Ahati N.N. Toure: John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History: Africalogical Quest for Decolonization and Sovereignty

Article excerpt

Ahati N.N. Toure, John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History: Africalogical Quest for Decolonization and Sovereignty. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2009. ISBN-13: 9781592216277


Africana studies have recently undergone a major historiographical resurgence. Studies of key figures that have advanced the field have featured notably in this endeavor, with several progressive studies and scholarly conferences helping to recast the meaning and heritage of this aspect of Black Nationalism. Scholars such as Kwame W. Alford and Greg K. Carr have recently broadened our understanding of Nationalist intellectuals who have operated outside of the confines of Europeans controlled institutions. (1) Their studies have begun to help us reshape what we think about Black Nationalist intellectuals and their impact on the African World.

Ahati N.N. Toure's John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History is a major contribution to the development of Africana intellectual studies. Concentrating on the genesis of Pan Africanist scholars, Toure's study is one of the first critically scholarly monoliths in this field. Focusing centrally on John Henrik Clarke and the plethora of grassroots intellectuals that trained or had a profound influence on him, Toure argues that despite not having European degrees, Clarke was able to teach African world History at some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the United States. The author uses the activism and scholarship of John Henrik Clarke to show the genealogy of a movement of "indigenous" African intellectuals in the United States who were committed to a Pan Africanist ideology regarding sovereignty.

Having access to John Henrik Clarke's manuscript collection at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Toure provides a useful account of the intellectual development of Dr. Clarke and many other grassroots intellectuals that preceded him. Clarke was influenced by the numerous Africana historical research societies that date back to the mid-19th century. Some of the scholars that emerged from this tradition include the venerable journalist and former advisor to Marcus Garvey, John Edward Bruce and the organic bibliophile and archivist Arthur A. Schomburg. They advocated "original research, publication, and teaching for principally Afrikan mass consumption (p. …


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