I, the African American, man, woman, child - son and daughter and great-grandchild of slaves, descendant of Africa and child of God, no longer have to search to find my place in this world.

A verse of resistance and hope.

The preamble of the first and only African American Creed - authored by a Utahn and recently submitted for the Congressional Record by Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah.

The creed's message?

Learn and love your black history - then carve a future of self-sufficiency and dignity through education and effort.

Salt Lake resident Terry Harris wrote the 16-paragraph document in 1994. Since that time, it's been embraced by local lawmakers and gleaned the approval of the executive board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

"The creed asks `where can we go from here, what can we do,' " Harris said.

Start by eschewing drugs and violence, he writes. Then embrace God and country, revisit history and live a life of personal integrity.

"It's about self-sufficiency, about placing yourself where you can make a difference," Harris said.

After the African American Creed was added to the Congressional Record last month, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, called Harris' document "an inspiring declaration of personal integrity and determination."

"I urge all Americans to read it and carefully consider its message, not just to African Americans, but to all of us," Hatch said.

Harris has high ambitions for his creed, hoping it will eventually be included among the Constitution and others of the national canon. For now, he's lobbying to present the creed before the Senate Subcommittee on Race Relations.

An employee at a Salt Lake research and development company and frequent speaker at civic and corporate gatherings, Harris' background is in the hard sciences. He's even invented a teaching method called the "shadow theory" designed to help algebra students master exponents.

Still, Harris' love of philosophy and the written word moved him to creed writing. Along with the African American creed, he's penned The Science Students Creed and A National Nurse's Creed.

Early in the African American Creed, there's a call to ward off hatred and bigotry. Harris, who was raised in California, admits he's felt the sting of racism.

Some have been slow to acknowledge his math theories because of his ethnicity.

"It's OK to accept an African American if it's basketball, but it's difficult to accept an African American in mathematics," he said.

Others have been reluctant to recognize his creeds because of the frequent references to God.

"But I know we can't do anything without him," Harris said.