What constitutes black studies and where does this discipline stand at the end of the twentieth century? In this wide-ranging and original volume, Manning Marable-one of the leading scholars of African American history-gathers key materials from contemporary thinkers who interrogate the richly diverse content and multiple meanings of the collective experiences of black folk. Here are numerous voices expressing very different political, cultural, and historical views, from black conservatives, to black separatists, to blacks who advocate radical democratic transformation. Here are topics ranging from race and revolution in Cuba, to the crack epidemic in Harlem, to Afrocentrism and its critics. All of these voices, however, are engaged in some aspect of what Marable sees as the essential triad of the black intellectual tradition: describing the reality of black life and experiences, critiquing racism and stereotypes, or proposing positive steps for the empowerment of black people. Highlights from Dispatches from the Ebony Tower: * Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Manning Marable debate the role of activism in black studies. * John Hope Franklin reflects on his role as chair of the President's race initiative. * Cornel West discusses topics that range from the future of the NAACP through the controversies surrounding Louis Farrakhan and black nationalism to the very question of what race means. * Amiri Baraka lays out strategies for a radical new curriculum in our schools and universities. * Marable's introduction provides a thorough overview of the history and current state of black studies in America.
Manning Marable is professor of history and political science and director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of W.E. B. Du Bois: Black Radical Democrat; Speaking Truth to Power: Essays on Race, Resistance, and Radicalism; Race, Reform, and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction in Black America, 1945-1990, and Black Leadership (Columbia, 1998).