John Henrik Clarke: A Great and Mighty Walk

on September 10, 1996 by Craig Vickers
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   Wesley Snipes is the narrator and executive producer of this fascinating documentary, subtitled "A Great and Mighty Walk," about pre-eminent African-American scholar and historian John Henrik Clarke. Directed with an assured, confident style by veteran documentarian St. Clair Bourne ("Making Do The Right Thing"), the result is entertaining and enlightening.
   Now in his 80th year and blind, Clarke provides a crash course in African history, beginning in ancient Egypt. Drawing from his personal experiences, he adds anecdote to objective history; Clarke was a participant in the Harlem Renaissance and knew the likes of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. He doesn't shy from criticism: King's passive resistance comes under fire, and the Million Man March comes under particularly scathing fire.
   Bourne wisely lets Clarke talk, inventively orchestrating the film with archival footage. It makes for a welcome and thoughtful addition to black history, an intriguing and elucidating mix that is as gracious and insightful as its subject. Directed by St. Clair Bourne. Written by Lou Potter. Produced by Kimiko Jackson. A Black Dot Media production; no distributor set. Documentary. Not yet rated. Running time: 90 min.
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