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Education for a New Reality in the African World was prepared for The Phelps-Stokes Fund and delivered on November 14, 1994 in a ceremony at which Dr. Clarke was presented with their highest award, the Aggrey Medal, for "recognition of his unique contribution to our knowledge and understanding of African civilization."
Few scholars and teachers have pursued their field of research and public discourse with more passion and dedication than John Henrik Clarke. Dr. Clarke has sought to win for Africa its "respectful commentary in the history of the world." Although this essay is intended to point to the educational challenge facing people of African descent as they approach the information age of the 21st Century, the discussion Dr. Clarke offers is centered on perceiving more completely the place and contributions of African people to human progress. Fundalemtally, what Dr. Clarke argues is that despite the historic denial of Africa's true history in western scholarship, which was used to justify the rape and plunder of the continent and the suppression of African culture through and slavery and colonial oppression, Africa's gift to world society has been unique and permanently enriching. The tragedy is that the truth about Africa's role in human progress has been so effectively suppressed that not even the African world is fully convinced of its reality. This is why the main focus of Education for a New Reality in the African World "must have as its mission the restoration of what slavery and colonialism took away."From the Foreword by Gerald LeMelle, The Phelps-Stokes Fund director of Africa Programs