a tribute  to by Juanita Jackson

Unsung Accolades : Herman “Fessor” Dr. J.H. Blake

I am extremely humbled and privileged to pay tribute to Herman, a man of genuine compassion and integrity. Dr. Blake’s life experiences are integrated with scholarly achievements and a leadership style that reflects his strong actions for social justice and community empowerment.  Dr. Blake believes that given the opportunity and resources, communities can and should define their own priorities, services and needs.  As Provost of UCSC, College Seven, Dr. Herman Blake took his vision and implemented the College Seven Extra Mural programs on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, Monterey Park Tract, Ceres, CA and North Richmond, CA.  Dr. Blake strategically utilized UCSC human and financial resources to create a successful, best practice model that can be replicated in the UC educational system. The friendships between UCSC students and community members developed so many years ago have continued until today.

Herman, in all your completeness, emphasis on quality education and the positive role model that you have provided, you have assisted so many individuals reach their life goals and we are thankful. From your “academic blood” flows successful men and women who have blossomed and emerged as teachers, attorneys, nurses, school administrators, prison wardens, correctional/probation officers, social workers, community activists, day care operators, business owners, tutors and mentors and other professionals who are a reflection of who you are.
As Professor/Provost Dr. Blake was a tutor to each of his students preparing them to be exemplary role models of UCSC in the communities they would serve, by teaching them respect for self, for others and for cultural differences, to have high expectations, and always emphasized that “although some of us come from similar type communities, each would be different to some degree based on the peoples experiences within the environment”.  I can attest to that.

“Fessor Blake” as he was affectionately addressed came to each community by invitation. He did not present typical research presented by the “professionals”. Instead, he was committed and his firm belief in the power of communities and their fortitude guided his way.  As a reentry student from Monterey Tract, I am thankful to Professor Blake for the opportunity to learn and grow from the profound experiences and the knowledge of my Daufuskie Island mothers, especially, Mrs. Sarah Grant, Midwife/Undertaker.  I deeply appreciate Dr. Blake for the opportunity, guidance and love to serve in Monterey Park Tract and on Daufuskie Island.  In the process of community engagement, “Fessor” has touched the lives of six generations. I have taken the liberty of writing this tribute to you on behalf of the families from Daufuskie and Monterey Park Tract, we all LOVE you. The families are: Adams, Browns, Chews, Clays, Collins, Epperson, Gradford, Grants, Holland, Jacksons, Jordans, Robinsons, Simmons, Simpsons and Waltons.  If I missed a family it’s due to my old memory bank.

Juanita Jackson
Class of 1973