Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Notes from the Master Teacher of Black Studies, Dr. Nathan Hare

I feel so blessed to have a daily dialogue with the father of Black Studies, Dr. Nathan Hare, my elder, comrade and colleague who wrote the introduction to my autobiography Somethin' Proper, Black Bird Press, 1998, and the foreword to my manual How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, BPP, 2007.

For many years now, Dr. Hare and I have worked together on such projects as the 1980 Black Men's Conference (15 years before the Million Man March), the 2001 Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness at San Francisco State University (absent most faculty in the Black Studies Department, although it was sponsored by the department); the 2004 Black Radical Book Fair in San Francisco's Tenderloin (where I spent 12 years as a dope fiend). Dr. Hare facilitated Black Reconstruction, the prototype for my Pan African Mental Health Peer Group to recover from the addiction to white supremacy.

Today I feel especially blessed to be in possession of the archives of Dr. Nathan Hare and Dr. Julia Hare. The Christians say God may not be there when you want Him but He's always on time. And so it is! When I recovered from Crack after a twelve year run, I wanted to catch up on Black Consciousness so I wrote various people to send me literature so I might catch up, but no one responded.

As I have been arranging the Hare archives, it is awesome to find so many original documents that are invaluable for any North American African in search of our true identity. The archives contain most of the Black Scholar magazines (founded by Dr. Hare), Negro Digest/Black World, Liberator, Freedomways, Ebony, Sepia, Jet, Phylon, Negro History Bulletin, Journal of Black Studies, etc. As one of my interns said, "Marvin, you got the Hare's whole life in his and Julia's archives."

Again, I am honored to work on this project that is the reeducation I've needed. One of my interns who studied Black Studies on the east coast, bemoaned the fact that she'd never heard of Dr. Hare until she attended his 80th birthday party. She felt culturally deprived and wondered why? We know it is due to revisionist history, wherein  important people are deleted from the narrative for ideological and white supremacy type ll (Dr. Hare term) reasons.
--Marvin X

A Note from Dr. Nathan Hare


Barack Obama went to Chicago in part because Frank Davis had told him about it, but also his mother had wanted to be a student there but was only fifteen so her father wouldn’t let her and she would tell Obama about it. Meanwhile he had gotten here to Loyola Marymount in LA but, where tried to get hip, but transferred to Columbia, where he was studying when his mother wrote that she was in the hospital with cancer. For reasons of his own he declined to droop everything and go wherever she was – somewhere in Indonesia as I recall – and visit her. She died.  So when he got out of Columbia, he went to Chicago, in particular the University of Chicago, and dug in around in the slum district in which the University had surrounded itself but tried to dig out of with only partial success in the mid to late 1950s, My older sister has said that people would say “that little old guy who hangs around the University of Chicago. He attended Columbia and Harvard Law but got his education and made his mark at the University of Chicago as a lecturer in the law department and life and organizing in the hood. I also knew Valerie jarrett’s father in law, the newspaper columnist, Vernon Jarrett. Indeed, when we were grappling with the Oakland superintendent movement from the National Black Men’s Conference you spearheaded with the help of John Douambia (sp?) – I was luncheon speaker – I happened to tell him on the phone when talking about the  Black Think Tank that we were doing that. I told him how the NAACP had taken up my idea  I had issued at a California Conference on black Education during a panel discussion chaired by Willie Brown. I called for raising the concept of “excellence” in black education to the level of excellence in athletics and music. You didn’t hear excellence as a buzz word for blacks in education. But I went on to say this in the same year, 1975 (when I received the Distinguished Alumni Award for my alma mater, Langston, around the country. I sent it to places like Jet and Jesse Jackson’s Operation Push (which became “Push for Excellence.” Also Marva Collins started her private school on the concept of excellence that year. Langston of course took it up full bloom for decades but now speak of “greatness” with the new regimes after the death of their 25 year president, Julia’s brother in law.

Anyway, at the Sacramento conference where I first raise the cry for excellence I had read in a book on Jewish education that they always pushed excvellence, Willie Brown cut me off at the five minute mark. Verna Canson, the west Coast regional director of the NAACP, sitting beside me said “I like that, how would you do it?” I said I don’t know, but I can think of academic Olympics in junior high schools and high schools,etc. A month later I was listening to KDIA as everybody in the community did of a Sunday afternoon in those days and I kept saying to Julia that the woman on Dr Fahim’s show, Margaret Busch Wilson, national chairman of the NAACP, was using my stuff. I kept saying she’s got my stuff, but I had never met her. I thought back to the California Conference and Verna Canson and recalled that I had mentioned it to her and she had passed it on. Anyway, as I started to say, a few years passed and ACT-SO (academic tournament for black kids, though mostly the middle class elite) began to flourish. So when I was talking to Vernon Jarrett, the journalist and father in law of Valerie Jarrett, I told him about all of this. I was startled to look up in a few months and see that Vernon Jarrett and the NAACP were saying that Vernon Jarrett had started ACT-SO.

Tell me how long the train’s been gone.


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