When Hare enrolled at Langston University (now only "historically black"), Langston was the only college Black students could attend in the state of Oklahoma. Named for John Mercer Langston, the first Black individual elected to public office in the United States, the town was a product of the late nineteenth century black nationalist movement’s attempt to make the Oklahoma Territory an all-Black state. In fact, Langston, Oklahoma laid claim to being the first all-black town established in the United States. One of Hare’s professors, the poet Melvin B. Tolson, was mayor of the town for four terms, was named poet laureate of Liberia, and eventually his spectacular style of teaching would be portrayed in "The Great Debaters." Graduating from Langston with an AB in Sociology, Hare won a Danforth fellowship to continue his education and obtained an MA (1957) and PhD in Sociology (1962) from the University of Chicago. Hare received another PhD in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco, California (1975).
On February 22, 1967, Hare stood at press conference, with a group of students calling themselves “The Black Power Committee,” and read “The Black University Manifesto,” which Hare had written with the input of the Black Power Committee. The manifesto expressly called for “the overthrow of the Negro college with white innards and to raise in its place a black university, relevant to the black community and its needs." Hare had previously published a book called The Black Anglo Saxons and coined the phrase “The Ebony Tower” to characterize Howard University.
In the spring of 1967, he invited Muhammad Ali to speak at Howard and introduced him when the controversial heavyweight champion gave his popular “Black Is Best” speech to an impromptu crowd of 4,000 gathered at a moment’s notice outside the university’s Frederick Douglass Hall after the administration padlocked the Crampton Auditorium in the days leading up to Ali’s refusal of his military draft. Following Hare’s dismissal that June, he briefly resumed his own aborted professional boxing efforts, winning his last fight by a knockout in the first round in the Washington Coliseum on December 5, 1967.
At San Francisco State, where the Black Student Union demanded an “autonomous Department of Black Studies,” Hare was soon involved in a five-month strike for black studies led by The Black Student Union, backed by the Third World Liberation Front and the local chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. Black, white, and Third World students and professors participated in the strike, which also included community leaders and the Black Faculty Union, headed by Hare. The late actor, Mel Stewart was a member of the Black Faculty Unon, but Hare was the only faculty member invited to membership on the Central Committee of the Black Student Union, which included a student named Danny Glover, who would go on to become a successful Hollywood actor. One of the speakers almost daily at the noonday rallies of the strike was Ronald Dellums, now the new mayor of Oakland, California and formerly a U.S. congressman.
After the college’s president resigned, he was replaced by a bestselling general semanticist S.I. Hayakawa (who would later become a U.S. Senator). Hayakawa used a hard-line strategy to put down the five-month strike, declaring “martial law” and arresting a crowd of five hundred and fifty-seven rallying professors and students (the overwhelming majority of them white). Weeks later, on February 28, 1969, Hayakawa dismissed Dr. Nathan Hare as chairman of the newly formed black studies department, the first in the United States,“to become effective June 1, 1969.” Hare stayed on until June at the request of the Black Student Union and remained for many more months in an unofficial capacity of “Chairman in Exile.”
Hare then teamed with Robert Chrisman and the late Allen Ross (a white printer in Sausalito who had immigrated from Russia) to become the founding publisher of “The Black Scholar: A Journal of Black Studies and Research” in November 1969. The New York Times would soon call The Black Scholar “the most important journal devoted to black issues since ‘The Crisis.'” Ten years earlier, in 1959, Hare had briefly been a clerical assistant to the editor of the Journal of Asian Studies then being edited by Andrew Hacker, a white history professor at Northwestern University, where Hare developed a dream of someday editing a “Journal of Negro Studies” ("Negro" was the word still in fashion for blacks in 1959). In 1968, during a break in a television panel including Nathan Glazer, co-author of The Lonely Crowd, Glazer wrote a note to Hare on a white index card saying "Needed: a Black Scholar journal." Before starting The Black Scholar, Hare had written and published articles in magazines and periodicals that included: Ebony, Negro Digest, Black World, Phylon Review, Social Forces, Social Education, Newsweek, and The Times.
After leaving The Black Scholar in 1975, in a dispute over the changing direction of the journal, and obtaining a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, San Francisco, Nathan Hare began the private practice of psychotherapy, with offices in San Francisco and Oakland. He also focused immediately on forming a movement for “A Better Black Family” (the title of a popular speaking out editorial he wrote in the February, 1976 issue of Ebony magazine. Hare had just completed a dissertation on “Black Male/Female Relations” at the California School of Professional Psychology.
By 1979, in collaboration with his wife (Dr. Julia Hare, author of How to Find and Keep a BMW (Black Man Working), Hare formed The Black Think Tank, which published the journal of “Black Male/Female Relationships” for several years. After the journal folded, Hare went into the full-time practice of psychology and the development of the Black Think Tank. In 1985, a small book written by him and his wife ("Bringing the Black Boy to Manhood") was disseminated by The Black Think Tank, issuing the call and becoming the catalyst for the contemporary rites of passage movement for African-American boys that emerged as the Hares lectured and spread the idea of the rites of passage for black boys throughout the United States.
Books in collaboration with his wife, Julia Hare (the former radio talk show host and television guest, who also is a graduate of Langston University) have been published and widely distributed by The Black Think Tank, headquartered in San Francisco. They include:
While publisher of The Black Scholar from 1969-75, Nathan Hare co-edied two books with Robert Chrisman: