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A Great and Mighty Walk - John Henrik Clarke

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A video documentary called, “A Great and Mighty Walk”, featuring Professor John Henrik Clarke telling the story of African people throughout history, beginning with ancient African civilizations and through the 1990's. A biography of John Clarke himself and an overview of the thousands of years of African history, the documentary offers a challenging look at the past through the eyes of a leading proponent of an Afrocentric view of history. From ancient Egypt and Africa’s other great empires, Clarke moves through Mediterranean, the Atlantic slave trade, European colonization, the development of the Pan-African movement, and present-day African-American history.

The documentary accounts his struggling years as a young writer in Harlem, New York in the 1930s. After four years in the U.S. Air Force, earning the rank of sergeant major, he attended NYU, majoring in history and world literature.

He talks about his own upbringing, and his growing interest in Pan-Africanism, the failures of the civil rights movement and the Black Power movement, his close friendship with Malcolm X, and his critical assessment of Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March. He also gives a primer on the history of African civilization, and argues that no conquering or colonizing power ever “brought civilization” to Africa, but rather these nations destroyed what civilization they didn’t understand, and brought many of Africa’s ideas back to their bases in ancient Greece and Rome.

As an activist, Clarke daringly collaborated with Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, and with the young Malcolm X during the early years of the Civil Rights movement.

Holding that “the relationship of history to people is the same as a mother’s to her child,” Clarke has devoted his life to a revisionist exploration of African history. In a prolific half-century career, Clarke, who’s now professor emeritus of African World History at Hunter College in New York, has published close to 30 books and over 50 short stories, the best known of which, “The Boy Who Painted Christ Black,” was made into an HBO short with Snipes.

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