- Editors' Introduction:Black Male Feminism 101
Though its tendencies date back to the nineteenth century with suffragist-abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Pan-Africanist Alexander Crummel, and W. E. B. DuBois pulling up the rear in the early twentieth century with his pro-feminist "The Damnation of Women," and its origins appear decidedly American-centric, black male feminism as a coherent field of inquiry is still a relatively new paradigm of academic exploration.
Drawing upon the wealth of black feminist theory and thought, black queer theory, and Michael Awkward's groundbreaking essay, "A Black Man's Place in Black Feminist Criticism," the guest editors of this volume, David Ikard and Mark Anthony Neal, have brought together a collection of essays and reviews that attempt, on the one hand, to articulate, historicize, and theorize black male feminism, and on the other, to put its critical tools to work.
The black male feminist paradigm as a theoretical tool has yet to develop in the Diaspora writ large. Scholars outside the borders of the United States are nonetheless asking the questions that may very well lead to such cogent theorizing. We draw diasporic black male feminist inspiration nonetheless from the likes of Sembene's God's Bits of Wood and Fanon's A Dying Colonialism, Thomas Glave's The Torturer's Wife, and anthropologist David Murray's Homophobias; hence, we view this critical intervention, on the part of our guest editors, as a beginning.
For our part, as senior editors of Palimpsest, we include in the "Poetic License" section of the journal's pages two poems by Houston A. Baker, Vanderbilt University Distinguished Professor, whose themes, by happenstance, dovetail and expound upon with artistic verve the premises collected in this special issue. [End Page v]