Skip to main content

Who is and has been influencial? On a personal or a macro level?

Please name names and say a little about them and what they have written.

I'd like to keep the scope wide open and include historical and contemporary thinkers, both 'recognized' and little known.

<small>"Follow the grain in your own wood.” ~ Howard Thurman</small>

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

...Philosophers? education (degree) or socio-political influence?

Among Afro-Americans, Alain Locke is the best known formally educated philosopher. Then, you have Cornell West, Kwame Appiah (Ghanian) rounding out your contemporary thinkers of note.

If I take your inquiry to mean thinkers (ie, philosophers) in a practical sense, the list grows exponentially:

Toussaint L'Ouverture (Haiti)
Gaspar Yanga (Mexico)
Frederick Douglas
Vincente Guerrero (Mexico)
Nathaniel Turner (aka, "Nat" Turner)
Sojourner Truth
Booker T Washington
Dr. WEB DuBois
Zora Neale Hurston
Mary McCleod Bethune
Dr. Martin L. King, Jr
Malcolm X
The Honorable Justice Thurgood Marshall
Dr. Benjamin E Mays
Barbara Jordan
Thomas Sowell
Dr. William Cosby
The Honorable Justic Clarence Thomas ...

Perhaps you get the point here. Hopes this helps.
Yes, I was trying to keep the scope wide open, so thanks for your input.

I appreciate the inclusion of socio-political as well - exactly what I was hoping for.

MBM has enough bandwidth so I don't see why the list can't grow exponentially. tfro

Would anyone like to expand briefly on anyone on the list? Either familar names or lesser known ones.

I've only read a little of Cornell West and and Booker T Washington.


btw: is that your home footage mocove?
The list has to include John Henrik Clarke, PhD.

Dr. Clarke was not only great influence on African American historical infrastructure, but that of African nations as well.

Notably, he facilitated the recognition and rise of Chieke Anta Diop, Ph.D of Senegal.

The Sorbonne refused, dragged its feet, in recognizing the doctoral work Diop for about seven years, primarily because his thesis countermanded the prevailing history of Africa.

The work stood the European version not only of history, but of civilization, on its head.

Both men are pivotal in the world's acknowledgment of Africa's critical role in the creation and development civilization including the religions of the world.

Also, John Hope Franklin, Ph.D, and Lerone Bennett, Ph.D must be on that list.

Dr. John Hope Franklin is the undeniable dean of historians of African American history in the tradition of W.E.B. DuBois, Ph.D who a founder of the entire disciple of sociology as a science.

Please note I did not say 'African American' sociology. W.E.B. DuBois was the founder of the scientific method as applied to sociology as a discipline. He was arguably the most highly educated man in the United States at the turn of the 20th Century.

Lerone Bennett is best known for his work, 'Before the Mayflower' which he began in the early 1960s, and when I last looked was in its 12th edition. This work usually includes an appendix of which chronicles key events and people in African American history and culture.

David Walker,and a disciple, Mariah Stewart should be on your list. They were major forces in America the early 19th Century. Walker's 'Appeal' (published September 1829) is one of the most significant literary works in African American history. It certainly is a candidate for the earliest.

The list should also includeIda B. Wells-Barnett chronicled the lynchings of the early 20th Century on a daily basis in her newspaper published in St. Louis, Missouri.

Oh, Asa Philip Randolph a moving force in the 'early days' before, and foundation to, the modern Civil Rights Movement. The March on Washington in 1968 was the brainchild of A. Philip Randolph. Martin Luther King,Jr. was a low-ranked speaker, like 15th or 16th.

That's enough.

For now.


Jim Chester
Contemporary African/African philosophers would include
Cornel West (pragmatist)
K. Anthony Appiah (anglo/american)
Lewis Gordon (phenomenology/existentialism)
William Jones (existentialism)
Paget Henry (continental/social critical theory)
Lucius T. Outlaw
Michael Dyson (analytical/pragmatism)
Naomi Zack
Angela Davis (Frankfurt School/Critical Theory)
Eddie Glaude (pragmatism/phiosophy of religion)
James Kirk Cameron (pragmatism/philosophy of religion)
Victor Anderson (pragmatism/philosophy of religion)
Elias Bongmba ("my advisor", phenomenology, hermeneutics, African philosophy)
Theodore Walker (Whiteheadian. metaphysics, process thought)
Leonard Harris
Emmanuel Eze (African philosopher)
Paulin J. Hountondji (African philosopher - influenced by both phenomenology and post-structuralist thought)
Charles Long (hermeneutics)
J. Deotis Roberts (philosophical theology)

I can go on and on (my area of research is philosophical theology)

As for those in the past,
W.E.B. Du Bois was trained in both the American pragmatist tradition by the likes of William Jamse, as well as studying Continental (European) philosophy while a student at Berlin. He was most influenced by Hegel.

Alaine Locke

Franz Fanon - a student of Lacanian psychoanalysis which is strongly imbued with existential philosophy. He also interacted with Jean Paul Sartre. (Sarte provided the introduction to The Wretched of the Earth)

Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegalese scholar and statemen. One of the founders of Negritude)

Going back even further (18th century), you have Anton Wilhelm Amo, a native of what is now modern Ghana, he was trained and taught in the Netherlands as possibly givning lectures in Germany attended by Immanuel Kant.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.