African American studies professor and psychologist Nathan Hare was born on April 9, 1933 in Slick, Oklahoma. As a young age he experienced segregation and tense race relations in Oklahoma. Hare planned on becoming a professional boxer until one of his high school teachers suggested he attend college, where he took sociology classes and switched his major from English to sociology. In 1954, he received his A.B. degree from Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma. In 1957, he earned his M.A. degree from University of Chicago. In that same year, he married his wife, Julia Hare, also a noted psychologist and sociologist. Five years later, in 1962, he earned the first of two Ph.D. degrees. The first Ph.D. degree in sociology was from the University of Chicago and the second Ph.D. degree, awarded from the California School of Professional Psychology in 1975, was in clinical psychology.
In 1961, he became an instructor and assistant professor in sociology at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Some of his students included Stokely Carmichael and Claude Brown. Later, in September 1966, he wrote a letter to the editor of the The Hilltop, Howard University’s student newspaper speaking out against then Howard University president James Nabrit’s plan to turn the university’s student body sixty percent white by 1970. As a result Hare was fired in 1967. In 1968, Hare joined the faculty of San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University) and became the program coordinator of the school's Black Studies program, the first in the United States. This has earned him the title "father of Black Studies" by scholars. As the program coordinator, Hare created the term "ethnic studies" to replace the more pejorative "minority studies." Hare battled with the college administration and left the college just a year later, in 1969. Needing a way to express his thoughts and the ideas of others, he founded the scholarly periodical, The Black Scholar: A Journal of Black Studies and Research in 1969. He left the journal in 1975 to work as a clinical psychologist in community health programs, hospitals, and in private practice. In 1979, he co-founded the Black Think Tank with his wife, Julia Hare. The Black Think Tank addresses the problems and concerns that plague the African American community.
Throughout his career, Hare has served as a consultant and given numerous lectures and presentations. Furthermore, he has written several books and articles including The Black Anglo Saxons, The Endangered Black Family, Bringing the Black Boy to Manhood: The Passage, Crisis in Black Sexual Politics, and The Miseducation of the Black Child. He has been the recipient of many awards such as the Joseph Hines Award for Distinguished Scholarship from the National Association of Black Sociologists, Scholar of the Year Award from the Association of African Historians, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. Hare was also awarded the National Council for Black Studies National Award for his distinguished scholarly contributions to Black Studies. Throughout his life, his love of boxing and learning has helped him to fight for social justice.
Nathan Hare was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on April 5, 2004.