This Pan-African pioneer became a professor with grade four education in 1969

If you have ever taken an African studies course in America or feel a part of the global re-energization and excitement about Africa and Pan-Africanism, then, you owe a lot to this man: John Henrik Clarke.

Clarke was an American historian, professor, activist and a preeminent leader in the creation of Pan-Africanism and Africana studies in academic institutions in the U.S.

Clarke was born, “John Henry Clark,” on January 1, 1915, in Union Springs, Alabama. His father was a sharecropper and his mother, a washerwoman. At 17, Clarke took a freight train from his family home in Georgia to Harlem, New York to start his own life. He was among over 6 million African Americans who were moving from the rural south to the north in the Great Migration of the 1930s.

Once north,…

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