APA Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience

Noted by Ralph Dumain

Black Experience Vol.1 no.1 (Fall2001) PDF (504 KB)

Black Experience Vol.2, no.1 (Fall 2002) PDF (647 KB)

Black Experience Vol.2, no.2 (Spring 2003) PDF (720.87 KB)

Black Experience Vol.3 no.1 (Fall 2003) PDF (202.4 KB)

Black Experience Vol.3 no.2 (Spring 2004) PDF (212.99 KB)

Black Experience Vol.4 no.1 (Fall 2004) PDF (620.36 KB)

Black Experience Vol.4 no.2 (Spring 2005) PDF (104.06 KB)

Black Experience Vol.5 no.1 (Fall 2005) PDF (564.99 KB)

Black Experience Vol.6 no.1 (Fall 2006) PDF (625.41 KB)

Black Experience Vol.6 no.2 (Spring 2007) PDF (865.22 KB)

Black Experience Vol.7 no.1 (Fall 2007) PDF (829.42 KB)

Black Experience Vol. 08, No. 1 (Fall 2008) PDF (734.97 KB)

Black Experience Vol. 08, No. 2 (Spring 2009) PDF (1021.67 KB)

Black Experience Vol. 09, No. 1 (Fall 2009) PDF (1.04 MB)

Black Experience Vol. 09, No. 2 (Spring 2010) PDF (705.76 KB)

Black Experience Vol. 10, No. 1 (Fall 2010) PDF (711.69 KB)

Black Experience Vol. 10, No. 2 (Spring 2011) PDF (670.88 KB)

Black Experience Vol. 11, No. 1 (Fall 2011) PDF (557.41 KB)

Black Experience Vol. 12, No. 1 (Fall 2012) PDF (445.92 KB)

Black Experience Vol. 12, No. 2 (Spring 2013) PDF (873.41 KB)

Black Experience Vol. 13, No. 1 (Fall 2013) PDF (444.44 KB)


This newsletter covers a limited number of authors and works on Black or African-American related philosophy. Note also that while African American Philosophy is a category of relatively recent invention, sometimes it is lumped in with the even newer category of Afro-Caribbean Philosophy or the older category of African Philosophy as a displinary phenomenon (1945 - ) into the larger category of  Africana Philosophy. One might question what these categories mean and the extent to which there is a real continuity and historical cross-referencing of the authors concerned, rather than arbitrarily lumped together authors and writings, even of a variety of genres. There is also the question of whether these categories are merely descriptive of a region or demographic group or intellectual network, or meant to indicate something unique or intrinsic to the philosophizing so subsumed. At some point, however, once a tradition is compiled and named, even if entirely arbitrarily and opportunistically, once it finds an academic niche with a developed citation pattern, it becomes a socially instituted category.

The title of the newsletter is fairly innocent and probably preferable to the most likely alternatives. First, it is not limited to Black philosophers as contributors to the field. Secondly, it does not presume the existence of a Black philosophy. While there are all types of Black experiences and experiences of Black people, from a historical, social standpoint, the title is legitimate: whatever philosophy is is being applied to the Black experience, or the Black experience is interrogating the philosophical tradition.

All this is not mere word-juggling on my part. There are radically different agendas in play in the philosophical conceptions behind the terminology.

The very different approaches to the subject matter that exist and which of them should be taken seriously is exemplified by the contrast between the Newsletter’s co-editors, George Yancy and John H. McClendon III. Yancy is preoccupied with Whiteness Studies, a fashionable academic preoccupation which tends toward the ridiculous, though empirical historical studies of note associated with it can be found. McClendon is a Marxist-Leninist, as is his colleague Stephen C. Ferguson II. While there are worthy articles here and there by other authors, McClendon and Ferguson are the only ones who provide a broadly methodical, consistently anti-obscurantist and non-ethnocentric approach to the subject matter. I have written a separate article on their work. A list of their contributions to date follows.

I may return to review other contributions. I have listed a number of articles by other authors that I consider both of philosophical interest or in a few cases pertaining to broader intellectual history, and which I evaluate largely positively for their perspective or informational content. Articles not mentioned here, even if pertaining to vital interests of mine, were not included this time around because for my purposes they are of secondary philosophical importance or their approaches to the subject matter do not impress me. However, my criteria may been exercised somewhat capriciously.

John H. McClendon III:

“Black and White contra Left and Right? The Dialectics of Ideological Critique in African American Studies,” vol. 2, no. 1 (Fall 2002)

An Essay-Review of Mark David Wood’s Cornel West and the Politics of Prophetic Pragmatism; vol. 2, no. 1 (Fall 2002)

“Introduction to Drs. Anton Wilhelm Amo and Charles Leander Hill,” vol. 2, no. 2 (Spring 2003)

“On Assessing the Ideological Impact of Garveyism on Nkrumaism: Political Symbolism Contra Theoretical Substance,” vol. 2, no. 2 (Spring 2003)

“My Tribute to a Teacher, Mentor, Philosopher and Friend: Dr. Francis A. Thomas (March 16, 1913 to September 17, 2001);” vol. 3, no. 1 (Fall 2003)

“The African American Philosopher and Academic Philosophy: On the Problem of Historical Interpretation,” vol. 4, no. 1 (Fall 2004)

“Kwame Nkrumah’s Materialism contra Representative Realism,” vol. 5, no. 1 (Fall 2005)

“Angela Davis: Marxist Philosophy, Patricia Hill Collins, and the Matter of Black Feminist Thought;” vol. 10, no. 1 (Fall 2010)

“The Black Athlete and the White Shadow: The Matter of Philosophy of History and the Problem of the Color-line,” vol. 11, no. 1 (Fall 2011)

‘Dr. William Ronald Jones (July 17, 1933 - July 13, 2012): On the Legacy of the Late “Dean” of Contemporary African American Philosophers,’ vol. 12, no. 2 (Spring 2013)

With Brittany L. O’Neal: “William R. Jones and Philosophical Theology: Transgressing and Transforming Conventional Boundaries of Black Liberation Theory,” vol. 13, no. 1 (Fall 2013)

Stephen C. Ferguson II:

“C. L. R. James, Marxism, and Political Freedom;” vol. 2, no. 2 (Spring 2003)

An Essay-Review of John H. McClendon’s C. L. R. James’s Notes on Dialectics: Left-Hegelianism or Marxism-Leninism?; vol. 4, no. 2 (Spring 2005)

“Teaching Hurricane Katrina: Understanding Divine Racism and Theodicy,” vol. 7, no. 1 (Fall 2007)

Review: Lewis Gordon, An Introduction to Africana Philosophy; vol. 9, no. 1 (Fall 2009)

“On the Occasion of William R. Jones’s Death: Remembering the Feuerbachian Tradition in African-American Social Thought,” vol. 12, no. 2 (Spring 2013)

Review of their joint work:

Floyd W. Hayes III: Review: John H. McClendon III and Stephen C. Ferguson II, Beyond the White Shadow: Philosophy, Sports, and the African American Experience; vol. 12, no. 2 (Spring 2013)

Some other articles of interest:

Vol.1, no.1 (Fall 2001)

“Oliver Cromwell Cox and Black Marxism” (Jane Duran)

Vol.2, no.2 (Spring 2003)

“William Ladd, the Black Philosopher from Guinea: A Critical Analysis of His Dissertation on Apathy” (Charles Leander Hill)

“Gilbert Haven Jones as an Early Black Philosopher and Educator” (George Yancy)

Vol.3, no.1 (Fall 2003)

“On the Threshold of History: The Role of Nature and Africa in Hegel’s Philosophy” (Shannon M. Mussett)

Rewiew of Rosemary Cowan, Cornel West: The Politics of Redemption (Clarence Shole Johnson)

Vol. 3, no. 2 (Spring 2004)

“Cabral, African Marxism, and the Notion of History” (Jane Duran)

“African American Philososophy Bibliography (Leonard Harris, Editor)

Vol.6, no. 2 (Spring 2007)

“ The Triumph of Robert T. Brown: The Mystery of Space” & Postscript to “The Triumph of Robert T. Browne: The Mystery of Space” (Robert Fikes, Jr.)

Vol. 8, no. 1 (Fall 2008)

“Bob Moses and the Algebra Project” (Albert Mosley)

“When King Compared His Person to Purdue: The UCC Sermons of 1958” (Greg Moses)

“Raced Recognition: Hegel, World History, and the Problem of Africa” (Adam Hutchinson)

Vol. 9, no. 2 (Spring 2010)

Review of Kristin Waters & Carol B. Conawaym eds., Black Women’s Intellectual Traditions: Speaking Their Minds (Joy D. Simmons)

Vol. 10, no. 1 (Fall 2010)

Review of Linda Furgerson Selzer, Charles Johnson in Context (Kathy Glass)

Vol. 11, no. 1 (Fall 2011)

“The Paradox of the Ethical Criminal in Richard Wright’s Novel The Outsider: A Philosophical Investigation” (Floyd W. Hayes, III)

Review of Arnold L. Farr, Critical Theory and Democratic Vision: Herbert Marcuse and Recent Liberation Philosophies (Clancy Smith)

Vol. 12, no. 2 (Spring 2013)

“The Honor Was All Mine: A Conversation with William R. Jones” (George Yancy)

Review of Robert Birt, ed., The Liberatory Thought of Martin Luther King Jr.: Critical Essays on the Philosopher King (Chike Jeffers)

On the Contributions of John McClendon and Stephen Ferguson to the
APA Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience

by Ralph Dumain

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Reason & Society blog
(General topics under “Africa(n)” or “black”)

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Updated 18 October 2014

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