[Imc-atlanta-audio] An Introduction to The Tree of Life Bookstore of Harlem

DRKANYA at aol.com DRKANYA at aol.com
Tue Jan 3 10:14:33 PST 2006

An Introduction to The Tree of  Life Bookstore of Harlem.  

I thought you might be interested in the TREMENDOUS appeal we have found for 
our SPIRITUAL BOOKS  of HEALTH & WELL BEING as well as benefit to the General 
populace  since our founding in Harlem in 1969.  

Our  History

Dr. Moore (Master Herbalist) &  Kanya 
- March 1975 in New York City -

Kanya at the Tree of Life
- Harlem  1978 -

Thirty-five  years ago I moved to New York City from Cleveland, Ohio in order 
to get an  underwriting commitment from Bache & Co for the Everyman Mutual 
Fund.  Founded by my father in 1966, it was the world's first mutual fund begun 
by an  African/American.

To make a long story short, I was indeed  successful in securing an 
underwriting agreement for the Fund only to fall  victim to the market crash of 1970 
which decimated both the Everyman Fund and  McGhee & Co., our securities broker 
dealership similarly founded by my  father in 1952.

Now here's where the fun begins: I decided to take a year or so  and 
experiment with an old dream. A dream I had conceived while teaching  elementary 
school in California back in the early 60's. It involved gathering 2  or 3 copies 
of books I loved from my own private collection and making them  available to 
the citizens of New York City in a free reading room on 125th and  Lenox in 
Harlem to see if anyone else would find them as interesting as I did.  Also 
available for sale.

What made these books different was that they mainly consisted of  books of 
Self improvement and inner consciousness like "As A Man Thinketh", "The  
Finding of the Third Eye" and "Back to Eden" etc.. Imagine my surprise when the  
year or two I had planned to give to this experiment almost miraculously  
extended itself to 10 years and soon we had a store of 12,000 square feet with  an 
average monthly patronage of more than 15,000 persons from all  over the world, 
of all races and creeds. We called the bookstore "The Tree of  Life".

The building was unfortunately torn down in 1980 to make way for  a hotel 
convention center that was never built and on that corner for 22 years  was a 
parking lot! But the concept of The Tree of Life is every much as valid  today as 
it was 35 years ago and I'd like to share the story with you. It's  
particularly valid now because quite a few persons were school drop-outs who  learned 
to read in our "Aquarian Science Reading Room" and quite a few drug  abusers 
decided to get "high" off books instead of shooting up dope.

Likewise we extended the same efforts to those  in prison with similar 
results. It is quite a story and I am very pleased to  share it with you. For it 
seems that the same problems we addressed in Harlem  are present everywhere. I am 
looking forward to communicating with you and  discussing how we can mutually 
benefit from an expanded understanding of our  different perspectives.  

For the  past 35 years we have demonstrated successful innovations in 
Education,  Drug Abuse, Crime, the Prisons and entrepreneurship. This is the PERFECT 
School for the  New Indigo Children.

Kanya Vashon McGhee

Founder & Director

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 in 
the predominately Jewish 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 

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, founded 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 were metaphysical  and focused 
on the inner invisible man rather than the outer  visible 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 Show on  BlakeRadio.com, Channel 5, an 
Internet radio station, where he  features guests and subject matters such as 
Consciousness; God; Karma;  the New Sexuality; Life, Death and Reincarnation; 
Enlightenment;  Astrology; Drugs; Mind Control 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.

For further  information:"God" is  Divine MIND - "The Creator" is THOUGHT 
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