Black History: An Afrocentric View by John Henrik Clarke (1973)

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John Henrik Clarke – The pioneer who made Africana Studies prominent in Academia

Dr. John Henrik Clarke was a writer, professor and historian. During the 1960’s, he played an instrumental role in the creation of Africana studies in professional institutions in academia. Arriving in Harlem at 18 during the 1930’s, Clarke developed himself as a writer and lecturer and became part of what would later be known as the Harlem Renaissance.

Clarke was a member of several study circles including the Harlem Writers’ Workshop, as well as the Harlem History Club.

Clarke was the founding chairman the Black and Puerto Rican Studies Department at Hunter College, a subsidiary of City University of New York. He spent three years as a visiting professor at Cornell University as is known as a great teacher and a renowned thinker in Pan-African History.

“John Henrick Clarke’s greatest period of influence resides in the 1960’s where he was a prominent intellectual during the Black Power Movement, advocating studies on the African-American experience and the place of Africans in world history. He challenged the views of 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. And accused his detractors of having Eurocentric views. His writing included six scholarly books and many scholarly articles. He also edited anthologies of writing by African Americans, as well as collections of his own short stories. In addition, he published general interest articles,” (BHM).

Slauson Girl is a South Central native who has a love for journalism, history and all things Hip-Hop. She holds a B.A in Critical Race & Gender Theory & a Minor in Journalism. Follow Me on IG @Slausongirl

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