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Still Speaking: An Intellectual History of Dr. John Henrik Clarke Jared A.

Ball 1999 Africana Studies and Research Center Cornell University

Jared A. Ball and VOXUNION MEDIA/VOXUNION.COM

An Introduction to the Tradition You cannot oppress a consciously historical people{African} Deep thought is a weapon in the war for liberation -John Henrik Clarke The Lord shall raise up coloured historians in succeeding generations, to present the crimes of this nation to the then gazing world -David Walker From the inception of the European trade in enslaved Africans there has been an attempt on the part of Europeans and their supporters to rewrite the history of African people to support and justify their endeavors. Conversely there has been an attempt by Africans to reclaim and defend themselves against such fallacious attacks on their history and consciousness. For centuries African people throughout the world have sought to establish an accurate history that can then become a source of liberation. This move to make history work for the liberation of African and world people has become an African tradition and as such will be a focus of this thesis. Furthermore, it is to be maintained that no thought today from any contemporary scholar, African or otherwise, can be seen as complete without referencing this tradition. Today, despite his transition into eternity in 1998, John Henrik Clarke stands as a keeper and advancer of an African-centered academic/activist tradition that is simultaneously old, new and ever-developing. Clarkes legacy is his adherence to, and furtherance of, a tradition of African-centered scholarship, work, thought and organization that he employed for self-improvement, the improvement of the conditions of the African diaspora and ultimately the improvement of all humanity. Through the example of the life of John Henrik Clarke this thesis will seek to illustrate what will

simply be referred to throughout as the tradition that has and must continue to be referenced for the advancement and development of African people and the world. This tradition can be broken down into the following four categories. These categories are themselves arbitrary but will serve only to explore the tradition succinctly and with ease for the purpose of a relatively short thesis. First and foremost, the tradition requires a pan-Africanist outlook, or recognition of the unity among all the worlds African people through common origin, cultural similarity, and common problem. As Clarke has said, this {pan-Africanist} perspective defines that all Black people are African people and rejects the division of African peoples by geographical locations based on colonialist spheres of influence.1 As Ronald Walters explains pan-Africanism began as European imperialism and commerce brought about the movement of enslaved Africans around the world, thus creating an African diaspora.2 Furthermore, the previously mentioned European trade (a term that should be questioned considering there was more theft and kidnapping than trade) in enslaved Africans made panAfricanist thought, in the words of Tony Martin, inevitable.3 Also included here is an understanding, to some degree, of a need for self-determined nationalist thought in advancing the freedom of African people.

John Henrik Clarke, The African Heritage Studies Association (AHSA): Some Notes on the Conflict with the African Studies Association (ASA) and the Fight to Reclaim African History, Issue: A Quarterly Journal of Africanist Opinion Volume VI, Numbers 2/3, Summer/Fall (1976), 8. 2 Ronald Walters, Pan-Africanism, 1 (?). 3 Tony Martin, The Pan-African Connection, vii. It is also important to note that Kwame Toure, speaking in 1996 in New York to the Patrice Lumumba Coalition explained the natural evolutionary path, which Africa was on prior to European interruption in the 15th century, was naturally pan-African. His belief was that the African continent was to be the first unified continent in the world and would have been had they not been interfered with. In other words, enslavement or not, Africa was to be one and will be. The only difference now, since the European interference, is that only revolutionary action will put Africa back on course, but again, according to Toure, this is predetermined to happen by evolutionary, natural progression and will happen regardless.

Secondly, the tradition places an emphasis on self-teaching, study group and activist work. This means there is an emphasis within this tradition of not relying on European/American dominated institutions of education to provide Africans with the required knowledge for liberation. In fact, because it is expected that the oppressor will not give the oppressed the tools they need to free themselves, study groups and involvement in outside organizations becomes a powerful tool for the dissemination of the tradition to the African community. Thirdly, important to the tradition, is an understanding of the antiquity of African civilization, societal structure and philosophy. This means, in short, that Africans must consider in their analysis of contemporary African struggles what Africa produced in terms of civilization, thought and societal mores that can be referenced today. Those in the tradition must acquaint themselves with the long-standing global African struggle to find ways outside of the ideas that originate within the dominant group to recover their lost glory. Finally, the tradition holds in high regard the lost art of book collecting and book referral during discussions, debates, lectures and writings. This has become important to the tradition as it has been realized that an attempt must be made by those in power who would suppress information which means a need for some to stockpile and save the tradition in the form of writing from being lost forever. It has also become a viable tool for instruction that those in the tradition, whether in book or lecture, refer their audience to selected books so that their audience can interact with the information directly for themselves. This is valuable because it decreases the distance between scholar and

community and allows for the tradition to do its job, that is increase the awareness and consciousness of those who engage it. As Clarke noted in the opening statement, those with a historical consciousness cannot be oppressed. The origins of the need to recreate consciousness and history are found in the rise of Europe and their desire for land, labor and resources. The use of history as a means to justify this reality is a political maneuver that has results in an assault not only on historical knowledge but also the consciousness of those Europe has sought to exploit. Therefore, the tradition seeks to be more than a rewriting of history but to recreate African consciousness. A peoples actions are always determined by their consciousness so if a people mean to be free they must be conscious of the nature of their oppression and a vision of freedom. Assata Shakur has said when asked about freedom that she does not know how it feels to be free because she is acutely aware of never having been, but that she can offer what her visions of freedom are.4 She is expressing a consciousness that many Africans have lost; the realization of being unfree and what actual freedom would look and feel like. This connotes an understanding of what is necessary to actualize freedom. Discussing the important link between historical consciousness and action, Amos Wilson explains that: The psychology, consciousness and behavioral tendencies of individuals and societies are to a very significant extent the products of their personal and collective histories to manipulate history is to manipulate consciousness; to manipulate consciousness is to manipulate possibilities; and to manipulate possibilities is to manipulate power Eurocentric historiography is the most formidable ally of White racism and imperialism.5

Assata Shakur, interview with Common, Like Water For Chocolate, Common CD, track 15.

And ultimately, this is what is at stake. Europe embarked on the trade in enslaved Africans to increase its own power that required destruction of African consciousness to ease the process. Therefore, if this is ever to be reversed historical consciousness must be achieved and this has been the role of the tradition in its many forms and stages for hundreds of years. Clarkes recognition of this allowed him to place paramount importance on each tenet of the tradition allowing it to inform his consciousness and subsequently his conclusions and solutions. It is with the utmost sincerity and respect to those who have come before that the reader is asked to consider the times and conditions certain Africans were/are in that prevented and prevents them from exhibiting each aspect of the tradition in her/his life and work. Though it is not a primary point of this work to argue or defend the tradition against other ideologies, beliefs, practices, etc. or to exalt the tradition as being without flaw, it is believed that this tradition ultimately provides the best solutions for the plight of humankind. It is believed that the tradition, once given room to breathe, speaks for itself. Once given said room this tradition, properly put to use, considers all aspects of African and world struggle and makes room for all theories as they apply and can be used by the tradition which gives it the necessary power to be so liberating. The tradition as it was passed to Clarke enabled him to employ and further an African-centered paradigm, frame of reference or perspective for the study and interpretation of phenomena that as Ayele Bekerie says, recognizes the need to look at Africas cultures and history from their own centers or locations.6 That is Clarke

Amos Wilson, The Falsification of Afrikan Consciousness: Eurocentric History, Psychiatry and the Politics of White Supremacy, p.1-2. 6 Ayele Bekerie, The Four Corners of a Circle: Afrocentricity as a Model of Synthesis, Journal of Black Studies December (1994), 131.

borrowed from and built upon a tradition that allowed him to develop a paradigm that as authors of African Americans and the American Political System explain is necessary to develop: A set of general assumptions about the nature of the subject or experience being investigated, what concepts or categories of analysis are the most useful for understanding it, what level of analysis should be adopted, and what questions should be answered in order to develop the most useful understanding of that which is being investigated.7 Formulating and employing a paradigm that performs such tasks is necessary for the proper understanding of the true relationship people have both to one another and their universal surroundings. This, as Wilson suggests, is itself necessary in order for people to perform the proper actions needed for freedom from economic, political and spiritual domination. This thesis cannot be expected to be exhaustive in its analysis or research. However, it is the intention of this work to assist in the reviving, memorializing and implementing the tradition that cannot be forgotten or overlooked if Africans or humans in general are to ever be truly free. Though this analysis will focus primarily on the tradition as it was passed to Clarke during his early days in Harlem, a brief historical sketch of some pre-Harlem, in fact pre-American, history figures who Jacob Carruthers calls the Pioneer African Thinkers, and who Leronne Bennett, Jr. refers to as The Black Founding Fathers, of the traditions primary aspect, pan-Africanist thought.8 These thinkers, mostly from the mid to late 18th century, began to formulate a pan-

Lucius J. Barker, Mack H. Jones, Katherine Tate, African Americans and the American Political System (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1999) 5. 8 Jacob Carruthers, comment made during his 12/8/00 lecture at the mid-Atlantic regional ASCAC conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Also, Leronne Bennett, Jr., The Shaping of Black America, 113-145.

Africanist thought that would later influence and help shape the tradition as it would be passed along to and through John Henrik Clarke. Parenthetically, if there ever was a time when the tradition was entirely out of use it can only be said to have occurred during the first century or so of African enslavement in North America. That is, there is enough evidence of at least the pan-Africanist tenet of the tradition, in the African enslavement in the Caribbean where familial groups of Africans were kept intact in greater numbers. The cases of the early Maroon societies, and the establishment of Bayia and Palmares as African societies made up of various groups of Africans attest to the existence of pan-Africanist thought. However, in North America this was, for the most part, not the case. This is certainly not to imply an acceptance of enslavement or docility among those enslaved. It is known that struggle among Africans brought to the New World was constant and in varied form beginning as early as 1503 in Hispaniola when Africans were known to work with indigenous peoples for freedom. Similarly, it is understood that in North America the first sizable revolt against enslavement was recorded in 17129, where most assuredly these were Africans of different ethnic groups thus making it a pan-African effort. It is only to say that if there was a break in the primary aspect of the tradition it was most likely a result of Africans needing enough time to adjust to this variation of their enslavement and then to organize under some form of pan-Africanism. The other aspects of the tradition are listed in what could only be expected to be the proper chronological order. That is, though an understanding of the sameness of the global African struggle is paramount, only through efforts of small group and selfteaching could enslaved and oppressed Africans begin to learn and pass along the history

of Africas antiquity or begin to make space for themselves to begin the collection of books, etc. This is how the tradition builds and is spread, each generation pushing it along to be built upon by subsequent generations. The purpose of this introduction was not only defining the tradition of which this work speaks, but to illustrate the early beginnings and the antiquity of it. John Henrik Clarke would become a faithful follower of this tradition and as he acknowledged, without it none of the thought or actions of modern-day scholar/activists would be possible. The tradition is designed for expansion and development in order to combat an oppression, a slavery, as Clarke would say, that has never ended but only evolved. John Henrik Clarke would learn from and then incorporate these and other pioneers into an African-centered package based on this tradition for the purpose of export into the African world community. His final teachings and writings, as will be discussed, were formed on the basis of this tradition and a lifetime of experience and learning. Chapter one will focus on those who have been deemed the founding fathers of the tradition and the varied ways they expressed aspects of the tradition. Chapter two will discuss the dominant American and global trends that affected the radicalism that would advance the tradition to where it was at the time of Clarkes birth. Chapter three will give us a look at the rise of Harlem as an African Mecca and center for African radicalism. Chapter four will explore Clarkes birth, early awareness of a connection to African people and his initiation into the tradition during his years in Harlem. Here we will show the forms in which the tradition manifested itself during the various movements of the times. Chapter five will follow the tradition as it is passed

Howard Zinn, p.32, 35.

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through Clarke during the years of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, his work with HARYOU, Freedomways magazine, AHSA, etc. Chapter six will discuss the tradition as it is institutionalized during the Black Studies push where Clarke takes on positions at Hunter College and Cornell. Chapter seven will explore some contemporary manifestations of the tradition, through AHSA, ASCAC, etc. It will also discuss Clarkes legacy and influence on modern scholarship, teaching and activism.

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Chapter One: African Founding Fathers: The Tradition Begins The 19th century needs to be studied the consciousness among Africans was never higher their use of the term African in all of their organizations names is but a sign10 -John Henrik Clarke The fifty-year span between 1787and 1837 was perhaps the most important in the history of black America. It was during this period that black pioneers took the first wavering steps into the unknown by grafting Western political and social forms onto the conscious and unconscious body of the African legacy. It was during this period that black pioneers created the first permanent African-American institutions and articulated the issues which would give a special tone and texture to Africans in America.11 -Lerone Bennett, Jr. We shall begin our exploration here, within this fifty-year period spoken of by Lerone Bennett. These are the years that those in the tradition, including Clarke himself, look to as the origins of their own thought and struggle. These founders of the tradition, though they varied in thought from each other and from the tradition as it has been explained, laid the basis from which the tradition was allowed to flourish. Throw away the image of the god of the whites who has so often brought down our tears and listen to the liberty which speak in all our hearts.12 -Bookman Dutty The words spoken by Bookman Dutty inspired and launched the single most influential event that brought this tradition into full swing, the Haitian Revolution in 1791. This momentous event inspired and awoke enslaved Africans throughout the Americas. When Bookman Dutty inspired his sisters and brothers leading them into war against their European captors the world took notice. Though not alone, this event represented an inspiration to both enslaved and free alike and ushered in a new wave of

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John Henrik Clarke, Malcolm X and the Radical Ministry, audio tape. Lerone Bennett, Jr., The Shaping of Black America, 114. 12 Jacob Carruthers, Intellectual Warfare, Chicago: Third World Press, 1999, 3.

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pan-Africanist thought that would itself become an instrument of empowerment to future generations.13 The power of this event in both upsetting the European and inspiring the African can be understood from one paragraph of C.L.R. James seminal work on the subject. He writes: In 1789 the French West Indian colony of San Domingo (Haiti) supplied twothirds of the overseas trade of France and was the greatest individual market for the European slave-trade. It was an integral part of the economic life of the age, the greatest colony in the world, the pride of France, and the envy of every other imperialist nation. The whole structure rested on the labor of half-a-million slaves.14 From this statement alone it is clearly seen how the world would respond to the overthrow of the greatest colony in the world. Certainly, by the end of the twelve year long revolution, the revolution had the worlds attention. The world either witnessed, heard through news or word-of-mouth of an African revolution that began with the conquering of the local whites and the soldiers of the French monarchy, a Spanish invasion, {and} a British expedition. It then culminated in the defeat of Bonapartes expedition in 1803 which resulted in the establishment of an African state known as Haiti.15 These reverberations also reached the enslaved and oppressed African community in what was now called the United States of America.

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One example includes Carter G. Woodson-Noting his approval of Haitian folklore, Carter Woodson concluded that the distinctiveness of black diaspora cultures shows how absurd it is for Dr. Robert E. Park and the innocent Negroes who have been trained under him to contend that the Negro who was brought from Africa to America has retained nothing but his temperament. taken from Kevin K. Gaines, Uplifting the Race, p.257. 14 C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins, ix. 15 James, ix.

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Many of those who would lay the foundation of the first and second aspects of the tradition, pan-Africanism and the antiquity of African civilization and thought, were simultaneously influenced by the revolution in Haiti and European/American thought particularly as it was propagated through Christianity. According to Rosalind Cobb Wiggins, prior to the 1730s most Africans in America were not Christians. It was not until the Great Awakening of the 1740s that not only European Americans but Africans held in various forms of bondage (certainly so-called free Africans during these times were in such a state of precariousness that such a term would hardly apply) came fully into the church.16 In fact, after 1776 the unified states began passing legislation that used taxation as a means to enforce the teaching of Christianity.17 According to Wiggins it was not until the beginning of the 19th century that Africans in America began realizing that there was a difference between the espoused ideology of the Declaration of Independence and the treatment of African people. She notes that while the relations between European Americans and Africans in America deteriorated Africans found this as a means for unification. 18 However, there is much evidence to the contrary, that is, that African people realized their relationship to this nation far earlier and began to find ways to resist that would later culminate into the tradition of which this work speaks. In three of the first five chapters of his book on United States history, Howard Zinn offers another view on the development of an African understanding of their relationship with America. With chapter titles such as Drawing the Color Line, Tyranny is Tyranny, and A Kind of Revolution, Zinn makes several points. Among
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Rosalind Cobb Wiggins, Captain Paul Cuffes Logs and Letters, 1808-1817, p.20. Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the United States: 1492 to the Present, p.82-83.

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them, that the separation of Africans from the European community was made based on skin color and enforced by harsher treatment and punishment. This separation began early in the 17th century with the realization that Africans often found non-African allies in a desire to be free that included Native Americans and indentured Europeans. Europeans were given access to White privilege that most readily accepted, and that the so-called Revolution against Britain was false and orchestrated by those who sought to benefit most in terms of land and wealth from the removal of the colonial British. In other words, what Zinn explains is that what was seen as a positive and hopeinspiring revolution for European Americans only increased the skepticism and awareness of hypocrisy among the African population. As Lerone Bennett explains, a man in love in the presence of the beloved does not live the same time as a man in prison in the hands of the torturer.19 Those living this time in the prison of enslavement and the physical and spiritual torture of bondage and denigration began seeing each other as members of a united group suffering in unified fashion with against a united enemy. This consciousness led to specific forms of pan-African and nationalist action. Realizing that the color line had been drawn Africans began to act accordingly. Among the earliest and best-known examples of pan-Africanist thought is that of Prince Hall (1748-?). After his birth in Barbados Hall found himself in Boston witnessing the emergence of a new country. During the mid to late 18th century Boston was the American center of not only the American movement against the British but also the trade in enslaved Africans. Hall took quick notice to this and began to find ways of combating this blatant hypocrisy. Hall, like most Africans of the times, recognized the

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Wiggins, p.26-27. Bennett, Shaping, 114.

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purpose of European American missions; the pacification and preparation for an oppressed life. After enlisting and fighting against the British in the Revolutionary War, Hall led the wave of post-war reaction to the betrayal of the ideals espoused during the war, freedom, liberty and justice for all.20 For Hall this post-war reaction to betrayal culminated in his establishing African Lodge No.1 for men of African descent on July 3rd, 1776, one day before the American claim to independence. In 1797 Hall, solidly in the tradition and inspired by the Haitian revolution, called upon the members of his African Lodge of Masons, openly connecting them to the wisdom of ancient Ethiopia {as well as} the inspiring action of the Haitian Revolutionaries, to liberate their fellow enslaved Africans.21 Clarke, speaking of Hall, had this to say, {he} came to the United States and built the first Masonic order but did not call it that because it wasnt about socializing and uplift. It was about social uplift; it was about trying to free the slaves still not free, so he called it the African Lodge.22 Hall had found the tradition. After being refused entrance into White masonry he founded his own lodge which allowed for a small group of largely self-taught Africans to act upon their pan-Africanist ideology to attempt to free fellow enslaved African people. Though, Prince Hall as a Mason incorporated and reorganized ancient African thought, others, in what Kevin Gaines calls the nationalistic circle of intellectuals,23 had European/American and/or Christian values at the center of their belief systems. This group includes such African leaders as the Quaker Paul Cuffe, Richard Allen, David Walker, Martin Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden and Alexander Crummell. They are

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The theme of post-war radicalism is identical to that felt after WWI and WWII. Jacob Carruthers, Mdw Ntr: Divine Speech, p.16. 22 Clarke, Notes, p.16. 23 Gaines, 103.

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also often said to have begun yet another tradition (as opposed to the tradition being discussed here) that used European and/or Christian values to work for a global African community. Regardless to what degree these people represented the large African communitys acceptance of European/America values and ideals, they ultimately must be and are recognized by the tradition as pioneers. Despite being said to have based many of his opinions in the value systems of White America, Paul Cuffe (1759-1817), became one of the earliest in the tradition of pan-African organization. Cuffe, a relatively wealthy man of both African and European ancestry, is considered to be the first leader of a Black nationalist movement to begin an African return to the continent.24 Laying a foundation as an intellectual antecedent25 to both the 19th century genius of David Walker and the 20th century efforts of Marcus Garvey, Cuffe financed (with his own money) the 1816 oceanic trek aboard his Traveler of thirty-eight Africans to Freetown, Sierra Leone. As a response by European America to the efforts of people like Cuffe and certainly later the triumvirate of early 19th century African revolutionaries Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser and Denmark Vesey, the American Colonization Society was an organized fact.26 That is that European Americans, fearing both reprisal and revolution as had been seen in Haiti, paradoxically supported panAfricanist movements and organized this colonization society to rid themselves of free Africans in the hopes that this would end their influence on or attempts to aid their enslaved sisters and brothers.

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Sheldon H. Harris, Paul Cuffe: Black America & the African Return, 13. John Henrik Clarke, Notes, 189. Also, it is to be noted that the triumvirate of Turner, Prosser and Vesey, though not receiving proper attention here are deeply responsible for the movement of the tradition and the development of pan-African ideals. They efforts were not only heroic but inspired the efforts of those who were both their contemporaries and traditional descendants. 26 Clarke, Notes, 189.

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There was much to be concerned about too. Wiggins notes that there were networks among free blacks, that was used to aid the efforts of Paul Cuffe in organizing his emigration plans and later by David Walker to spread his Appeal. This network as Prince Hall must have used included black Masonic orders and as Richard Allen and Absalom Jones used, black churches and for Cuffe was included black merchants and white supporters of which Cuffe writes all demonstrating the existence of such a network.27 Not mentioned by Wiggins is the network established among those still enslaved that assisted the attempts by Turner, Prosser, Vesey, Harriet Tubman, John Brown and others. This network was as powerful, if not more so, in arousing the fears among European Americans that led to the establishment of colonization societies, militias, etc. all meant to suppress African freedom. Richard Allen (1760-?) is said to be the first leader to vindicate his people as responsible human beings capable of acting with dignity and purpose in their struggle for human rights.28 He, like his eventual partner Absalom Jones, was a one time enslaved African who once freed embarked on a long career of using European, Christian, Methodist values as a tool to improve the lot of his people. This career culminated in the establishment of the Free African Society and the creation of the first independent black church in the United States- the African Methodist Episcopal Church29 and the first mass demonstration in black American history.30 Established in 1787 by Allen and Jones, two formerly enslaved Africans now free, this society was dedicated to meeting the needs of Philadelphias suffering African community.

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Wiggins, 33. Marcia M. Mathews, Richard Allen, 9. 29 Clarke, Notes, 66. 30 Bennett, 123.

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Reeling from extremely poor living conditions and an outbreak of disease Africans in Philadelphia were suffering. The Society and AME church, which were more than religious organizations, began addressing the needs of this African community. They aided the sick, were community centers, at times hideouts for escaped Africans and was the forerunner to a cornerstone of African business ventures; an insurance company. They sought to alleviate the suffering of African people living in a nation whose claims to equality, freedom and justice were recognized as not applying to African people. Despite believing in the espoused, but never practiced ideals of the nascent American Revolution, Allen and Jones used European, Christian and American values in a panAfrican, nationalist way. That is, like Hall, once aware that white supremacy was dominated both the political and religious life of American society established an African organization for African people. Allen would say, Patrick Henry said something about hanging together or hanging separately. This applies equally to the Africans!31 Furthermore, the preamble to the Free African Society would echo the panAfrican/nationalist words written nearly two-hundred years later in the preamble to Malcolm Xs Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). It called for and recognized itself as a society for the African race whose formation and work should be conducted in unison without regards to religious tenets to support one another in sickness, and for the benefit of widows and fatherless children.32 Important also to the Society was its emphasis on self-determination. It gave {Africans} a society of their own, removed from the paternal benevolence of {eve} well-intentioned white people

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Mathews, 56. Mathews, 55 (authors emphasis).

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and for the first time {Africans in America} were organized as a group to help each other.33 Among the pioneers of African-centered, pan-Africanist, nationalist thought and action David Walker (1785-1830) is perhaps the most influential and spoken about to this day. His Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World is the most widely loved, argued and referred to piece of 19th century revolutionary writing. Written and published first in 1828 with a third printing in 1830 this manifesto would influence the movements of Nat Turner, Malcolm X and contemporary scholars and activists alike. Jacob Carruthers notes that Walker, like Hall, made an early pan-African connection between the antiquity of Ethiopia and Egypt to the Haitian revolution to the condition of African people in the United States and the world.34 Walkers call for the use of religion as a means to liberate, the call for the use of violence in the cause of freedom, which as Lerone Bennett says pre-dates Frantz Fanons call for violence in the colonial context,35 and the unification under one struggle of all African people continues to be a challenge to all African people. This challenge has been sent down through successive generations. As James Turner has noted Walkers presentation was an authentic African-centered discourse on liberation and the essential human rights of the oppressed that shows an intellectual link from Walker to Martin Luther King, Jr. to Malcolm X.36 Again, like Cuffe, Allen and Jones, Walker used his relative political and economic freedom to produce something of liberating value to the large number of his

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Mathews, 59. Carruthers, Mdw Ntr, 16. 35 Bennett, 135. 36 James Turner, David Walkers Appeal, introduction, 11.

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oppressed and unfree people. Walker was born free and used this relative mobility to run his own business which allowed him also to publish his own writing. The aforementioned network of Africans and sympathetic European Americans helped to distribute his Appeal which if found on one enslaved meant severe punishment and/or death. As for himself, Walker predicted that his own death would come at the hands of those whose very existence and safety depended upon an uneducated, uninspired and/or unprepared African population. And he in fact was to suffer a suspicious death shortly after the publication and spread of his Appeal. Despite all of this arguments still rage over whether or not Walker could be considered pan-African or nationalist. However, Walkers value to the tradition cannot be overstated. Sterling Stuckey has said that, {Walker} is the father of black nationalist theory in America because so much of the substance of that theory is found in his writings. Similarly, Thabiti Asukile has said that, {Walker} expressed many future black nationalist aims and sentiments, such as the unified struggle for resistance of oppression (slavery), the issue of land reparations, the concept of people of African descent in America governing themselves, racial pride, and criticism of American capitalism.37 However, Walkers role in the tradition is best summarized by Turner who explained that: The enduring value of the Appeal is centered in its conscious African-centered perspective that organizes itself around a social theory of reality meant to implement change in the society towards freedom. If Walker had a dictum it would have been that freedom must be actualized by oppressed people themselves, which requires them to assume an independent methodology to analyze their world in order to change it David Walkers heirs- both conscious and unconscious- have been legion.38
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Both Stuckey and Asulike quotations taken from: Thabiti Asulike, The All-Embracing Black Nationalist Theories of David Walkers Appeal, Black Scholar, v.29, No.4, p.16. 38 Turner, 14.

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Another of the pioneers is Martin Robinson Delany (1812-1885). Delany, a staunchly proud man whose love for self and claims to having descended from African royalty marked his pan-African/nationalist actions. Like Prince Hall Delany, refuted by White Masons, used his Black Masonry to organize Africans in America and to call for a self-determined effort for liberation. He, Like Paul Cuffe, called for African emigration but settled on Africa after having first suggested Central or South America. Later he would himself go to West Africa and engaged in dialogues with African leadership for the purposes of establishing an African American settlement. Delany is also to be credited with coining the phrase Africa for the Africans in 1861 which was made popular some eight decades later by Marcus Garvey who himself got it from one of his mentors Duse Mohammed.39 Frederick Douglass said of a comparison between himself and Delany that, I thank God for making me a man simply; but Delany always thanks him for making him a black man.40 All of this has allowed for Delany to be considered the father of Black Nationalism.41 Delany in his time made many references to issues still confronting African America and while not fully adopting all tenets of the tradition left much for subsequent generations to build from. Delany, like most of the pioneers, still had his roots and thought based in Eurocentric concepts of religion, history and consciousness. However, like other pioneers, his recognition of rampant White supremacist thought in and out of the church and Masonry led to his pan-Africanism/nationalism which allowed him to take these base beliefs and apply them to the condition of African people. Again, it could not be expected at that time in history, particularly prior to the full establishment of the
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Ron Walters, Pan-Africanism, 52. Robert S. Levine, Martin Delany and Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Representative Identity, 6.

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tradition, for an African to have developed the necessary consciousness to forgo entirely this Eurocentric base for analysis. As Clarke would one day say, what African of the 19th century had the time to read or write the voluminous works necessary to fully develop an African consciousness rooted in African thought based on African societal organization?42 So, while certainly pan-African and nationalist, Delany would accept European class structure as being universal, at the same time, recognizing a century earlier what Kwame Toure and Charles Hamilton would acknowledge, that Africans represent a nation within a nation.43 Delany wrote that: There have in all ages, in almost every nation, existed a nation within a nation- a people who although forming a part and parcel of the population, yet were from force of circumstances, known by the peculiar position they occupied, forming in restricted part of the body politic of such nations, is also true such then is the condition of various classes in Europe; yes, nations, for centuries within nations, even without the hope of redemption among those who oppress them. And however unfavorable their condition, there is none more so than that of the colored people of the United States.44 Similarly, while not actually considering the political create and nature of an ahistorical Biblical account of history as would be done by his successors of the tradition, Delany does seek to apply Biblical teachings to the condition of African people. Learning Latin and possibly Greek, Delany, in the tradition of Hall, Allen, Walker and others sought out a Biblical solution for his people. For him emigration to either Central/South America or Africa was for the purpose of establishing a Black Israel.45 This exemplifies what Clarke what say about Africans misreading the Bible and
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Clarke, Notes, 27. John Henrik Clarke, Debate Over the Origins of Western Civilization, 1996. 43 Kwame Toure & Charles Hamilton, Black Power 44 Martin R. Delany, Condition, Elevation, Emigration & Destiny of the Colored People of the United States, 12-13. 45 Victor Ullman, Martin R. Delany: The Beginnings of Black Nationalism, 6.

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looking for our history in the mythology of others that continues to this day and all too often without the pan-African or nationalist interpretation of Delany. But like other pioneers, Delany also exemplified the third aspect of the tradition, that is the recognition of Africas antiquity and the relationship between it and Egypt and Ethiopia. Ullman writes, there was no doubt in Delanys mind that Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall haste to stretch out her hands unto God.46 In The Origin of Races and Color Delany took on the task of distinguishing race and color from its nascent connection to servility and inferiority. As early as 1879 he was seeking to rewrite a history that to this day remains among the most heatedly contested issues of our times. Though steeped in Biblical history Delany does note the antiquity of African civilization and the Black/Africanness of Egypt and Ethiopia, clearly recognizing the two as being among nations of pure African stock.47 Also, interestingly enough, among the issues Delany confronted in his day that have been passed down to contemporary African American concerns is the issue of political power and the value of the African vote. Like the modern arguments of a Lani Guinier Delany was aware of the tendency for racial-bloc voting which denied a racial minority from having any true political or voting power.48 As a forewarning of the gerrymandering scandals of today Delany explained that while in the North there existed no Federally appointed Africans due to the poor ratio of Africans to European Americans he admonished the Africans living in the South not to allow this to happen to them. If political power was to be based on numerical dominance then Delany said, {no} small

46 47

Ullman, 5. Delany, The Origin of Race and Color, 93. 48 See Lani Guinier, Tyranny of the Majority.

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faction {should} control a party discarding the rights of the rest because the great majority of that party are comprised of people different in race from themselves.49 Despite Delanys adherence to certain aspects of Eurocentric thought, he was acutely aware of the necessity for the second aspect of the tradition. In 1869 he established his Historical Society as a response to the ideological and intellectual warfare of the time being waged against African people. As if Delany heard Amos Wilsons words of a century-plus later he called for an African control of historical knowledge. Delany said, that if we let the Yankees manufacture a history as they do wooden nutmegs, we shall have of the former about as good an article as they give us of the latter, and as much like the genuine.50 Two figures linked by friendship and ideology were Alexander Crummell (1819?) and Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912). Blyden is described by Clarke as being the exemplar of pan-African thought representing the West Indies, America and Africa,51and of the 19th century pioneers these two provide the most tangible links to the 20th century passing of the tradition. Like the other pioneers both men held to Eurocentric beliefs in Biblical history, though Blydens preference for Islam of Christianity furthered his break with that mold.52 Both were pan-African in their mission supporting African emigration, but perhaps first, both practiced the fourth aspect of the tradition being heavily into book collection53 and both would follow Delanys example and have direct influence on the 20th century development of historical societies and clubs.
49 50

Ullman, 414. Ullman, 404. 51 Clarke, Notes, 50. 52 See Edward Wilmot Blyden, Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race.

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Despite both Blyden and Crummell being strong believers in non-African religions, Blydens preference for Islam is made clear and Crummell was an Episcopal Reverend, each was able to use their beliefs to empower African people. As with other pioneers, both men had their visions and interpretations of African history and people colored by the Eurocentric scholarship of the day. While Blyden would accept, at times, some frightfully Eurocentric opinions of African history he did recognize that the mind of the intelligent Negro child rebels against the description s of the Negro given in elementary books- geographies, travels and histories.54 For Crummells part, he too took on some quite Eurocentric views of religion and history. While acknowledging, as other pioneers, the hypocrisy of European American society, he remained true to the European belief in the supremacy of Christianity. He supported the Eurocentric notion that African religion was pagan and was defeated by Christianity due to divine mandate but he also believed that Christianity was taught improperly, used to socialize Africans to be mere slaves and was thus offered to Africans as a Plantation Religion.55 It is also interesting to note Crummells pre- Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois disagreement fusion of the diametrically opposed views of the two over selfsufficiency in industry and the importance of education. He wrote an article Common Sense in Common Schooling, where he supported industrial training, in 1891 and six years later he would be a founding member of the American Negro Academy whose
53 54

Hollis R. Lynch, Edward Wilmot Blyden, 27. Edward Wilmot Blyden, excerpts from his inaugural speech as president of Liberia College in 1881. Quoted from Clarke, Notes, 57-58. See, however, Blydens remarks that African enslavement though more cruel than God had intended did in fact originate out of divine Providence and was for spiritual improvement and overall African enlightenment. Quoted from E.W. Blyden, Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race, 385. 55 Alexander Crummell, Africa and America, 90-94.

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purpose was to collect evidence and undertake research that would inform, inspire, and uplift the black race.56 Both Blyden and Crummell would leave for extended sojourns in Africa during the 1850s. Crummell would stay for twenty years, 1853-1873, where he would study and support the settlement of Sierra Leone and Liberia and both men were elected to positions in the Liberian government. These were nationalistic and pan-African actions. Both supported an African nation being established and controlled by Africans and both saw the link between Africans of the continent and of the diaspora, notwithstanding of course the belief that Africans exposed to the European culture were more prepared for leadership. Like Delany before, and those in the tradition after, Blyden called for his people to begin to reconsider themselves using their own image as a base. This was no doubt an influence on his friend Crummells founding of the American Negro Academy (ANA) in 1897 at the behest of another intellectual giant-in training W.E.B. DuBois. DuBois would write in tribute to Crummell that upon meeting him he instinctively bowed before this man,57 as if knowing that years later he would ask Crummell to be a part of an organization that would have rippling effects passing on the tradition. As Josiah Ulysses Young, III has written, Crummell, despite some questionable thought and behavior, must be accepted into the pantheon of pioneer elders. True, Crummell had a disdain for biracial people causing him to leave Liberia, he felt African enslavement was a first step towards Christian salvation of the African pagan, and was overall influenced by White supremacist thought, but he must be remembered as a great

56 57

Elinor Des Verney Sinnette, Arthur Alfonso Schomburg: Black Bibliophile & Collector, 39. W.E.B. DuBois, Souls of Black Folk, 135.

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misguided ancestor of Pan-Africanist ideology.58 For, Crummell did leave behind the ANA which would take its place among those organizations that would influence and push the tradition forward through small African-run study groups and societies including the one whose membership would one day include John Henrik Clarke and be renamed the Blyden Society. The pioneers of the tradition were not perfect, nor was their coverage or the depth of interpretation of them offered in this cursory overview. It must be remembered, however, that they were laying the foundation for work that would be passed on, built upon and furthered, as any good tradition should be. Most notable is the conspicuous absence of such men and women as James Forten. Despite being a very successful businessman his pan-Africanism led him to remark that, we will never separate ourselves voluntarily from the slave population in this country, they are our brethren and we feel that there is more virtue in suffering privations with them, than fancied advantages for a season.59 Samuel Cornish and John Russworm, who published the first African newspaper in America, Freedoms Journal which included contributions from David Walker and Richard Allen among others. In it all the issues in debate then and now were discussed; struggle, self-defense, consciousness, civil, human and political rights, etc. Others not given their proper due include: Daniel Cover, Hosea Easton, Maria Stewart, Sojourner Truth, James McCune Smith, Harriet Tubman, James Holly, Mary Anne Shad and countless others who were either omitted entirely or glossed over for two reasons. One, space and time constraints do not here permit more than an honorable mention so to

58 59

Josiah Ulysses Young, III, A Pan-African Theology, p.27-30. Bennett, 133.

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speak. Secondly, the figures explored with any detail in this introduction to the tradition are the names most readily identified with the tradition in its course through John Henrik Clarke. As for the pioneers mentioned, in the case of religion it matters little that these pioneers, as is said of David Walker, were {blind} to the importance of religion in Africa.60 They challenged the religion of their day to produce the freedom, it claimed it would, for African people. Though speaking of DuBois and religion, Phil Zuckerman has found the right words to describe the reality of these African pioneers. He writes that, religious life is never a realm unto itself, but is always and everywhere interwoven with the given social and cultural forces with which it finds itself inevitably enmeshed.61 Each, in his own way, found a pan-Africanism that linked the struggle of all African people and each, in his own way, found a means to call upon the African community to do for self in the face of extreme white supremacist antagonism. This resistance to the aggressive hatred of the times, which included calls for all out genocidal destruction of the African community in America during Indianas constitutional convention, generated a consciousness that has yet to be equaled. Clarkes admitted love for the struggle of this era comes from the consciousness of epoch that resulted in an open acceptance of this population as members of the African world. Central to the tradition being discussed here is this understanding. An African consciousness extant during the 19th century can be seen in the names of the organizations created: The Free African Society, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Friendly Society, Sons of Africa, African Female Band Benevolent

60 61

Asulike, 21. DuBois on Religion, ed. Phil Zuckerman, 57.

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Society of Bethel, Female African Benevolent, Daughters of Ethiopia, African Abolition Freehold Society, African Female Anti-Slavery Society and people lived in places like Little Africa, and New Guinea. These names reflect a consciousness needed for a proper understanding of the conflict engaged in and adds to the importance of these founders in the tradition.

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Chapter Two: A Changing World; the Tradition Responds The revolution of 1876 was, in fine, a victory for which the South has every right to hang its head. After enslaving the Negro for two and one-half centuries, it turned on his emancipation to beat a beaten man, to trade in slaves, and to kill the defenseless; to break the spirit of the black man and humiliate him into hopelessness; to establish a new dictatorship of property in the South through the color line. It was a triumph of men who in their effort to replace equality with caste and to build inordinate wealth on a foundation of abject poverty have succeeded in killing democracy, art and religion. -W.E.B. DuBois62

In this chapter we will give a brief description of the dominant trends of the times leading up to Clarkes birth; the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, Americas expansionism, the migration North by many Southern Africans and the emergence of two figures by whom Clarke would be greatly influenced.

The era prior to Clarkes birth in 1915 was a time of African resistance to a European-American backlash against Reconstruction and a response to Americas overall imperial behavior. The revolution spoken of by DuBois was an attack on significant gains newly freed Africans would attain immediately following the conclusion of the Civil War. Two trends prevailed at this time that greatly affected African America. One, the United States was attempting to establish itself as a world power. This meant colonization of the Americas and, at home, returning Africans, who had begun to flourish during post-Civil War Reconstruction, back to infidel laborers. This led to the second trend, that of Africans resisting this forced return and beginning to build on the efforts of those in the 19th century to restore a lost humanity. Both of these trends would greatly affect and influence those who would later greatly affect and influence Clarke.

62

DuBois, Black Reconstruction, p. 707.

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Reconstruction had witnessed a period of African empowerment both politically and economically, however brief. Africans in America had seized hold of education, political representation and business development. However, concomitantly, there was White resistance to such development. In Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880, in his chapter Back Toward Slavery, W.E.B. DuBois summarizes the fall of the African during the period of Reconstruction. DuBois explains that a White backlash occurred largely in response to the need to reduce black labor as nearly as possible to a condition of unlimited exploitation. This would not only allow for the burgeoning of a Southern capitalist class but would also appease Southern Whites who had just recently witnessed their slaves- their most valuable and cherished property- taken away and made free.63 Though free, Africans were now bound to their former places of employment in a variety of ways all meant to secure them as permanent subsistence laborers. Clarke often recounted this history by explaining the one more bale phenomena.64 He would explain that the former masters would tie Africans to the lands through systems of peonage and sharecropping always expecting more from African labor at the end of the year than originally agreed upon. By forcing Africans, by contract or coercion, to buy tools, seeds, equipment, etc. from their former masters a debt existed that could never be paid leaving Africans in a vicious cycle of toil for the benefit of another. The end of the years work was perpetually and inevitably insufficient, always leaving African workers in need of one more bale.

63 64

Ibid., p. 670, 673. Clarke, tape

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In fact, this reality is further detailed in a chapter by George Groh, which he calls One More Bale.65 Groh uses the period of Reconstruction as a base to discuss the migrations North by African people, a point to which we shall return. He explains the conditions that would lead to the migration by describing the random and wanton violence perpetrated against Africans by White Southerners, the disenfranchisement of Africans, and the establishment of Black Codes which codified African inferiority. Further, General Carl Shurz best summarizes the overall sentiment felt by White Southerners towards their former enslaved Africans in a special report for President Andrew Johnson. The good General admitted that, the emancipation of the slave is submitted to only so far as chattel slavery in the old form could not be kept up.66 However, America faced yet another problem as the 19th century came to a close, that of markets. America was desperately short of markets to which to sell its surplus production. This inability to sell off surplus production led to a recession that hit the United States in the 1890s thus prompting a desperate need for imperial expansion for the purpose of procuring overseas consumers. This would strongly affect the Pan-African nature of African struggle in the United States and abroad as African people around the world became more immediately involved in the struggle for African liberation. In 1890, the same year of the American slaughter of Indigenous Peoples at Wounded Knee, the Census Bureau called an official closing of the internal frontier and began to explore options for further expansion.67 This idea was not necessarily new as the Monroe Doctrine and the Mexican-American War attest, but other events were now forcing American capitalism to again branch out. The Berlin Conference of 1884-85
65 66

George Groh, The Black Migration, 3. Groh, p.9.

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was of no small consequence in affecting American capitalism. The purpose of the conference was to divide up the continent of Africa, ignoring African sovereignty, to ease its exploitation by European nations. European nations including, France, Germany, England, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Turkey and the United States all convened to peaceably carve up Africa for themselves. This provided a temporary calming effect on European domination of Africa and left America to seek hegemony over the Pacific and Latin America. In fact, during the period of American Civil War, Reconstruction, and what DuBois calls the revolution of 1876, there are at least ten documented accounts of US imperial military campaigns in these two regions. From Argentina to Japan to China, Nicaragua and even the Ryuku and Bonin Islands America interfered militarily to secure investment and market space. As we mentioned earlier, the importance of consciousness cannot be overestimated and those seeking to oppress understand this. To garner support for American expansion and capitalist empowerment the moguls of media took to their typewriters. Just as the Spanish-American war was ready to begin for the purpose of spreading U.S. business interests into Cuba an article by the Washington Post shows explicitly the desire to, as Noam Chomsky says, manufacture consent. It writes, A new consciousness seems to have come upon us- the consciousness of strength- and with a new appetite, the yearning to show our strength the taste of Empire is in the mouth of the people even as the taste of blood in the jungle68

67 68

Zinn, 290. Zinn, 292.

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President Theodore Roosevelt, working with other expansionist politicians and military officials, also supported imperial efforts. Cuba became a prize to American business interests and the feeling was that their on-going revolutionary struggle against the Spanish could not be expected to produce a government that would support American capitalist dominance. Roosevelt, raising support for U.S. invasion of Cuba, joined the propaganda development even to the degree of sending copies of Rudyard Kiplings poem White Mans Burden to his peers. He noted that Kiplings work was poor poetry, but good sense from the expansionist standpoint.69 Roosevelt can best be seen in his similarity to another notorious European expansionist and Roosevelt contemporary, Cecil John Rhodes. As mentioned, at the time America was looking to increase its vassalage her partner in crime Europe was doing the same. It was only the temporary organized imperial efforts of Europe and America that settled on Africa for Europe and the Americas, parts of the Caribbean and the Pacific for the United States. It was a gentlemans agreement among scoundrels. Rhodes, carrying out his duties in Southern Africa and somewhat less like his compatriots in America, was unabashedly out for European (read White) world dominance. He lamented the 18th century break between Britain and the U.S. and spoke openly about reconnecting the two under one White world power. Rhodes would say, I contend that we are the first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. He continued, explaining that his life goals were, the furtherance of the British Empire, for the bringing of the whole uncivilized world under British rule, for the recovery of the United States, for the making of the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire. What a dream! But yet it is
69

Zinn, 292. 34

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probable. It is possible.70 Roosevelt, not to be out-done by Rhodes white supremacy, noted himself that Americas unwillingness to annex Hawaii in 1893 was a crime against white civilization and that all the great masterful races have been fighting races. He further exclaimed that, no triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumph of war.71 Parenthetically, just as the United States employed secret societies in the form of the Ku Klux Klan, White Citizen Councils and White Leagues to further White dominance, England used the secret order modeled after the Order of the Jesuits a church for the extension of the British Empire. It is out of this effort that Rhodes sought to pass this legacy to subsequent generations through his Rhodes Scholarship still in existence today (whose membership includes a whose who of European/American political and business leadership, including now former President William Jefferson Clinton). These scholarships were, and are, meant to unite Eurocentric thinkers for the purpose and furtherance of European world dominance under a Union of Englishspeaking peoples.72 Similarly, Americas concern over the Cuban revolution against Spain was not limited to the establishment of a Cuban government unfriendly to U.S. interests. As we mentioned, just as the Haitian revolution inspired and moved Africans elsewhere into struggle it struck fear in the hearts and minds of Europeans everywhere. Because of Cubas racial makeup there was a fear that the Cuban revolution would bring about another Black republic. Winston Churchill wrote that, two-fifths of the {Cuban}

70 71

Bernard Magubane, The Making of a Racist State, 102. Zinn, 293. 72 Magubane, 112. See also DuBois, Black Reconstruction, p. 679 for American use of these secret societies.

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insurgents in the field are Negroes. These men would, in the event of success, demand a predominant share in the government of the country the result being, after years of fighting, another black republic.73 The mere thought of another Haiti was too much. Enough was enough and America went into a three month war against Spain in 1898 to secure Cuba for itself. From this war with Spain, along with Cuba, came Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam and Hawaii through annexation. So by 1901 80% of Cubas mineral exports were controlled by American corporations, the Teller Amendment which has been passed in Congress to protect the liberty of the Cuban people was ignored and the new Platt Amendment was signed assuring American control over Cuban affairs which lasted until 1959. 74 However, the Philippines had its own special role to play in relation to the African struggle in America. Winning the Philippines from Spain and winning it from the people were two different things. The struggle for the Philippines would last three years and illustrated to both the American public at large and the African community in particular Americas vicious racism. The Filipino people were subjected to the worst forms of American racism and warfare and their resolve against a much larger and more powerful military was astonishing. This war also ignited African militancy against Americas White supremacy and challenged Africans own views on their relationship to the United States. Africans conscripted to fight in the Philippines began asking themselves for whom were they fighting and supporting when even though pressed into service of the

73 74

Zinn, 296. Zinn, 303.

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United States from 1889-1903 an average of two Africans were lynched at home by fellow Americans each week. Some Africans who were enlisted in American military service deserted and fought for the Filipino people who were seen as fellow non-White family and a variety of people spoke out in protest of the racism and violence from Henry McNeal Turner to Mark Twain. 75 Occurring alongside the American movements during post-Reconstruction and American expansionism was a series of others movements within African America that had a direct affect on John Henrik Clarke. Though a series of movements they are generally all considered the Great Migration. That is, these were the movements of a great many Africans in the Southern United States to the North. Out of these movements came others; Northern towns became Northern cities and of the two most prominent, Chicago and New York, the latter would serve as fertile ground for the African struggle in America. Clarke tells of his move from Georgia up North in 1933. He describes how he and a friend left the South and, as hobos, traveled by train first to Chicago and then New York.76 This would be how he got to New York, the place where Clarke would be trained in the ways of African and world history, but it was also how many before him came North and established the community that would then influence him. Carter G. Woodson, among others, describes the long history of African migration North in A Century of Negro Migration. Woodson explains that the desire for movement North began somewhere around 1815 when Northern states began making life, relative to that in

75 76

Zinn, 308. Barbara Eleanor Adams, JHC: Master Teacher, p.53.

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the South, easy. He also connects this migration to the calls for the abolition of slavery by Quakers who had made such claims as early as the 1740s.77 However, there are several factors that gave rise to this desire to migrate. Most of these factors stemmed from a lack of economic opportunity in a South dominated by racism and a White elite that exploited African labor, which in turn exploited poor White labor and resulted in brutal assaults on African people. The repressive South, with its desire to refuse education, also played a role. Africans sought improvement economically, educationally, as well as, physically. Worldly economic factors and the boll weevil also assisted Africans in the decision making process to go North. As we briefly discussed earlier, the calming effect of the Berlin Conference in 1884-85, which brought intra-European peace in their conquest of Africa, evaporated into World War I. With the entrance of the United States into this war the cheap labor of the African was sorely needed in the North. This brought about waves of Africans moving in search of better opportunities. The issue of African migration before and after Americas entrance into WWI brought about both internal conflict among Africans debating over the move, as well as, external conflict as Whites played a tug-of-war over African labor. African leaders like Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass supported Africans remaining in the South. The former stating that Africans should remain in the South where there was land and multitudes (cast down your buckets) and the latter exclaiming that Africans should remain for the purposes of political power.78

77

Carter G. Woodson, A Century of Negro Migration, 1, 18. It should also be noted that Woodson seems to give undue credit to both Quakers and the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and others for sparking a desire not only for freedom but for movements North. He gives little attention, here anyway, to Africans both free and enslaved who led these struggles and seems to miss the avarice with which people like Jefferson and in some cases Quakers dealt with African people in thought and practice. 78 Woodson, Migration, 164.

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Southern Whites were torn as well. Poor whites looked gleefully at the flight of competitive laborers while the elite lamented such a loss because it meant a reduction in cheap laborers. The latter of course also lost the wedge of race that could be placed between White and Black laborers thus reducing the overall cost of labor. Similarly, this fear of the White elite was a response to a loss of a cheap African labor reservoir.79 Closer to the American entrance into World War I the Southern White elite grew more concerned about the flight of African labor. They began running newspaper articles telling of the awful conditions Africans found themselves in up North, the actual lack of economic opportunity and an African desire to return South where life was better. There was also class conflict within the African community that was aroused over the issue of migration. Woodson explains that there was a class aspect to the migration. While it is clear that many who left were poor, land-less Africans looking for uplift (in fact as Woodson explains most Africans who left belonged to the intelligent laboring class80), there was also an African bourgeois that sought improvement. With the fall of Reconstruction and the all-out assault by Southern Whites against their African population, African leaders and politicians found their stay to be more precarious. Deposed political leaders found that they had little tying them to the South, with no income or political power so they too joined the ranks of those moving North. Those affluent Africans who had chosen to stay attacked those who left as they feared a loss of markets, followers and constituency. Kevin Gaines notes that minstrel images were employed by these Africans seeking to keep people in their pews, theaters, and voting boxes. He explains that the criticisms from African leadership were hardly

79 80

Gaines, Uplifting the Race, p. 88. IBID, 163.

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unique. This class was unable to sympathize with destitute or ambitious blacks flight from misery and repression in the rural South. He goes on to note that this played into the hands of mass-media pundits, southern white planters, and northern investors in largescale agriculture, who fearing the mass exodus of coerced back farm labor, discouraged migration.81 The more affluent Africans of the South, who were initially unhappy with the idea of leaving a South that had through segregation given them easy access to African markets that assured relative economic success, did eventually decide to leave. According to Woodson, these Africans relied on previous investments for income and gave up economic comfort (that was most likely evaporating as their markets moved North) for a more politically and socially safe environment in the North. This move also helped this group of Africans, who through economic gain and a desire for higher education, became threats to a Southern racial order that frowned on such behavior. This move gave them a reprieve from the mob brutality that confronted them more regularly in the South. Education by itself served to motivate Africans to move North. Educated Africans, in the aforementioned Southern racial order, were not welcomed leaving them often in unsafe circumstances. However, their movement North robbed the Africans of their due share of the talented tenth.82 Woodson, at the time his work on the migration was written in 1918, felt that while the talented-tenth of the South went North their constituency remained in the South leaving them with unfulfilled dreams. This, Woodson felt, left Northern enlightened Africans to keep their light under a bushel

81 82

Gaines, 89. IBID, 165.

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while those who remained South gave in to that order and fell silent.83 This resulted in no positive African leadership in the South only those who followed the White Southern way. As far as the Northern African being forced to hide her/his light we shall see that this would not necessarily be so. In fact, the pioneers of the 19th century left a foundation that would allow for subsequent generations of Africans to establish small areas of space for the propagation of the tradition that would be reflected in the life of John Henrik Clarke. At the close of the 19th century there was a mass awakening in America of ethnic heritage and awareness. The combined events of the 19th century already mentioned, along with a continued influx of European immigrants resulted people confronting changing identities. As the pot melted it burned a sense of history into its ingredients. Elinor Des Verney Sinnette, in her work on Arthur Schomburg writes, ethnic societies flourished during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when Irish, German, and Italian-American groups were formed to maintain members links with their European heritage.84 Africans in America were not to be left out of this movement either. There was a growing interest in and production of African history that was clearly a holdover from the efforts of, among others, the pioneers we have mentioned. In 1828 the earliest of these groups was formed in Philadelphia, it was called the Reading Room Society. In 1834 David Ruggles opened the first African-centered bookstore in New York City paving the way for future bibliophiles like Schomburg, George Young, Richard B. Moore and others. Ruggles, it should also be noted, was the editor of Americas first African

83 84

IBID, 166. Elinor Des Verney Sinnette, Arthur Schomburg, p.39-40.

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magazine, Mirror of Liberty and was said to be the Father of the Underground Railroad.85 This was followed by the formation of the {Benjamin} Banneker Literary Institute in 1854 and like its predecessor, the Reading Room Society, it required its members to research, write, present and debate topics on and surrounding African people and history. Perhaps the former was named not only for a man whose memory is owed all the credit for the surviving design and layout of the nations capital but for a man who wrote that there should be a position added to government, a Secretary of Peace. This person would be, perfectly free from all the Present absurd and vulgar prejudices of Europeans upon the subject of government.86 In 1897, just one year after the United States Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that segregation was to be the law of the land and ensuring that Africans would be exempt from federal civil rights law thus sealing the fate of a time period that Rayford Logan called the nadir of Reconstruction era advancement for African people87, Crummell helped establish an organization that whose efforts would be felt up through the present. After returning from a twenty-year sojourn in Africa, and perhaps influenced by a call from Martin Delany in 1869 for the creation of historical societies, Alexander Crummell helped to found the American Negro Academy (ANA) in Washington, DC. As we have mentioned, Crummell though lacking some of the preferred tenets of the tradition, was among the pioneers who allowed for the tradition to develop and expand. For after all is said and done Crummell left an organization that would allow for the flourishing of African radicalism and historical research. The ANA, along with its sister organization in Philadelphia the American Negro Historical Society also formed in
85 86

Bennett, 132. Bennett, Shaping, 142.

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1897, was established to collect evidence and undertake research that would inform, inspire, and uplift the black race.88 The ANA was a serious organization with rigorous enrollment regulations. Membership was kept to forty persons, men of Science, Letters and Art, or those distinguished in other walks of life.89 At the opening session of the ANA W.E.B. DuBois, a man who, as mentioned, felt that in the presence of Crummell he must bow, read from his powerful paper The Conservation of Races espousing the necessity of Pan-Africanist thought. He wrote, the advance guard of the Negro peoplethe eight million people of Negro blood in the United States of America- must soon come to realize that if they are to take their just place in the van of Pan-Negroism, then their destiny is not absorption by white Americans. As Ronald Walters notes, this paper and statement are sensible conclusions reached by DuBois considering they came one year after publishing his seminal Harvard doctoral thesis on The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, 1838-1870.90 Wilson Moses, however, notes that this paper shows a young DuBois trying to impress Crummell and the ANA by succumbing to some very essentialist notions of race. ADD MORE FROM MOSES BOOK AND DUBOIS PRESENTATION TO THE ANA PAGES 264-265. For assistance in forming the ANA Crummell turned to men such as Walter B. Hayson, graduate of Oberlin College, Kelly Miller a mathematician who taught at Howard University and was a strong advocate for the creating an African studies program
87 88

Rayford W. Logan, Betrayal of the Negro Sinnette, 39. 89 Sinnette, 50. 90 Ronald W. Walters, Pan Africanism in the African Diaspora, 38. Walters uses this DuBois presentation to state that DuBois, despite the claims of others that it was H. Sylvester Williams, popularized the term and concept of Pan-Africanism.

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there, Paul Lawrence Dunbar the poet and creator of the ANA name and John Wesley Cromwell a formerly enslaved African who graduated from Howard Universitys Law School and was a founder of a local newspaper. Cromwell was also a bibliophile who wrote The Negro in American History in 1914, eight years earlier than Carter G. Woodsons The Negro in Our History. In 1914, one year prior to the birth of Clarke, Cromwell sponsored the acceptance of membership into the ANA of both Woodson and the man whose influence on Clarke was such that his name would be mentioned in nearly every Clarke writing and lecture, Arthur A. Schomburg. Born in 1874 of a White father and an African mother in Puerto Rico, Schomburg would later grow to be among the greatest bibliophiles and influences on those studying African world history. Later called the Sherlock Holmes of Negro History it is also said that, he was the silent co-author of many volumes having provided so much of the necessary research material from a legendary collection of books garnered over a long life of collection.91 This led J.A. Rogers to say of him that Schomburg was a walking encyclopedia.92 As we have said, the imperial efforts of the United States as the 19th century came to a close spawned a radicalism and Pan-Africanism that would greatly affect the African population in America. As America sought to expand those who were to be trampled by such efforts resisted and these combatants found heirs in the likes of Schomburg. Young Arthur Schomburg began a political education at an early age by spending much of his time in Puerto Rico with the tabaqueros (cigar makers) who were the grassroots workingclass scholars of the day. There he met people like Bernardo Vega, a tabaquero and

91 92

Sinnette, 1,2. Joel A. Rogers, Worlds Great Men of Color Volume II, p.452.

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leader of the Puerto Rican independence movement and Socialist Party. In Vegas Memoirs he writes of Schomburg as having left the Jesuit school to become and an autodidact or self-taught man.93 American aggression brought unification among Puerto Rican and Cuban revolutionaries. Nationalists from both islands together petitioned in Madrid and protested at home for independence from colonial subjugation.94 The Cuban revolutionary Ramon Betances sought to unite the Cuban and Puerto Rican people saying that they should work together as brothers who suffer a common injustice, let us be one also in the revolution calling for independence of Cuba and Puerto Rico.95 Betances while organizing and working for such a reality would become for Schomburg a father figure.96 Among those resisting Spain and Americas colonizing efforts in Puerto Rico were Flor Baerga and Rafael Serra who, in 1888, found Los Independientes, a social and political club for those in defense of Puerto Rican independence. Here Schomburg continued his political education listening to lectures from Baerga and meeting the Cuban revolutionary and fellow member of Los Independientes Jose Marti. Like the Africans from the southern United States prior to Schomburgs birth, many from Cuba and Puerto Rico would also seek out economic and educational advances in New York City creating a small Mecca for revolutionaries from those regions to meet and work together. Schomburg, caught up in this trend, himself went to New York in 1891. One year later, in 1892, Jose Martis newspaper Patria writes that a

93 94

Sinnette, 9. Sinnette, 15. 95 Sinnette, 16. 96 IBID, 16.

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new club had been formed of Cuban and Puerto Rican revolutionary independence seekers that had Schomburg as its secretary. While in New York Schomburg also joined the Prince Hall Lodge of Masons further connecting himself to the tradition that he would subsequently pass on. Schomburg was fast becoming a first-hand student of revolution and would soon use that in his source collection, writing, and as we will show, his teaching of John Henrik Clarke. However, it was Schomburgs efforts in the creation and support of historical societies that formed yet another on the traditions links. In 1905 his mentor John Edward Bruce, or Bruce grit, convinced Schomburg to take his love for book collecting and historical study and join the Mens Sunday Club. This was an informal club of informal scholars who would meet at Bruces house to discuss issues relating to African people around the globe. On April 9, 1911 this club was formalized into the Negro Society for Historical Research. Among the greatest impact this organization would have was its pan-Africanist orientation being the first such organization to incorporate scholars of both forma and informal training and from all regions of the African diaspora.97 The year 1900 can be marked as an especially important one for our purposes here. First, it was during this year that the European/American global imperial efforts further awakened the worldwide African population to its need to unify. As Clarke has written, the European/American Berlin Conference in general and Belgiums treatment of Africans in the Congo in particular, became part of the motivation for {Black Americans} to the early Pan-African Movement.98 This led leaders like DuBois and

97 98

Sinnette, 105. Clarke, Notes, 195.

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others to, in 1900 in London, convene the first of several Pan-African Conferences in the first half of the 20th century. In addition, 1900 is also important for, two years after the United States had secured expanded territory with the completion of the Spanish-American War, another of the links to Clarke and the tradition arrived in New York City. Hubert Henry Harrison, The Black Socrates, was poised to take center stage on the center stage of African revolutionary thought and action in America, Harlem, USA. This was the beginnings of the era of the New Negro, or as Leonard Harris has said, the era of ethno-genesis, where Africans began to create a new identity in opposition to what had been given them by European America.99 As Gaines notes, this era was greatly influenced by Africans coming from the West Indies of which Harrison was one.100 Harrison stands as a link between African thought of the diaspora, the burgeoning New Negro identity movement, the confluence of radical and militant thought crossing from socialism to Pan-Africanism to nationalism, and the convergence of all of this on Harlem, the ideological and cultural center, for all of these movements. 101 From the example of Harrisons life we will be able to see all of the influences that would later be passed on to John Henrik Clarke upon his arrival to Harlem in 1933. Harrisons relative anonymity in the historical record is equaled only by the admiration he receives from those who did know of him. This is explained well in J.A. Rogers introductory paragraph on the man and his friend. Rogers writes: That individuals of genuine worth and immense potentialities who dedicated their
99

Leonard Harris, lecture on Alain Locke: Identity and the New Negro, audio cassette. Gaines, 234. 101 Portia James, Hubert Harrison and the New Negro Movement, 82.
100

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lives to the advancement of their fellow men are permitted to pass unrecognized and unrewarded from the scene, while others, inferior to them in ability and altruism, receive acclaim, wealth and distinction, is common- yet it never ceases to shock all but the confirmed cynic. Those with a sense of right and wrong, of fitness and incongruity- whether they be wise men or fools- will forever feel that this out not to be.102 Clarke would benefit from a knowledge of Harrison in large part because of his indoctrination into the tradition by among others, Rogers and John G. Jackson, both of whom knew and were influenced by Harrison, a point to which we shall return. Jackson, writing of Harrison, said that the latter was unknown or unheard of because he was a champion of unpopular causes.103 Jackson, quoting from the aforementioned piece on Harrison by Rogers, says that Harrison overcame the hardships poverty, a family to support, a candid tongue, a passion for knowledge; {and} on top of all that, a black skin, existing in America. Jackson continues, surely, a more formidable string of handicaps would be hard to conceive.104 Harrison took on his unpopular causes in the most grand style of the tradition, the street corner soap box. A highly educated man with no education at all, Harrison became the most prominent of Harlem orators. Among those unpopular causes Harrison chose to fight for, the uplift and liberation of oppressed people, a refutation of organized religion (he, in fact, was an atheist), and he challenged capitalism. As we will discuss, Clarkes flirtation with the Socialist and Communist Parties and his subsequent movement away from them based on their inability to overcome white supremacy had as a precursor the experiences of Harrison.

102 103

J.A. Rogers, Worlds Great Vol. II, 432. John G. Jackson, Hubert Henry Harrison: The Black Socrates, 2. 104 IBID.

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Harrison was born in St. Croix, in the Danish Virgin Islands, in 1883. Though he received schooling there (even teaching some), for a brief period of time at the University of Copenhagen, and later in United States high school, Harrison was in the tradition of being largely self-taught. Once migrating to New York in 1900 he scored a perfect score on his Civil Service exam, worked in the post office and then as a freelance journalist. He later lost this job after writing a series of articles where he was critical of White Americas favorite African, Booker T. Washington. In 1909, while DuBois was aiding in the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Harrison joined the Socialist Party and officially entered the world of radical politics. As we will discuss in the next chapter this move would have a profound effect on the Pan-African struggle taking place in Harlem that would have global impact for generations to come. This was the beginning of an era that would have enormous influence over world struggles. As we have mentioned, the calming effect of the Berlin Conference on European imperialism failed culminating in World War I. The initial peace that the Conference provided evaporated and proved unable to prevent Europeans from fighting one another to control of the richest mineral and natural resource land mass in the world. As Gaines explains this was the era of the triumph of Bolshevism in Russia, the democratic ideals of {the impending} World War I along with the mass migration of African Americans cityward {all culminating in the} conditions for more militant New Negro intellectuals and leadership.105 What we will discuss next chapter are the emergence of Harrison and other African leaders during this time period, their relationship to a burgeoning Harlem and its

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history, and the groundwork they would lay for the birth and arrival in Harlem of John Henrik Clarke.

105

Gaines, 234. 50

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Chapter Three: Harlem

Harlem is indeed the great Mecca for the sightseer, the pleasure-seeker, the curious, the adventurous, the enterprising, the ambitious and the talented of the whole Negro world; for lure of it has reached down to every island of the Carib Sea and has penetrated even into Africa. -James Weldon Johnson106 {Harlem} attracted the African, the West Indian, the Southerner, the Northerner, the man from the city, the man from the town, the student, the businessman, the artist, the writer, and so on. -Clovis Semmes107 Here we will offer a brief history of Harlem, explore the confluence of African radical thought, i.e. Pan-Africanism, nationalism and socialism, and the era into which John Henrik Clarke would enter Harlem

The Harlem Clarke would meet was not always the center of the African liberation struggle in America though it most certainly was by the time of his arrival in 1933. It had become home to the African American elite, the intellectuals and artisans, and was home to Americas most vital and powerful African radical activity. As James Weldon Johnson was aware, Harlem had a broad attractive quality that attracted African people from around the globe, including the likes of Arthur Schomburg, Hubert Henry Harrison and Marcus Garvey. The outcome of Harlems lure of such a wide scope of Africans from America and the diaspora was a meeting of the various trends within African radical thought, not excluding the influence of European radical thought. In fact, it is this period, particularly after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, that sees the infusion of European radical thought in the name of socialism into the tradition that had up to this point been largely pan-Africanist and/or nationalist.
106 107

Harlem USA, ed. John Henrik Clarke, 12. Clovis Semmes, Cultural Hegemony, 204.

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The three dominant varieties of African struggle extant in Harlem at the time of Clarkes arrival were Pan-Africanism, nationalism and socialism. By pan-Africanism we mean the various movements aimed, as Clinton E. Marsh writes, toward economic cooperation, cultural awareness, and international political solidarity among people of African descent.108 By nationalism, avoiding the larger and on-going debate over definition, is meant movements whose goal was the political and economic control over African communities, already almost entirely separated or segregated, whether or not the ultimate goal of separate land or nation was expressed or sought. The three would both unite and fracture African peoples as they sought to formulate a plan of liberation. These trends would also later become the frame of reference and methodological tool of John Henrik Clarke. This becomes clear as we will see that in nearly every lecture and writing over the last twenty or so years of Clarkes life he would state emphatically that he was simultaneously a Pan-Africanist, a nationalist and a socialist and that using all three caused no contradiction. This is a direct result of these three ideologies being the dominant trends in African radical thought as they coalesced in Harlem in the decade or so before Clarkes birth and later arrival to New York. The most prominent thinkers in the African struggle as it took place in Harlem from DuBois to Harrison, to A. Philip Randolph and Marcus Garvey all focused their attentions on one or more of these three trends further weaving them into the fabric of Harlems African radical thought tapestry. However, Harlems history was not always that of the African world. It began, as all the United States and New York City did, as a land of the indigenous or First Nations

108

Clinton E. Marsh, From Black Muslims to Muslims: The Transition from Separatism to Islam, 19301980, 80.

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people. As Europeans began encroaching through theft, murder or dealing, Native Americans began losing the land so that eventually the Dutch controlled what they would call New Amsterdam in the early years of the 17th century. In 1626 eleven Africans were brought and settled on the outskirts of the area in what was then called The Bowery. These eleven Africans soon built a wagon road that extended to the upper most part of the Dutch territory that was called at that time Haarlem. As Clarke explains, it would be about two hundred and seventy four years before Harlem (now spelled with one a) was changed into a Negro metropolis.109 1900 would prove a seminal year for Harlem and the entire world African community. The emergence of pan-African thought under the leadership of the first of three men from Trinidad, H. Sylvester Williams, George Padmore and C.L.R. James, to develop and organize under such thought would begin with the first pan-Africanist Conference in London. 110 This, and the conferences to follow, would have great impact on the radical culture that would later develop as Harlem was Africanized. However, prior to this Harlem was, throughout the 1890s, a wealthy White community that had developed as downtown Manhattan had an enormous increase in population. The wealthy White elite felt that a move uptown would be prudent and more accommodating. Real estate speculators, expecting new subways routes out to Harlem to bring multitudes of tenants, built housing accordingly only to find that they built more than they could rent. Instead of taking a loss they began courting African tenants. Clovis
109 110

Harlem USA, 12. While many point to Williams as the founder of the term pan-Africanism, Ronald Walters claims that DuBois should be given said credit. Walters calls attention to a DuBois speech delivered in 1897 to the ANA where he uses the term pan-Negroism with the same meaning. Walters also explains that DuBois 1896 Harvard dissertation on the Suppression of the Slave Trade was in fact written with a great understanding of pan-Africanism further supporting his belief that DuBois be credited with the inception of the term and use of the concept as a methodological tool for research. Walters, 38.

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Semmes writes, rather than face financial ruin in Harlems deflating real estate market, some White landlords and corporations were willing to rent to African Americans.111 Around 1909 some a rash of newspaper ads were published inviting Africans to move up to Harlem.112 Between these invitations and the horrendous race relations throughout New York Africans gladly began the move. Poor race relations both inside and outside of New York brought Africans there. After a fourth race riot in New York Africans, led in part by Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., began a moving into Harlem. Externally to New York, the aforementioned racial strife in the South brought with the migrations many more Africans to Harlem. In fact, both Groh and Woodson remark on the Southern influence on the newly developed Northern African regions and the animosity met from Northern Whites who saw migrating Africans as strike breakers, and inferior individuals unworthy of consideration which white men deserve.113 As Clarke explains, African Harlem was beautiful, clean, safe, full of hope and expectations.114 Resulting from self-pride and a sense of community, Harlems cleanliness and peacefulness made it fertile ground for the growth of African struggle and the meeting and expansion of ideas. As mentioned, African radicalism in America (and abroad) was sparked by the outbreak of World War I and Harlem was the center of it all. Africans around the globe witnessed themselves for the first time being pulled into battle for foreign causes. Africans were forced by the thousands to fight for their respective colonial powers: for the French some 211,000 Africans were taken from their West and Equatorial colonies and 270,000 from their North African territories where

111 112

Clovis Semmes, Cultural Hegemony and African American Development, 202. I Remember Harlem, videotape. 113 Woodson, Migration, 179. See also Groh, p. 7. 114 Clarke, A Great and Mighty Walk, St. Claire Bourne film.

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roughly 200,000 Africans died in defense of France. The British, not to be out-done, took roughly 80,000 from its colonies and forced another million or so into being porters where roughly 100,000 died from war, poverty or disease. Germans, Belgians and Portuguese also reached into their African reserves and when all was said and done the total African loss of life defending the various European colonial oppressors was at least 300,000.115 America was no different and as a result attitudes among the worlds African population underwent further radicalism. In October of 1919 the New York Times ran an article describing a change in the form and practice of African radicalism in America. No longer was African leadership still under the influence of Booker T. Washington, they were no longer, as Philip Foner writes, docile and accommodating, they were radicals and revolutionaries.116 World War I had challenged Africans to reevaluate their struggle and among the avenues open to these militants were socialism, Pan-Africanism and nationalism. One year after the start of World War I, in 1915 the year of Clarkes birth, Carter G. Woodson formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, George Young opened The Young Book Exchange, the film Birth of a Nation was released and Booker T. Washington died. The release of Birth and the death of Washington are significant for the fact that they signaled an end to one era of African struggle and the simultaneous rise of White nationalism. This White nationalism was largely in response to the crushing of African Reconstruction, and subsequently gave the African struggle a newness it needed to combat oppression.117

115 116

Basil Davidson, Modern Africa, 6-7. Philip Foner, American Socialism and Black Americans, 265. 117 Note to discuss Clarke lectures on White nationalism being the governing ideology of most of the world for last 500 years.

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Grace Elizabeth Hale writes that the film Birth of a Nation was a film spectacle that depicted Reconstruction as a race war, and explained that both the white South and the white North {had} slipped free from any last traces of moral obligation to the exslaves. She continues that the film set a tone for national White group consciousness. It sought to depict Africans as having destroyed the Old Souths racial paradise and the Norths idealistic if misguided attempt to lift up an inferior race, and that the refutation of the hell of Reconstruction, brought about not just a reconciliation but the birth of the new Anglo-Saxon nation.118 William Monroe Trotter, in response to the realization of the films purpose as a creator of anti-African consciousness (decades before the likes of Noam Chomsky would make similar claims about the purpose of consciousness creation by American media), sought to prevent showings of the film in Philadelphia. Further resistance to the film came in an attempt by Booker T. Washington and Emmett J. Scott, Washingtons personal secretary, to create an African-owned film company that would film Birth of a Race using Washingtons book Up From Slavery as an accurate depiction of African life in America. Washingtons death in 1915 and an intra-African class struggle that resulted in an aesthetic guerrilla war prevented this enterprise from ever happening. 119 Similarly, African response to such an American national rise of White supremacy produced some seminal works that would prove to have great influence on the development of African scholarship and historical understanding. Included here, were DuBois piece The African Roots of War, detailing the centrality of African land and

118 119

Grace Elizabeth Hale, Making Whiteness, 79. Greg Carr, Tribute to John Henrik Clarke, videotape, 1998 and also Gaines, Uplift, 250.

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labor to European conflict.120 DuBois also published The Negro in 1915 that becomes a basis for the study of African people and history and would open up the study of Africa for a line of distinguished Black historians such as Carter Woodson and John Henrik Clarke.121 DuBois, writing later about his 1915 publication, noted its importance saying that, no historical series in the world had ever admitted that Africans had any history.122 Woodson, inspired by the times and efforts of the ANA, would also publish in 1916 The Journal of Negro History which in its inaugural issue describes a Pan-Africanist view of history connecting Africans in America to the oldest African and world civilizations.123 Furthermore, by 1915, the aforementioned confluence of African radical thought was in full swing. This was the era of the New Negro where, as mentioned by Leonard Harris, an ethno-genesis was taking place. Alain Locke, who initially was quite assimilated, became radicalized after his being rewarded the Rhodes Scholarship in 1907. Upon meeting for the first time, those who had selected him, Locke realized that unbeknownst to them they had selected an African. Their response was to begrudgingly go through with the awarding of Locke, despite his not being White, but he now began to use his philosophical background as a base for challenging and debunking European notions of African people. This change was recognized by, among others, John Edward Bruce and Arthur Schomburg who invited the self-taught historian Locke to be the first guest lecturer of their newly formed Negro Society for Historical Research.124 This, and

120 121

DuBois, The African Roots of War, Atlantic Monthly, 1915. Ronald W. Walters, Pan-Africanism, 39. 122 W.E.B. DuBois, The Negro, with new introduction by Herbert Aptheker (1975), 5. 123 An example of this Pan-African connection to the antiquity of civilization and the first being in Africa is seen in an essay by Monroe N. Work, The Passing Tradition, Journal of Negro History, v.1, no.1, 1916. 124 Sinnette, 44. The move to bring Locke to lecture was also a partial response to the feelings of illegitimacy among the informally or self-taught scholars in the society. Schomburg had many feelings of reservation and nervousness around more formally trained scholars such as DuBois and Woodson, a feeling that was at least in part transmitted to Clarke.

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his experience with the Rhodes Scholarship committee, brought about Lockes transition into Pan-Africanist thought and as Harris explains joined him with DuBois and Garvey the two other leaders of this ethno-genesis, or creation of the New Negro.125 Also, by 1915, A. Philip Randolph had migrated from Ohio and been in Harlem for four years. One year later Marcus Garvey arrived in New York. Hubert Harrison had already been in Harlem for fifteen years spending, by then, six in the Socialist Party along with DuBois who had been in New York since 1910. These figures best exemplify the meeting of leading forms of radical thought and deserve at least brief attention here. The entire World War I era had reinforced both radical White supremacist action and an American government attack on radicalism, primarily socialist and communist thought. Both Red Summer and the Red Scare in the year 1919 illustrated the two primary opponents to the African struggle, race and class. The Red Summer, race riots or pogroms as has been said, where Africans returning from World War I found themselves under severe attack from angry Whites was a manifestation of the white supremacist aspect of the struggle. Simultaneously, United States government repression against socialist thought during the Red Scare resulted in a hunt for alien radicals to be deported mass raids, where by 1920, 2,758 {socialists} were arrested in thirtythree cities and showed the antagonism stemming from the dominant economic order.126 It was into this climate that this eras African radicals found themselves. Along with the era of ethno-genesis and the New Negro the early 1900s representation of the African struggle against race and class in New York can best be represented by the efforts of Marcus Garvey and A. Philip Randolph respectively. That

125 126

Leonard Harris, Alain Locke, lecture cassette. Philip Foner, American Socialism and Black Americans, 312.

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said, then certainly both the meeting and inspiration of those two can be found in Hubert Harrison. Harrison, the father of Harlem radicalism, who played an instrumental role in the development of both the race-first and class-first ideologies. 127 Harrison would come to represent many aspects of what the tradition would develop into; the autodidact, nationalist, study group and organization. From his lectern on the corners of his Harlem Streetcorner University128 Harrison gave lectures that showed his knowledge of the social sciences and his ability to apply them to the conditions of his people. Though a socialist and friend of Harrison, DuBois chose to help found and lead the Niagara Movement, later the NAACP, while Harrison chose the more radical Socialist Party which he felt did better confronting the economic conditions of African people. Portia James describes this as the challenge in African struggle between the Tuskegee Machine (emphasis on labor rather than education and politics) and the growing militancy of African America on the one hand and the increasingly militant struggle between U.S. labor and capital.129 This supports what we have established as the two primary concerns facing Africans in America race and class and also illustrates the pull between Booker T. Washington and DuBois. Rod Bush summarizes the split between Washington and DuBois as essentially resulting from the southern context which produced the former enslaved Washington and his attitudes towards race, class and caste that clearly differed from a more middle-class cosmopolitan DuBois. DuBois and others could not understand or agree with Washingtons seeming acceptance of Americas caste system and his unwillingness to
127

Foner, p. 266 and Portia James, Hubert H. Harrison and the New Negro Movement, The Western Journal of Black Studies, vol. 13, no.2, 1989, 83. 128 Portia James, 85. We will also see this theme repeat itself as Clarke talks about his experience and studies in Harlems University of the Streets.

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properly blame European Americans for the division and disparity among the races. He notes that this frustration with Washington came from the fact that not only was Washington the most powerful Black leader of this period (1895-1915), he was the most powerful African American leader in the history of the United States.130 Frustration with Washington derived from this reality coupled with the reality that Washingtons prominence coincided with an overall decline in African American education, voting and an increase in segregation. Bush, like Clarke but unlike many, reminds us that DuBois had once been a supporter of Washington. In fact, in 1907 the two had together published The Negro in the South dealing with African Americas economic condition. But that the final straw had been drawn when during a lecture in Boston Washington refused to answer questions or discuss African voting rights and education. When William Monroe Trotter, perhaps Washingtons most stringent antagonist, disrupted the speech he was arrested and put in jail. DuBois agreed with Trotters criticism and this marked the definitive split between the two. However, DuBois would later note that both he and Washington lacked an understanding of the nature of capitalistic exploitation of labor, and the necessity of a direct attack on the principle of exploitation as the beginning of labor uplift.131 This later understanding clearly comes from the addition of European socialist thought into the African radical thinking of the early twentieth century. Socialists had long been in disagreement with Washington over his suggestion that Africans offer themselves as a pool of cheap, reliable labor and his call that Africans shun alliances with white workers, especially in labor unions and that they
129 130

Portia James, 83. Rod Bush, We Are Not What We Seem,73.

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should seek an alliance with their natural friends, the capitalists.132 What this also illustrates, as we will see shortly, the insufficiency of the Socialist Party in dealing with the effects of white supremacy on the African community. In other words, socialists were not quick to acknowledge White resistance to African inclusion in labor struggles forcing them to consider African-centered organizations. As mentioned, the early 1900s saw a rise in Socialist activity and American repression of such activity. This brought enormous attention to Socialism within the African community as the advances and setbacks of Socialists were witnessed. However, little attention was paid by socialists to the specific problems of the African community. Harrison supported the efforts of White socialists who recognized this such as Isaac Rubinow and brought the Negro Question into full discussion within the Socialist Party. However, the Socialist Party was more interested in helping DuBois found the Niagara Movement/NAACP whose mission was more integrated.133 DuBois had, in response to Washingtons 1895 Atlanta Compromise address, witnessed that since then there had been massive disfranchisement of African people, the codification of African inferiority and the reduction of financial aid to institutions of African higher learning.134 Shortly after the death of Booker T. Washington the Socialist Partys Appeal to Reason published the following, an example of their criticisms of Washingtons efforts: The career of Booker T. Washington is undoubtedly an inspiring indication of the possibilities of Negro development under favorable conditions. But it also reminds us that the salvation of the Negro race is not possible through the work of individual benefactors like Washington, or even the united racial action which is only a means of intensifying racial prejudice, but through united economic and

131 132

Bush, 74. Philip Foner, 183. 133 P. Foner, 182 for the role of the Socialist Party in the founding of the NAACP (chapter on it). 134 P. Foner, 182.

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political action to secure industrial and social freedom and opportunity for all men, regardless of race or color.135 What Harrison, and others, were confronting in the Socialist Party was its own history of resistance to acknowledging white supremacy as a unique problem to class. Despite claims just mentioned that the Socialist Party sought equality for all people regardless of race or color did not release them from their own history of showing little concern for African people. Even the comments of socialist legend Karl Marx that would later inspire the greatest of African radicals, Paul Robeson were ignored, for Marx himself wrote that, labor with a white skin cannot emancipate itself where labor with a black skin is branded.136 Nor was Lenin or Trotsky remembered when they both supported national self-determination and the rights of all nationalities to cultural and political autonomy.137 Socialist resistance to African development, aside from it being a European concept and construct, can be understood in its relation to its own diaspora. That is, that as Foner explains socialist historians have deliberately ignored socialist history outside of Europe seeing it as merely a minor by-product of European socialism. This helps explain socialist resistance to their own history of racial oppression as their history had largely been written ignoring the American context which, of course, leads to the omission of the African relationship to socialism.138 As we have said, Harrison preferred a more radical tract than DuBois. Recognizing socialist resistance to dealing with white supremacy he formed the Colored Socialist Club (CSC) in 1911. DuBois joined those in attacking the move claiming that it

135 136

P. Foner, 257 - authors emphasis to show Socialist antagonism against nationalist thought or action. Paul Robeson Speaks, p.15. 137 Foner, 275. See also Leon Trotsky on Nationalism and Self-Determination. 138 P. Foner, 3.

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brought isolation and was too similar to other segregated organizations nationwide.139 Despite Harrisons claims that the CSC was meant to be proof that the Socialist Party was ready to address the specific issues facing the African community within America, the organization folded by 1912 due to lack of funds, lack of attendance but primarily out of fear of DuBois attacks and his negative influence.140 This led to Harrisons break with the Socialist Party so that he could work among his people along lines of his own choosing.141 It was during the years after his break with the Socialist Party that Harrison would become the influence that J.A. Rogers, John G. Jackson and John Henrik Clarke would later admire and recognize. In 1917 and 1920 he would expand on his post-socialist radical thinking in The Negro and the Nation and When Africa Awakes respectively.142 It was also during these years that his lectures in the Harlem streets would, among others, gain the interest and friendship of other notables in the African socialist world. Among these were Richard B. Moore, Cyril Briggs and A. Philip Randolph who by 1915 had become a regular attendee at Harrisons corner. 143 Despite the fact that by this time Harrison had moved from a class first analysis to a race first analysis he and the more strict socialist Randolph were able to work with one another on several projects including the Independent Political Council which would later become The Messenger group. Randolph and his partner Chandler Owen both had been part of the migration from south to north. Both had arrived in New York and joined the Socialist Party in
139 140

P. James, 84. P. James, 84. 141 P. James, 85. 142 Note to expand on these books. 143 P. Foner, 266- where it is also said that Moore and Briggs were in disagreement with Harrison over his lack of faith in the Socialist Party. Moore would later break with the Socialist Party to join the Communist Party and Briggs would later found the African Blood Brotherhood in 1917.

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1916. They quickly became active in New York politics and following in the footsteps of J. B. Reed and in November of 1917 published The Messenger a Black socialist paper. Reed had printed the first Black socialist paper in Montana called American Negro Socialist whose purpose it was to spread the tenets of socialism to Africans across the nation. The Messenger was at the time herald as the only Black socialist paper of its time and was meant to not only spread the word of racism but was designed to fight the hydra-headed monster- race prejudice.144 The same month that witnessed the first issue of The Messenger also bore witness to a global event that would infuse energy and vigor into the African struggle. This time it was the Bolshevik Revolution led by Vladimr I. Lenin. Seven months after the United States had entered World War I the Revolution was a sign to the socialist world that socialism was in fact going to take hold worldwide. While most African leaders in America, including DuBois, suggested Africans put aside their problems with America and join the war effort African socialists were confident that this was in opposition to progressive action. With the arrival of the Russian Revolution socialists, Black and White, found their validation and increased efforts against American participation. In a move that would proceed the actions of J.A. Rogers and his 1930s travel to Ethiopia to report back to the African community first-hand accounts of the war against Italy, John Reed, an African socialist in America, wrote back eye-witness accounts of the Russian Revolution. Among those reports were descriptions of Lenins plans to incorporate national liberation from Czarist Russia giving each its own autonomy. Reeds words, read throughout Harlem, gave rise to the nationalist consciousness in

144

P. Foner, 272.

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African America. If Russia was giving freedom and liberty to its formerly oppressed nationalities, who more than the African in America was deserving of such liberation? Randolph and The Messenger were equally effected by these events. They wrote bringing attention to the issue of colonial domination in Africa and, like DuBois, spoke clearly about the scramble for Africa being the basis of European world war. They spoke out against the Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations explaining that both were imperialist and called for the establishment of an International Council on the Conditions of Darker Races.145 Similarly, the second pan-Africanist Conference of 1919 called for by DuBois in Paris sought to address, among the myriad problems facing Africans around the globe, the inability of DuBois and Trotter to raise the issue of African exploitation at the same 1918 Versailles Peace Conference.146 These decidedly pan-African efforts and perspectives were signs of the times and again had a great influence on the radical thinking occurring in Harlem. Pan-Africanism, nationalism and socialism were consistently being used in unlimited combinations as Africans sought out ways to improve their conditions. An international perspective was increased as Africans from the diaspora poured into New York, and Harlem specifically, fertilizing one another. Another of the major figures from the diaspora whose arrival in Harlem in 1916 brought about massive changes to the political landscape was Marcus Garvey. The confluence of Pan-Africanism, nationalism and socialism has no greater illustration than the meeting of Harrison, Randolph and Garvey. Garvey had traveled throughout the Caribbean and the Americas where he witnessed an oppression of the

145 146

P. Foner, 276. Turner and Turner, Richard B. Moore: Harlem Radical, 166.

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darker races that rivaled what he had seen in his Jamaican homeland. This created in him a pan-Africanism and nationalism that would lead him to establishing the largest of all African organizations in America or abroad. The Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and its sister the African Communities League (ACL) would become powerful and lasting forces in the African world community and no less so than in Harlem. In 1916 Harrison had formed Harlems first forum for the discussion among Africans of arts, sociology, science, economics and politics. His Harlem Peoples Forum would later lead him to the 1917 establishment of the Liberty League of Negro Americans. Harrisons efforts were directly related to his break with the Socialist Party and his frustration with the NAACP. He would explain that the Liberty League was established with the realization of the need for a more radical policy than that of the NAACP that called into being the Liberty League of Negro Americans. And the NAACP, as mother, must forgive its offspring for forging farther ahead.147 It was also here that Garvey, after suffering some political setbacks and considering a return to Jamaica, was convinced by Harrison to stay and speak. Garvey took full advantage and began an almost immediate boost in membership into his UNIA. Harrisons League produced a newspaper, The Voice, which he called the first to discuss the New Negro consciousness of the times. This was quickly followed by among others, Randolphs The Messenger and Garveys Negro World. Through their works these three were able to work together and against one another voicing their various opinions. While Randolph and Garvey were bitter foes arguing over the tenets of socialism versus race-first nationalism, Harrison remained almost in the middle. His

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nationalism prevented a strict adherence to socialism, at least as that meant the Socialist Party, but his understanding and almost cosmopolitan view of global economics prevented Harrison from fully joining Garvey staunch racialist ideology. Though Harrison had written for and edited Garveys Negro World the inability of Garvey to expand his idea past his base feelings of race and his seeming love for empire and European-styled civilization brought an end to his relationship with the former two. After Garvey, in response to his anger towards mulattos and the light-skinned African elite, stated that the KKK was a greater friend Randolph and The Messenger launched a full scale assault to have him removed. The Garvey Must Go campaign was put in high gear. To the dismay of 21st century African-centered historians the greatest leaders of the African American world supported this effort. DuBois, Randolph, Harrison and others all took part in aiding the United States government, and a young up-and-coming crazed vulture J. Edgar Hoover, in convicting Garvey of mail fraud and his subsequent deportation. Sides were drawn. Figures such as Carter Woodson, whose political activity brought him perilously close to being drawn into the Marcus Garvey Must Go campaign ended up assisting and writing for Garvey.148 Arthur Schomburg, who had earlier spurned attempts by DuBois to gather damaging information against Garvey, spoke out for Garvey against his detractors. Parenthetically, it is of interesting note that such a believer in racial purity as Garvey was both his means for first coming to the United States, to meet Booker T. Washington, and one of his most ardent defenders, Schomburg, were both biracial.

147 148

P. James, 86. Tony Martin, The Pan-African Connection, 102.

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Schomburgs defense of Garvey even led him to attack Woodsons creation of the Journal of Negro History. Writing to his friend John Edward Bruce, Garveys staunchest supporter among the Afro-American intelligentsia, Schomburg explained that although Woodsons efforts were basically solid he was stealing our thunder.149 This animosity between Schomburg and Woodson also had a history that dated back to the establishment of the Negro Society of Historical Research with its more militant nationalist membership and Woodsons Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodsons group felt the former was too concerned with racial pride to be of true scholarly value and when Woodson published his The Negro in Our History in 1922 sides became clearly drawn. Locke of the NSHR criticized the work as being an unorganized grouping of facts and Schomburg was quick to notice that despite all of his help in providing Woodson with research material his name or organization were not mentioned or given credit.150 This seems also to have to do with antagonisms over training. Schomburg was admittedly timid and unsure around more formally trained scholars and Woodson seems to have been suspicious of the ability of those informally trained. Meanwhile, Woodsons feud with DuBois over the latters bourgeois mentality was exacerbated by the schism created by the arguments of and with Garvey. This would later prove to be a cyclical theme as Clarke would later adopt aspects of this antagonism towards traditionally trained scholars. Though Woodson would be criticized by those in Garveys camp for taking money from Carnegie and other white philanthropists (an attack Woodson himself would

149 150

Tony Martin, The Pan-African Connection, 102. Sinnette, 126.

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later levy against DuBois) and even for plagiarizing Garvey (as asserted by Negro World editor H.G. Mudgal)151 Woodson acknowledged the brilliance of Garvey. Woodson wrote: Whatever may be said about Garveys mistakes, he cannot be recorded in history as a fanatic or a fool His claim to be recorded in history lies in the fact that he attracted a larger following than any Negro who has been developed in modern times. Negroes here and there in America have been hailed as leaders, the press has given them great praise, and their friends have sung of their virtues in high tones; but a thorough analysis of these famous Negro leaders will disclose the fact that they owed their prominence mainly to white men who considered such spokesmen as those person through whom they could work to keep the Negro in his place.152 If we are permitted here to make an oversimplification, the differences between African radical thinkers, the differences in opinion between the Harrisons, Randolphs, and Garveys may be found in the varying degrees to which each thought the other was trapped by European civilization. It has been written that Garveys race analysis and support of capitalist development prevented him from linking with those in struggle over economic issues, i.e. the socialists or communists and that this was a result of his being caught in a European societal con.153 Here the differences between a DuBois/Harrison view of pan-Africanism and socialism appear most vividly and are described well by one of the major influences on pan-Africanism and communism Malcolm Nurse, more commonly known as George Padmore. Padmore explained that DuBois saw panAfricanism as a political philosophy meant to support African self-determination, the struggle against European colonization and the development of independent African nations around a socialist economy. Garvey, on the other hand, saw pan-Africanism as a

151 152

Martin, 108. Martin, 101. 153 Rupert Lewis and Patrick Bryan, Garvey: His Work and Impact, 289.

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means to return Africans to the continent to develop a continental capitalist community. Why should not Africa give the world its black Rockefeller, Rothschild and Henry Ford, Garvey asked, adding, capitalism is necessary to the progress of the world, and those who unreasonably and wantonly oppose or fight against it are enemies of human advancement.154 Garveys seemingly Eurocentric view of societal, economic and political organization helps also to explain his break with Harrison who, along with friend Robert Poston brokered harangues against what Europeans called civilization. To them civilization was an ideological category, the Wests racist theodicy, or justification for the atrocities of the slave trade and colonialism.155 Garveys unwillingness to break with Western notions of race and economic/social development, even if inverted, and his desire for Black Empire building may have proven too much for the likes of Harrison whose version of decolonizing the mind meant refuting all that came with white civilization. What we have attempted to describe here is a World War I era radicalism that thrived and would propel later movements. The amount of writing and cross-pollination of this era cannot be underestimated or overlooked. Out of this era came the combination of the three major trends of pan-Africanism, nationalism and socialism. These trends all appear in the efforts of Cyril Briggs leader of the African Blood Brotherhood and editor of The Amsterdam News and publisher of Crusader, the Crisis magazine under the leadership of W.E.B. DuBois, the Challenge from William Bridges, the aforementioned work of Owen and Randolph in Messenger, Garveys mentor while in London Duse
154

George Padmore, Pan-Africanism or Communism, p.. 83-84 and Marcus Garvey, Philosophy and Opinions, vol. II, p.72.

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Mohamed and his African Times and Orient Review156 which was imported to America by Schomburgs mentor John Edward Bruce, Hubert Harrisons Voice, the Emancipator run by W.A. Domingo, etc. However, for us, here, the importance of these men is their representation and efforts in Pan-Africanist, nationalist and socialist thought. For as mentioned, these are the influences that Clarke would meet upon his arrival to Harlem in 1933 and would form his basis of analysis for the remainder of his life. The following chapter will discuss Clarkes birth, early years and move to Harlem, his indoctrination into the tradition and his early work leading up to the Civil Rights and Black Power era.

155

Gaines, 241.

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Chapter Four: Initiation Im from Alabama- red clay still On m feet, I gitta gal n Alabama, who lives On de Chinaberry rout; Yeh, Im from Alabama, An dats nothing t brag about. Gon sent fer m gal n Alabama, So she kin marry me; Gonna brang dat gal t Harlem An how happee we gonna be. Gonna build her a house on Sugar Hill, Where days never feelin low; Yeh, Im from Alabama, But I aint goin back no more. -John Henrik Clarke157 Let little Bubba think about something give Bubba a book. The boys got a head on his shoulders and maybe one day he will lead us out of all this stuff. - The Early Community of John Henrik Clarke158 This chapter will take a look at the early years of Clarkes birth, first African awareness and move to Harlem. Here we will see Clarke developing in the context of the three major trends of radical African thought. From there we will look at his initiation into the tradition being spoken of herein, including those who conducted this initiation, and the first stages of his ideological development and work as he emerged from his primary tradition-indoctrination. John Henrik Clarke would often retell the story of his birth by beginning with the tale of how he upset his family and friends by delaying the customary new years celebration of 1915. The custom was that those in Union Springs, Alabama would gather for a big feast each new years day, however, Clarkes mother who was expecting the arrival of her new child at anytime refused to cook until that child was born. So, as
156

It is also from his time spent with Mohamed, an African nationalist and socialist, that Garvey learned the phrase Africa for the Africans! 157 John Henrik Clarke, Im from Alabama, Rebellion in Rhyme, 72. 158 Barbara Adams, Master Teacher, 26.

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would be the case many years later, the African community eagerly anticipated the arrival and first sounds of John Henrik Clarke. His birth did signal the beginning of the festivities that day, January 1st, 1915, but as Clarke would say he never lived down delaying the feast. The enmity with which Clarke viewed people trained solely within the European/American tradition had its origins in his own beginnings. While America rewards scholars who come through and remain in an American/Eurocentric paradigm it devalues those who would dare learn or operate outside that framework. In a society such as the United States that prizes the notion that Africans would, and do, gain immediate benefit from simply being allowed a seat next to European American students in a classroom the positive aspects of separate schooling are generally ignored. However, the early separate/segregated159 life of Clarkes southern African community and schooling brought about an awareness in Clarke that most do not get in todays world of fallacious fables such as integration and the melting pot.160 Vital to the development of a Pan-Africanist and nationalist consciousness is an awareness not only of the continent of Africa but ones relationship to it. For Clarke this began as he says with the first of his three deities, his great-grandmother. The other two, his mother and his first teacher Miss Evelina Taylor would also play important roles in this development. Being born into segregated rural Alabama had its advantages. Integrationist ideals notwithstanding, growing up in an isolated all African setting did not
159

The distinction must be made between separation and segregation. As explained very well by Leronne Bennett, Jr. the latter is an imposed condition by an antagonistic and dominant group while the former is a chosen and often preferred condition set and controlled by a specific group. The concept and practice of separation challenges and refutes the notion that being segregated is necessarily a negative for any given group. 160 For s discussion of this melting pot myth-making see, among others, Jacob Carruthers Intellectual Warfare.

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have the negative effects some would like to think it would. For instance, and only dealing with the educational aspect of separate development, Pansy Atkinsons work on this issue clearly shows how in many cases Africans exercise their learning potential more so when in their own communities than when integrated into the Europeans/American school system.161 In Clarkes life this certainly was the case. It was his great-grandmother who first made known to him his connection with Africa. She did so in the tradition of the hallah, that is through story.162 Moreover, his great-grandmother made Clarke aware of the strength and depth of the African past, which if not at all encouraged, was in fact discouraged by European/American teachers he would encounter later in life. She told him of the bravery of the Africans she said she witnessed being brought directly from the continent. She made him feel connected to these Africans and did so in a way that accentuated the positives of that connection. At a time when the country was watching films like Birth of a Nation and witnessing the African image cartooned on minstrel stages and advertisements, Clarke was being prepared to combat this. Similarly, Clarkes learning of a connection to Africa and Africans included the communal lifestyle of those in these early communities. Clarke would often recount the experience of watching as sharecroppers, like his father, would all rotate crop attention making sure that everyone in the community had their crops taken care of when needed. As Clarke would further go on to say often, socialism existed among these families. The communal experience and memory would later prove to be not only a major

161

Pansye Atkinson, An African Americans View: Brown vs. Topeka: Desegregation and Miseducation (Chicago: African American Images, 1993). 162 Clarke, 3.

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influence on the man John Henrik Clarke but also greatly influenced the paradigm and practice of Clarkes philosophy of history. As we have discussed, education in the rural south was being dominated by the primary trends of northern philanthropist desires for a vocationally trained African community ready to support the labor needs of ever expanding industry and the southern drive for subservient manual labor-based religious training through such organizations as the American Missionary Association.163 Clarkes elementary introduction to African consciousness put him almost immediately at odds with his surroundings. This African consciousness begged that he ask the question during Sunday school lessons when Biblical pictures were shown him, where are my people in the book of God? As Clarke would often ask later in life reflecting on his childhood query, if God is supposed to be for all people and have no regard for kith and kin, couldnt he have let into heaven one brown or black angel? These and other questions would lead him to a quest for the role of African people in history. As we have discussed, Americas purpose in educating all its citizens, particularly its most exploited ones, is not for uplift but for practicality. Africans were (and are) not supposed to have any connection to world civilization so as a young Clarke sought out such history he met resistance. The societal role of keeping Africans properly conditioned, i.e. improperly educated, was personified by one of Clarkes early grade school teachers. When asked by Clarke what role African people had played in world history said, as Clarke explains, Gagsteiter {the teacher} {who}if he is still alive is a liberal with a capital L said, John, you come from a people who have no history but if you work real hard you might one day grow up to be a great man like Booker T.

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Washington.164 This experience would almost force Clarke into the tradition being spoken of here. In 1924 Alain Locke was sent to Luxor, Egypt representing both Howard University and the Negro Society for Historical Research to witness and report on the reopening of the tomb of King Tutankhamen. Schomburg and long time friend and mentor John Edward Bruce Grit aided in having Locke be selected and funded for the trip. It was a testimony to their confidence that Locke would provide sound coverage and writing on such a powerful event for the African community. Not only would this prove true, but one year later, in 1925, while young Clarke was but ten years old, Locke would publish an anthology that brought Clarke into contact with the tradition. The New Negro, part of the literary wing of the rising consciousness shift among Africans in America reached the hands of Clarke and in it an essay that would change his life and set a new course. Contained therein was an essay by Arthur Schomburg, The Negro Dig Up His Past, published as part of Lockes anthology. It is a short but powerful historical sketch that began to uncover for Clarke the mystery and the lies told him by Gagsteiter and American education in general. Schomburg wrote, The American Negro must remake his past in order to make his future. Though it is orthodox to think of America as the one country where it is unnecessary to have a past, what is a luxury for the nation as a whole becomes a prime social necessity for the Negro. For him, a group tradition must supply compensation for persecution, and pride of race the antidote for prejudice.165

163 164

Negro Education in Alabama, 115. Clarke, any number of tapes 165 Arthur Schomburg, The Negro Digs Up His Past, The New Negro, ed. Alain Locke, (New York: Touchstone, 1925) 231.

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By the 1925 publishing date Schomburg and Locke had become good friends. Both had participated in various organizations together and shared similar views on the purpose and need of knowledge to liberate African people worldwide. However, if there was anything Schomburg did not like about Locke it was his middle class indoctrination into American education and society. As mentioned earlier, Locke did not confront white supremacy head on until his acceptance of the Rhodes Scholarship (a scholarship whose ignoble purpose has been explained) and it was not until then that he began using his training in a pan-Africanist, African-centered way. This, as Schomburg noticed, made Lockes dealings with the larger African community unsettled. But, as Sinnette notes, Locke was the doyen of the Harlem Renaissance and the twelve-year period spanning the 1918-1930 era of the New Negro while Schomburg was its documentor.166 Locke described his purpose and that of The New Negro as such: The intelligent Negro of today is resolved not to make {racial} discrimination an extenuation of his shortcomings in performance, individual or collective; he is trying to hold himself at par, neither inflated by sentimental allowances nor depreciated by current social discounts. For this he mush know himself and be known for precisely what he is, and for that reason he welcomes the new scientific rather than the old sentimental interest in {him}.167 Reading this and Schomburgs essay, Clarke was beginning to prepare himself for the inevitable journey he would make in 1933 to Harlem. He would say, {The New Negro} was my first awareness that Black people had a history older than Europe.168 Find JHC poem about Negro Digs mentioned in Master Teacher p. 72. Upon arriving in Harlem, by way of the hobo, Clarke paid a visit to Schomburg where upon he immediately asked to be taught African history right then, during {Schomburgs} lunch
166 167

Sinnette, 107. Sinnette, 106.

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hour!169 It is also during his first meeting with Schomburg that Clarke first encountered a young African born in Ethiopia, raised in Puerto Rico and recently arrived in Harlem who would become a life-long friend and fellow giant in the field of African history, Yosef ben Jochannan.170 This meeting with Schomburg would begin a process of laying the groundwork for the interpretation of history that Clarke would develop and employ. Here was told by Schomburg to first, study the history of Europe, for when you know the history of your oppressor, you will know why you were misplaced in history.171 The legacy of the tradition was being cultivated in a young Clarke by Schomburg who, through several years of mentoring, connected Clarke to it and provided early exposure to a paradigm for study that would be nurtured during Clarkes early years in Harlem. By the time of Clarkes arrival in Harlem what Elombe Brath calls the panAfricanist pantheon of Malcolm X, Patrice Lumumba and Frantz Fanon had all been born (1925), the Schomburg collection had been purchased by the New York Library (1926), Marcus Garvey had been deported and Hubert Harrison had died (1927). The stock market crashed (1929) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected President of the United States (1932) where he, in response to the market crash, instituted his New Deal and Work Progress Administration (WPA). All of these events would directly affect Clarkes life and thought development. In addition, two years prior to Clarkes arrival in Harlem by way of the rails, in 1931 the hobo life had brought nine young African boys into a national and international

168 169

Adams, Master Teacher, 70. Clarke, pick a tape. 170 Yosef ben Jochannan interview with the author, 11/00. 171 Clarke, Notes, 29.

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political skirmish that would increase the radicalism of another of Clarkes mentors. The Scottsboro Boys and case, where nine African boys were accused of raping two European American women while traveling as hobos, became a major cause not only for Africans seeking justice but White radicals as well. The Communist Party of America (CPA) sought to use this case as an opportunity to advance their cause of uniting workers by showing international support for these young men caught in a capitalist and racist American systemic culture. Richard B. Moore working for the International Labor Defense (ILD) and CPA would become one of their best weapons in this effort. Richard B. Moore, an African from Trinidad who had made his way with his family to New York in 1909, had been involved in every aspect of Harlem radicalism since his arrival. Moore would also follow the well-tread path of Africans who would join and then leave the Socialist Workers Party over the treatment of African people by the party. DuBois, after once resigning after deciding to support Woodrow Wilsons 1908 campaign for president, warned in 1924 that, if American socialism cannot stand for the American Negro, the American Negro will no stand for American socialism.172 Because of a two-pronged goal of gaining political independence for the Caribbean and elevating the status and race pride of Africans in America Moore embarked on a radical and pan-Africanist struggle that brought him in contact with a multitude of organizations and activist work. As mentioned, Moore had once joined the Socialist Party whose height was reached in Harlem from 1917-1919. But Moore also found his way to the African Blood Brotherhood, the Peoples Education Forum, the League of Struggle for Negro Rights which he led with writer Langston Hughes, and eventually joined the International Defense League and Communist Party which he felt

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was the most radical organization of the time. It was through the IDL that Moore came in contact with the Scottsboro case. He became an instant aid to the cause by taking the Harlem-based oratorical skills that had enabled him to organize and debate with other radicals on the road gaining support for the Scottsboro boys as well as the larger African community as well. He would explain in 1940 that: The Scottsboro Case is one of the historic landmarks in the struggle of the American people and of the progressive forces throughout the world for justice, civil rights and democracy. In the present period, the Scottsboro Case has represented a pivotal point around which labor and progressive forces have rallied not only to save the lives of nine boys who were framed but also against the whole system of lynching terror and the special oppression and persecution of the Negro people.173 Between the Schomburg collection of books, the legacies left by Harrison and Garvey (the latter not yet dead but in exile) and the events surrounding Roosevelts New Deal administration Clarke had only to absorb and learn. These legacies and others were being preserved by those, who by 1921, had begun spending many hours gathering, reading and discussing African history and struggle at George Youngs Book Exchange174. Harlem radicals of the times would go to Youngs for organization, knowledge and some went on to become a collectors of their own. Richard Moore is but one example. After his break with the Socialist Party Moore embarked on an autodidact mission to learn African history which began to shape his consciousness. This personal education culminated in the 1942 establishment of The Frederick Douglass Center on West 125th street which would not only serve as a resource for material on African

172 173

Turner and Turner, Richard B. Moore: Caribbean Militant in Harlem, 42. Turner and Turner, Richard B. Moore, 62. 174 Explore possible connection between Young, a former Pullman porter, and A. Philip Randolphs Pullman porter organization.

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history but, like Youngs, would become a central meeting place for African radicals and organizers. This aspect of the tradition would be carried on by Moore into his own radical career as Harlem activist and friend/mentor to Clarke. Clarkes arrival in New York brought him in contact with all of the radical thinking of the times. He witnessed the beginning of the political career of Adam Clayton Powell who had begun working in the Coordinated Committee for Negro Employment an organization sanctioned by A. Philip Randolph, whose slogan Dont buy where you cant work, had taken hold. Randolph, as Clarke would say, was the father of the movement to make the labor force open to African Americans and as mentioned was one of the major representatives of the three primary trends among African radical thinkers during this era in New York.175 Clarkes early concern for the conditions of his and other people also brought him in contact with the Communist Party (CP) and specifically membership in the Young Communists League (YCL). For most African radicals of the time communism and socialism offered an outlet, one of few, for attempts towards liberation. In reference to his own study of and dealings with communism Kwame Toure has said that, as a young Black man concerned about the liberation of Black people I went to what was available and at the time {the 1960s} the only thing there was Marxism.176 This, perhaps, best explains why Clarke and other Africans worldwide, including those previously mentioned here, leaned towards the CP.177 Clarke was befriended early on by a young
175 176

B.E. Adams, Master Teacher, 62. Kwame Toure on The Need for Organization, audio cassette. 177 I would like to note similarities between the statement of Toure (the notion that communism was most readily available as a solution to the oppression of Black people and that is where it derives its popularity among Africans) and those of many African fighters for liberation. One example is Mandela who spoke regularly and often about the fact that the ANC was not communist but only allied itself with communists as a means to free themselves from those exploiting them.

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Russian communist George Victor upon arriving in New York who first introduced Clarke to the ideology but not the concept of communism and anti-capitalist thought. In other words, though communism as a term and economic system, may have been new to Clarke, his aforementioned experiences in the African communities in the southern United States had already taught him the basics as far as communal living and working for a community rather than an individual. This theme and understanding would not only repeat itself as Clarke dealt with the White Left but become an enormous problem and eventually end that relationship. In his own words Clarke explained: While I was a valuable member of the Young Communist League and even a recognized young fellow traveler, I always had a difference of opinion on party cultism. I resented the fact that Karl Marx had all the answers and that nothing else was to be considered. I always had conflict with that. And this was at eighteen.178 The struggle between African radicals and communist/socialist movements is well described by one of Harlems greatest writers Richard Wright. In novels such as Native Son and the brilliantly written The Outsider, Wright explores through fiction the problems faced by Africans dealing with the Communist Party. However, in his nonfiction effort, Black Power, Wright decides to abandon fictitious discussion of the issue for a straightforward blunt explanation of the conundrum Africans face: the cultism Clarke mentioned of communism. Wrights words on this deserve to be quoted at length, he writes: My belonging to a minority group whose gross deprivations pitched my existence on a plane of all but sheer criminality made {all the changes in the world towards communism} welcome to me. From 1932 to 1944 I was a member of the Communist Party of the United States of America and, as such, I held consciously in my hands Marxist Communism as an instrumentality to effect such political and social changesToday I am no longer a member of that party of a subscriber
178

Adams, Master Teacher, 62-63.

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to its aims. Let it be said that my relinquishing of membership in that party was not dictated by outside pressure or interest, it was caused by my conviction that Marxist Communism, though it was changing the world, was changing that world in a manner that granted me less freedom than I had possessed before Communism was mainly an instrument of Russian foreign policy, I publicly and responsibly dropped its instrumentality and disassociated myself from it.179 Clarkes ability to see past the cultism and Eurocentrism of communism and socialism was directly related to his early childhood experiences and then his initiation into the tradition which officially began with his becoming a member of the Harlem History Club in 1933 shortly after arriving in Harlem. It is here that early consciousness of Africa given him by his great-grandmother was expanded. Other than his studies under Schomburg it was the Harlem History Club, who in 1934 changed its name to the Blyden Society in honor of the aforementioned founding father, that brought African into focus for Clarke and laid the foundation for his perspective and work for the remainder of his life. The program was established by Willis N. Huggins, was run out of the YMCA on 135th street where Clarke had found residence upon arrival and was a fountainhead of knowledge in African and world history. The Blyden Society brought Clarke into contact with the powerful triumvirate of Huggins, J.A. Rogers and John G. Jackson. Huggins was a Ph.D. who taught high school and Rogers, a one-time advisor to Marcus Garvey had by 1933 become the most widely read pamphleteer in Black America, was a historian and journalist. Both were extremely active in local and global politics and with the onset of the Italian-Ethiopian War in 1935 began reporting on and advocating for Ethiopian defense and freedom. Huggins formed an organization, The International Council of Friends of Ethiopia and

179

Richard Wright, Black Power, xxxv-xxxvi.

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Rogers actually went to the battlegrounds in Ethiopia to give first-hand accounts untouched by American corporate press to the people. The Blyden Society, both in name and function, was following the tradition of, among the others, the previously mentioned American Negro Academy (ANA). Rogers, who like most African historians in Harlem, used the vast resources of the Schomburg collection and together with Huggins and Jackson created a veritable reading cult.180 Members would not only read vociferously, they would present to one another and even act out the histories they were learning in the form of theater. This would allow Clarke and others to learn at an intimate level that most to this day do not and would greatly prepare him for his future teaching and debating. The affect the Italian invasion of Ethiopia had on the African community at large was powerful. Newsreels were still new to the world and for the first time images of Africans in war were shown to wide audiences. In Harlem there was a revival of the Garvey movement and marches in the street in favor of defending Ethiopia. Among the responses to this was the creation of the African Pioneer Movement under the leadership of Carlos Cooks. Cooks, who is less known because he banned the media from covering him, is said to have been, the greatest Black mind in the world from 1940 to 1966 and who stands over {Martin Luther} King and Malcolm {X} like a giant over midgets.181 Huggins dedication to the support of Ethiopia led him to, as leader of his Friends organization, deliver an address on behalf of Ethiopia to the League of Nations in 1935.

180 181

The words of Clarke quoted in Larry Crowes Reflections, 6. Carlos Cooks and Black Nationalism, ix.

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He was joined in this by Arden Bryan, who as president of the Negro Nationalists of America, sent petitions to the League as well.182 It was during this Huggins trip that Clarke was given his first opportunity to deliver an address to the Blyden Society on the ethnicity of Jesus Christ. This was, no doubt, a continuation of work Schomburg had done in a 1921 presentation to the ANA on The Negro and Christianity, which detailed African influence and participation in early Christianity. This lecture was in part a tribute to John G. Jackson who was quickly becoming one of Clarkes primary influences and who by 1934 had already published The African Origin of the Legend of the Garden of Eden, Jesus Christ Was a Negro and The Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth.183 This would also, as mentioned, prove a major theme for Clarke as he used the history and rise of religions to connect and illustrate African spirituality to colonization of the African mind to the theft and abuse of African lands. Jackson had been in Harlem since 1923 when at the age of fifteen he and his family moved from South Carolina. In 1925 while still in high school he was selected and asked to write as a contributing author to Garveys Negro World and by 1932 had become the Blyden Societys Associate Director.184 Rogers had been a mentor and historian to Jackson and others in the society and had, following the footsteps of John Reed in 1917, went to Ethiopia as an on-site reporter of events for the African community at home.

182 183

Richard B. Moore: Caribbean Militant in Harlem, 167. These works would later culminate in Jacksons Christianity Before Christ. 184184 Sitting at the Feet of a Forerunner: An April 1987 Meeting and Interview with John G. Jackson, James Brunson and Runoko Rashidi, African Presence in Early Asia, 197.

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In 1937 Huggins and Jackson published Introduction to African Civilizations which not only set out to destroy the misconceptions most had about African history but it also outlined the tradition and passing of scholarship and a course of action for implementing such study into primary education. The book is quite phenomenal. It outlines history in a pan-Africanist, African-centered manner where Huggins writes that the methods used were developed in the Harlem literary societies, and tested on their memberships. The book dealt with in 1937 topics that are still being debated today: African origins of humanity, religion, science, technology and then includes a teachers survey of the nations schools to see how best to aid or implement African study. Discussion of the word Negro and its origins is included, predating debates that still rage, not omitting the use of the term African to describe the entire diaspora. Another of the fascinating and powerful outcomes of this society were the connections made. Clarke, during the Blyden Society years, would meet and associate with a veritable whose who of world radicals. Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ho Chi Min (who also worked at a Boston diner with a young Malcolm Little!) and John Tengo Jabau and others. This would lead to an even greater global perspective that would be beneficial as time progressed. By 1937 The Blyden Society had reached its peak. Its members were learning and increasing, its interaction with figures such as Schomburg and the legacies left by Harrison and Garvey were being passed on and under such leadership the young Clarke became versed in African-centered history, a perspective he would alter perhaps, but never lose. That is, the frame of reference, the paradigm, the methodology for study and

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practice was given him early during these years in the Blyden Society and he would never waiver too far from that core. As the Blyden Society was teaching and preparing its students to combat the negative imagery and historical portrayals of African people around the world their efforts were echoed in the sentiments of one of the greatest African freedom fighters of the 20th century. Paul Robeson who during the 1930s was at the height of his acting and stage career was also becoming more of a force in the global struggle for African and oppressed peoples freedom. It was at this time that he furthered his commitment to that struggle by making the following declarations during a series of interviews given spanning 1937-38. Speaking to the aforementioned reality of film and media depiction of African people and the role both play in shaping nation consciousness Robeson remarked: I find I cannot portray the life nor express the living hopes and aspirations of the struggling people from which I come Films make me into some cheap turn You bet they will never let me play a part in a film in which a Negro is on top I thought I could do something for the Negro race in films: show the truth about them and about other people too. I used to do my part and go away feeling satisfied. Thought everything was okay. Well, it wasnt. Things were twisted and changed distorted. They didnt mean the same That made me think things out. It made me more conscious politically. One man cant face the film companies. They represent about the biggest aggregate of finance capital in the world: Thats why they make their films that way. So no more films for me.185 This kind of class suicide (at the height of his career Robeson was making minimally $100,000 a year) is still unparalleled and shows the kind of commitment that makes Robeson among the most powerful and important figures in the history of humanitys struggle against oppression.

185

Susan Robeson, The Whole World in His Hands; A Pictorial Biography of Paul Robeson, 1981, 92.

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But, in 1938, the African world lost one of its greatest collectors of information and Clarkes own mentor. Arthur Schomburg, who had led the twentieth century wave of pan-Africanist and African-centered scholarship died. Two years later in a mysterious death ruled suicide Willis N. Huggins was also gone. Clarke has hypothesized that Huggins was killed by Italians in his neighborhood unhappy with his brand of teaching. However, Clarke had been taught the importance of global study and interpretation from Schomburg and the politics of history from Huggins, two valuable lessons he would never lose. Clarkes indoctrination into the tradition during his early years in Harlem is evident also in the poetry and short stories he was writing. In the 1990 publishing of Rebellion in Rhyme Clarke explains that the poems published therein were nearly all written between the years 1933 and 1941 during his tenure in the Harlem History Club/Blyden Society. The influence of his political and historical training is clearly seen in these poems. For instance, as a precursor to the 1990s discussions of his association with such works as Marimba Anis Yurugu and Michael Bradleys The Iceman Inheritance, Clarke refers to the fears that European farmers faced concerned with the lack of fecundity of their lands in Meditations of a European Farmer. Clarkes European farmer asks, I wonder will the fields ever again yield eatable bread.186 It is these very fears that result in the thesis of both Ani and Bradleys work that physical environment directly affects the psychological and cultural outlook of a people. In poems such as Love, The Mother Speaks, Shame, Interracial, and Time to Die, Clarke deals with themes most directly affecting his life at the time. Respectively, a desire to love a justice that does not exist, the ironies of Africans fighting

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in wars that do not yield for them the freedoms they grant others, the brutal lynching of Africans in America, the inability for interracial love to flourish in a fervently racist society and somewhat prophetically his wish to die before his body betrayed him, before my eyes are weak.187 By 1941 Clarke published his first poem in The Crisis called American Scene in which he commented on the powerlessness of Africans in the American legal system. It tells of a man convicted in the American judicial system for being black, 188 when there was no other recourse for the court to take and is an early glimpse into Clarkes ideological position regarding Africans in America. This same theme, that of the continued reduction of African people to a lesser-than or condemned race, was being played out on the world stage as well. American and European struggles over who would control the land and labor of the world erupted into World War II. Like the first-world war, Africans were conscripted and forced into battle defending their respective colonial powers. 80,000 Africans were forced into battle for a crippled France with roughly 20,000 dying during Germanys invasion either fighting or execution by Nazis. Britain gathered 280,000 Africans from its territories stolen during the Berlin Conference with similar losses. And again, African numbers in combat were more than matched by the numbers who remained home increasing labor output to support their colonial powers war effort. America too rounded up its African population for both labor and combat service.189 Among them, Clarke was

186 187

Clarke, Rebellion in Rhyme, 3. Clarke, 46. 188 Clarke, American Scene, The Crisis, January, 1941. 189 Davidson, Modern Africa, 61-65.

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drafted and entered the army that year signaling an end to his initiation and the beginning of his practicing the tradition.

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Chapter Five: Early Application of the Tradition All History is a current event190 -John Henrik Clarke In this chapter we will discuss the application of the tradition as Clarke returns from military service. This chapter will discuss the period between 1940 and 1970 where Clarke influenced and would be influenced by the periods of Civil Rights, Black Power/Consciousness and the beginnings of the Black Studies Movement. John Henrik Clarke was never an athlete or physical powerhouse. As his childhood community recognized Clarkes strength was his mind. This remained true during his four-year stint in the armed services. Clarke, as he readily admitted, was no soldier, but as an administrator and leader of men he was just fine. He used his skills as such, an administrator, organizer and one with a strong memory to benefit those under his command. His men were always well taken care of, had their supplies and whatever tools were necessary to make completing their tasks as easy as possible. It was this kind of attitude, that service is the highest form of prayer, and that preparation was more than half the battle that Clarke brought with him into his scholarship, teaching and activism; his students were always well prepared. It has been speculated by Greg Carr and others that Clarkes time in the army was a time he needed to recover from the deaths of Schomburg and Huggins, two of his most beloved mentors.191 To what degree this is true cannot be determined but what is clear is that upon his return from military service Clarke was eager and immediate with his desire to imitate his mentors efforts joining, organizing, teaching and moving his people. Carr

190 191

John Henrik Clarke, Malcolm X and the Radical Black Ministry, audio tape. Greg Carr, Tribute to John Henrik Clarke, videotape, 1998.

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calls this Clarkes era of organizational development192 because it is this time period, post 1945, that Clarke increased his participation in African activist activity which from 1945-1965 has been characterized as the nonviolent direct-action phase of the African struggle in America.193 The post World War II period falls in line with the trends of increased radicalism that followed the other major wars being discussed herein; The American Revolutionary War, Civil War, the American expansion wars culminating in 1898 and World War I. The continent of Africa was ripe with revolutionary movement as Africans returning from battle in Africa and Europe (the African theater of war is another often overlooked aspect to the world wars) wanted the benefits of democracy and freedom they were told they were dying for abroad. In America despite calls from the likes of DuBois that just as African Americans had closed ranks to fight in the first World War they again rally for the second, Africans in America were not realizing the American citizenship rights thought to come with their loyalty.194 As abroad, Africans in America were returning home with a new perspective, a global outlook, that said, if we fought and died overseas for freedom, liberty and democracy, we want it at home too! These seeds grew and blended with the already extant African radicalism, discussed in previous chapters, and developed into what would later be called the Civil Rights Movement but which was actually African Americas contribution to a global struggle being waged against White supremacy and
192 193

IBID. One example of this claim is found in the work of Timothy B. Tyson, Robert F. Williams, Black Power, and the Roots of the African American Freedom Struggle, Journal of American History, 9/98, 16. 194 DuBois, Close Ranks Again, Amsterdam News, 2/14/1942. Of the many vacilations of DuBois this is yet another. On the one hand he is clear that Europes World Wars are essentially about the colonization of Africa but then suggests that African American support of these wars will lead to their own increase in freedom and justice in America.

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colonialism. Clarke was not lost in this post-war fervor for struggle. As mentioned, Clarke charged into this post World War II period with a fervor to continue along the path his mentors had laid out for him. Upon his return from military service Clarke sought out and took on various odd jobs to combine that little income with the GI Bill in order to support his growing family. He went to New York University for a time majoring in History and World Literature. Clarkes love for literature and writing that had resulted not only in his own body of work and his first published effort, American Scene, also continued to blend with his Harlem-based African education to form an interest in activist writing. In 1945 Clarke would witness first-hand the fifth, and what many consider to be the most influential, Pan-African Conference in Manchester, England. Clarke himself argued that this conference was a manifestation of the teachings of Marcus Garvey in that out of this conference much of the African independence fervor would mount.195 Of the many notables present George Padmore would write that this conference differed from the others, much to his delight, due to its plebeian character. Unlike the other conferences Padmore said, now there was expression of a mass movement intimately identified with the underprivileged sections of the colored colonial populations.196 Leonard Jeffries, commenting on Clarkes attendance at this conference, notes that this made Clarke a world leader in that he was able to sit with those who would lead the African world freedom movements.197 In 1945-46 Clarke would help found the Harlem Writers Guild where he would work with activist/literary giants such as John Oliver Killens and James Baldwin. These
195 196

Clarke, Notes, 92. George Padmore, Pan-Africanism or Communism, 139.

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men signified the old call of the Harlem Renaissance period DuBois and others had long been making that artists use their various talents in the aid of their fellow oppressed people. Both Killens and Baldwin represented well the larger concern for liberation over personal creative contribution. Two brief examples include Killens written response to the highly debated questions over Black and White involvement in the struggle to liberate Africans in America and Baldwins written response to the issue of Black and Jewish relations. Killens explained to White readers that: Our emotional chemistry is different from yours your joy is very often our anger and your despair our fervent hope. Most of us came here in chains and most of you came here to escape your chains. Your freedom was our slavery and therein lies the bitter difference in the way we look at life.198 Similarly, Baldwin was removing the African struggle in America from its confines within the borders of the United States. Discussing Black/Jewish relations Baldwin would write that though anti-Jewish sentiments among Africans in America is justified due to the exploitative relationship between the two, the root of anti-Semitism among Negroes is, ironically, the relationship of colored peoples- all over the globe- to the Christian world.199 These two excerpts are simply meant to illustrate the kind of expanded thought both influenced by and influencing Clarke as he began Carrs era of organizational development. It was also here that Clarke would meet Lorraine Hansberry, known mostly for her later classic A Raisin in the Sun and Harold Cruse. Cruse would later write a blistering attack on Clarke and others in his well-known The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, a topic to which we will return.
197 198

Jeffries interview. Debbie Louis, And We Are Not Yet Saved, 135. 199 Black Anti-Semitism and Jewish Racism, ed. Nat Hentoff, 5 (authors emphasis).

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Soon to follow was Clarkes founding of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, his work as a book review editor of the Negro History Bulletin, his editing of African Heritage and his involvement with Benjamin A. Brown and the publication of the Harlem Quarterly from 1949-1950. The short publishing life of the Harlem Quarterly was nonetheless yet another important bridge between the old aspirations of the ANA, the Harlem History Club and, as Todd Boroughs has noted, between future publications such as Freedom and Freedomways magazines.200 Brown made clear the aspirations of the Quarterly, thus continuing the tradition of the first historical societies such as the ANA, when in its introductory issue he explains: Our purpose in publishing HARLEM QUARTERLY is to bring our readers short stories, poetry, and articles on all aspects of Negro life and history in this respect we are proud to bring our readers a broad cross section of opinions on problems facing American Negroes, West Indians, Africans and our white allies today.201 This mission statement makes clear a pan-African and African-centered vision of the publication that is, again, a furtherance of an old idea. As for Clarke, his contributions to the Quarterly came primarily from his personal experiences and training told in story form. In his short story The Bridge Clarke tells of the dangers and adventures of hobo life, a life he had experienced during his migration from the rural south to his eventual stop in New York. It is a gritty tale of hobos struggling to move from train to train, moves that prove fatal to the hobo card king of Three Card Monte, the hobos game of choice. Another of Clarkes submissions to the Quarterly, Return of Askia, is yet another short story based on the savior of the 15th century Songhay empire Mohammed
200

Todd Boroughs, unpublished paper on JHC and Freedomways.

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Abu Bekr Et Tourti, founder of the Askia dynasty and commonly known as Askia the Great. Clearly this tale comes out of Clarkes early training from Schomburg and those in the Harlem History Club/Blyden Society and is meant to remind African readers of the glory of the African past. Clarke makes sure to add, what would later become a regular piece of his lectures and writings, that this African kingdom was one of many that thrived before Europe had crawled out of the darkness on the backs of enslaved Africans. The year of this tale is 1497 and as Clarke explained this was before, the news of Christopher Columbus discovery of the new world {had} reached all ears.202 The period of publication of the Quarterly, the 1950s, witnessed further world developments that would continue to influence the African struggle in America, and as such, Clarke. This was the period of decolonization as Africans, Asians, those of the Caribbean and Latin America began to force European powers to find new ways to control and exploit their territories. It is also the period where those struggling for freedom had to develop new ways and means of interpreting independence and evolving European schemes at maintaining power. As Parenti explains, {European powers} discovered that the removal of a conspicuously intrusive colonial rule made it more difficult for nationalist elements within previously colonized countries to mobilize antiimperialist sentiments.203 Rebellions and World Wars had weakened the colonial powers to the point that they needed to grant independence to their territories in order to quell opposition. And it is here, in the realm of paradigm, interpretation, frame of reference,

201

Benjamin A. Brown, Prospectus of Harlem Quarterly, Harlem Quarterly, winter 1949-50, volume 1 Number 1, 1. 202 Clarke, The Return of Askia, Harlem Quarterly, v.1 number 1, 45. 203 Michael Parenti, Against Empire, 16.

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that Clarke and those of the tradition sought to inform combatants of European dominance. African nations, following the 1940s independence of Indonesia (1946), India (1947), and the success of the Chinese Revolution (1948-49) began gaining their own. 1952 saw the first African nation reach at minimum flag, or nominal, independence as Egypt was able to break ties with colonial Britain. Flag independence refers to two separate but very similar ideas. One, that a newly independent country can raise its own national flag over its land and institutions but that its economic, political and, therefore, social existence remains controlled by the former colonial power. Secondly, flag independence refers to as Parenti explains, the flag {of the colonial power} stays home, while the dollar goes everywhere- frequently assisted by the sword.204 This was the reality those struggling for freedom had to address. There was now developing newer forms of exploitation that required evolving old thought to accommodate a new form of enslavement. 1954 saw the landmark Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools in the Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka Kansas. The efforts of Charles Houston, Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP and psychologist Kenneth B. Clark were instrumental in this decision which ruled that the 1896 decision of Plessy vs. Ferguson had not been met and that the races were not separate and equal instead that they were separate and unequal. 1955 was the year of the Bandung Conference that influenced, among others, a young Muslim minister Malcolm X and Harlem congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (the latter attended as a witness), both of whom were impressed by the show amongst non-European nations of their desire to shed European colonial rule.

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Similarly, in 1955 the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, seen by many as the official beginning of the African American Civil Rights Movement, spearheaded by Rose Parks historic seating decision, began which brought a reluctant young Baptist minister to the fore of the Montgomery Improvement Association, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1957 Ghana won its nominal independence and former Blyden Society member Kwame Nkrumah became its first president, and Guinea followed in 1958. In 1959 the Cuban Revolution had more than a subtle impact on the African liberation struggle going on then in America. These early movements towards independence on the continent of Africa and the Americas also brought about a shift in the relationship between the United States and those seeking to severely alter its political, economic and social structures. We will return to this in the pages to follow. It was also during this time, 1956-58, that Clarke furthered his African-centered historical writing and organization building. Todd Boroughs, in his short work on Clarke explains that by the time of Clarkes return from military service in 1945 it was well established that Black Americas most prestigious newspapers were forums for intellectual discussion.205 By the 1940s the Pittsburgh Courier had the largest circulation among African American newspapers and Clarke was soon to be involved. He wrote a series of articles on African leadership for the Courier where he continued the training he had received during his early years in the Harlem History club. This series on Great African Chiefs showed Clarke expanding upon his discovery of the North and West African civilizations and his early characterization of these nations as being inspired by African thought as opposed to that of Arabs or Islam.

204 205

Parenti, Empire, 15. Todd Boroughs, African-Centered Scholarly Journalist: John Henrik Clarke and Freedomways, 11.

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He also began assisting Stanford Griffith in establishing the New School for Social Research where they incorporated the Center for African Studies. This work brought Clarke in contact with another of his mentors William Leo Hansberry. Clarke would often remark that it is from Hansberry that he learned the philosophical meaning of history and in a letter dated June, 27th 1958 Hansberry made Clarke aware of his value to the elder as a student. Hansberry wrote: Although I have previously expressed as much to you personally and directly, I am taking this opportunity to place on permanent record in writing my deep appreciation first, for your clear and comprehensive understanding of the character, import and intent of my efforts; and second, my genuine thanks for your valuable contribution towards the collective effort of the class to assist me in making the findings of my research activities available to the general public.206 Hansberry was in effect thanking Clarke for his role in aiding the passing of the tradition which he and so many others had so feverishly worked to preserve. Hansberry furthered the connection between the early historical societies called for by Martin Delany and put in practice by the likes of Alexander Crummell and the ANA. Hansberry, another of the early 20th century African migrants from the south (Atlanta, Georgia by way of Mississippi) to the north (Cambridge, Massachusetts) looking for educational advancement began his trek specifically because he had read the aforementioned The Negro by former ANA member W.E.B. DuBois. Hansberry took himself to Harvard University in 1916 in order to read every book suggested by DuBois in his classic work. Just as Clarke would read The Negro Digs Up His Past, by yet another ANA member, Arthur Schomburg, and be moved to begin his quest for information concerning African people, Hansberry would be equally affected by DuBois The Negro. As Kwame Wes

206

William Leo Hansberry, letter to John Henrik Clarke, 6/27/1958, Schomburg Collection.

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Alford explains, DuBois work gave Hansberry a sense of freedom from a state of psychological bondage.207 Hansberry had this to say about DuBois The Negro: Its 240 pages were packed not only with innumerable facts not only about Ancient Kush and Old Ethiopia but about a whole series of kingdoms and empires which had flourished elsewhere in Black Africa my immediate and major objectivethough I kept strictly silent about the matter- was to read the books on Dr. DuBoiss list; and pick up one or two Harvard degrees along the way if possible!208 Alford contends that Hansberry developed his paradigm for the study of African and world history from not only DuBois work but the militant framework and the, tradition of resistance and black nationalism in the African American community in Mississippi, Hansberrys place of birth.209 This very southern tradition affected Hansberry as it would Clarke in preparing them for their solidly African-centered approach to study. Alford explains that the conditions in Mississippi created a strong base of African resistance with such leaders as Robert Charles, said to be the first fully self-conscious black militant in the United States and Ida B. Wells whose vitriolic attacks against lynching placed her among the strongest influences on African radical thought of the time.210 Hansberry is yet another to advance the tradition being spoken of here as he sought to use a pan-African styled education to advance the condition of the African community in America. He became an admirer of Blyden, whose work Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race became a central piece of Hansberrys collection and frame of reference development. He used Leo Frobenius and his work The Voice of Africa to

207

Kwame Wes Alford, The early Intellectual Growth and Development of William Leo Hansberry and the Birth of African Studies, Journal of Black Studies, January, 2000, 1. 208 Alford, 5. 209 Alford, 1. 210 Alford, 2.

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increase his awareness of Africas glorious past and its interruption by Arabs and Christians. This recognition of Arabic destruction of African civilization that pre-dated and eased the subsequent European invasion along with Hansberrys attention to the Wests colonization of not only people but information would later become central foci of Clarke showing clearly the influence of the former on the latter. Hansberry, like Clarke, at an early age was given a sense of connection to a larger African community, resulting from each ones early rural southern upbringing. Hansberry, also like Clarke, was determined at an early age to learn and then teach the role of African people in world history and thus became one of the earliest promulgators of African Studies. Continuing his own connection to the tradition Hansberry sought his first teaching job at the division of Social Science at Straight University in New Orleans. His decision to select this particular university where he would establish a department of Negro History within the Social Science division, and his connection to the earliest beginnings of the tradition are found in the history of that university. Straight University saw itself as the keepers of a fervor of Africa consciousness, Black nationalism, and internationalism {that} existed in New Orleans {and} remained intact in the African American community since the 1790s. It was during the 1790s that Africans escaping from Haitian enslavement after the revolution settled in this region and as part of the Jacobin Terror fomented a consciousness that Hansberry would help pass to his students and community. 211 Moreover, what Alfords work on Hansberry addresses is the issue of form of struggle which was largely being debated at this time. Despite modern impressions of the non-violent direct action portion of the African American Civil Rights struggle from

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1945-1965 there was no succinct and total acceptance of non-violence. What Alford and scholars such as Timothy B. Tyson express in their discussions of the southern African population is that notions of Black non-violence, particularly in the southern United States, are erroneous at best. They suggest that the using non-violence as a strategy, one that was largely popularized under the leadership of Martin Luther King, was contrary to a long-standing tradition of armed self-defense in the rural deep South.212 One example who would become prominent in the lives of African people during this time, including Clarke himself, and who was also heavily influenced by this southern African resistance culture was Robert Williams. Among lesser known figures of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM) such as Ella Baker, and countless others, Williams has had himself written out of history despite being one of Americas most identifiable African liberation fighters. Monroe, North Carolina became for Williams what Mississippi had become for Hansberry and for what Alabama and Georgia had become for Clarke, an incubator for African consciousness and resistance. Williams, like Clarke, had been among those who would return from the second World War with a stronger sense of confidence and commitment to freedom and was engulfed in the long-standing traditions of freedom and citizenship that were extant in an African south and had been born in the crucible of Reconstruction {that} sustained communities of resistance.213 As Williams program for liberation moved beyond his early NAACP boundaries into areas of armed self-defense and interaction with the Socialist Workers Party he found himself welcomed by the radical Harlem community including Malcolm X, Clarke,
211 212

Alford, 11. Timothy B. Tyson, Robert Williams. 2.

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Killens and Julian Mayfield. Williams was met, not only by those mentioned, but more importantly, by the larger tradition. He would exchange with those who had carried the tradition to the Harlem street corners and those meeting in small study groups. Williams met the tradition at places like Louis Michauxs National Memorial African Bookstore as many others would at Youngs Book Exchange or Moores Frederick Douglass Book Center. There he engaged with the legacies and carriers of the tradition planted in Harlem by Harrison, Garvey, Randolph, DuBois, etc., who had established and left the triumvirate of African radical thought; pan-Africanism, socialism, and nationalism. While Civil Rights and NAACP members from King to Marshall denounced Williams radicalism and supported FBI investigations of him as associating with communists,214 the tradition welcomed him. Pan-Africanist and socialist leaders such as C.L.R. James, nationalists and pan-Africanists such as Malcolm X, Clarke, Carlos Cooks and others all supported Williams efforts. James, holding true to the course others had traveled and abandoned (i.e., Harrison, Randolph, Clarke) pushed the Socialists to place race on equal footing with class in their analysis and was therefore able see the value in supporting Williams. As far back as 1939 James had been discussing these and other issues with the most prominent European Socialists, including none other than Leon Trotsky. Though James did not support African American nationalism, as opposed to Trotsky, he did recognize that if Africans in America wanted it the Socialist Workers Party must adhere to their wishes. He explained: The Negro must be won for socialism. There is no other way out for him in America or elsewhere. But he must be won on the basis of his own experience and his own activity. If he wanted self-determination, then however reactionary it might be in every other respect, it would be the business of the revolutionary
213 214

T. Tyson, 3. T. Tyson, 10.

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party to raise that slogan. If after the revolution he insisted on carrying out that slogan and forming his own state, the revolutionary party would have to stand by its promises and (similarly to its treatment of large masses of peasantry) patiently trust to economic development and education to achieve an integration. But the Negro, fortunately for socialism, does not want self-determination.215 James last statement claiming that Africans in America did not want self-determination clearly comes from his own lack of experience with American African radicalism. However, it also shows his adherence to Lenins own belief in supporting it if the people called for it, thus allowing for him to be supportive of the efforts of a Robert Williams some twenty years later. Williams, meanwhile, would internationalize his efforts as he fled the United States to avoid fabricated kidnapping charges as a result of government repression. His militancy and fervent belief in self-defense (which he felt led to peace as those prone to violence would be less likely to follow through knowing equal resistance would meet them) became instant inspiration to many. Williams thoughts and policies led the leaders of the Deacons for Defense and Justice, a Louisiana-based organization that prided itself on the armed self-defense of civil rights workers that would in turn inspire several northern nationalist groups, to credit Williams with inspiration. Williams book Negroes With Guns, written while in Cuba in 1962, became a major influence on Huey P. Newton who would later credit Williams and Malcolm X as the two to most influence the Black Panther Party. In this book Williams outlines his belief in armed self-defense and his respectful differences with King over the use of nonviolence as a tactic/strategy not a philosophy. He wrote, when our people become fighters our leaders will be able to sit at the conference table as equals, not dependent on
215

Leon Trotsky on Black Nationalism and Self-Determination, 34-35.

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the whim and generosity of the oppressors.216 Later Kwame Ture and Charles Hamilton would take up a similar thesis in their Black Power. Williams, despite developing friendships with revolutionaries Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, would later leave Cuba, claiming that in terms of race relations the Stalinists were getting worse than the crackers in Monroe. He went on to visit another former Blyden Society member Ho Chi Min in Vietnam and eventually settled in China where he remained until the early 1990s when he returned to the US until his death in 1996. While away though he had become in many eyes the heir to Malcolm Xs leadership and was made president-in exile-of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), which according to the CIA was the most dangerous of all nationalists groups and the Republic of New Africa.217 In other words, though not his sole influence, the tradition as met directly and indirectly through the Harlem African community helped to mold another of the radical giants of the times. In a sense, and again parenthetically, the example of Williams also shows, in microcosm, the course of the macro CRM, circa 1945-1965, as it rose and evolved into the Black Power/Consciousness Movement (BPCM) circa 1966-1975. That is, that Williams initially began as a member (albeit the lone Monroe member!) of the NAACP. Upon increasing its Monroe membership and seeking to engage active resistance to oppression Williams began to feel not only the massive resistance to simple attempts at integration but NAACP reluctance to increase efforts for change. This led to his own reevaluation of what strategies were needed thus leading to his more militant positions.

216 217

Robert Williams, Negroes With Guns, 41. Tyson, 15.

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Williams own progressions mirrored the larger evolution of African American radicalism. We will revisit this reality shortly. In 1958, one year after independence and nearly five decades after having his three deities instilled in him a consciousness and connection to both African people in America and the continent, after nearly three decades of initial historical training by Schomburg and those in the Blyden Society, and after early study, writing and organizing around the concept of African unity, Clarke was able to make his first visit to the continent. The importance of such a trip for Clarke and the African world is described by Ronald Walters. He explains that, because of Kwame Nkrumahs leadership, Ghana had become the hub of Pan African activity, and as such the country was a symbol of the aspirations of many peoples of African descent for the future viability of the continent.218 Interestingly, it is a short story with a long history that provided Clarke with much of what he needed to get to Ghana. Clarke had years earlier published short story The Boy Who Painted Christ Black, based loosely on a true story of a young boy who paints Christ black and is summarily punished for presenting it to his school, had been published and reprinted in Drum magazine in South Africa. The story, clearly also inspired by John Jacksons work on the history of the Christ myth and Christianity, had touched its readers one of whom, James Kotey of Ghana, would write and invite Clarke to stay with him in Jamestown in Accra. While staying with Kotey, in what is to this day considered among the worst areas of Ghana to live, Clarke retells the story of how Nkrumah, passing by in a motorcade, saw Clarke stopped and asked amusingly, what are you doing in my

218

Walters, 101.

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country? Clarke told him he was visiting, that he had little money and told Nkrumah of his residence in the poorer section of Accra. Nkrumah upon hearing of his friends accommodations said, again amusingly, you must really love Africa! Nkrumah would give a job to Clarke writing for the Ghana Evening News in order that his old friend from Harlem might support himself and be able to afford his return to America. Greg Carr has noted that it was here, writing for a former British colony, that Clarke truly learned the English language, where better than from a one-time British colony?219 Clarkes stay in Ghana benefited him not only through his ability to gain valuable writing knowledge and experience, but also seeing first hand the struggles of a newly independent nation struggling to correct the ravages of centuries of enslavement and colonialism. As discussed in the African American context, since the Russian Revolution in 1917 European radicalism had become an enormous influence. This was certainly true of American radicalism, both in its African and European manifestations, but also on the continent of African and throughout the world. Nkrumahs brand of socialism, one devoid of African traditionalism, became (and still is) a great source of debate. Among Nkrumahs critics was Joseph P. Danquah. Danquah had been a young activist under the leadership of Casely Hayford whose efforts to bring about the return of exiled Ghanian kings in 1931 turned into a fully developed struggle for Ghanian independence. Clarke says of him that Hayford, fathered modern Ghanian politics.220 Clarke was able to learn

219 220

Greg Carr, video. Clarke, Notes, 17.

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from and witness first-hand this reality, and as he says, Clarke noticed Nkrumahs dismissal of traditional thought immediately during his stay in 1958.221 Without engaging in the debate over scientific socialism and African traditionalism, as this is outside the scope of the current work, two points need to be made here. One, Clarke had by 1958 been introduced to an African communal society (rural Alabama and Georgia), been given a certain African consciousness from his family and then a more sophisticated one through his training with Schomburg, Huggins, Jackson and Hansberry, and had also become versed in the policies/beliefs of American/European socialism and communism through his work with the Young Communists League and the Harlem radicals of the times. Secondly, in what may prove a sophomoric defense/explanation of Nkrumahs reconciliation of African traditionalism (read: communalism) and scientific socialism a brief excerpt from his Consciencism may be of value: Capitalism is a development by refinement from feudalism, just as feudalism is a development by refinement of slavery Whereas capitalism is a development by refinement from slavery and feudalism, socialism is obviously not a development from capitalism. In order that socialism should be a development from capitalism, it needs to share a fundamental principle, that of exploitation, with capitalism If one seeks the social-political ancestor of socialism, one must go to communalism. Socialism stands to communalism as capitalism stands to slavery. In socialism, the principles underlying communalism are given expression in modern terms {modern meaning} a technical society where sophisticated means of production are at hand.222 That said, while Clarke was seeking to remove African policy/decision making from a Eurocentric paradigm, i.e. capitalism vs. socialism, Nkrumah also with his African-

221 222

Adams, Master Teacher, 92. Nkrumah, Consciencism, 72-73.

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centered Harlem History Club background and pan-Africanist outlook, was seeking a pragmatic answer to his countrys problems. The African world was moving, more organization, more meetings, more planning for the overthrow of European/American hegemony over nations, people and learning were taking place. Greg Carr has mentioned that the 1960s were Clarkes period of radicalization,223 and this author would only like to add that this radicalization process was in concert with the rest of the African world. In 1962 Clarke attended the second international Congress of Africanists in Dakar, Senegal where he would meet Cheikh Anta Diop. Diop, by the time of his meeting with Clarke, had already established himself as one of the African worlds finest scholar/activists. Born in Diourbel, Senegal in 1923 Diop had published essays and books covering Africas cultural unity, contribution and been involved in organizing as he created the first post- World War II student PanAfrican political congress in 1951. In a posthumously published book called Towards the African Renaissance: Cheikh Anta Diop Essays in Culture and Development his work from 1948 (the year of his first publications) to 1960 are given display showing the length of time dedicated to an African-centered multidisciplinary body of work. This book shows all the work that led to Diops later brilliant contributions African Origins of Civilization: Myth or Reality, The Cultural Unity of Black Africa, PreColonial Africa and Civilization or Barbarism. In Renaissance readers are shown why Clarke felt that such a meeting was so valuable and what would later make Clarke take an instrumental lead in having Diops work published in English and in America. As the essays show, Diop, who would publish in 1960 Black Africa: The Economic and Cultural

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Basis for a Federated State, had already made a strong case for the African origins of Egypt, the civilizing influence of Africa on Europe and Asia, the need for a united African Federated State and the pan-African implications of such thought. His command of various disciplines from linguistics, to astrology, to history, to chemistry for the expressed purpose of uniting and liberating African people is summed up best by Diop himself who explained, In a country where everything is yet to be done, polyvalency can only be productive.224 Clarkes experiences in Africa, traveling first to Ghana, Nigeria and Togo, then to Senegal would invigorate him and help prepare him for his next set of endeavors. Upon his return he would take on a position as editor and writer for Freedomways magazine, a new publication describing itself as, the voice of the freedom and civil rights movements in America.225 Freedomways came out of the culture of African newspaper writing in America. DuBois, who along with Carter G. Woodson, is considered as Boroughs says, the dean of 20th century African-American scholars and black commentary writers, had begun writing a column called Pan-Africa for a Harlem-based newspaper called The Peoples Voice. This paper had been established by, among others, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., who had by this time become Harlems undisputed leader. DuBois, of course, had long since been writing columns as far back as 1910 with the inauguration of The Crisis. J.A. Rogers had been publishing a column entitled History Shows in the Courier since the 1950s and another of Clarkes mentors Willis N. Huggins had been doing the same

223 224

Carr, video. Cheikh Anta Diop, Towards the African Renaissance, 139. 225 Todd Boroughs audio taped interview with John Henrik Clarke.

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for The Chicago Defender where he had used this vehicle for his coverage of the League of Nations meetings during the 1930s. Further, as mentioned, Freedomways became the ideological heir of both The Harlem Quarterly (1949-1950) and of Paul Robesons Freedom magazine (1951-1955) but as Boroughs explains, was more militant {than the Quarterly} and in line with the New Left and Civil Rights movements. Clarkes involvement as editor and staff writer would bring a paradigm that, would later find currency in the political and intellectual mainstream of America during the Black Power and Black Consciousness movements and the drive for Black Studies.226 From 1961 until the end of his relationship with the magazine in 1982 (Freedomways published its last issue in 1985) Clarke was, in terms of an Africancentered outlook, the primary source of information gathering, writing, and article solicitation. In the first five years of the publication Clarke helped shape the perspective of the magazine adding an African-centered approach to an otherwise communist/leftist dominated African American publication. Under the leadership of Esther Jackson and Shirley Graham (DuBois, after her marriage to W.E.B. in 1951) a group of African American scholars and activists sought out to create a new organ of activism. Jackson and her husband, who was at the time a leading intellectual in the Communist Party, were examples of the communist ties to the magazine which as Harold Cruse argued left Freedomways with little independent political or cultural thought.227 However, this does not, in the end, support claims by Cruse and others who would use this as a means to color Clarke as a communist rather than an African-centered

226 227

Boroughs, 14. Cruse, 242.

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thinker strongly set in the tradition of which we now speak. One clue that sheds some light on Clarkes perspective is his continued relationship with a former CP member and Harlem community leader Richard Moore. During the same early 1960s period that Clarke joins Freedomways he can be found joining Moores Committee to Present the Truth About the Name Negro. In a 1960 speech Moore explained the origins of the Committee and gives a pan-African contextual explanation as to why he would never use the word Negro again. His point was to explain the psychological relationship to a peoples proper name and their subsequent action. He, in the grandest form of the tradition, explained that during a recent lecture for Negro History Week he heard a woman begin her lecture by explaining Negro history with the arrival of the first slave ship. Upon his turn to speak Moore rose and exclaimed, our history goes back into antiquity, into the earliest development of the broad and highly structured human cultures of Egypt and Ethiopia and other areas of Africa. My subject then, will be, The Role of Africans in World History.228 A survey of the articles and book reviews written by Clarke for Freedomways from 19611982/3 clearly indicate a man writing within the tradition illustrated by his relationship to Moore and those of the tradition being discussed herein. Though his first contribution to the magazine in 1961 was a supportive piece on the Cuban Revolution this does not disavow him of his allegiance to an African-centered discourse. However, it reads as a piece supporting the virtues of Fidel Castro who was preaching a return of land control to the people, a large percentage of whom were (and are) of African descent. Also in 1961, Clarke submitted an article on Black Nationalism

228

Richard B. Moore, The Name Negro Its Origin and Evil Use, Richard B. Moore: Caribbean Militant in Harlem, 224.

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five years before this concept is re-popularized in the African American wing of the African world struggle, i.e. the Civil Rights/Black Power Movements. This article is very telling of where Clarkes frame of reference was. He begins by talking about an African world hero from the Congo, Patrice Lumumba who Clarke says had become a martyr to Afro-American nationalists because he was the symbol of the black mans humanity struggling for recognition.229 This is an important pan-African message showing, again, Clarkes tradition training as he never divorced African American struggle from that of other Africans in the world. Clarke then goes on to give a summary of the leading nationalist organizations of that time, the Nation of Islam where he talks with the rising leader Malcolm X, the Muslim Brotherhood, United African Nationalist Movement and so on. Furthermore, owing to the tradition, Clarke connects these movements, specifically the Nation of Islam, to the movements of the past, in particular the Garvey movement. This, along with his discussion of the African religious practices involved in some nationalists movements such as the Yoruba Temple of New Oyo (Harlem), shows his tradition training giving broad historical context and attention to African cultural contributions. The article also shows Clarkes early belief and support of African cultural continuity and the importance of understanding ones history and culture. Here he quotes Saunders Redding who provided Clarke with an axiom that would remain a staple in his speeches for decades to come, a peoples relation to their culture is the same as the relation of a child to its mothers breast.230

229 230

Clarke, New Afro-American Nationalism, Freedomways, fall 1961, 286. Clarke, New Afro, 292.

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Subsequent articles from Clarke, particularly in the issues he made sure were dedicated to his favorite topics, Harlem, Africa, the Caribbean, and a tribute to Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois, show his continued support of a global African diaspora viewpoint. He was able to use his growing popularity in the African world community to solicit articles from Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta. Clarke also made sure to find magazine space for his mentors J.A. Rogers, Richard B. Moore and William Leo Hansberry. As time passed the old guard of the CRM was having an increasingly hard time denying the younger generation its rightful place as leaders. We have mentioned that when World War II ended the upsurge of African, Asian, Latin American and Caribbean people moving towards liberation from European/American domination was unprecedented. In addition, Rod Bush explains that the post-1940s period saw Africans in America consistently barred from unions and relegated to a position of unprotected surplus labor similar to Americas post-Reconstruction days.231 These causes led to further efforts of Africans in America to achieve freedom, justice and equality. The American response to this was a series of legislative concessions made by the US government to assuage a growing militancy. As early as 1946 president Harry S. Truman began the process of protecting Americas civil rights record by calling for civil rights legislation in order to guard American global economic interests threatened by a world watching a repressive United States at work against its own citizens.232 In 1954, despite the landmark Brown Supreme Court decision, schools were not desegregating nor of course were segregated African American schools being given

231 232

Rod Bush, 156. Zinn, 440.

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necessary funding to make them equal. The 1963 March On Washington, coinciding in irony with the death of DuBois and the birth of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), brought many Africans to the realization that these gatherings meant little to the material condition of most African Americans. Malcolm Xs response to the march as being a farce on Washington, that had been controlled and quelled by White leadership seemed more true as African American poverty, abuse, and imprisonment did not decline. In addition, Malcolms statements were supported by the killing of three organizers in Mississippi James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner one summer later and only twelve days after an appeal had been made and summarily denied by the White House for protection.233 Similarly, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and a 1965 Voting Rights Act may have brought about a decline in organized outward protest234 but they certainly did nothing to address African poverty and African people in America were not at all satisfied or showing signs of relenting. In a brief sullen anecdote Louis notes that, on July 2nd {1964}, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, and one minute later thirteen-year old black Mississippian Gene Young was refused service at the Hotel Muelbach barbershop in Kansas City, MO.235 These events and the growing realization that not only was the United States engaged in a game of minor reform for purposes of pacification but that those in power were linked to an international power struggle over land, people and natural resources. It is this American resistance to legitimate change, along with the movements throughout

233 234

Zinn, 449. Debbie Louis notes in And We Are Not Yet Saved that , with the Voting Rights Act, the southern {Civil Rights} movement dissolved, 190. 235 Debbie Louis, 145.

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the global African diaspora that resulted in the eventual shift in strategy, previously mentioned, employed by those demanding liberation. Even the often-misrepresented Martin Luther King was clear about this reality recognizing that there were in fact phases to the struggle for freedom. In a discussion with the leadership of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) King asked his fellow leadership to be aware that a court can only declare rights: it does not always necessarily deliver them. Continuing he explained, these legislative and judicial victories did very little to improve the lot of the millions of Negroes in the teeming ghettos of the North, that legislation does nothing against the practice of White supremacy or the monster of racism {whose} ultimate logic is genocide. King began calling for a guaranteed annual income, and warned his listeners that, we are treading on difficult waters because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with the economic system of our nation.236 And though he differed with those calling for Black Power he recognized that the first phase of the Civil Rights Movement had only addressed the White Americans need to treat Negroes with a degree of decency, not of equality.237 These realizations among many in the African American community brought about a change in strategy as those opposing these forces sought ways to truly improve the lot of oppressed people. A growing consciousness of the situation began to appear in the slogans of Black Power, and the establishment and practice of colonial models for the study of African peoples relationship to the United States and Europe. Variances of land and economic nationalism, Marxism, and armed resistance became personified in

236 237

Martin Luther King, Jr. SCLC Leadership Meeting, 11/14/1966, 3-19. Martin Luther King, Jr. Where Do We Go, 4.

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the actions and words of Malcolm X, Robert Williams, Ella Baker, Kwame Ture, The Black Panther Party, the Revolutionary Action Movement, and others. Again, Clarke was right there, tradition ready for use. As a member of Malcolm Xs historical cabinet he was there to and able to aid in the construction of Malcolms Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) in 1964 which embodied many of the new developments in the African freedom struggle in America. Though never claiming to be the primary author of the mission statement or the leader of the OAAU, Clarkes presence assured that there would be present a solid understanding of African world history and the need for an international, pan-African outlook. William Sales, Jr. in his work on the subject explains some of the lesser-known aspects of the OAAU. Included in these were its pan-African orientation, which Sales says came directly out of what he says were, street corner ideological debates between the likes of {Malcolm and} Elombe Brath, Ahmed Basheer, Carlos Cooks, George Reed, and others, what we are simply calling the tradition. Also, the OAAU was to be also a front organization and cover for armed guerilla warfare groups who following the lead of the struggles being wages throughout the so-called Third World were being prepared for action in America.238 In Freedomways Clarke maintained a consistent authorship of articles on various aspects of African world history, writing countless book reviews on every aspect of African life and history. As a clear sign of the times, in 1967, the same year as the publication of Black Power by Kwame Ture and Charles V. Hamilton, Clarke echoes their premise that Africans in America exist in a colonial relationship with the United States not unlike those residing in other parts of the so-called "Third World.

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He wrote: The black ghettos are small colonies whose various economic, political and social institutions are controlled by absentee forces more interested in containment of the restless populace within the ghetto than in curing its social ills.239 It is this awareness that roughly four years earlier demanded he join Kenneth B. Clark in his attempt to cure the social ills of his Harlem community. Clarks goal was to create a program that dealt with, the personality and emotional problems of the bulk of the youth of the Harlem ghetto {and that understood these problems} in terms of the pervasive pathology which characterizes our society and makes the ghetto possible.240 The tradition demanded that Clarke make it accessible to those in the African community, particularly those in the one African community that not only nurtured Clarke but the tradition itself, Harlem. The roots of anti-poverty programs can be traced back to the efforts of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who, in the 1930s, established programs meant to stimulate consumer spending to reverse the trends of Americas Great Depression. The New Deal of Roosevelt produced an earlier war on poverty and resulted in several programs such as Emergency Relief, the National Youth Administration (NYA), Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC camps) and the aforementioned Works Project Administration (WPA). Continuing from the days of Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy added the Presidents Committee on Juvenile Delinquency (PCJD) which as Clark explains became the, foundation for the national anti-poverty program.241 It was Kennedys PCJD, that in 1962, allotted funds for Clark to produce a Harlem Youth Unlimited (HARYOU) study
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William W. Sales, Jr., From Civil Rights to Black Liberation, 104-132. Clarke, Freedomways, vol. Number 1, 1967,34. 240 Kenneth B. Clark, HARYOU: An Experiment, Harlem, U.S.A., ed. John Henrik Clarke, 212.

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on juvenile delinquency. The final product of this was HARYOUs Youth in the Ghetto. It was here that Clark and HARYOU gave a detailed analysis on the economic and social conditions of poverty and ways in which a poor community could itself engage in an antipoverty struggle. In 1964, because of the efforts of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., president Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the War on Poverty Bill which in writing called for the dispersal of millions of dollars to aid Americas poverty problem. This, along with the Equal Opportunity Act of 1964, was meant for the stimulation and incentive for urban and rural communities to mobilize their resources, public and private, to combat poverty through community action programs.242 Out of this came the funding necessary to implement the ideas discussed in Youth in the Ghetto. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., who had been a leader in what Clarke had called a political renaissance in Harlem,243 during the years of struggle to make Harlem a congressional district and becoming its first congressman, would seek involvement in HARYOU. In June, 1964, the fledgling HARYOU and its Mobilization for Youth action programs, came under fire as they were given, at least, partial blame for that months Harlem uprising. The Harlem community in response to poverty, the larger Civil Rights struggle and ultimately to the police killing of a young boy, rose up in protest. This was seen as a failure of HARYOU and Powell then sought increased involvement. Powell and his group used his influence as the beloved congressman and AME Baptist church leader, not to mention his congressional power as head of the House Education and Labor Committee who oversaw Powells anti-poverty legislation and
241 242

Kenneth B. Clark, A Relevant War Against Poverty, 4. Kenneth B. Clark, A Relevant War Against Poverty, 22.

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funding for such programs to assume leadership of HARYOU. This brought about a merger between HARYOU and Powells ACT group to form HARYOU-ACT. Clark claims that this move proved detrimental to the overall goal of aiding the poor. He explained: The controversy for control of the HARYOU program and the resolution of that controversy with victory for Powell forces effectively blocked any systematic and serious work with or organization of the poor in Harlem. The poor were fought about and not for, another instance of the pathos of the poor. The poor were hostages, instruments to other peoples profit and power.244 Powell and his team simply felt that HARYOU needed leadership that would prevent further uprising and disruption in the Harlem community and in fact used a lack of such action in the following summer of 1965 as example of their own success.245 However, Powell also noted that his legislation for funding of these programs was never followed, and that his law was in fact being broken. Powell wrote in his legislation that no more than 20% of government funding could be used for salaries in these programs. According to Powell this rule was consistently broken as salaries accounted for over 70% of the use of funds for HARYOU-ACT and other anti-poverty programs. Ultimately, Powell would say: Should not the primary thrust of the whole anti-poverty program effort be on jobs? To the extent we ignore the creation of a viable national employment program to that same extent we prostitute the war on poverty. {Program leadership in cities like New York and Washington, DC} the executive directors are Black people but there are no other Black people at the top. This sorry racial tokenism has been merchandized by an unholy alliance of Black Uncle Toms and insensistive upper class Whites I have said I had nothing to do with HARYOUACT at all thank God. We found there werent any poor involved in HARYOUACT with the policy making board. Too much of the money was going for

243 244

John Henrik Clarke, The Early Years of Adam Powell, Freedomways, Summer 1967, vol.7 no.3, 211. Clark, 221. 245 Clark, 220.

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salaries, nice sounding programs and pretty offices. In HARYOU-ACT the amount of money going for salaries is something like 77%, this is ridiculous. 246 Whatever the abuses of the program may have been, it should not be seen in anyway as a complete failure or as having been without successes or purpose. Out of the HARYOU-ACT outline, proposal and Community Action Institute (CAI) programs strong efforts and progress was made. Clarke, for example, was enlisted to help with the cultural/heritage aspects of HARYOU. James Baldwin summarized the need for such an aspect of HARYOU: A black child, born in this country discovers two terrifying things. First of all he discovers that he does not exist in it, no matter what he looks likeby which I mean books, magazines, moviesthere is no reflection of himself anywhere.. (if) he finds anything which looks like him, he is authoritatively assured that this is a savage, or a comedian who has never contributed anything to civilization.247 This undoubtedly resonated with Clarke who would have remembered his own youthful search for Black angels in the Bible or an accurate representation of African people in literature and the like. Clarkes involvement sought to address the void left for African youth in terms of historical continuity, cultural linkages and paradigm setting in preparation for leadership and community development towards liberation. A 1964 copy of the minutes of a CAI meeting show some of the problems Clarke and others were seeking to address. Note one discusses the need for massive education in the Harlem community, that would address the goals mentioned in note two that, the focal thrust of HARYOU-ACT is to energize the people to take their own destiny in their hands. Clarkes role was to teach four classes, 20 hours a week, on

246 247

Powell, Gil Nobles Special video. Clark, Youth in the Ghetto, 504.

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training workshops that were initially meant to increase leadership skills for the staff and then the larger community.248 Vicky Gholson had met Clarke in 1963 as a young college-age Harlem youth and has made clear the positive and progressive accomplishments of Clarke and HARYOUACT. What she and colleague Barbara Wheeler, who met and worked with Clarke starting in 1966, explain is that what Clarke began with his efforts in HARYOU-ACT Heritage Sessions was the pre-cursor to the Black Studies Movement that would begin in the mid to late 60s. In fact, calling him the father of Black Studies,249 Gholson and Wheeler explain that Clarke used the Heritage Sessions to expose youngsters to his tradition training through his own and guest lectures, including old friends Richard B. Moore and Yosef ben-Jochannan. Meeting across the street from the Schomburg Research Center at 175 135th street these Heritage Session meetings included what Gholson would call a diverse experience.250 There would be historical lectures from those mentioned above and music from jazz notables such as Max Roach and Oscar Brown, Jr. Also influence from those fresh from the civil rights struggles in the South came from the likes of Bob Moses and gave an overall exposure to historical and cultural links for the African community in Harlem. Also included was singing from activist Abby Lincoln who Clarke had interviewed in 1961 as part of his piece on nationalism for Freedomways. She was a singer, no doubt, but her views were well documented by Clarke as she explained in 1961 that, we Afro-Americans will be heard by any means you make it necessary for us to

248 249

Community Action Institute Staff Minutes, December 8th, 1964, Schomburg Collection. Interview with Drs. Barbara Wheeler and Vicky Gholson. 250 IBID.

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use, further attacking the crumb-crunching, cocktail-sipping Uncle Tom leadership paid by colonialists.251 Clarkes own contributions, aside from assembling such notable teachers, included his passing of the tradition onto those in Harlem. A survey of his lecutre notes and outlines for HARYOU-ACT lectures clearly shows this. Included were discussions of the antiquity of African people and civilization, African origins of Egypt and subsequent Egyptian influence on Europe and Asia and historically contextualized studies of contemporary leadership. In a Fact Sheet from a HARYOU-ACT Heritage Program as part of the CAI Clarke shows this in a lecture given on The New Black Radicals and Black Power. In it Clarke links modern leaders such as King, Carmichael, Wilkins, Young and McKissick to 19th century leaders such as Garnet and Delany. Here the tradition is shown to be in use, saying that the concept of Black Power is old hat.252 This use of historical context, including the use of ancient African history as a tool to awaken the consciousness of African youth in America, was a clear demonstration of the tradition in practice. Bringing in lecturers and musicians extolling the virtues of Africanness in history, music, etc. brought about cultural awareness that was (and is) sorely needed particularly among the youth and future leaders. In fact, predating much of the discussion of cultural nationalism that would eventually play a major role in African American organizational development, Clarke brought that aspect of knowledge-building to those in HARYOU-ACT. As Wheeler notes, Clarke from 1964-1968, was involved in the developing Black Consciousness Movement and used these years to increase

251 252

Clarke, New Nationalism, Freedomways, fall 1961, 287. Fact Sheet, HARYOU-ACT Heritage Program, CAI, 7/18/66.

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consciousness among the African community. From 1968 on he would engage with others in institution building in order that said consciousness would be perpetuated. Furthermore, and as mentioned, the efforts of Clarke were seen by many as the beginnings of the movement to increase in both abundance and accuracy the discussion of African people and history in schools and universities. Actually, it would be more accurate to categorize what began to happen in the mid to late 1960s in terms of Black Studies a re-birth or continuance of the struggles of DuBois, Woodson, Hansberry, Jackson, Huggins and others. A student movement, largely led by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), had begun as leaders such a Stokely Carmichael were engaging activists like Malcolm X as early as 1962. As Wheeler and Gholson explain, many of the young students who would eventually enter colleges during the late 60s had been influenced by the Civil and Human Rights movements, the Black Power and Consciousness Movements in America and abroad, as well as, the experience of the Heritage Sessions in HARYOU-ACT. The latter exposed youngsters to an inclusive world history and once it was seen that such inclusion did not exist in universities they were prepared and anxious to demand them. From here Clarke and other would seek to expand on the tradition and consciousness raising through institution building.

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---RICHARD MOORE--- DIOP -----Civil to Black Power--- (including influence overseas, Biko, etc.) ---Freedomways African-centered- no explicit Marxism ---Black Studies push--- end there- next chapter institutionalization of tradition

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-USE ALL OF THIS FOR HARLEM CHAPTER- NEXT -ALSO INCLUDE WRITINGS AND ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT FROM TIMELINE- DUBOIS THE NEGRO AND AS WALTERS SAID THIS INFLUENCE ON JHC AND OTHERS .- R.WALTERS AND COMPARISON OF MIGRATION TO COLONIAL AFRICANS GOING TO EUROPEAN METROPOLES -COME BACK TO LOCKE AND HIS NEW NEGRO THAT PUBLISHED THE SCHOMBURG ESSAY THAT LAUNCHED CLARKES DIRECTION -BRING CHP 3 IN WITH A REURN TO SCHOMBURG AND TRADITION PASSING THROUGH HHC, ETC. -HARRISON CONNECTION TO AFRICAN ANTIQUITY AND CIVILZATION WHEN HE AND POLSTON ATTACK EUROPEAN CIVILIZATION AS BEING A COVER FOR DOMINATION -NOTE ALSO THE 1925 BIRTHS OF THE PAN-AFRICAN PANTHEON OF MALCOLM, FANON, AND LUMUMBA -CHECK DUBOIS READER FOR HIS THOUGHTS OF THIS ERA AND SOCIALISM, PAN AFRICANISM, NATIONALISM, ETC. ADD TO NEXT CHAPTER INTRO: Man, when I stepped off that train in Harlem for the first time hoo wee it was like being in heaven! - Anonymous Woman253

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I Remember Harlem, video.

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