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Houston A. Baker Jr. condemns black intellectuals who, he believes, have turned their backs on the tradition of racial activism in America. In their literature, speeches, and academic and public behavior, Baker identifies a “hungry generation” eager for power, respect, and money.
Baker seeks to understand the shaping of these new public figures. He also revisits classical sites of African American literary and historical criticism and devotes chapters to the writing and thought of such black academic superstars as Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, and Henry Louis Gates Jr.; Hoover Institution senior fellow Shelby Steele; Yale law professor Stephen Carter; and Manhattan Institute fellow John McWhorter. Baker's provocative investigation exposes what he deems to be a tragic betrayal of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. He urges black intellectuals to reestablish sacred and secular connections with local communities and rediscover the value of social responsibility.
— Erin Aubry Kaplan
— Lolis Eric Elie
— Hanes Walton Jr.
Introduction: Little Africa 1
Jail: Southern Detention to Global Liberation 17
Friends Like These: Race and Neoconscrvatism 45
After Civil Rights: The Rise of Black Public Intellectuals 71
Have Mask, Will Travel: Centrists from the Ivy League 99
A Capital Fellow from Hoover: Shelby Steele 127
Reflections of a First Amendment Trickster: Stephen Carter 157
Man Without Connection: John McWhorter 173
American Myth: Illusions of Liberty and Justice for All 197
Prison: Colored Bodies, Private Profit 203
Conclusion: What Then Must We Do? 213