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Afrocentric Intellectuals and the Burden of History

Afrocentric Intellectuals and the Burden of History

Chapter:
(p.206) Chapter Seven Afrocentric Intellectuals and the Burden of History
Source:
Black Intellectual Thought in Modern America
Author(s):
Tunde Adeleke
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496813657.003.0008

This chapter offers an intellectual history of a concept that has divided African American intellectuals as much as it has brought them together: Afrocentrism. It is a way of narrating the past that is at once an example of myth-making and historical narration, while also a source of racial identification for some. Long before the appearance of a professional class of black intellectuals, the challenges of historical racism compelled some blacks to seek historical knowledge. The chapter comments on the divisive and often critical reception that Afrocentrist scholars have experienced, especially in regards to the bifurcation in the field between advocacy and scholarship. Moreover, it illuminates fundamental flaws in Afrocentric historiography in relation to engaging the conflict over heritage, culture, and history.

Keywords:   Afrocentrism, African Americans, black intellectuals, racial identification, historical racism, advocacy, scholarship, historiography

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