Bill Golden
Submitted on 2012/12/04 at 9:44 pm
In the fall of 1970, Herman Blake accompanied five students as we embarked on our field projects for the Fall Quarter, part of the Cowell Extramural Program. We flew from San Francisco to Savannah, then drove into the Low Country of South Carolina. His role was to introduce us to the community where we would spend the next 10 weeks. I’ll never forget my surprise that everywhere we went people knew who Herman Blake was. No matter how small or isolated the rural outpost, people would wave and treat him like a celebrity. I guess I still don’t know how he could have been nationally known at that point, but he was. Our new environment seemed very exotic. Looking back, my experiences of that long-ago fall cannot be measured monetarily.
Jon Tetsuro Sumida
Submitted on 2012/12/02 at 6:30 pm
I was a student in a sociology course on race, Sociology 116, taught by Professor Blake at UCSC during spring quarter of 1968. I remember this course as one of the best that I took as an undergraduate–demanding with respect to work, challenging with respect to thought, and enlightening with respect to political and social perspective. Blake taught me about what it meant to think hard and independently, which guided me in my own academic career. I extend my deepest gratitude for his teaching.Jon Sumida
Department of History, University of Maryland, College ParkChair
Department of the Army Historical Advisory Committee (2003-2006)Major General Matthew C. Horner Chair of Military Theory
U.S. Marine Corps University, Quantico, Virginia (2004-2006)
Harriet Slakey Cohen
Submitted on 2012/11/30 at 8:15 pm
This is such a moving recognition of Herman’s impact on so many lives.
G. Chris Brown Ph.D.
Submitted on 2012/12/07 at 11:23 pm
Dr. Herman Blake was my professor and mentor. He motivated me to excel and to be all that I could be. He was my role model, which partially explains why I pursued a Ph.D. and became a professor. He did not accept excuses for mediocrity; instead, he pushed his students to strive for excellence. Failure wasn’t an option. He knew the right buttons to push to make me and other students achieve success.Herman and I used to run together. It was fun, but he was afraid of snakes. One morning he started running before I was ready, so I took off to catch him. He was at the West gate at UCSC when I spotted him. Right after spotting him, I noticed that he jumps like four feet in the air almost like a deer. I didn’t know he could jump that high; it was like an Olympic athlete. When I got to the spot where he had jumped, I noticed a long dead snake. I laughed so hard!
As Herman says, “Keep on keeping on.”
Debra L. Mellinkoff
Submitted on 2012/11/25 at 11:59 pm
Herman Blake changed the way I looked at the world and my place in it. He convinced me that each of us has the ability to make a positive difference within a myriad of different realities. No one else has had such a profound impact on my life and the way I live it.
Barbara Thornton
Submitted on 2012/11/16 at 3:40 am
I entered UCSC as a junior, but part of the first four year class, graduating in 1969. I was at UCSC but interested in community organizing and city planning. One of the best courses at UCSC was Prof. Blake’s Demograhics course. Real data, not just academic theory, to help me understand social policy. He emphasized the importance of hard core scholarship combined with social change. But to do social change, he said, start in your own backyard, not in someone else’s. I met Bobby Seale and Angela Davis, two now historically important figures of the late 20th century. I got class credit for working in and writing about the war on poverty program’s community action agency in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood, an extraordinary opportunity he made possible.Herman Blake has made indelible impressions on the lives of generations of students. I’m lucky to have caught him early in his stellar academic career so I’ve had an opportunity to enjoy watching his career and service to his students and his commitments to his community interest, like Daufuskie, to evolve.Barbara Thornton
BA Urban Environmental Studies
Crown College
Class of 1969
Cynthia Willeford McMath
Submitted on 2012/11/14 at 3:19 am
Herman Blake was by far the best advisor I ever had at UCSC. I had friends who took part in his projects in different parts of the country, starting with Daufuskie Island, and I know what a permanent effect this work had on them.


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