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Black Intellectual Thought in Modern AmericaA Historical Perspective$
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Brian D. Behnken, Gregory D. Smithers, and Simon Wendt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496813657

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496813657.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 05 April 2020

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.3) Introduction
Source:
Black Intellectual Thought in Modern America
Author(s):

Brian D. Behnken

Gregory D. Smithers

Simon Wendt

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496813657.003.0001

This introductory chapter discusses how black intellectualism adds an additional obstacle to the lived experience of many African Americans. From abolitionists, such as Frederick Douglass, to Barack Obama, whose navigation of the overwhelmingly white world of American politics to rise to become the president of the United States, questions about intellect and racial “authenticity” and “legitimacy” have often followed prominent black intellectuals and political leaders as they pursue knowledge and work to apply their knowledge in communities throughout the United States. Indeed, white Americans are often unable to resist the urge to mix what they understand as compliments with a thinly veiled racialism when asked to characterize prominent African American intellects and leaders.

Keywords:   black intellectualism, African Americans, Frederick Douglass, Barack Obama, American politics, white Americans, racialism, United States

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