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John Henrik Clarke (January 1, 1915 - July 16, 1998), born John Henry Clark in Union Springs, Alabama to John (a sharecropper) and Willie Ella (Mays) Clarke (a washer woman), was a Pan-Africanist, author, poet, historian, journalist, lecturer and teacher. Clarke was one of the most significant influences on the search for the role Africans play in World History.

Clarke was the author of numerous articles that have appeared in leading scholarly journals. He also served as the author, contributor, or editor of 24 books. In 1968 along with the Black Caucus of the African Studies Association, Clarke founded the African Heritage Studies Association. In 1969 he was appointed as the founding chairman of the Black and Puerto Rican Studies Department at Hunter College in New York City. Clarke was most known and highly regarded for his lifelong devotion to studying and documenting the histories and contributions of African peoples in Africa and the diaspora.

Clarke is often quoted as stating that "History is not everything, but it is a starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are, but more importantly, what they must be."

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