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St. Clair Drake

Memorial Lectures

The St. Clair Drake Lectures are dedicated to the memory of Professor St. Clair Drake, renowned professor of sociology and anthropology, an early researcher on black Americans and the founding Director of the Program in African & African American Studies at Stanford University.


His illustrious scholarly career is framed by the classic books, Black Metropolis (co-authored with Horace Cayton, 1945), and Black Folk Here and There (2 vols. 1987-1990). Professor St. Clair Drake died in 1990.

While studying at Stanford, Dr. Jemison experienced the legacy that is Saint Clair Drake while on the course toward completing all the requirements of a Major in African & Afro-American Studies (as it was called then). In addition to AAAS, she majored in Chemical Engineering and felt the pressures of being the only person of color in most of her classes. In spite of obstacles, her persistent efforts reaped the rewards she so passionately pursued. During this lecture Dr. Jemison focused on how her Major in AAAS impacted her ability to reach her goals.

 

Black Metropolis

A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City

 

“There’s a confidence about knowing yourself and your people that’s really important,” she said. “It gave me the confidence to know that every group of people had made contributions to this world.” “You have to believe in yourself first, then you have to believe that you have a right to be involved. That’s what AAAS helped me to know.” With those words, she went on to present to the audience a thin slice of history by highlighting some of the many unsung heroes in the history of African American women in aero/astronautics. This brief lesson even included three lesser-known Black women that have also gone into orbit, yet who’s achievement often is overshadowed by Dr. Jemison’s prior expedition into space!

Sparking the same inspiration that Alexis felt is the goal of Dr. Jemison’s international science camp, The Earth We Share, which motivates students and teachers to strengthen their science education. With those words, she went on to present to the audience a thin slice of history by highlighting some of the many unsung heroes in the history of African American women in aero/astronautics. This brief lesson even included three lesser-known Black women that have also gone into orbit, yet who’s achievement often is overshadowed by Dr. Jemison’s prior expedition into space!




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