Transcending the Talented Tenth: Black Leaders and American Intellectuals

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In Transcending the Talented Tenth, Joy James provocatively examines African American intellectual responses to racism and the role of elitism, sexism and anti-radicalism in black leadership politics throughout history. She begins with Du Bois' construction of "the Talented Tenth" as an elite leadership of race managers and takes us through the lives and work of radical women in the anti-lynching crusades, the civil rights and black liberation movements, as well as explores the contemporary struggles among black elites in academe.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
James is an African American intellectual who has written on U.S. foreign policy and the politics of state violence (Resisting State Violence, LJ 9/1/96). Her latest book examines the historic role of intellectual leadership in the black community, with special reference to the work of W.E.B. Du Bois, Ella Baker, Angela Davis, Toni Morrison, and Cornell West. Her primary interest is in challenging the elitism and self-absorption of academic intellectuals and in recovering the work of "nonelite" community activists who have contributed to public life through their journalism, polemics, and public speaking. Despite her sharp critique of liberal academics, her conception of the relationship of black intellectuals to movements for social justice is ultimately hopeful, noting that black progressive intellectuals "shape America's national discourse, even while agitating for inclusion within it." A thoughtful study recommended for libraries with collections in American politics or history.Kent Worcester, Social Science Research Council, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415917636
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/22/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Joy James teaches in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She coedited Spirit, Space and Survival (Routledge, 1993) which won the Gustav Myers Human Rights Award; and is author of Resisting State Violence: Radicalism, Gender, and Race (University of Minnesota, 1996).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 The Talented Tenth Recalled 15
Ch. 2 Profeminism and Gender Elites: W. E. B. Du Bois Anna Julia Cooper and Ida B. Wells-Barnett 35
Ch. 3 Sexual Politics: An Antilynching Crusader in Revisionist Feminism 61
Ch. 4 Disappearing Race Women and Civil Rights Radicals 83
Ch. 5 On Racial Violence and Democracy 101
Ch. 6 The Common Program: Race, Class, Sex, and Politics 115
Ch. 7 Captive Theorists and Community Caretakers: Women and Academic Intellectualism 131
Ch. 8 Elite Educators and the Heroic Intellectual 155
Conclusion: Radicalism and Black Intellectual Life 183
Notes 193
Index 217
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