Dr. Nathan Hare, Father of Black Studies

Father of Black Studies Dr. Nathan Hare, Passes Away At 91

Dr. Nathan Hare, renowned as the Father of Black Studies for coining "ethnic studies," passed away at the age of 91, leaving behind a lasting legacy in academia and advocacy for the Black community.

Affectionately dubbed the Father of Black Studies, Dr. Nathan Hare passed away on Monday (June 10). He was 91.

Credited with coining the term “ethnic studies” to replace “minority studies,” Dr. Hare was hired by San Francisco State College, now San Francisco University, as the first program coordinator for the institution’s Black Studies program in 1968. At the time, the program was the first of its kind in the United States.

“We are trying to start a Black studies program at state college, and I think it has the greatest and last hope to solve educational problems of the Black race in this country,” said Dr. Hare in a video found in SF State’s archive.

The university’s program is still in place and is now called Africana Studies. Professor Sharon Jones recalls being a student during the protests held on the campus, which were led by Dr. Hare alongside the Black Panthers and the Black Student Union. These protests ultimately paved the way for the Black Studies program, which is now recognized and replicated at schools across the nation.

“I’m here because of Dr. Hare,” said Jones. “I’m here because of what we did 50 years ago. I would have never dreamed that I would be a professor today. If it wasn’t for Black history, there would be no history.”

Dr. Abdul Pitre, the chair of Africana Studies, recalls sitting in a seat created by Hare.

“Pretty much everything was viewed from a European perspective or a Eurocentric perspective [in the 1960s], and what Black Studies did is it gave a different critique of American society,” said Pitre. “His work is actually immeasurable in the sense that it will continue to impact many generations that are not seen right now.”

In 1979, Dr. Hare, alongside his late wife, Dr. Julia Hare, founded the Black Think Tank to address challenges within the Black community after being let go from the university, persevering in his fight for justice for Black scholars.

Until his passing, Dr. Hare continued to use his platform to promote the wellness of Black people through clinical psychology.

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