Just wanted to let you all know about my new book, which I believe would interest some of you. My first book was about African American atheists, and one of my biggest heroes is J. Saunders Redding, who is one of our country's most insightful atheist writers. After doing that book, I decided to write a biography about Redding. Redding was part of the Haverford Group, which consisted of major black intellectuals, including Ralph Ellison, John Hope Franklin, Kenneth Clark, Adelaide M. Cromwell, St. Clair Drake, and Phyllis Wallace, to name only a notable few. For decades, scholars knew very little about the Haverford Group. All that they knew was that they were black intellectuals who opposed black separatist movements and who fought for integrationism. While doing work on the unpublished papers of J. Saunders Redding at Brown University, I stumbled upon a manuscript, which is a transcription of a conversation with all the above mentioned writers. The group intended to publish the manuscript, but they lost the funding. So it collected dust in a library until today. I edited and annotated the manuscript, so we now have previously unpublished writings from some of our country's greatest minds. Here's a link to the book: http://books.upress.virginia.edu/detail%2Fbooks%2Fgroup-4640.xml
I have also written a brief history of the group and the manuscript. For those of you interested in African American intellectual, political, and literary history, you might find this manuscript of value.
If you have any questions about the book, please feel free to ask.
Thank you for posting this, I was not aware that Redding was an atheist or knew of the Haverford group and their purpose for coming together, I am very interested in their view of religion in the African American community. I read your book on African American atheist and found it a good read.
Dear Gerard, Thank you for your kind words about my book--much appreciated. The new book, however, does not discuss religion in the African American community. This book is primarily interested in the philosophies underwriting separatism and integrationism. Both groups agreed that the US is horribly racist, but they differed in their understanding about correcting this problem. The separatists wanted to establish separate facilities for blacks, but they wanted to ensure that these facilities were actually equal. The integrationists were claiming that separatism, in all forms, is a dangerous philosophy, which necessarily leads to rabid forms of discrimination. So far, most people know the black separatist arguments. In my book, I detail the integrationist position, but I also include a document by prominent black integrationists. Finding this document has been one of the highlights of my career. If you get a chance to read it, let me know what you think.
Micheal, I did some research on Redding and read excerpts from " On Being a Negro in America" his views expressed on religion and integration still have clarity and power today. The debate over Separatism vs. Integration still stirs controversy to this day, I take the A. Philip Randolph and W.E. B. Du Bois, secular humanist, position over Afrocentric and cultural chauvinist arguments, being advanced by some, and oppose "white supremacy" as well, all dead ends in my view. I look forward to reading your latest book.
yes it is a major topic of discussion. i had difficulty with some of those separists when i was younger.
Thank you for the 411.
this sounds interesting.
Dear Kenyatta, I agree. I find the insights of the black integrationists interesting, especially in light of the ugly race problems that continue to plague our country. I continue to believe that the black integrationists have some solid proposals for moving our country forward, for combating the systemic forms of racism that continue to dominate. But I also think the black separatists understood the way racism underwrites much public policy and general attitudes better than the black integrationists. In other words, the black separatists had a better grasp of the way ideology operates within the culture. We would all benefit from studying the debates between the black separatists and the black integrationists of the 1960s and 1970s.