John Hendrick Clarke also known as John Henry Clark.
Born on January 1, 1915 in Alabama, John Henry Clarke was one of the foremost African scholars and master teachers of the 20th century.
The topics and subjects that Clarke spoke about and covered is diverse with some being popular and others being rare.
Among the important subjects that Clarke tackled were; Marcus Garvey, Black Africans in the diaspora, the slave trade, Black education, Black spirituality and many other topics.
As a young man, Clarke served in the army. He from an early age took it upon himself to study about the state of the African – his very own people – and after years of studying finally obtained a doctorate.
Clarke was a professor at Hunter College of the City University Of New York between 1969 and 1986 – 17 years.
And Clarke was a part of the African Heritage Studies with a library named after him.
It was men like Clarke that got the ball rolling for Africans to ‘wake up’ to what was taking place on them at the hands of the oppressor – the European who had invaded Africa and stole from them or technically, their ancestors. He had a unique style of preaching and talking to his audience and the public at large.
Clarke was involved with either writing, editing or contributing, in some way, to around 30 books to do with African studies and Black history.
Among the books Clarke wrote was ‘A New Approach To African History’ – which he published in 1967.
He said once that ‘History isn’t everything, but it is a starting point.’
In July 1998, Clarke passed away from a heart attack at the age of 83. And he was a strong and passionate African American pioneer of African studies.
Chris Emanuel Bailey