local history

Remembering Dr. Lawrence M. Clark Sr.

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the passing of Dr. Lawrence M. Clark. Dr. Clark was an accomplished mathematician and college administrator at North Carolina State University, but was equally passionate about following a calling to record the local African-American history of his hometown, Danville, Virginia. Dr. Clark and his wife, Dr. Irene Reynolds Clark, have stood as role models for me for the vital importance of the principle of sankofa and of the value and impact of preserving and presenting a people’s history.

I am thankful to the Clark children, my friends Lawrence Jr., Deborah, Linda and Sheila, for generously sharing their parents with all who know, admire and stood to learn from them. In some small way, I hope that Black Wide-Awake honors Dr. Clark’s legacy.

For the full post excerpting an interview with Dr. Lawrence M. Clark, published by the Virginia Center for Digital History, see here.

 

In memoriam: Dr. Johnny Lee Greene.

When I woke up in the middle of the night Monday and read that Dr. J. Lee Greene had died, my heart broke a little. I don’t even know how to explain what this man did for my little provincial teen-aged mind. His lecture topics ranged from Toni Morrison to Richard Ellison to Eldzier Cortor to Hughie Lee-Smith and were jewels not just for the anointing he put on works of literature and art, but for the solid-gold aphorisms he dished in between.

During the years in which we lost touch after I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, both Dr. Greene and I discovered a ministry in the preservation of local African-American history and heritage. He offered early and much-valued encouragement of my mission with Black Wide-Awake, and today I made a donation in his honor and memory to Rutherford County’s African American Heritage Museum, which he founded in 2012.

Rest in peace, Lee Greene.