please click here to send a tribute Tributes received by April 25th will be printed and included in the Tribute Book to be presented to Prof. Blake at the dinner on April 27
a tribute from Stephanie Fein
I met J. Herman Blake during my sophomore year at Cowell in 1966 when I enrolled in his class on the family. Suddenly I was thinking about content and concepts that interested me and within months I became a sociology major with Herman as my advisor. Each class I took from Herman opened my eyes and my heart to the world. Through him my world expanded to a summer program at San Mateo Junior College teaching reading to adults who had never learned to read and a semester observing and assisting in a junior high school in Hunter’s Point. Next stop with Herman was to meet his students in the Junior Leadership program at Neighborhood House in North Richmond and where I would eventually spend my quarter in the Cowell Extramural Education program and my first year after graduating from UCSC teaching reading and writing and living in the community.
During my junior and senior years, Herman often gave me a ride to and from Berkeley and Santa Cruz-me to see my boyfriend and him to see his family. Looking back, I think he needed someone to keep him awake during those two hours. However, it was during these rides, to the accompaniment of the likes of the Staple Singers or Roberta Flack, that Herman taught me life lessons that I have in turn taught my own children and many others. There are two that have most influenced the course of my life. One stemmed from Herman’s retelling of a conversation he had with Malcolm X from which I learned that we are not the person others define us as. The second was probably in response to my anxieties about life after graduation when Herman told me that wherever one works or lives there will always be opportunities to work for social justice. These lessons seem simple on the surface, but they have helped me right my ship and set my course repeatedly through the years since 1966.
Thank you dear Herman for truly believing in me-I wish you and yours the best.
Cowell College, 1969