Fall 22 Weeks 2-3 NIGHT SECTION: Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s Great and Mighty Walk [UPDATED]

Hi everyone,

Expect a new post here every week with full details on what to do. Posts will usually go live on Thursdays.


First a few housekeeping things before we get to the assignment itself. There’s a lot in this week’s post but there’s a lot to cover. It will be shorter after the first few weeks.

  • You might find it helpful to subscribe to new posts for this site: use the e-mail sign-up form on the main page.
  • If you’re new to the class, welcome! Be sure to carefully review class policies on the syllabus.
  • Get copies of the required course book: Dr. Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies, 4th edition.. You will need it to do the reading assignments for the rest of the semester. You can also buy the book directly from the publisher at the list price. See links on the books page.

Please sign up for the class text message service run by Remind(.com) if you haven’t done so yet

  • You can sign up online here or send a text message to 757-337-4602 and type the following as the message: @aas166nite.

General Announcements:

  • Lehman has emergency grants available to quickly provide money for housing, medical, food, transportation, and other needs. Details at the Student Affairs office.
  • The Lehman Food Bank offers food assistance. Details here.
  • Lehman has a very comprehensive page of students resources including laptop/tablet loans. Details here.

Audio tour of this website

If you missed the first class session, this short tour of the site and the syllabus should get you up to speed. Also see the FAQ page for more info. This lecture is optional: if you were in the Zoom session or can grasp the website, you can skip it.

[coming this weekend.]

Quick highlights from first week of classes on Monday August 29

  • Course Intro & syllabus overview
  • Reading of Dr. Leonard Jeffries Jr’s “The Essence of Black Studies” (handout and also on the Readings page). What’s his view of a Black Studies methodology (i.e. ways to analyze information and do research) and how should it approach the world?
  • News story: new AP course in African American Studies (listen on NPR)
  • Music: Dizzy Gillespie’s “Swing Low Sweet Cadillac” (Listen on YouTube)

NO class on Week 2: Monday September 6 for Labor Day!

What to do for Week 3–Monday September 12:

RE-READ Dr. Leonard Jeffries Jr’s “The Essence of Black Studies” (on the Readings page. Password hint: what year is it?).

WATCH the 90-minute documentary embedded below of the late scholar Dr. John Henrik Clarke

READ Dr. Clarke’s essay “Africana Studies: A Decade of Change, Challenge, and Conflict” (PDF file on the Readings page)

RESPOND to the questions at the bottom of this post and write brief answers for discussion in class
Things to think about while viewing and for discussion:

  • What is Dr. Clarke’s view of history and how should we relate to it?
  • Why study ancient African civilizations, especially Kemet and Nile Valley civilization, according to Dr. Clarke?
  • How, according to Dr. Clarke, has the history of Kemet’s contributions to Greek civilization been erased?
  • Consider sharing the link on your social media feed and watching it with friends, family, children or hosting a watch party for your PTA, church group, tenants’ association, etc.

Note: the video takes a sweeping view of history and Dr. Clarke includes an astounding amount of information. Don’t try to take down everything: focus on some key points or maybe a few figures to look at in more detail later. The goal is to gain a broad grasp of a key foundational figure in Africana Studies and think about his approach to history.

Highlight or underline key points in Dr. J’s essay. Write down notes as you read and watch the documentary. Write down questions of things you don’t understand for us to answer in class.

Dr. Clarke’s essay was presented at a conference of the African Heritage Studies Association. In this essay, he makes an attempt to trace some of the early history of the discipline (academic major) of Africana Studies and present some of the key issues he thinks it faces.

Try to understand the following key points from the essay:

  • What is the issue with naming the major–specifically Black Studies vs Africana Studies?
  • What is the dilemma that Black scholars/writers face?
  • What is the significance of the contributions of W.E.B. Du Bois and Carter G. Woodson?
  • What’s the importance of the search for ideology Dr. Clarke mentions in the last few pages?

What’s Next?

We’ll review highlights of the Dr. Clarke documentary, discuss Africana Studies methodology, and revisit Dr. J’s essay.