John Henrik Clarke was born in Union Springs, Alabama on New Year’s Day, 1915. His family came from a long line of sharecroppers. They moved to Columbus, Georgia, when he was four years old. He drew a powerful image of the woman who taught him in the fifth grade in 1925, in Columbus, Ga., Eveline Taylor. Taylor put a halt to his rambunctious play with other children because she saw something in him. "It's no disgrace to be alone," she said, "It's no disgrace to be right when everybody else thinks you are wrong. There is nothing wrong with being a thinker. Your playing days are over."As an academician and intellectual, Clarke emerged as one of the leading theorists of Afrikan liberation and the uses of Afrikan history as a foundation and grounding for liberation. Under Clarke's formulation liberation was defined not simply as freedom from European domination, but fundamentally as the restoration of Afrikan sovereignty. He explored history's utility in moving an oppressed and subordinated people from a position of subjugation on multiple levels to full status as a self-sustaining, self-defining, self-directed, free, and independent people on a global stage.
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