Why Black dignity is the paradigm of all dignity and Black philosophy is the starting point of all philosophy
“A bold attempt to determine the conditions of—and the means for achieving—racial justice.”—Kirkus Reviews
This radical work by one of the leading young scholars of Black thought delineates a new concept of Black dignity, yet one with a long history in Black writing and action. Previously in the West, dignity has been seen in two ways: as something inherent in one’s station in life, whether acquired or conferred by birth; or more recently as an essential condition and right common to all of humanity.
In what might be called a work of observational philosophy—an effort to describe the philosophy underlying the Black Lives Matter movement—Vincent W. Lloyd defines dignity as something performative, not an essential quality but an action: struggle against domination. Without struggle, there is no dignity. He defines anti-Blackness as an inescapable condition of American life, and the slave’s struggle against the master as the “primal scene” of domination and resistance. Exploring the way Black writers such as Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes, and Audre Lorde have dealt with themes such as Black rage, Black love, and Black magic, Lloyd posits that Black dignity is the paradigm of all dignity and, more audaciously, that Black philosophy is the starting point of all philosophy.
Vincent W. Lloyd is associate professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University. His previous books include Black Natural Law and the coedited Race and Secularism in America. He coedits the journal Political Theology.
“Black Dignity is a textured and moving account of how social movements give new life to our deepest commitments and our highest aspirations.”—Corey D. B. Walker, Wake Forest Professor of the Humanities, Wake Forest University
“Black Dignity is a defining treatise for our contemporary moment. Vincent Lloyd explains how the Black Lives Matter movement builds on and corrects historic Black Radical traditions. A must study for students of Black freedom struggle.”—Akinyele Omowale Umoja, coeditor of Black Power Encyclopedia
“Lloyd powerfully joins a growing and urgent literature on the relationship among civic ideals, political and social morality, racial identity, and the emotions. I suspect Black Dignity will quickly become a fixture in conversations concerning visions of America against the backdrop of racial violence and inequity.”—Christopher J. Lebron, author of The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of An Idea
Sign up to the Yale newsletter for book news, offers, free extracts and more
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.