Black People : Paying homage to some scholars who had an impact on my life

Jahari Kavi

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Feb 12, 2008
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Seeing Jan Carew mentioned in a thread reminded me of my time in grad school and having the opportunity to meet Jan and Dr. Blaine Hudson. Both men were brilliant and I always regret not getting the opportunity to tell them how they impacted my life as a a young Black man. Although I was familiar with Van Sertima, Rashidi, and Jose Pimienta Bey entering into Graduate school, I had no idea the role Jan Carew played in their lives until our department hosted an event honoring the late Van Sertima. Van Sertima's wife, Rashidi, and Pimienta Bey had nothing but great things to say about Jan's work and his mentorship. That evening was one I will never forget. Getting the chance to sit and eat dinner with Jan Carew, Runoko, and Pimienta Bey and having the opportunity to pick their minds was probably my most favorite moment of my graduate school experience. I never spent too much time with Jan, because at the age of 90 he was in no condition to teach, but my cohorts who got to work with him would always tell me about his stories of how he used to run with Dubois and pick up women (lol) or the time he spent with Malcolm in his final days. He also would always take the time to provide my cohorts with lists of reading material that they would not get in the walls of a classroom or maybe even in the United States.

I did get the opportunity of taking some graduate classes with Dr. Hudson on African enslavement and education. Sitting in class I always marveled at just how intelligent the man was. To this day I still say that I have never met a more intelligent human being who knew a whole lot about everything. Word is when he was younger he would always read two books a week in addition to being a graduate student, a father, and a activist. Like Jan he would also provide the class with mandatory reading, in addition to a long list of books for us to pick up on our own time. Dr. Hudson always made me realize the importance of reading and being well versed in various fields. He let me know in my exit exam how some scholars make the mistake of writing about areas that they know very little about and how I should not make the same mistake in my future endeavors. He also played a big role in helping me graduate on time (shout out to Dr. Jones on that tip also lol) and helping me shape my ideas for research on the Black Church for my exit exam.


These giants were no arm chair scholars either. Both were on the front lines for their people. Jan was thrown in jail with Nkrumah and spent time with Che, Castro, Malcolm, Dubois, King, etc. Dr. Hudson was one of the many Black Students who fought to get Black Studies on college campuses. At one time he was kicked out of the University of Louisville only to return decades later to be named Dean of Arts and Sciences. He also believed in bringing information to the community by hosting Saturday Academies free of charge for anyone who wanted to attend. What I will miss most about Dean Hudson is that he cared about us as students and Black people. I remember sitting in his office one day, because I had some questions on what I should do with my future. At the time something was really bothering me and although I tried to mask it, Dr. Hudson saw right through it and genuinely asked me if everything was okay. I shrugged it off, because I'm not good at expressing myself emotionally, but deep down him simply asking meant a lot to me. The day I was informed of his passing really hurt me to the point of tears. I haven't really expressed these feelings before, but for some reason tonight I felt that it was necessary to pay respects to these two brothers who are ancestors in the truest sense. Rest in Power Jan Carew and Dr. Hudson. And rest in power to Dr. Clarence Talley who I never got a chance to take a class with, but who always gave me a smile and the Black man's nod when seeing me in the computer lab. He also encouraged me to follow my dream of looking further into Van Sertima's research about the Black presence in early America. Peace and brotherly love to all of you great men.



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