When it comes to civil rights, too many people think that struggle was over when the 88th Congress banned discrimination in public facilities and schools with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But one doesn’t need to “be woke” to understand that a few battles won don’t mean the war is over.
That’s why it’s crucial to recognize the important black thinkers who have stepped up to realize the promise of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s motivational speeches, including his I Have a Dream speech. Like Joshua son of Nun, who led the Israelites into Canaan, they will lead America into the land of opportunity and equality for all people.
In this blog series, we’ll examine four important Black thinkers you may not have heard of.
Kimberle Williams Crenshaw
Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA and the Columbia School of Law, Crenshaw has been one of the most important thinkers when it comes to critical race theory. She is perhaps best known for inventing and developing the concept of intersectionality, the idea different oppressed identities overlap and can contribute to oppression and discrimination.
Currently, Crenshaw operates a think tank called the African American Policy Forum. Founded in 1996, the AAPF aims to promote strategies that address racial justice in conjunction with gender, class, and other marginalized groups.
Possibly the greatest achievement of Crenshaw’s career was the influence of her work on the South African Constitution, which provided inspiration for the drafting of the Constitution’s equality clause.
Congressman Keith Ellison
Representing Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, Ellison was the first Muslim to be elected to congress. He is perhaps best known for being a progressive voice in the Democratic National Committee, of which he is the Deputy Chair.
Ellison tracks his own political career to reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X at age 13 and the turmoil in his native Detroit in the wake of Martin Luther King’s assassination. He spent a great deal of his college career as an organizer, laying the groundwork for his current career in politics.
He is now recognized as one of the strongest voices for lower class individuals and marginalized groups.
This concludes our first post examining the great black thinkers of today. If you would like to learn more, stay tuned to for the second half of this series. If you would like more information on MLK and his motivational speeches, visit the King Program today!