Generations Coming Together, The Old & The New
Clarence Harris was, without question, a Giant in the Detroit community! He joined the Ancestors on Easter weekend, at the age of 91, at the VA Hospital in Ann Arbor, succumbing to COVID 19.
Clarence Harris was an Organizer’s Organizer! He devoted his life to the cultural and academic development of young people in Detroit, and he leaves behind organizations he founded, along with hundreds of people he mentored.Clarence was deeply committed to his Alma Mater, Northwestern High School.
He was drafted to serve in the Military while attending Northwestern. After completing his tour of duty, he returned to high school to complete his schooling, earning a diploma and also earning the nickname “Pee Wee”, as he became a star player on the school’s basketball team-despite his diminutive stature.
After Clarence graduated from high school, he secured employment, got married, started a family, and purchased a home within walking distance of his beloved high school. Clarence began volunteering at the high school during his free time, and soon began to organize young people throughout the City to form “The Committee for Student Rights.”
Students who were mentored by Clarence Harris in the Committee for Student Rights during the ‘60’s were introduced to Pan African/Black Nationalist Speakers and literature & they began to demand that Black History classes be taught in the Detroit Public Schools; adopting “Afro” hairstyles and wearing African garb.
Clarence Harris founded a 3-day annual cultural festival during the second weekend of August, called “Soul Days” on the campus of Northwestern High School in the late 60’s. Soul Days attracted as many as 100,000 attendees as Clarence Harris recruited Motown Acts like “Martha and the Vandella’s”, The Four Tops”, offered workshops on African Culture and vendors who promoted Arts, Crafts, and clothing by African entrepreneurs.
When Coleman A. Young was elected as Detroit’s 1st Black Mayor he asked Clarence if he would agree to transition the 3 day festival to Downtown Detroit, to become one of the hallmarks of his administration. Clarence Harris agreed, and Soul Days became the African World Festival. Initially the African World Festival was staged on Michigan Avenue, then moved to Hart Plaza for several decades and ultimately moving to the campus of The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
Clarence Harris was a founding member of the Detroit Council of Elders, Northwestern High Alumni,
was a Confidante of revered
Historians like Dr. Yosef Ben
Jochannan and was a mentor to hundreds, including: Ronald Massey, William Massey, Rev. Wendell Anthony, Brother Piankhi, Kilindi Ayi, JoAnn Watson, James Ford, Keith Williams and others.
Elder Clarence “Pee Wee” Harris celebrated his 90th Birthday Party at the Firewaters night club in Mid-Town Detroit on July 15th, 2018 and was dancing and socializing until the wee hours!
May God Bless the life and legacy of our Gentle Giant, Elder Clarence “Pee Wee” Harris
Courageous, Inc. was born from seeing our youth being lost because they did not know the deepest roots of their Black Culture EXCELLENCE IS THE CORE OF BLACK CULTURE!!!
Music, academics, social activism are all rooted in excellence. Because our youth don't know their history they believe they are less. Courageous Games gets their attention by involving them in the healthy competition of sports. Athletics became a smooth segue into teaching them how to define their own moment blending sports in concert with Black Culture.
Black culture is not about the hood. It is about excellence in every area of life. Courageous teaches that not only is excellence born in them, but that is expected that they use their Black culture to produce excellence in sports, school, social and family interaction.
Courageous believes in our youth and we prove it by teaching them to look at their Black history of excellence, accomplishments, beating the odds and being their best. Once they see that average is not an option, giving their best through sports, higher education and every day living becomes their habit.
Courageous reminds them that they are Black Culture and rooted in Excellence!