Spring 21 Week 2: Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s Great and Mighty Walk

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 (608) 467-4328 and type the following as the message: @aas166.
  • Makes it easy for me to quickly send out important messages–like today when I was way too sick to run my classes

On the weekly Zoom sessions:

  • The sessions will be recorded starting next week: still figuring out the best way to post them. Stay tuned.
  • Sign-up info for both Zoom sessions is on the Zoom meet info page. I recommend saving the meeting ID and password in your calendar or elsewhere to easily join

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 class on 2/3:

  • Course Intro & syllabus overview
  • Zoom wait room music: Archie Shepp’s “New Africa
  • Musical selection: Dizzy Gillespie’s “Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac.”
  • 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?
  • Screened first ~25 minutes of the Dr. John Henrik Clarke documentary A Great and Mighty Walk. It’s on YouTube if you want a refresher. (Consider sharing the link with your own intro to it on social media. Think about watching it with family members, your church group, tenants’ association, PTA chapter, etc.)

What to do for Week 2–February 8:

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

RESPOND to the questions at the bottom of this post and DISCUSS them with classmates and myself

ATTEND the weekly Zoom session @ 6 PM EST on Wednesday February 10

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.

What’s Next?

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

Comments on posts:

You’ll notice the “Let’s Talk” button is below. Here’s how it’ll work: you can use this to discuss points raised here.  A few points:

  • Your first comment will have to be approved by me: after that, you can comment without approval
  • Comments section will only be open to enrolled students
  • You have to leave your name (enter as first name and last initial only) so a) I can make sure only people in the class are commenting and b) you get credit for the comment
  • Remember to be respectful, especially when responding to classmates
  • The comments section closes 14 days after a post goes live

To ‘participate’ in the class, I’d like to see everyone 1) post a substantive comment of their own based on either the reading or my lecture using some of the questions raised or conversation prompts, and 2) to respond thoughtfully to someone else’s comment—not just agree/disagree, but add on evidence or ask a follow-up question. You can also ask a question–for me or others–but that doesn’t count toward your comment and reply needed for the grade. It’s fine with me if conversation continues in a thread as long as it does, but two responses showing a clear engagement with the reading will count for being ‘present.’ Does that make sense? You have two weeks to write those two comments for credit.

Week of December 11: Final class and review

https://i2.wp.com/www.geekandspell.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/2_THE_EAST_BLACKWDS_WEB.jpg

Image: Detail from X Clan To the East, Blackwards

Announcements:

  • Our last class is next week (12/11)
  • The final exam is on December 18 from 6-8 PM in our usual classroom
  • SAVE THE DATE: the Kwanzaa Celebration in Brooklyn mentioned by Dr. Segun Shabaka in class will be on Sunday December 29 from 4-7 PM at IS 258, 141 Macon St, Brooklyn NY. It is intentionally a family friendly program. You should plan on bringing children and there will be music and an exciting African dance presentation in addition to a talk by Dr. Maulana Karenga (the author of our Introduction to Black Studies textbook). There’s a small admission fee (that you can negotiate if you’re truly broke). Details coming soon at the Int’l African Arts Fest website.

On Wednesday December 11, we’ll have our final class meeting. Please bring Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies textbook with you also, since the second half of the class will be a review for the final exam.

Read the following:

  •  “Can African People Save Themselves?” in Dr. Clarke’s Notes for An African World Revolution (pp. 383-420).
  • The Introduction of Chapter 11 in Introduction to Black Studies on Critical Thinking (pp. 425-429) and “An Ethics of Sharing” (pp. 474-479)

What to read/look for:

  • What challenges does Dr. Clarke pose for the future of African people globally?
  • What are the key points Dr. Karenga suggests are part of the critical thinking process?

Quick highlights from 12/5 class:

  • Thanks to Dr. Segun Shabaka for his guest lecture! See more info on the US Organization at their website. Info on his trips/tours is available at the Pyramid Productions website and info on the annual International African Arts Festival is at their website.

Week of December 12: Final class and review

https://i2.wp.com/www.geekandspell.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/2_THE_EAST_BLACKWDS_WEB.jpg

Image: Detail fro X Clan To the East, Blackwards

Announcements:

  • Our last class is next week (12/12)
  • The final exam is on December 19 from 6-8 PM in our usual classroom
  • SAVE THE DATE: the Kwanzaa Celebration in Brooklyn mentioned by Dr. Segun Shabaka in class will be on Saturday September 29 from 4-8 PM at IS 258, 141 Macon St, Brooklyn NY. It is intentionally a family friendly program. You should plan on bringing children and there will be music and an exciting African dance presentation in addition to a talk by Dr. Maulana Karenga. There’s a small admission fee (that you can negotiate if you’re truly broke). Details at their website.

On Wednesday December 12, we’ll have our final class meeting. Please bring Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies textbook with you also, since the second half of the class will be a review for the final exam.

Read the following:

  •  “Can African People Save Themselves?” in Dr. Clarke’s Notes for An African World Revolution (pp. 383-420).
  • The Introduction of Chapter 11 in Introduction to Black Studies on Critical Thinking (pp. 425-429) and “An Ethics of Sharing” (pp. 474-479)

What to read/look for:

  • What challenges does Dr. Clarke pose for the future of African people globally?
  • What are the key points Dr. Karenga suggests are part of the critical thinking process?

Quick highlights from 12/5 class:

  • See the Lecture Notes page for my presentation (coming soon)
  • Reviewed first section of Introduction to Black Studies Chapter 9: “Black Creative Production”
    • Karenga outlines major artistic periods (in the US) and key debates in creative production
  • Reviewed Maulana Karenga essay: “Black Art: Mute Matter Given Form and Function”
    • Dr. Karenga’s argument of hoe Black Artists should approach their craft
  • Reviewed Langston Hughes essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”
    • Hughes’s Harlem Renaissance (1923) argument for the role of the Black artist
  • Reviewed Kenneth Warren’s essay “Does African American Literature Still Exist?”
    • Warren argues that because of assimilation, African American literature is a dying form
  • YouTube clip of visual artist Faith Ringgold “Political Art
  • Excerpt from Black Theater: the Making of a Movement with James Earl Jones, Amiri Baraka, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer. Available in the Lehman College Library or streaming on Kanopy. (You’ll need to sign in with your Lehman, NYPL, or Brooklyn Public Library credentials to view.)