarter that contains the right materials of solution – the spiritual.

The book Uncle Yah Yah 21st Century Man of Wisdom has been around since the early 70’s. How could such an underground phenomenon not go mainstream?

AD: To borrow a portion from scripture, “there is a time and season for everything under the heavens.” Nothing happens by chance. So, it is when it comes to exposure and recognition for Uncle Yah Yah 21st Century Man of Wisdom (Part 1, Part 2). The season for Uncle Yah Yah is in the here and now.

Those few who have been fortunate enough to read Uncle Yah Yah Part 2 says that nothing is sugar coated. Its content is just smack dab in your face reality. Why do they say that?

AD: Simply put , it’s the truth. In this age of smoke and mirrors, snake-oil salesmen and sensationalism distracting and deceiving the people. Today calls for frank talk and teachings, so that nothing gets loss in the translation, so to speak.

Questions arise in Uncle Yah Yah Part 2 such as: Is Polygamy ungodly? Is AIDS a man-made or natural disease. Is Black Nationalism an asset or liability? And then Uncle Yah Yah says: The Egyptian Book of The Dead applies to this side of the grave. Is the general public ready for those answers?

AD: Yes they are, in fact they have no choice in the matter. Especially since these questions, issues, and even more are confronting and assaulting the public daily. The ostrich syndrome is not an option.

What inspired you to write this book?

AD: A supreme sage once voiced that whenever there is a demand and longing for a change, nature produces that man to effect that change. This is the case with me. I had no choice in the matter. The time was and is such that the spirit and sense of duty overwhelmed me with the inspiration to conceive, compose, and produce, my tour-de-force: Uncle Yah Yah 21st Century Man of Wisdom (Part 1, Part 2).

How did the character Uncle Yah Yah come to be?

AD: When I was in prison, I spent a lot of my time reading books. I kept a notebook to save things I found inspirational. After saving notes for thirteen years, my notebook was very large. I wanted to share this knowledge. I created a fictitious character, Uncle Yah Yah, and made the notebook the teachings of Yah Yah.

There were those who did not believe you were capable of creating such profound opinions. Did those people detract you, or cause you to dig even deeper inside for the will to persevere?

AD: At the age of twenty-two, I started serving prison time in 1960. I was (according to prison records) borderline mentally retarded. Not being able to read or write in a society that is growing more complex with every passing hour is the worst kind of torture for the illiterate.

Before I went to prison, I had to depend on close friends or my brother-in-law, the few people who knew I couldn’t read or write, to go with me if I had to fill out an application for a job, or anything that required reading or writing. I would simply die when some authority figure asked me to read.

In prison, at that time, there was a requirement that all inmates who scored low or couldn’t read or write had to go to school. My pride almost killed me. I didn’t want the inmates to know I was in the third grade. That’s when God stepped in, or God conscious, as I call it. God said, “Look at you. You are dumb. Now you have a chance to go to school and get an education, and you’re going to let pride keep you from it. Don’t worry about what people think, just take your butt to school.” I’ve been following my God conscious ever since. By the year 1973, I had 74 college credits and was writing books.

Of all the faiths and practices you studied, what one do you believe had the greatest impact on you personally?

AD: Islam: the Spiritual teachings that God is the creator and all things come from Him. I like that idea.

If you had to choose one message of love and hope to inspire readers, which one would that be?

AD: I want to call attention to higher consciousness. The consciousness that is always telling you what is right and wrong. We must learn to follow the good advice that is always present in our mind. I want readers to know that there is nothing but you that keeps you up or down. You are it; success or failure depends on you knowing you can do or be anything you want. Not believe it, but to know it.

Love of family, holding family together, is hugely important to you. How supportive has your family been in your endeavors?

AD: When my family read my name in the “Newark Star Ledger”, as a result of being arrested for robbery, they were devastated. At that time in 1960, my mother was campaigning for the post of District Leader in an affluent neighborhood on Newark’s East side. My brother-in-law was a foreman at General Motors. My sister was the first black secretary in the new Prudential Insurance building in downtown Newark.

The headline read: “Albert Dickens, of 65 Hanfort Street, Newark, NJ was arrested this morning for robbing and pistol whipping the manager of Glynburg Check Cashing, at 852 North Street, Elizabeth, NJ. My family almost died of acute disappointment, shame and grief. They totally disowned me. They would not visit or write any letters to me for thirteen years. They refused to acknowledge me as a family member.

It was 1973 when I self-published Uncle Yah Yah 21st Century Man of Wisdom (Part 1, Part 2), that I got my first visit from my mother and sister. Once my family saw that I turned my life around while in prison, they began to take pride in what I had accomplished. They have been my number one supporters ever since.

Any parting thoughts for those not familiar with your work?

AD: I promised that if I learned to read and write that I would help others. It was when I took a course (American Literature 101), that I discovered that writing books was the way I could share what was helpful and inspirational to me.

Fredrick Nezha, Margaret Mead, Buddha, Rumi, Sigmund Freud, Qur’an, and the Bible all agree: man must live for the preservation of the next generation. Man is obligated to use his higher conscious to be the best that he can be. In fact, he must know that “Ye are all gods and children of the Most High.” If we learn and be that now, our next generation will truly be the Nation of the Gods.

I can’t yet say that the things I’ve learned have taken me from prison to power, not yet. But I can say I’ve found my way from hopeless to happy. I’m now (God willing) purchasing the Paradise Gardens Resort. This is the setting I use to tell the Yah Yah story. It is 120 acres. Now, how’s that for life imitating art? There is no God outside of man, and no man outside of God.

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One thought on “INTERVIEW: Al Dickens, author of Uncle Yah Yah the 21st Century Man of Wisdom (Parts 1 & 2)”

  1. I Would really like to get in contact with Bro. Dickens especially since i have recently found out that father now deceased James Washington was one of those whom inspired Bro. Dickens. My phone number is (973) 723-8254 Kasim Washington….please give me a response back whether it be Yay or Nay

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