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Our Meeting with Dr. George Elliot Clarke

The OLIP interns had the pleasure of meeting Dr. George Elliot Clarke, the former Poet Laureate.  


Dr. Clarke had an electric personality and provided us with great insight into the people who shaped him as an activist and a poet, including Rocky Jones and Sylvia Hamilton. He talked about his life growing up as a black Nova Scotian and learning vital aspects of his maritime history while working under his mentors. Sylvia specifically taught him that it was possible to be an unapologetic intellectual and an artist. He has written several poetry books and countless other works that comment on Black Nova Scotian life as well as the legacy of colonialism and Canadian politics.  


We had the opportunity to obtain his co-written book “BLACK- Activist, Icon, Scientist” about the world-renowned Dr. Howard McCurdy. Unique to his other books, this biography highlights the importance of McCurdy’s activism in Canada and his work as the first black NDP MP. Dr. Clarke spoke highly about Dr. McCurdy as a trailblazer in Canadian politics.  

In our session, Dr. Clake left us with two pieces of important advice from his work; “you don’t know the impact your work will have, the important thing is that you do the work” and “your talent is your power”. He has inspired us to continue finding our own talents and doing “the work” to make a difference in our communities like he has.  


Thank you again to Dr. Clarke for the memorable visit to the OLIP office! 



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