Black Leadership: Four Great American Leaders and the Struggle for Civil Rights

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9780140281132: Black Leadership: Four Great American Leaders and the Struggle for Civil Rights

Twelve essays profile the ideas and leadership of four African-American leaders, criticizing the integrationist approach of Harold Washington, the accommodation of Booker T. Washington, and the nationalist separatism of Louis Farrakhan, while praising the radical democratic approach of W. E. B. Du Bois. Reprint.

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Review:

This important work from noted Afro-American intellectual and Columbia University professor Manning Marable examines the "ideology, culture and politics" of black leaders. Marable's "analysis of black leadership in the twentieth century" concentrates on three traditions of black power: the accommodationist perspective characterized by Booker T. Washington, the nationalist-separatist slant advocated by Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, and the ideology of democratic transformation championed by W.E.B. Du Bois. Black Leadership defines each of these positions, then dissects their flaws. Marable argues, for example, that Washington's political strategy led to the segregationist "Jim Crow" laws. Citing the aura of black separatist nationalism that underlined the Million Man March led by Farrakhan in 1996, Marable notes that "the social philosophy behind its agenda was deeply conservative and pessimistic about the likelihood that whites would ever recognize or respond to blacks' grievances." Other notable figures like Paul Robeson and Chicago's first black mayor, Harold Washington, are discussed, and Marable ultimately posits that black leaders should align themselves with multicultural coalitions: "There is no monochromatic model for democratic social change in a pluralistic society." --Eugene Holley Jr.

About the Author:

Manning Marable is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Afro-American Studies, Columbia University. He is author of a number of books, the most recent of which is Beyond Black and White.

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Manning Marable
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