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Extra resources for African American Political Thought and American Culture: The Nation’s Struggle for Racial Justice
As for freedom, I will tell you what 36 A f r i c a n A m e r i c a n P o l i t i c a l T h o u g h t a n d C u lt u r e I know about freedom, and you will think I don’t have any political sense. I know that James Forman, for example, and many of the students he leads, are much, much freer than most of the white people I know in this country. For that matter, I am too. The reason is, I think, the reason is that in order to be free—let’s look some facts of your life in the face—you have to look into yourself and know who you are, at least know who you are, and decide what you want or at least what you will not have, and will not be, and take it from there.
The Power of Emotion and Desire By the mid-1950s, American intellectuals began reiterating what the French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville had argued in Democracy and America (1835/1840) a century earlier: freedom was in the American DNA. 56 Daniel Boorstin’s The Genius of American Politics (1953) said that a lack of genuinely creative and programmatic American political theorizing came from Americans always assuming the “American Way”—a revolution-free history and expansive, amorphous and possibility-filled geography.
Furthermore, 24 A f r i c a n A m e r i c a n P o l i t i c a l T h o u g h t a n d C u lt u r e the trenchant critique their work offers of American capitalism,91 social hierarchy92 and alternative ethical vision extended the views of American abolitionists, anarchists, progressives and feminists. Infusing contemporary citizenship with their vision is a difficult aspiration but one that reflects my hope that important ideas can matter outside the books in which they are written. Chapter 2 James Baldwin’s Recons truction of Amer ican Freedom B y the time James Baldwin wrote his long essay of film-criticism, The Devil Finds Work (1976), he was no longer a household name.