Founded in 1969 by Robert Chrisman and Nathan Hare, THE BLACK SCHOLAR has established itself as the leading journal of black cultural and political thought in the United States. In its pages academics, community activists, and international political leaders come to grips with basic issues confronting black America, the diaspora, and Africa. We have debated sexism, multiculturalism, affirmative action, reparations for slavery, and Ebonics; explored politics from decolonization to South Africa and Cuba to Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign, and the Nation of Islam; analyzed events from the US invasion of Grenada to the Million Man March, Hurricane Katrina and the attack on Ethnic Studies in Arizona. Our cultural inquiry has ranged from African Literature to Black Power studies, Black Detective Fiction, and black music, while highlighting creative figures from Richard Wright and Paule Marshall to Spike Lee.
During 40-odd years the journal has become a veritable who’s who of scholars, with names such as Derrick Bell, John Henrik Clarke, Darlene Clark Hine, Carolyn Cooper, St Clair Drake, Kevin Gaines, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Lewis R. Gordon, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Patricia Hill-Collins, Joy James, Robin D. G. Kelley, Julianne Malveaux, Manning Marable, Adolph Reed, Hortense Spillers and Chuck Stone. We have published artists such as Elizabeth Catlett, Katherine Dunham, Lorraine Hansberry, Audre Lorde, Max Roach; US representatives Shirley Chisholm, Ron Dellums, Barbara Lee; and activists such as Julian Bond, Herb Boyd, Amilcar Cabral, Nawal El Saadawi, Julius Nyerere, Bobby Seale, and Kwame Ture [Stokely Carmichael].
TBS has also featured many timely and significant interviews with Muhammed Ali, Maya Angelou, Arthur Ashe, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, Alex Haley, C.L.R. James, Jacob Lawrence, Queen Mother Audley Moore, Jack O’Dell, Walter Rodney, McCoy Tyner, and Robert F. Williams. Angela Davis’ classic essay “Reflections on the Black Woman’s Role in the Community of Slaves” written from prison, was first published in TBS, in 1971. Among our creative writing are works by Afro-European writers Jackie Kay and May Opitz; African writers Dennis Brutus, Agostinho Neto, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Wole Soyinka; Caribbean writers Opal Palmer Adisa, Rene Depestre, Nicolas Guillen, Nancy Morejón, Andrew Salkey; and US writers Margaret Walker Alexander, Amiri Baraka, Wanda Coleman, Jayne Cortez, Ernest J. Gaines, June Jordan, Yusef Komunyakaa, Ishmael Reed, Sonia Sanchez, Ntozake Shange, and Alice Walker.
Effective June 2012, TBS has relaunched, with new editors, an expanded editorial and advisory board, and an expanded vision to reflect a new generation of scholars and activists that has emerged in the last twenty years. We are responding to the Black Studies revolution and the institutionalizing of black scholarship; the explosion of various forms of racial, ethnic, gender and sexuality studies; vast changes in immigration patterns; the end of Apartheid in South Africa; the election of President Barack Obama; and the burgeoning of a black middle class alongside the metastasizing of an increasingly criminalized black underclass. New questions about the meanings or value of American or global blackness and the operation of racial politics and cultural production are being posed. We are now peer-reviewed.
The new editors— Sundiata Cha-Jua, Senior Editor; Louis Chude-Sokei, Senior Editor—are committed to continuing the tradition of political engagement while reimagining the journal in keeping with these changes in the field and actively participating in its redefinition. We will strengthen its position as the primary space for interdisciplinary, cross-cultural black reflection and conversation. Though many of our clientele have come to regard TBS as primarily an academic journal due to our scholarly rigor, we continue to welcome non-specialist writers and to maintain the journal’s commitment to a broader community of readers.