african history

african history

The ZULU ~ Dr John Henrik Clark (Audio)

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John Henrik Clarke (born John Henry Clark, January 1, 1915 -- July 16, 1998), was a Pan-Africanist American writer, historian, professor, and a pioneer in the creation of Africana studies and professional institutions in academia starting in the late 1960s. He was Professor of African World History and in 1969 founding chairman of the Department of Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College of the City University of New York. He also was the Carter G. Woodson Distinguished Visiting Professor of African History at Cornell University's Africana Studies and Research Center. In 1968 along with the Black Caucus of the African Studies Association, Clarke founded the African Heritage Studies Association. Born on January 1, 1915, in Union Springs, Alabama, as the eldest child to sharecroppers John (Doctor) and Willie Ella (Mays) Clark, he renamed himself John Henrik (after rebel playwright Henrik Ibsen) and added an "e" to his surname Clarke. Counter to his father's wishes for him to be a farmer, Clarke left Alabama in 1933 by freight train and went to Harlem, New York, where he pursued scholarship and activism. Dr. John Henrik Clarke. In 1933, Harlem had drawn, through the Great Migration (African American) Great Migration, a concentration of African Americans, many of who figured in the Harlem Renaissance. Clarke developed as a writer and lecturer during the Great Depression years. He joined study circles such as the Harlem History Club and the Harlem Writers' Workshop. He studied history and world literature at New York University, at Columbia University and at the League for Professional Writers. He was an autodidact whose mentors included the scholar Arturo Alfonso Schomburg. At the age of 78, Clarke obtained a doctorate from the non-accredited Pacific Western University (now California Miramar University) in Los Angeles. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/07/20/arts/john-henrik-clarke-black-studies-advocate-dies-at-83.html The New York Times noted that Clarke's ascension to professor emeritus at Hunters College was "unusual...without benefit of a high school diploma." The Times also acknowledged that "nobody said Professor Clarke wasn't an academic original", but nonetheless referred to him using the honorific prefix "Mr" rather than "Dr." Prominent during the Black Power movement, Clarke advocated for studies on the African-American experience and the place of Africans in world history. He challenged academic historians and helped shift the way African history was studied and taught. Clarke was "a scholar devoted to redressing what he saw as a systematic and racist suppression and distortion of African history by traditional scholars." When some of the scholarship he championed was dismissed by many historians, Clarke imparted to them the biases of Eurocentric views. Purchase this book HERE. He was memorialized for devoting "himself to placing people of African ancestry 'on the map of human geography'." Clarke said: "History is not everything, but it is a starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are, but more importantly, what they must be." Besides teaching at Hunter College and Cornell University, Clarke was active in creating professional associations to support the study of black culture. He was a founder and first president of the African Heritage Studies Association, which supported scholars in areas of history, culture, literature and the arts. He was a founding member of other organizations to recognize and support work in black culture: the Black Academy of Arts and Letters and the African-American Scholars' Council. His writing included six scholarly books and many scholarly articles. He edited anthologies of black writing, as well as his own short stories, and more general interest articles. He was co-founder of the Harlem Quarterly (1949--51), book ...