Philosophy and the Modern African American Freedom Struggle: A Freedom Gaze describes the ideas that defined the movement and struggle to be free by Black people in the United States during their Modern Era. Using a historical perspective, this work engages the question of how the historical experience of oppression and the denial of humanity created space for the development of a certain consciousness. The existence and demonstration of agency within the ideas of the African diaspora and the creation of an intentional community with the aim of defining and attaining freedom are dissected in order to understand the Black community as a whole during the modern era.
This book was nominated for the 2023 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award in nonfiction.
Anthony Sean Neal is Beverly B. and Gordon W. Gulmon Humanities Professor and faculty fellow in the Shackouls Honors College at Mississippi State University.
Chapter 1: Struggling for Freedom Between Death (slavery) and Life
Chapter 2: The New Negro’s Negritude
Chapter 3: From Harlem to Paris (And Back)
Chapter 4: From Montgomery to West Africa
Chapter 5: From Freedom to Fragmentation Through Liberalism
With a foreword by the eminent Leonard Harris, Neal’s Philosophy and the Modern African American Freedom Struggle is a dense investigation of the Black intellectual history and social activism of the modern era in the US. Neal gracefully brings together both passion and clarity, leading the reader to a deeper understanding of the complexity of the struggle for freedom and equality within a society that fails to live up to those ideals. Neal’s historical narrative will be useful for students and scholars in African American studies, American studies, history, philosophy, or for any research project that engages civil rights, oppression, freedom, Blackness, and race more generally. Recommended. General readers through faculty.
Ranging across nearly a century of Africana intellectual history, Anthony Sean Neal offers an ambitious and sweeping thematization of diverse approaches to the long struggle for freedom. Neal’s articulation of the ‘Freedom Gaze’ provides a crucial tool not only for understanding that history, but our present struggles and possible futures.
In Philosophy and the African American Modern Freedom Struggle, Anthony Neal explains and describes what he calls the “modern era of the African American freedom struggle,” an era that lasted from 1896 to the mid-1970s. Neal takes a representative selection of works by modern Africa American activists, intellectuals, and scholars and discloses an ethnic reflective canon for the modern era of African American struggle. Neal ends the book with a provocative claim: Since the 1970s, Black intellectuals and other Black elites have abandoned the African American freedom struggle for the quixotic promise of integrating into an individualist liberal society. Neal leaves readers with the task of imagining what a viable African Americans freedom struggle would look like in our current age of cultural and socioeconomic fragmentation among Black people.
Neal presents an excellent body of work that will undoubtedly advance the discourse on black scholars of the modern era.