The Dallas Examiner
Clarence Glover Jr. may best be known to The Dallas Examiner readers through his monthly Sankofa Garden Homes columns. In the articles, he teaches by doing, demonstrating methods of home vegetable gardening that include edible or other functional plants that not only have direct links to Southern Black culture but metaphorical roots in African lands as well. Along with his planting advice, he enlightens readers on slave traditions, as well as African history and symbols.
As well as being a columnist, Glover has also been a teacher most of his adult life, and recently received praise for his decades of diligence in education, especially on topics related to African American life.
For his dedication to the community, he was recently inducted into the African American Education Archives and History Program during The Bobbie L. Lang Hall of Fame Luncheon in Duncanville, April 13.
Known also as Professor Freedom, he estimated that he has instructed thousands of students, teachers and citizens about African American culture, multicultural education, the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights. He is also an ordained Christian Methodist Episcopal minister.
His drive to stimulate the minds of others stems from being raised by a family of educators, he said, including by his farming grandparents, who lacked a formal college education, but were educators nonetheless “in terms of their knowledge, their understanding of nature, had the rural appreciation of land, and family and culture. My mother and family were formally educated by attending Grambling State University and they were both educators – teachers, elementary teachers.”
An instructor who prefers to describe himself as an “educator” – as opposed to using the word “teacher” – Glover explained the Latin origin of the word as someone who finds the best in an individual and nurtures that, employing the metaphor of a farmer that plants a seed in rich, fertile soil. An apt occupation for a man whose family lived off land they themselves cultivated.
“I grew up as a child on a farm with my great-grandmother, great-grandfather, my grandmother, my grandfather, my sister and I, so the primary years of our lives, until we went to elementary school. We lived on the farm with my great-grandparents and my grandparents while my mother and father both taught school in different parts of the parish in Louisiana,” he remarked.
“So therein lies, you know, having grown up on the farm and then being with my mother and father and my grandparents who educated us to the land, and to the family, to the culture, my mother and father being teachers … it’s in my blood.”
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Glover earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Grambling, then obtained a Master of Theology and completed further studies at Harvard. He taught African American studies at SMU, as well as served as director for Multicultural Student Affairs and adjunct professor of African American Studies.
Further, he was a special assistant to the general superintendent and director of multicultural education with Dallas ISD. He is also president of Sankofa Education Services, which specializes in cultural strategies for educating Black students, as well as multicultural studies.
During his career, Glover has researched and located King’s March 17, 1966, speech at SMU, as well as associated news articles. He also attained an M Award, the highest service award presented by the university.
But induction into the hall of fame was an unexpected accolade, after his nomination by Dallas writer Norma Adams-Wade.
“Well, I was surprised, for sure,” he admitted with a bit of a laugh. “I was also very moved by the fact that I am a part of the African American cultural education movement, if you will. I was very honored and appreciative of that part because those of us who have worked in areas, some call it Afrocentric education or African American education, within the last 30 years, have been working to bring legitimacy to what we do in terms of the work and the area of multicultural education.”
Glover emphasized that finding the role for the African American in education – after the formerly solid walls of segregation had been legally torn down between ethnicities on campuses – was of great importance.
But the instructor does not want to simply teach others. He would like to see other young Black men and women to consider a career in education.
“I’d say to them, it is a field that is wide open,” he declared. “So many times you don’t see men in that field, in elementary.”
Glover affirmed this as he recalled the career path of his father.
“And we need them there, so that we can certainly guide young boys. We need young ladies there, young women, and all of them looking at issues of STEM and STEAM,” he continued. “But it is a calling that I hope I can encourage young men and women to go into, that education is all our calling, and it’s one that they can reach, probably, if they consider it more than many other careers, if you will.
“So many young people today I see, they want to be a hip-hop singer, they want to be the basketball superstar, you know, African American males, and they have a greater chance of becoming an educator.”
2019 AAEAHP Inductees
The African American Education Archives and History Program began in February 2002 with the mission is to collect and maintain a repository of artifacts, documents and visual images that record African American education experiences in Dallas County.
Dr. Jerry R. Cummings – A tenure professor at Texas Southern University who has served as an educator, researchers, author and advocate for educational equality.
Rachel George – A champion for children who has served as an educator and district manager for Dallas ISD for 37 years.
Clarence Glover Jr. – An educator and administrator who taught African American studies at Southern Methodist University, where he served as director of Multicultural Student Affairs and an adjunct professor of African American studies. He later served Dallas ISD for 40 years from a classroom serving special needs students to central administration and the top levels of leadership.
Dr. Andrea Hilburn – An educator who has worked as a special assistant to the general superintendent and director of multicultural education with Dallas ISD.
Dr. Lillian Hoskins – An educator and historian with documented success in passing on world history to high school and early college students across the Souther Sector from 1989 to 2013.
Dr. Nell Ingram – An educator since 1975, who has mentored and trained many new teachers. She has helped establish requirements and create training regiments after joining the Dallas ISD Alternative Certification Department in 1989, where she later became a director.
Judge Thomas G. Jones – A former Dallas ISD trustee, is currently a Dallas County Justice of the Peace. For the past decade, he also served as administrator for the U.S. Department of Education with oversight of civil rights enforcement in a five-state region.
Dr. George Keaton Jr. – An educator and counselor who has taught a variety of basic education and STEAM courses. He has also reached beyond the classroom as a leader or member of organizations that serve the community.
Stacy Mosely Jr. – An educator who served as one of Dallas ISD’s first African American teachers at a majority White school. He later became the principal of the nearby elementary. He retired after 33 years of service, but served as a substitute administrator.
Billy J. Townsend – An educator who has taught at many Dallas ISD elementary and middle school, has been motivated by a philosophy that all children are capable, able and prepared to learn despite disadvantages.”
Source: African American Education Archives and History Program