Black History Month: 10 Modern Black Intellectuals You Should Know

Black History Month: 10 Modern Black Intellectuals You Should Know

Black scholars have been influential to many in terms of books, written speeches, and shared lectures. In honor of Black History Month, SOHH highlights ten modern Black intellectuals.

Some of the brightest Black minds come from all over the world and are known to influence many generations. Here are ten contemporary Black Intellectuals making an impact today:

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson

Dr. Dyson is a professor, author, political commentator, and ordained minister. Dr. Dyson, most notably, was a Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University from 2007 to 2020. 

His books are centered around racism, politics, and even hip-hop. 

Some of his books include Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon To White America, Entertaining Race: Performing Blackness in America, and Jay-Z: Made in America. Dr. Dyson has also commented on critical race theory, which teaches how racism and injustices affect American society.

Michelle Alexander

Alexander is a writer and a civil rights activist. She is best known for her 2010 book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. In her book, she described how she believes minorities are subject to legalized injustices such as housing, economic, employment, and racial injustice. 

She previously directed the Civil Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School and was a law clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals. Alexander has also done TED Talks about race in America.

Dr. Claud Anderson

Dr. Claud Anderson is the president of the PowerNomics Corporation of America, Inc. and Harvest Institute. 

PowerNomics is a company that publishes Anderson’s books on the PowerNomics concept. It analyzes the complex web of racial monopolies and references Black Americans’ negative financial patterns. Dr. Anderson was also the State Coordinator of Education for Florida in the 1970s.  

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates is an author and journalist. He is best known for his time as a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he wrote about racial, social, and political issues, specifically regarding Black Americans and White supremacy. 

Coates has also worked for Time magazine and as a visiting scholar for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has written the books The Beautiful Struggle, Between The World and Me, and wrote the sixth volume of Marvel’s Black Panther Series.

Dr. Thomas Easley

Dr. Easley has spent most of his career as a diversity professional. He has integrated hip-hop and forestry into his classroom and lectures through his work. 

His book, Mind/Heart for Diversity shares his expertise in diversity and inclusion. It also teaches how to use heart and mind to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Easley is the Assistant Dean of Community and Inclusion at Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Science. His background includes forestry, genetics, and education to teach communication workshops, lectures, and provide mentorships.

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Hannah-Jones is an investigative reporter who covers civil rights and racial injustice for the New York Times. She is best known as the author of The 1619 Project, which is a series of articles and essays by academics in America that attempted to change the way slavery was viewed in America. 

Hannah-Jones was set to be a professor at the University of North Carolina but refused the job after criticism from conservative groups over The 1619 Project.  

Laws such as Florida’s Stop WOKE Act which bans race and gender from being taught in schools, condemn works from Hannah-Jones. Hannah-Jones is currently the Knight chair for Race and Journalism at Howard University. 

Todd Boyd

Boyd is the Katherine and Frank Price Endowed Chair for the Study of Race & Popular Culture, Professor of Cinema, and Media Studies at the University of Southern California. Boyd has frequently made many media appearances in documentaries such as ESPN’s The Last Dance and Vick.

Besides his professor duties, he has been on news outlets such as NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, and Good Morning America to discuss topics such as racism, pop culture, and various topics in American society. Boyd has also written seven books, over 100 essays, articles, and reviews of his commentary.

Dr. Umar Johnson

Dr. Johnson is a psychologist, motivational speaker, and activist focusing on Pan-Africanism. Dr. Umar Johnson travels around to discuss his teachings and speak against subjects such as ADHD, which he claims isn’t real. 

Dr. Johnson’s teachings are Pan-Africanist and call for Black people worldwide to identify with the African people, not particular religions, nationalities, professions, or fraternal organizations.

Dr. Henry Louis Gates

Dr. Gates is a literary critic, professor, and historian. Gates is the current Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. 

In his career, Dr. Gates has concentrated on building academic institutions to study Black culture. In his works, he has written pieces that defended rap music and also criticized Black youth culture for valuing sports over education. 

He has also hosted his PBS show, Finding Your Roots- with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., with celebrity guests to help them learn their ancestral history.

Dr. Cornel West

Dr. Cornel West is a philosopher, political activist, and social critic. Dr. West is a former professor at Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Dartmouth College, and Pepperdine University. Dr. West has appeared on numerous news outlets to share his commentary on politics and societal questions.  

In his commentary, Dr. West has described himself as a Socialist and frequently speaks out against White supremacy in America. 

As an activist, he was arrested for protesting such as in 2014 after the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, who was killed in a police shooting. 

Five Inventions You Probably Didn’t Know Were Invented By Black Innovators

In honor of Black History month, SOHH highlighted five inventions that were made by a Black innovator.

Read to learn about inventions by Black innovators that many people use today!

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