Monday, June 24, 2013

Eyes on the Sparrow: J. Herman Blake, PhD

We first met Dr. Blake when we worked as a researcher at UC Berkeley, 1964,
writing case histories of the "culturally deprived." Dr. Blake helped bring Malcolm X
to UCB where he spoke before seven thousand students in front of Sproul Hall. Years later, Dr. Blake assisted Huey Newton in the writing of his autobiography Revolutionary Suicide and his PhD dissertation. The last time we talked was when he was appointed Chair of the Gullah Studies Department, University of South Carolina. Blake is a Gullah from Johns Island, along with Amiri Baraka whose original family name was Johns but changed it to Jones when they left the island.

Dr. Blake was given a spacious building but we heard the racists had no intention to have a nigger in such an elaborate facility. He was soon gone. Not long ago he delivered a lecture in the Bay Area at a sociology conference. He told how he visited Huey P. Newton almost daily while he was in prison.

Dr. Blake is one of those persons who shuns the center stage but is critical in the background.
--Marvin X

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