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The Tree of Life Bookstore & Education Center of Harlem (2992 hits)

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Healing America's Innercities - a 40 Year Record
Aug 8, 2010 by kanya
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The Tree of Life Bookstore of Harlem founded in 1969 by Educator Kanya Vashon McGhee has DEMONSTRATED effective resolutions to 5 innercity challenges: yet this Center was razed and bankrupted thru the efforts of Harlem Congressman Charles B. Rangel known as one of the ten most corrupt politicians in Congress.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION: A NEW Educational Paradigm that has been DEMONSTRATED for the past 40 years.

A Portrait of Kanya Vashon McGhee
By Deardra Shuler

Dr. Kanya Vashon McGhee is a fascinating man. He is a man who has committed his life to learning and the acquisition of knowledge; ALL knowledge including spiritual, scientific, historic and ancient knowledge. At one time, his bookstore The Tree of Life, attracted 15,000+ patrons a month .

Scholars, theologians and wisdom seekers from all over the world came to the Center to take advantage of this vast wealth of information. School dropouts and former drug abusers came to the Center to study in the store's Aquarian Science Free Reading Room.

The Tree of Life became so revered as an edifice of learning, it was known as UCLA, (The University at the Corner of Lenox Avenue) Harlem's metaphysical Mecca for seekers of truth.

The Tree of Life bookstore was the pride of Harlem until myopic Harlem politicians decided monetary wealth was more valuable than intellectual and spiritual wealth.

These politicos forced the bookstore off the corner of 125th Street and Lenox Avenue even though Harlem Community Planning Board #10 had given The Tree of Life a mandate to remain at the site for 20 years.

Born Norman L. McGhee, Jr., in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. McGhee ( a.k.a. Dr. Kanya) had an innate spiritual gift that enabled him to tune into his spiritual nature. He was very aware that he was born for a specific purpose. Educated at Cleveland's Glenville High School, Kanya went on to study civil engineering at Case Institute of Technology but it didn't hold his interest.

Conflicted, Dr. Kanya was drafted into the Army for a year and a half. After his stint in the service he returned to college and attended Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio.

Berea , Ohio and Baldwin-Wallace were too narrow minded for his taste so Kanya decided to seek his education elsewhere. He ended up attending McGill University ( a.k.a. the Harvard of Canada) in Montreal, Quebec where he studied science and business.

"While at McGill, I learned that fraternities and sororities in Ivy League schools were very different from fraternities and sororities in black schools. In white schools these organizations are about business. They help the sons and daughters of the privileged to place themselves in powerful positions, gain influential connections and marry into the "right" social strata in order to keep the power within a small circle of elites."

McGhee stumbled upon a book while at the university entitled "Cosmic Consciousness" written by Richard Maurice Bucke, MD , a famous psychiatrist who had attended McGill University. The doctor's book turned Kanya onto the 3 levels of consciousness and how they are changing. As well as how man's higher consciousness could be accessed.

These books left Kanya thirsty for knowledge and set him off on a quest to obtain greater understanding. He followed his quest to England where he sought to study under Dr. Sarvepelli Radhakrishnan, an Indian professor at Oxford University, but unknown to Kanya on leave of absence to be Vice President of India.

His area of interest then became psychology and philosophy. However, Oxford did not offer him the spiritual philosophy he sought. Eventually, the roving scholar heard that the American Academy of Asian Studies, directed by Alan Watts in San Francisco (a Graduate School of the University of the Pacific) was offering MA's and PhD's so he pursued courses which eventually earned him a Masters degree in the Study of Comparative Philosophy.

After securing his degree, Kanya realized he would need to pursue something more practical to earn money. Because his father was the first black man to found a mutual fund (The Everyman Fund, 1966), he decided to move to New York where he formed a partnership with Wall Street's Bache & Co., in an effort to underwrite the Everyman Mutual Fund. The funding effort was successful until the stock market crash of 1970.

"In 1969, I started the Tree of Life bookstore as an avocational experiment," stated Dr. Kanya. I founded the bookstore, because at the time, I discovered 80% of the kids in Harlem dropped out of school before completing high school. I found out that many of these kids got into drugs, crime & violence and into prison.

I began seminars in San Quentin Prison in California and discovered that many of the men in prison were highly intelligent. Initially, I set up a booth within the African Market right next door to the famous Michaud's African National Bookstore. Most of the people going into Michaud's went there to read the works of black authors.

My books focused on the invisible inner man rather than the visible outer man.

"In the process, these books turned on so many people that we ended up subletting the entire African Market which was 12,000 square feet of space. That marked the official beginning of The Tree of Life Bookstore of Harlem.

The Tree of Life was in operation 10 years when Congressman Charles Rangel decided he wanted to put up a $100 million dollar Trade Center Hotel Complex right on the corner where the Tree of Life was located," alleged Kanya.

"Finally, these politicians and forces that be got together, accused me of being a squatter, suppressed the information I showed them to prove I wasn't, took me to Court, evicted me, and tore down the building that housed the Tree of Life leaving a Parking Lot there for 22 years!. As a result, a serious project to aid and educate our black community in Harlem was temporarily lost."

Kanya was bankrupted. "Therefore, I decided to move to Atlanta in 1993 where I could live rent free with my aunt. I thought a bookstore of the Tree of Life's caliber might have a better chance in Atlanta. I started doing radio and TV shows, seminars and classes and set up the store in the basement of my aunt's home.

However, to date, for lack of funds, I haven't been able to reinstate the Tree of Life in a way that would be most advantageous and beneficial to its long term growth and survival," explained the educator.

Kanya is the host of The Tree of Life Talk Show on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com/Kanya , an Internet radio station, where he features guests and a myriad of subject matter to enlighten and influence mankind.

Married to his work, Kanya sees his patrons as the children of his mission in life, which is the opening of knowledge within each person. "I am not a teacher per se but rather a 'nudger' that enables people to find the wisdom within. We have a saying that says: "The books at the Tree of Life contain knowledge that you know but that you do not know that you know," states Kanya.

Dr. Kanya is presently seeking partners to enable the Tree of Life to continue its Mission of educating the New Indigo and Crystal Children

Please View these Important Websites:


Kanya Vashon McGhee, Founder
Tree of Life Bookstore & Education Center of Harlem
1701 M. L. King Drive SW
Atlanta , GA 30314-2227
Email: drkanya9@GMail.com

Yours very truly,

PS - Towards the end of restoring the beloved yet moribund Tree of Life Bookstore, I urge all former Patrons and supporters to EXPRESS YOURSELF to the Media.

A perfect location for the NEW Tree of Life would be the presently closed and shuttered Mart 125 which sits just opposite the famed Apollo Theatre on 125th Street.

Perhaps Mr. Rangel could use some of the funds he neglected to report during the 40 years he served as the Congressional Representative for the 15th District in Harlem.


Kanya Vashon McGhee
Founder of the Tree of Life

1701 M. L. King Drive SW

Atlanta , GA 30314-2227
Please View these Important Websites:
Email: drkanya9@GMail.com

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Sunday, August 8th 2010 at 11:26AM
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