St. Clair Drake Center Honors New Book and Drake’s Legacy
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 19:10
On Wednesday, Oct. 3, Roosevelt University honored the late St. Clair Drake, celebrated sociologist and alumnus of the university. The event also commemorated the release of a new book, The Black Chicago Renaissance, edited by Darlene Clark Hine, Roosevelt alumna and Northwestern University Board of Trustees professor of African-American studies and history.
The event was presented by Roosevelt’s St. Clair Drake Center for African and American Studies, which is dedicated to innovative activism in Chicago’s black communities and abroad. Speakers included Hines, the advisory council for the center, former students, and coworkers. Albert Bennett, sociology professor and 10-year director of the center, gave a brief overview of the center and it’s intentions.
“We’re going to try to connect with schools of the diaspora,” Bennett said.
Drake, a prominent sociology instructor at Roosevelt and activist, was one of the first black faculty members at the university. In addition, he founded one of the earliest African-American Studies programs in the country. His acclaimed book, Black Metropolis, chronicles the forgotten Black Renaissance of Chicago. His book and the center are a fraction of his prolific work dedicated to documenting and analyzing the black condition in Chicago and the rest of the world.
Hine, a 15-year affiliate of the center, has high hopes for the program.
“I would like to see the Drake Center launch research projects, continuing the work,” Hines said. “That would be kind of exciting because Chicago is international. It would be great.”
Hine said she wants the center’s eminence and strength to reach international borders. As Bennett mentioned, the center has already placed an initiative to work with L’Ecole de Choix (School of Choice), a progressive education program based in Haiti.
Strategies like this need resources as well as dedicated individuals. Hine is certainly optimistic, but she is also realistic.
“Money. Space,” she said regarding the needs of the program.
Recently, space in the new Wabash Building has been sanctioned for the activities of the St. Clair Drake Center. The moving process is very gradual, but the program is unmistakably picking up momentum.
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