History and Black Consciousness: The Political Culture of Black America


  • Manning Marable




Race, History, Marxism, Inequality


The central theme of black U.S. history has been the constant struggle to overcome the barriers of race, and the reality of unequal racial identities between black and white. This racial bifurcation has created parallel realities or racial universes, in which blacks and whites may interact closely with one another, but perceive social reality in dramatically different ways. These collective experiences of discrimination, and this memory of resistance and oppression, have given rise to several overlapping group strategies or critical perspectives within the African-American community, which have as their objective the ultimate empowerment of black people. In this sense, the contours of struggle for black people have given rise to a very specific consciousness, a sense of our community, its needs and its aspirations for itself. The major ideological debates which map the dimensions of the political mind of black United States have always been about the orientation and objectives of black political culture and consciousness.

This article can also be found at the Monthly Review website, where most recent articles are published in full.

Click here to purchase a PDF version of this article at the Monthly Review website.