RBG Street Scholar- 01-2014-v#1
Professor John Henrik Clarke’s Impact on the Hip Hop Generation
In sharp distinction from the generation that preceded them (their parents), the hip hop generation faced their own unique set of internal and external social, political and economic challenges and crises.
Their parents’, the
generation entering maturity during the 1950s and 1960s, were known as the "civil rights and Black Power generation," as their social and political resistance and activism resulted in things like President Lyndon B. Johnson eventually signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voters Right Act of 1965. The civil rights movement sought the fruition of democratic civil
rights guaranteed to white people to be equally administrated to Black people. It was a nationally organized movement, which put in motion masses of people in freedom-rides, sit-ins and
marches, which precipitated the eventful call for “
ower” and nationalist
political consciousness. It was Gospel music alongside the civil right movement and Rhythm and Blues with a socio-political message and the Black Arts Movements poets for the Black Power Movement that supported and elevated the energy and resilience of the youth and adults who were involved in those movements. Without the early contributions of music like Bop and artists like James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Nina Simone etc.
that sought to defy America’s power structure
by way of their art, hip-hop may not have assumed such preeminence in mainstream American culture and socio-political discourse.(4) The historical dialectical relationship between Elijah Muhammad
separatist and Martin L. King, Jr.
integrationist movement preserved the historical continuity and ideals of both the Marcus Garvey separatist and W.E.B. DuBois integrationist movements of the past. This struggle of unity in opposites resulted in forging the course of struggle towards a synthesis of the two ideals first espoused with the cry and birth pains of
In teaching history, Professor Clarke has coin the term
“the eternal now”, as
to mean that there is no separation between the past, the present and the future. In this light, one can appreciate that the Hip Hop generation
experience in America is not separate from that of their parents; rather, they are linked in a chain of events which imposes current-day socioeconomic and political realities encompassing the criteria by which we can best appreciate Professor Clarke
stealth impact upon them [the youth]. We should first be reminded; Professor Clarke
’s writings, teaching