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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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The Quest for Racial Change

The Quest for Racial Change

African American Intellectuals and the Black Liberal Tradition

Chapter:
(p.80) Chapter Three The Quest for Racial Change
Source:
Black Intellectual Thought in Modern America
Author(s):

Brian D. Behnken

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496813657.003.0004

This chapter explores the history of black liberalism. Itself the most often recognized form of black intellectualism, liberalism is far more complex than is commonly understood. Black liberals imbibed the notions of American democracy and constitutional government, albeit with black people included equally within that constitutional or political framework. Black liberals have had a multiplicity of goals and tactics, from integration to voting rights, from public scholarship to political leadership. But their most important endeavor was rooted in the concept of racial change. Racial change symbolized a transformation of American life that, at its most basic, meant the complete evolution of black equality in the United States.

Keywords:   black liberalism, black intellectualism, American democracy, constitutional government, integration, voting rights, racial change, black equality

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