Black Intellectual Thought in Modern America
A Historical Perspective
An inclusive survey from Frederick Douglass to the voices of Black Lives Matter
Contributions by Tunde Adeleke, Brian D. Behnken, Minkah Makalani, Benita Roth, Gregory D. Smithers, Simon Wendt, and Danielle L. Wiggins
Black intellectualism has been misunderstood by the American public and by scholars for generations. Historically maligned by their peers and by the lay public as inauthentic or illegitimate, black intellectuals have found their work misused, ignored, or discarded. Black intellectuals have also been reductively placed into one or two main categories: they are usually deemed liberal or, less frequently, as conservative. The contributors to this volume explore several prominent intellectuals, from such left-leaning leaders as W. E. B. Du Bois to conservative intellectuals like Thomas Sowell and from such well-known black feminists as Patricia Hill Collins to Marxists like Claudia Jones, to underscore the variety of black intellectual thought in the United States. Contributors also situate the development of the lines of black intellectual thought within the broader history from which these trends emerged. The result gathers essays that offer entry into a host of rich intellectual traditions.
"Black Intellectual Thought in Modern America is a welcome introduction to the field that can and should be widely read. . . . Taken together, the seven essays in this volume encourage readers to conceptualize a black intellectualism that makes room for a myriad of voices and perspectives."- Brandy Thomas Wells, Oklahoma State University, The Journal of Southern History, Volume LXXXV, No. 2, May 2019
"In this timely new collection, editors Brian D. Behnken, Gregory D. Smithers, and Simon Wendt have assembled a group of stellar essays that highlight the range and complexities of black intellectual thought in the United States. Drawing insights from several academic fields of inquiry including critical race theory and feminist theory, this volume is a necessary text for anyone interested in understanding black intellectual history."- Keisha Blain, assistant professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom