Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award: Anthologies
Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Black Scholars on the Line: Race, Social Science, and American Thought in the Twentieth Century explores the development of American social science by highlighting the contributions of those scholars who were both students and objects of a segregated society. The book asks how segregation has influenced, and continues to influence, the development of American social thought and social science scholarship.
Jonathan Scott Holloway and Ben Keppelpresent the work of thirty-one black social scientists whose work was published between the rise of the Tuskegee model of higher education and the end of the Black Power Era. Even though they had to fashion their careers outside of their respective fields' mainstream, the intellectuals featured here produced scholarship that helped define the contours of the social sciences as they evolved over the course of the twentieth century. Theirs was the work of pioneers, now for the first time gathered in one anthology.
After a comprehensive introduction and survey of the selections to follow, Holloway and Keppel present the founding parents of African American social science, including excerpts from Alexander Crummell, Anna Julia Cooper, and others. They then examine contributions from the first real generation of professionally trained black scholars such as W. E. B. Du Bois. The interactions between cultural production and social scientific knowledge are examined through the work of various scholars, including Alain Locke and Zora Neale Hurston. The volume then explores the scholarship produced by the leading progressive social scientists of the day on issues of race and class and examines social scientific scholarship that put African American struggles in an international context. The book concludes by presenting the scholarship of, among others, Hylan Lewis, Joyce Ladner, and William Julius Wilson, which most effectively highlights the complex state of “raced” social science thought during the age of desegregation in academia.
Ben Keppel is associate professor of history at the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of The Work of Democracy: Ralph Bunche, Kenneth B. Clark, Lorraine Hansberry, and the Cultural Politics of Race.
“Thirty-one papers explore the development of American social science by highlighting the contributions of those scholars who were both students and objects of a segregated society.” —Journal of Economic Literature
“The editors' excellent introductory essay focuses on social science as an expression of society, not simply as a detached commentary on it. In the US, institutionalized racism has been central to American society, and black scholars have always had to work both within and against its constraints. This is as true, the editors argue, of contemporary academics in Black Studies programs as it was for W.E.B. Du Bois at the beginning of the last century. . . . This volume will be particularly useful in courses on the history of American social science.” —Virginia Quarterly Review
"Logically organized, well contextualized, and insightfully theorized, Holloway and Keppel's anthology enriches our knowledge of African American social scientists who operated during the era of segregation. In providing important primary documents that complement the numerous available biographies and studies of black scholars, this collection should be useful to any student of twentieth-century African American intellectual history." —The Journal of Southern History
“The 31 well-selected essays, ranging from 1898 to 1973, are an excellent introduction and guide to the world of the African American scholars who established their place in US academic and intellectual culture. The introductions provide contexts and bibliographies. This strong, valuable collection documents the issues and barriers met by the 'Talented Tenth,' who often lived behind the 'Veil,' and who used their minds to explain how 'the color line continues to be drawn in the lives of millions of Americans.' Highly recommended.” —Choice
“It has a noble history of scholarship, justice and positive action, and in the twentieth century it was mainly practiced in an unenlightened, unjust and negative society. The 28 contributors here published between the rise of the Tuskegee model of higher education and the end of the Black Power movement, a time when African American practitioners of social science were both students and objects of a segregated society.” —Research Book News
“We have in hand a remarkable contribution to the historiography of race relations in the U.S. or what some colleagues in a kindred field would designate as the sociology of knowledge. The documents have been expertly assembled and engage important themes such as the legacies of racism in the urban north as well as the rural south; the significance of family and kin as well as the role of institutions such as the church in community formation. What is just as impressive is the way that Holloway and Keppel have organized the material and introduced it.” —Patrick Miller, editor of The African American Intellectual Heritage series
“Black Scholars on the Line is an intellectual feast, one that brings back many voices that I love to hear, and that I want my upper-division undergraduates and graduate students to hear. I would expect that this book would have quite a wide readership.” —Paul Spickard, editor of The African American Intellectual Heritage series
“Jonathan Holloway and Ben Keppel have rendered a great service in bringing together the radiant social science scholarship of 20th-century African Americans. The 31 essays, deftly introduced, show the brilliance of under-appreciated black scholars who struggled to be heard across the color line.” —Gary B. Nash, professor emeritus, UCLA
"Black Scholars on the Line is a wonderful contribution. As one who teaches black American intellectual history, I can attest to how useful it is to have these articles collected in one volume. Professors Holloway and Keppel are to be commended. They have chosen with intelligence and care, and their introductory essay situates their selections very helpfully. This book should do much to help recover for a new generation of scholars and students what was indeed the main trunk of black American intellectual discourse—and a primary domain of black Americans' civic debate—through the segregation era.” —Adolph Reed Jr, University of Pennsylvania