Chapter 20

J. G. St. Clair Drake: Activist-Advocate before His Time
Thomas Weaver

The works of J. G. St. Clair Drake (1911–1990) are permeated by themes of political economy, injustice, capitalism, nationalism, and race relations. The first American Black to receive the Malinowski Award, Drake grew up in Virginia and attended mostly segregated schools. As a young man, he was taken under the wing of a germinating Black intellectual class, members of which encouraged him to study anthropology and involved him in ethnographic studies of Black communities. Drake was active in workers’ organizations in conjunction with this research, as he was also in his later research in West Africa. Drake taught at Roosevelt University in Chicago for twenty-three years and ended his career at Stanford University. His 1990 Malinowski Award address was not published, and there is no known copy.