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Dr. John Henrik Clarke

 
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"...people become free and protected to the extent that they are educated to support institutions of their own creation.  And when you support institutions of your own creation you can have an ideology of your own creation and you stop being imitators of other people's ideology and you become the master of your self."

Dr John Henrik Clarke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tatee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 13 2012 at 2:29pm
"When Malcolm X said "by any means necessary" all he was saying is that a slave has no moral obligation to his slave masters."

Dr John Henrik Clarke
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"no people will ever be free so long as there god concept was assigned to them by another people."


Dr John Henrik Clarke
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"I have said that a cultural revolution is needed in Africa and that cultural revolution will not start until an African head of state prays to an African God in public without apologies."

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"...had we studied the European mentality, had we known that these were the kinds of people we were dealing with, we wouldn't have been slaves because we would have killed them on sight.  We could have saved our selves.  We thought that they had the same humanity as we had. So when we saw them we invited them for dinner.  We didn't know, we had never delt with people who would come into you house, eat your food, rape your wife and enslave the host.  Our mind was not geared to deal with such a people...and we still are not too clear about who is our friend and who is a foe."

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                                         The Boy Who Painted Christ Black   
He was the smartest boy in the Muskogee County School - for colored children. Everybody even
remotely connected with the school knew this. The teacher always pronounced his name with profound
gusto as she pointed him out as the ideal student. Once I heard her say: “If he were white he might, some
day, become President.” Only Aaron Crawford wasn’t white; quite the contrary. His skin was so solid
black that it glowed, reflecting an inner virtue that was strange, and beyond my comprehension.
In many ways he looked like something that was awkwardly put together. Both his nose and his
lips seemed a trifle too large for his face. To say he was ugly would be unjust and to say he was
handsome would be gross exaggeration. Truthfully, I could never make up my mind about him.
Sometimes he looked like something out of a book of ancient history...looked as if he was left over from
that magnificent era before the machine age came and marred the earth’s natural beauty.
His great variety of talent often startled the teachers. This caused his classmates to look upon him
with a mixed feeling of awe and envy.
Before Thanksgiving, he always drew turkeys and pumpkins on the blackboard. On George
Washington’s birthday, he drew large American flags surrounded by little hatchets. It was these small
masterpieces that made him the most talked-about colored boy in Columbus, Georgia. The Negro
principal of the Muskogee County School that he would some day be a great painter, like Henry O.
Tanner.
For the teacher’s birthday, which fell on a day about a week before commencement, Aaron
Crawford painted the picture that caused an uproar, and a turning point, at the Muskogee County School.
The moment he entered the room that morning, all eyes fell on him. Besides his torn book holder, he
was carrying a large-framed concern wrapped in old newspapers. As he went to his seat, the teacher’s
eyes followed his every motion, a curious wonderment mirrored in them conflicting with the half-smile
that wreathed her face.
Aaron put his books down, them smiling broadly, advanced toward the teacher’s desk. His alert
eyes were so bright with joy that they were almost frightening. .. Temporarily, there was no other sound
in the room.
Aaron stared questioningly at her and she moved her hand back to the present cautiously, as if it
were a living thing with vicious characteristics. I am sure it was the one thing she least expected.
With a quick, involuntary movement I rose up from my desk. A series of submerged murmurs
spread through the room rising to a distinct monotone. The teacher turned toward the children, staring
reproachfully. They did not move their eyes from the present that Aaron had brought her... It was a large
picture of Christ -- painted black!
Aaron Crawford went back to his seat, a feeling of triumph reflecting in his every movement.
The teacher faced us. Her curious half-smile had blurred into a mild bewilderment. She searched
the bright faces before her and started to smile again, occasionally stealing quick glances at the large
picture propped on her desk, as though doing so were forbidden amusement.

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“Aaron,” she spoke at last, a slight tinge of uncertainty in her tone, “this is a most welcome
present. Thanks. I will treasure it.” She paused, then went on speaking, a trifle more coherent than
before. “Looks like you are going to be quite an artist...Suppose you come forward and tell the class how
you came to paint this remarkable picture.”
When he rose to speak, to explain about the picture, a hush fell tightly over the room, and the
children gave him all of their attention...something they rarely did for the teacher. He did not speak at
first; he just stood there in front of the room, toying absently with his hands, observing his audience
carefully, like a great concert artist.
“It was like this,” he said, placing full emphasis on every word. “You see, my uncle who lives in
New York teaches classes in Negro History at the Y.M.C.A. When he visited us last year he was telling
me about the many great black folks who have made history. He said black folks were once the most
powerful people on earth. When I asked him about Christ, he said no one ever proved whether he was
black or white. Somehow a feeling came over me that he was a black man, ‘cause he was so kind and
forgiving, kinder than I have ever seen white people be. So, when I painted his picture I couldn’t help
but paint it as I thought it was.”
After this, the little artist sat down, smiling broadly, as if he had gained entrance to a great
storehouse of knowledge that ordinary people could neither acquire nor comprehend.
The teacher, knowing nothing else to do under prevailing circumstances, invited the children to
rise from their seats and come forward so they could get a complete view of Aaron’s unique piece of art.
When I came close to the picture, I noticed it was painted with the kind of paint you get in the
five and ten cents stores. Its shape was blurred slightly, as if someone had jarred the frame before the
paint had time to dry. The eyes of Christ were deepset and sad, very much like those of Aaron’s father,
who was a deacon in the local Baptist Church. This picture of Christ looked much different from the one
I saw hanging on the wall when I was in Sunday School. It looked more like a helpless Negro, pleading
silently for mercy.
For the next few days, there was much talk about Aaron’s picture.
The school term ended the following week and Aaron’s picture, along with the best handwork
done by the students that year, was on display in the assembly room. Naturally, Aaron’s picture graced
the place of honor.
There was no book work to be done on commencement day, and joy was rampant among the
children. The girls in their brightly colored dresses gave the school the delightful air of Spring
awakening.
In the middle of the day all the children were gathered in the small assembly. On this day we
were always favored with a visit from a man whom all the teachers spoke of with mixed esteem and
fear. Professor Danual, they called him, and they always pronounced his name with reverence. He was
supervisor of all the city schools, including those small and poorly equipped ones set aside for colored
children.
The great man arrived almost at the end of our commencement exercises. On seeing him enter
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the hall, the children rose, bowed courteously, and sat down again, their eyes examining him as if he
were a circus freak.
He was a tall white man with solid gray hair that made his lean face seem paler than it actually
was. His eyes were the clearest blue I have ever seen. They were the only lifelike things about him.
As he made his way to the front of the room the Negro principal, George Du Vaul, was walking
ahead of him, cautiously preventing anything from getting in his way. As he passed me, I heard the
teachers, frightened, sucking in their breath, felt the tension tightening.
A large chair was in the center of the rostrum. It had been daintily polished and the janitor had
laboriously recushioned its bottom. The supervisor went straight to it without being guided, knowing
that this pretty splendor was reserved for him.
Presently the Negro principal introduced the distinguished guest and he favored us with a short
speech. It wasn’t a very important speech. Almost at the end of it, I remembered him saying something
about he wouldn’t be surprised if one of us boys grew up to be a great colored man, like Booker T.
Washington.
After he sat down, the school chorus sang two spirituals and the girls in the fourth grade did an
Indian folk dance. This brought the commencement program to an end.
After this the supervisor came down from the rostrum, his eyes tinged with curiosity, and began
to view the array of handwork on display in front of the chapel.
Suddenly his face underwent a strange rejuvenation. His clear blue eyes flickered in
astonishment. He was looking at Aaron Crawford’s picture of Christ. Mechanically he moved his
stooped form closer to the picture and stood gazing fixedly at it, curious and undecided, as though it were
a dangerous animal that would rise any moment and spread destruction.
We waited tensely for his next movement. The silence was almost suffocating. At last he twisted
himself around and began to search the grim faces before him. The fiery glitter of his eyes abated
slightly as they rested on the Negro principal, protestingly.
“Who painted this sacrilegious nonsense?” he demanded sharply.
“I painted it, sir.” These were Aaron’s words, spoken hesitantly. He wetted his lips timidly and
looked up at the supervisor, his eyes voicing a sad plea for understanding.
He spoke again, this time more coherently. “Th’ principal said a colored person have jes as much
right paintin’ Jesus black as a white person have paintin’ him white. And he says... ” At this point he
halted abruptly, as if to search for his next words. A strong tinge of bewilderment dimmed the glow of
his solid black face. He stammered out a few more words, then stopped again.
The supervisor strode a few steps toward him. At last color had swelled some of the lifelessness
out of his lean face.
“Well, go on!” he said, enragedly, ”...I’m still listening.”
Aaron moved his lips pathetically but no words passed them. His eyes wandered around the
room, resting finally, with an air of hope, on the face of the Negro principal. After a moment, he jerked
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