On the Corner: African American Intellectuals and the Urban - download pdf or read online

By Daniel Matlin

In July 1964, after a decade of excessive media concentrate on civil rights protest within the Jim Crow South, a insurrection in Harlem all of sudden shifted realization to the city concern embroiling America's northern towns. On the Corner revisits the risky second whilst African American intellectuals have been thrust into the highlight as indigenous interpreters of black city lifestyles to white the United States, and examines how 3 figures--Kenneth B. Clark, Amiri Baraka, and Romare Bearden--wrestled with the possibilities and dilemmas their heightened public statures entailed. Daniel Matlin locates within the Nineteen Sixties a brand new dynamic that has persisted to form African American highbrow perform to the current day, as black city groups grew to become the manager items of black intellectuals' perceived social obligations.

Black students and artists provided sharply contrasting representations of black city existence and vied to set up their authority as indigenous interpreters. As a psychologist, Clark put his religion within the skill of the social sciences to diagnose the wear and tear because of racism and poverty. Baraka sought to channel black fury and violence into essays, poems, and performs. in the meantime, Bearden needed his collages to contest portrayals of black city lifestyles as ruled through distress, anger, and dysfunction.

In time, every one of those figures concluded that their position as interpreters for white the USA positioned risky constraints on black highbrow perform. The of access into the general public sphere for African American intellectuals within the post-civil rights period has been confinement to what Clark known as "the subject that's reserved for blacks."

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Extra resources for On the Corner: African American Intellectuals and the Urban Crisis

Example text

Crogman, to desert his chosen field and write a book entitled The Progress of a Race. . ”45 From the turn of the twentieth century, such efforts were joined by accounts of contemporary black life, which, it was hoped, would mitigate racial prejudice by fostering a more empathetic view of black Americans and their social structures, beliefs, and emotions. , it was Booker T. ” Washington’s position as, in Reed’s words, the sole “trusted infor mant” on “what the Negro thought, felt, wanted” was quickly challenged, however.

56 Jones, on moving to New York, had taken that other road. As a precocious young poet working his way into the Beat literary scene, he had made few concessions to any notion of racial obligation. In the early 1960s, however, as students and other young Americans reinvigorated the civil rights movement and as the Cold War entered a fraught crescendo, Jones felt a rising dissatisfaction with the political disengagement that characterized his bohemian milieu. ” At this point, Jones was experiencing a profound sense of crisis as he found himself back on the corner, unable to choose between freedom and responsibility— or to imagine any path that would negate such a choice.

3 Though it would be a mistake to read earlier phases of Clark’s career as leading inexorably to his embrace of psychotechnological regulation, 38 On the Corner neither did he spontaneously exchange a commonplace midcentury liberalism for madcap iconoclasm. To a degree underestimated by those who have written about him, Clark had strained against many of the conventional wisdoms of American psychology and liberal social reform throughout the postwar period. His drastic prescription of 1971 was in part the result of his own troubled encounters with liberal political leadership and its exercise of power.

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