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The higher up the academic hierarchy one goes, the whiter the institution or scholarly society becomes.

A 2001 survey of the twenty-seven highest ranked research universities in the United States

 indicates that 3.6 percent of all faculty are black

 

 

   Books by Manning Marable

 Black Liberation in Conservative America  / Living Black History  / How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America

Race, Reform, and Rebellion  /  W.E.B. Du Bois: Black Radical Democrat  /  Race, Reform, and Rebellion

The Great Wells of Democracy  /  Afro-Cuban Voices: On Race and Identity in Contemporary Cuba

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Blacks In Higher Education

An Endangered Species

By Manning  Marable

Over the past two decades, a central theme in American higher education has been "diversity." Most universities and colleges have made genuine efforts to diversify their courses, faculty, and administrative personnel. Despite the obvious political attacks against affirmative action scholarships, symbolized by California's Proposition 209, most colleges have continued efforts to foster outreach to racial minorities and women.

The good news is that many of these reforms are finally producing results, especially in regard to gender diversity. In recent weeks, for example, there was intense media coverage about black public intellectual Cornel West's decision to leave Harvard University for a new appointment at Princeton. One factor in West's decision may have been the extraordinary steps Princeton has taken recently to make its leadership more diverse.

As the New York Times recently reported, Princeton recently named Shirley M. Tilghman its president, the first woman to hold this position. Women also hold positions as Princeton's provost, dean of the prestigious Woodrow Wilson School, and dean of the Engineering and Applied Science School. In the eight Ivy League universities, three of the president's are women, including Brown's Ruth Simmons, an African American. About 22 percent of the more than 2,000 college and university presidents in the U.S. are women, up from 9.5 percent in 1986, and only 5 percent in 1975.

Women have made less progress, however, in efforts to diversify the ranks of the senior faculty. Today, the percentage of women with full-time, tenured appointments are 52 percent of all female faculty, compared to 70 percent among male faculty. Only about 20 percent of all full professors, the highest academic rank for university teachers, are women.

However, about 56 percent of all students enrolled in U.S. colleges are women. These positive statistics about greater access for women unfortunately don't seem to carry over for African Americans. Last month I delivered a keynote address at a conference, "Marginalization in the Academy" organized by Dr. William Harvey and sponsored by the American Council on Education, that examined the status of blacks in higher education. The conference's findings were both enlightening and disturbing.

The most optimistic findings show that the numbers of blacks attending graduate schools have consistently increased. As reported recently in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, as of 2002 there were 139,000 African Americans attending graduate programs, representing over a 100 percent increase since 1984. As of 2000, over 9,300 African Americans were attending law schools, which was 50 percent more than the number of blacks enrolled in 1990.

In academic year 1999-2000, blacks received approximately 5,300 professional school degrees, a number comprising 6.7% of professional degrees awarded that year. Between 1989 and 2002, the number of African Americans who annually receive professional degrees has gone up about 70 percent. The number of black Ph.D.s produced in 2000, 1,656 doctorates, is over twice the number of blacks earning Ph.D. degrees in the late 1980s.

If the sojourn of black scholars in white academe ended there, it would appear to many to represent a remarkable multicultural transformation of white higher education. Unfortunately, the story doesn't hardly end here. Most other recent trends actually undermine access and opportunity for most African Americans in higher education. For example, the overall percentages of African Americans employed in faculty, administrative, and professional managerial positions remain miniscule.

In 2001, the total number of African-American faculty at all institutions was 61,183, a figure representing only 6.1 percent of all U.S. faculty. The overwhelming majority of black teaching faculty are located in historically black colleges and universities, in two-year community colleges, and at largely under-funded public universities where teaching demands are high and resources for research, laboratories, travel to academic and professional conferences and libraries are modest.

The higher up the academic hierarchy one goes, the whiter the institution or scholarly society becomes. A 2001 survey of the twenty-seven highest ranked research universities in the United States indicates that 3.6 percent of all faculty are black. African-American educators remain underrepresented in the upper levels of academic administration. To really obtain a true picture of how "white" higher education is, one must disaggregate from what is frequently defined as "faculty" those who are actually adjunct professors, administrators who are counted as instructors, and faculty working on limited, term contracts.

At the highest levels of America's educational hierarchy, African Americans virtually disappear. The American Academy of Arts and Letters (AAAS) is perhaps the nation's most prestigious academic society. Of the AAAS's more than 3,700 members, only 160 are African-American intellectuals, approximately only 1.6 percent of the Academy's membership. There is on the list only one prominent African-American historian, John Hope Franklin; three prominent black sociologists: William Julius Wilson, Kenneth B. Clark, and Orlando Patterson; in anthropology, there is just Johnnetta Cole; in philosophy, only K. Anthony Appiah and Cornel West.

With these and other similar exceptions, when one considers the hundreds of outstanding African-American scholars who are today redefining the contours of academic disciplines throughout the humanities and social sciences, their lack of representation in the American Academy of Arts and Letters is indefensible and outrageous. There is also within the changing politics of American higher education what can be called the reconfigured reality of race: the deteriorating white support for affirmative action and race-based scholarships, a retreat from a needs-blind admissions, and the implicit "writing-off" or elimination of most low-income and urban poor students from having access to elite schools.

In higher education, therefore, the real issue isn't "diversity" it's "empowerment," or rather, the lack of it. Blacks still remain underrepresented at every level of the educational hierarchy. There's an urgent need to revive Dr. Ronald Walter's brilliant concept of a national congress of black faculty, to lobby for real change at predominantly white institutions.

We need to place greater external political pressure especially on research universities to increase scholarship and mentorship programs to expand the academic pool of potential black faculty and administrators. Major universities should establish partnerships with historically black colleges, to channel resources and to enhance black faculty development. Knowledge is always power, and we need a more effective strategy for black empowerment with these all-too-white institutions.

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Dr. Manning Marable is Professor of History and Political Science, and the Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University in New York. Along the Color Line is distributed free of charge to over 350 publications throughout the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Marable's column is also available on the Internet at www.manningmarable.net

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Malcolm X

A Life of Reinvention

By Manning Marable

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.

Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

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Dr. Manning Marable
(May 13, 1950 - April 1, 2011)
Scholar, Activist, Mentor

By Russell Rickford



Prof. Manning Marable, an ebullient teacher and institution-builder who embodied the reciprocal possibilities of scholarship-activism, and a Du Boisian intellectual who sought in the black past lessons for the radical transformation of American democracy, died on April 1, 2011 at the age of  60.

Dr. Marable was a prolific scholar whose labor in the arenas of history, political science and social criticism inspired popular and academic audiences. He was a “race man” in the best sense of the tradition—“our grand radical democratic intellectual,” in the words of philosopher Cornel West. His wellspring of love for black folk nourished a passion for democracy and a vision of Africana studies as a crusade for the material and spiritual liberation of all oppressed people. Marable’s deep knowledge of the African Diaspora made him a force in the field of black history; his courage and progressive politics made him a treasure for “the grassroots.”

For Dr. Marable, “living black history” was more pilgrimage than principle. His journey began on May 13, 1950 in Dayton, Ohio. Born to James and June Morehead Marable, schoolteachers who enforced a regimen of U.S. and world history books, the young bibliophile soon discovered the gift of historical imagination. Acutely conscious of race matters, he was further politicized by the April 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He was among the first mourners to arrive at the Atlanta church that hosted King’s funeral. (He covered the event for Dayton’s black newspaper.) A high school senior at the time, he perched on the steps of Ebenezer Baptist in the predawn shadows to await the masses.

A precocious student, he completed his bachelor’s in 1971 at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana (while leading the black student union) and went on to earn his master’s (1972) and Ph.D. (1976) in history at, respectively, University of Wisconsin, Madison and University of Maryland, College Park. Between the mid-1970s and early 1990s, Dr. Marable served on the faculty of Tuskegee Institute, University of San Francisco, Cornell University, Fisk University, Colgate University, Purdue University, Ohio State University, and University of Colorado, Boulder.

As a scholar who traversed the disciplines of history, political science and sociology, Dr. Marable grounded his work in the black American experience while exploring the larger African Diaspora, traveling to Kenya, Tanzania, Cuba, South Africa and Brazil. He developed political and academic contacts throughout the black world, seeing the remaking of racialized societies as the primary task of the engaged intellectual. Armed with the theories of Du Bois, C. L. R. James and Antonio Gramsci, he mastered political economy, emphasizing material solutions to social inequality and exposing the interlocking shackles of race and class.

During the first half of his career, Dr. Marable headed the Race Relations Institute at Fisk, the Africana and Latin American Studies Program at Colgate, and the Department of Black Studies at Ohio State. However, it was his directorship of Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies, which he founded in 1993, that marked his most significant personal and political transitions.

Facing the sudden acceleration of sarcoidosis, an illness he had battled for years, and increasingly devoted to the socially redemptive power of political ideas, he crafted the Institute in the image of Du Bois’s Atlanta University project. Under Dr. Marable’s stewardship, the Institute married scholarship and social transformation, launching initiatives to bolster the case for African-American reparations, fight the specter of racialized mass imprisonment, and reclaim the radical vectors of Malcolm X’s legacy. Meanwhile, Dr. Marable cultivated two generations of scholars, activists and students, discovering in each individual a unique genius for advancing the cause he lovingly described: empowering the black masses to reclaim their agency and “return to their own history.”

Dr. Marable wrote prodigiously. The legal pads he dispatched in longhand became the masonry of a scholarly edifice that included more than 30 books and edited volumes, as well as hundreds of articles in academic and popular journals. From the Grassroots, Blackwater, How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America, Race, Reform and Rebellion, Beyond Black and White, Let Nobody Turn Us Around  (with Leith Mullings), The Great Wells of Democracy, Living Black History, and now, Malcolm X, anchor the shelves of countless students and circulate endlessly in prison yards, their covers curled and shabby, their wisdom pristine. Committed to class-conscious analysis rendered in straightforward prose, Dr. Marable also  produced and distributed free of charge, a public affairs column—“From the Grassroots” (later “Along the Color Line”)—that for three decades reached a vast readership through the black press, reinvigorating Du Bois’s legacy of political commentary and agitation.

Much of Dr. Marable’s energy was spent building—and not merely interpreting—the movement for racial justice. As he observed, “It is only when we stand against the current, confronting the powerful forces of prejudice and inequality, that the tools of scholarship become meaningful.” Some of his most rewarding experiences came through his involvement with the Institute of the Black World in the 1970s (an association that enabled him to chauffeur—and thus interrogate and debate—the great Pan Africanist historian Walter Rodney). He participated in the National Black Political Assembly, the National Black Independent Political Party and the Democratic Socialists of America in the 1980s and the Committees of Correspondence in the 1990s. His long record of leadership on the left included his role as co-founder of the Black Radical Congress in 1998 and his participation in the 2001 United Nations World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa.

From Jamaica to Cuba to Sing Sing Prison, Dr. Marable lectured. He made frequent media appearances on programs like Democracy Now! He served as founding editor of Souls, a journal of black history, politics and culture. He established Columbia’s Center for Contemporary Black History. He created archives and digital resources for teachers and researchers. He served on the board of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. He received many commendations, including the 2005 National Council for Black Studies Ida B. Wells—Cheikh Anta Diop Award for Outstanding Scholarship and Leadership in African-American Studies, as well as two honorary degrees: John Jay College of the City University of New York (2006); and State University of New York, New Paltz (2000).

Dr. Marable was a generous mentor. A Marxist feminist who was also a “Malcolmite”; a black history savant with pop culture tastes (“You can’t handle the truth!” was one of his stock phrases); a dissident social scientist who remained faithful to the political promise of the hip-hop generation, he brandished these identities with passion and grace, convincing his pupils that they, too, could achieve a more perfect whole. Ultimately, that eclecticism reinforced his vision of what social history and critical theory might accomplish: the construction of a liberation movement that shatters social barriers based on color, class and gender.

Dr. Marable is survived by his wife, the anthropologist Leith Mullings; his three children, Malaika Marable Serrano, Sojourner Marable Grimmett, and Joshua Manning Marable; two stepchildren, Alia Tyner and Michael Tyner; a sister, Madonna Marable; his mother, June Morehead Marable; three grandchildren and an extended family in New York, Ohio and Tuskegee.

Donations can be made to The Manning Marable Memorial Social Justice Fund which will provide grants and awards to organizations and individuals that reflect an honor Dr. Marable’s commitment to the struggle for justice. Checks can be made out to The Manning Marable Social Justice Fund and sent to:

The Manning Marable Memorial Social Justice Fund
c/o The Adco Foundation
328 8th Avenue
Suite 404 
New York, NY 10001
Attention: Dana Ain Davis 

Source: IRAS

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Malcolm X

A Life of Reinvention

By Manning Marable

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.

Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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Enjoy!

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 22 July 2008

 

 

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Related files: Blacks in Higher Education  Most Dangerous Black Professor in America  Rethinking Black Liberation   Manning Marable's Malcolm X Book