Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rutledge M. Dennis
A review of Black history and culture will reveal any number of African American intellectuals on the Black sociocultural and political landscape: literary intellectuals, political intellectuals, economic intellectuals, “organic” intellectuals, worker's intellectuals, community intellectuals, and others. Central to their thinking is a devotion to ideas and the dissemination of such ideas, in the form of the written word, the lecture, or works of art. There have been considerable differences, however, over what role the intellectual should play in the larger African American community. This entry presents a brief history of that discussion. W. E. B. Du Bois once noted that the existence of a Black middle class in the United States represented a double paradox: a “paradox within a paradox.” One might then view the idea of a Black intellectual class as such a paradox, as over time it has been far easier to obtain middle-class status than to become ...