Dan Georgakas, a scholar, activist, educator and advocate for Hellenism, has passed away at the age of 83, according to an announcement from the American Hellenic Institute where Georgakas served as a longtime editor.
Born in Detroit on March 1, 1938, Georgakas was a poet and historian specializing in oral history and the American labor movement. He was best known for the 1975 publication “Detroit: I do mind dying: A study in urban revolution,” which documents African-American radical groups in Detroit during the 1960s and 70s.
Georgakas was the editor of the American Hellenic Institute Foundation’s American Journal of Contemporary Hellenic Issues, a forum for commentary and scholarship on Greek issues. As a professor he actively promoted the teaching of Greek culture and language through writings, poems and lectures.
Georgakas passed away on November 23, 2021, leaving a “clear” legacy of work that improved the nation, according to American Hellenic Institute President Nick Larigakis.
“Dan’s death is a huge loss to me personally, to AHI’s community as well as to the Greek American community,” Larigakis said in a press release. “He was deeply committed to the issues of social justice and Hellenism. He understood the need for opportunity and inclusion in a democracy and devoted his life to making that happen in the U.S.”
The late professor and author served as director of the Greek American Studies Project at the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College; consulting editor of Cineaste film quarterly and a biweekly columnist for The National Herald.
In 2015, a 50-minute documentary biopic about the Detroit native called “Dan Georgakas: A Diaspora Rebel” was produced for Greek national television. The film has since been screened in the United States and Europe.
In his introduction for the spring 2015 issue of the American Journal of Contemporary Hellenic Issues, Georgakas wrote the following:
“We believe key factors in enriching American policies are the activities of the Greek community and its allies, and we seek to empower them in whatever way we can. We think it is especially important to work with Greek Americans still at the onset of their careers. In all our endeavors, we advocate the need for a commitment to the principle of Rule by Law coupled with a commitment to rendering an authentic historic record stripped of ethnocentric bias.”
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