Listen up. Today, the daddy is feeling John Henrik Clarke. Though we would not have such a day without historian Carter G. Woodson, we may not have succeeded in the civil rights movement as soon as we did without a strong, militancy movement to push Dr. King and civil rights movement at the same time. This Black power movement was so strong and so serious that it gave even more urgency to the White House and American government to change rather than prepare for violence throughout the central cities of America.
It also gave the leaders of the peace movement like Dr. King some cover. They could say "We're for peace, but it's becoming harder to keep these younger leaders in the ghetto under control. That's why we need to give Negroes all of their rights now. That's why we need to get out of Vietnam and wars abroad right now and work to get rid of poverty and provide jobs and better education for all Americans right now."
Many leaders of the Black power movement came to Clarke: Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown and many others. Foremost of those he influenced was Malcolm X. Clarke became Malcolm X's chief consultant and best friend. His work with Malcolm resulted in one of Malcolm's greatest speeches, indeed, one of the greatest 100 speeches made in America, "The ballot or the bullet." And he was helping Malcolm to start a new organization (Organization of African American Unity) during the time that Malcolm was murdered.
Now, to the daddy's knowledge, Clarke did not write an autobiography. But he did tell about the impact his teacher made on him. Clarke was born in Union Springs, Alabama on New Years Day, in 1915. His was a family of poor sharecroppers. But they soon moved to Columbus, Georgia when he was about four years old. There, he met a school teacher named Eveline Taylor. Clarke said Ms. Taylor told John that she saw something special in him. She saw a thinker. And she said to him:
"It's no disgrace to be alone. It's no disgrace to be right when everyone else thinks you are wrong. There's nothing wrong with being a thinker. Your playing days are over."
Here's a eulogy of him written by The Los Angeles Times:
John Henrik Clarke: Activist, Professor July 18,198
John Henrik Clarke never got around to writing his life story, which encompassed some of the more turbulent periods in American history.
But time will not forget the former history professor who died at the age of 83 Thursday at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York City after a heart attack. A pioneer in urging African and African American studies at Hunter College, where he taught from 1968 to 1985, he developed most of the department’s curriculum. He taught at a number of other schools, including Cornell University.
Clarke is remembered as someone who put the forgotten history of Africa back into the textbooks, and gave an analysis of history that wasn’t mainstream, said John Branch, director of the Afrikan Poetry Theater in New York City and Clarke’s friend of 20 years.
Descended from a family of sharecroppers, Clarke was born in 1915 in Union Springs, Ga. He left Georgia in 1933 and went to Harlem.
His political and community activism began quickly, when Clarke opposed the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in the 1930s. Later, he became a close friend of black activist Malcolm X.
Clarke was instrumental in drawing up the charter of the Organization of Afro-American Unity in the 1960s, said Andre Elizee, an archivist at the Schomburg Center for Research Into Black Culture in Harlem. And Clarke helped to forge a link between Africans and African Americans.
Clarke studied history and literature from 1948 to 1952 at New York University and later at Columbia University.
During his career, Clarke edited or wrote 27 books. His editing work included the classic “American Negro Short Stories” in 1966. He was the subject of a documentary film, “John Henrik Clarke: A Great, Mighty Walk,” narrated by Wesley Snipes."
Know your Black History. Know John Henrik Clarke. He took a long & mighty walk. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--authored or edited more than 27 books;
--wrote more than 200 short stories;
--influenced generations of African American leaders, especially black leaders during the civil rights and black power movement era;
--pioneered the development of African heritage and black studies programs nationwide;
--was instrumental in helping launch the publishing careers of authors like Audre Lorde and Julian Mayfield, and in publishing the works of Cheik Anta Diop in English; --In the 1960s, served as director of the African Heritage Program of the Harlem anti-poverty agency known as HARYOU-ACT;
--was special consultant and coordinator for the Columbia University-WCBS-TV series Black Heritage (1968);
--was the first president of the African Heritage Studies Association; and
--was a founding member of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters and the African American Scholars' Council.12 Books by John Henrik Clarke
1. (1966) Black American Short Stories
2. (1968) William Styron's Nat Turner: Ten Black Writers Respond
3. (1968) Harlem: City Within a City.
4. (1974) Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa
5. (1991)Malcolm X: The Man and His Times
6. (1992) Africans at the Crossroads: African World Revolution
7. (1995) The Middle Passage: White Ships Black Cargo
8. (1996) World's Great Men of Color
9. (1999) My Life in Search of Africa
10. (2001) Introduction to African Civilization
11. (2002) Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust
12. (2004) Who Betrayed the African World Revolution
Note: Don't forget to check out a video of him called "John Henrik Clarke: A Long & Mighty Walk."