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From DuBois to Obama

African American Intellectuals in the Public Forum

Charles Pete Banner-Haley

Publication Year: 2010

This book shows how African American intellectuals—academicians, social critics, activists, and writers—became visible in the African American community and in America as a whole. Themes include how African American intellectuals sought to resolve racism; how they have been connected with (and disconnected from) their own communities; how they identify themselves in relation to the black masses, Americans in general, and the world stage;  how they envision America through popular culture; and how black conservatives have emerged and influenced national debates.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press


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Front flap

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Book Title

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pp. ix-xi

When I first set out to write about African American intellectuals, I was considering a straightforward narrative of who was who in the long struggle to point out and/or frame the discussion of the conditions and experience of black Americans. That notion very quickly went by the wayside as I realized that in the late twentieth century, African American intellectuals were not only a visible ...

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Introduction: What Is an African American Intellectual?

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pp. 1-11

The question of what is an African American intellectual seems so simple that it obscures the complexity of its answer. Most people would quickly answer that an African American intellectual is a black American who has pondered the black experience in America and has proffered some analysis, commentary, and perhaps some particular solutions for the improvement and advancement of the race. ...

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1. The Emergence of the Black Public Intellectual: Race, Class, and the Struggle against Racism

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pp. 12-31

The Great Depression caused deep stirrings in African America. By 1930, unemployment among black people in urban areas was on the increase. By 1932, joblessness would be greater than for the white populace, which also experienced steep increases. In some cities, Philadelphia to take but one example, more than half of the African American workforce had no work. Similar statistics could be ...

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2. Black Intellectuals and the Quest for Legitimacy: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Expenditure of Moral Capital

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pp. 32-62

America was in the midst of war. Nazi Germany’s expansionist takeover of Europe, the attack on Pearl Harbor by an equally expansionist Japan in the East, and the fascist government of Italy that in the 1930s had attacked Ethiopia made for a triumvirate that seriously threatened civilization and world peace. While the United States reacted strongly to the December 1941 attack by Japan, the declaration of war on Germany and the rest of the Axis powers might almost have seemed an afterthought. ...

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3. The Conservative Revolution and Its Impact on African America, 1980–1992

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pp. 63-84

In 1977, George Samuel Schuyler, the “godfather” of black conservatives, passed away and thus went one of the more remarkably enigmatic figures in African American letters. The handsome, dark-skinned Schuyler was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and raised in Syracuse, New York. Upon dropping out of high school, he went into the Army ...

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4. Popular Culture and the African American Intellectual Search for a New American Identity

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pp. 85-104

In a bizarre set of circumstances, president pro tempore Senator Douglass Dilman finds himself thrust into the presidency of the United States. The Cold War crackles and domestic peace is strained due to racial tensions.1 Dilman’s ascendancy to the presidency can only exacerbate ...

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5. A New Century and New Challenges: The Visibility of African American Intellectuals and the Construction of Diasporic Diversity

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pp. 105-124

History is not marked by the man-made devices of generations, decades, or centuries. The imprint of a new century or millennium may occur well before or well into the artificially set parameters of a given time. Thus, the beginnings of America’s ascendancy as a world power began in the late nineteenth century and perhaps peaked in the late twentieth century. ...


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pp. 127-141


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pp. 143-154


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pp. 155-164

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Author Bio

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p. 164

CHARLES PETE BANNER-HALEY, an associate professor of history and Africana and Latin American studies at Colgate University, is the author of ...

Back flap

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Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780809385621
E-ISBN-10: 0809385627
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809329793
Print-ISBN-10: 0809329794

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 649913982
MUSE Marc Record: Download for From DuBois to Obama

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Subject Headings

  • African American intellectuals.
  • African American leadership.
  • African Americans -- Race identity.
  • United States -- Intellectual life.
  • United States -- Race relations.
  • African Americans -- Civil rights -- History.
  • African Americans -- Intellectual life -- 21st century.
  • African Americans -- Intellectual life -- 20th century.
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