The Revolution Will Not Be Theorized: Cultural Revolution in the Black Power Era (SUNY series in African American Studies)

November 1, 2020
The Revolution Will Not Be Theorized: Cultural Revolution in the Black Power Era (SUNY series in African American Studies)

Studies the revolutionary theory of the Black Power Movementin the 1960s through ʼ70s, placing it within the broader socialtheory of black revolution in the United States since thenineteenth century.The study of the impact of Black Power Movement (BPM) activistsand organizations in the 1960s through ʼ70s has largely beenconfined to their role as proponents of social change; but theywere also theorists of the change they sought. In TheRevolution Will Not Be Theorized Errol A. Henderson explainsthis theoretical contribution and places it within a broader socialtheory of black revolution in the United States dating back tonineteenth-century black intellectuals. These include blacknationalists, feminists, and anti-imperialists; activists andartists of the Harlem Renaissance; and early Cold War–era blackrevolutionists. The book first elaborates W. E. B. Du Bois’s thesisof the “General Strike” during the Civil War, Alain Locke’s thesisrelating black culture to political and economic change, HaroldCruse’s work on black cultural revolution, and Malcolm X’s advocacyof black cultural and political revolution in the United States.Henderson then critically examines BPM revolutionists’ theorizingregarding cultural and political revolution and the relationshipbetween them in order to realize their revolutionary objectives.Focused more on importing theory from third world contexts thatwere dramatically different from the United States, BPMrevolutionists largely ignored the theoretical template for blackrevolution most salient to their case, which undermined theirability to theorize a successful black revolution in the UnitedStates.