cover image Black Leadership

Black Leadership

Manning Marable. Columbia University Press, $45 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-231-10746-4

Despite the title's promise, this collection of academic essays has a more limited goal, according to Columbia historian Marable (Race, Reform, and Rebellion): to ""profile the ideas and leadership"" of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Harold Washington and Louis Farrakhan. Actually, even that schematic seems strained, as Marable includes four essays about DuBois, and only one each about the other three. The essays on DuBois add up to an interesting precis of his multifaceted influence on black culture, his radical religious faith, his spur to Pan-Africanism and his ""critique linking racism, war, and peace."" The title also could have indicated Marable's incisive leftist analysis: Booker T. Washington's accommodationist strategy sacrificed black workers, he writes, while Chicago mayor Washington's reliance on personal charisma meant no organization could succeed him. While Farrakhan's ""black fundamentalist nationalism"" invokes conservative economics and alliances with the likes of Lyndon LaRouche, Marable sees the empowerment of black workers--within a reformed labor movement--as the best source of progressive politics beyond the Democratic Party and civil rights community. (May)