March 4: Chapter 31 The Black Crisis of Leadership/ Guest Speaker


  • Send me an e-mail to have your organization approved if you haven’t done so already. Your fieldwork must be approved by me for it to count! See the updated list of approved organizations on the Areas of Fieldwork page if you’re still trying to decide or are having problems finding something. You can also stop by my office hours (Tu/Th 5-6:30 PM). You should start doing your fieldwork by the beginning of March to complete it in time. I can provide a letter or email for your organization if they need one: just send me an email to ask for it
  • Final call for group presentations! We did in class sign-ups on 2/19 and 2/26. Contact me immediately if you missed class to get assigned to a group! Once I finalize groups, there will be no more additions and you will not be able to do the assignment! The assignment sheet for this is on the Assignments page

We’ll start this week with a talk by Karen Taylor, of While We Are Still here for the first 75-90 minutes, then shift to Amos Wilson for the last part of the class.

Guest Lecture: Karen D. Taylor on Harlem, Gentrification, and Preservation of Culture

Bio: Karen D. Taylor is the founder and executive director of While We’re Still Here. She has  been a Harlem resident for more than thirty years and in addition to being a muti-genre artist, has curated numerous exhibits. She holds an MFA in Writing (Creative Nonfiction)  from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a BS in African-American Literature from the State University of New York, Empire State College.

Read Chapter 31, “The Crisis of Leadership” in Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Black Power: pages 824-859. Here are some questions to guide your reading:

  • What are the key ideological orientations of leadership Wilson identifies?
  • What are the weaknesses/strengths of each?
  • How does Wilson define nationalism and what type does he call for?
  • Why the need (in Wilson’s mind) for Black Nationalist-oriented leaders?

Pay particular attention to Wilson’s critique of and analysis of nationalism at the end of the chapter in the section “Contemporary Black Nationalism: Absence of Organization, Creed, and Plans.” Think about (if?) this relates to the current situation more broadly and examples/evidence of these issues. Focus on this part and think about how this might apply to your organizations this semester. What parts of this do they do well? What do they do poorly? What might they do better?


  • The Harlem-based While We’re Still Here org is hosting an event this Saturday (February 29) on their campaign for installing public historical markers honoring people in Harlem. It’s at the George Bruce Library, 518 West 125th St. from 12:30-4:30 PM. Call 929-266-3952 to RSVP. Details here.
  • There’s a rally and info session at the House of the Lord Church in downtown Brooklyn on March 7 as a lead-up to this Fall’s State of the Black World Conference. It’s free and open to the public (they’ll ask for donations). Details here.

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