Africana thought within the orbit of Western discourses, from the eighteenth century to the 1970s, conceived the place of the black person in the world in essentially “political” terms. That is, it conceived it as the problematic of a dominated and disenfranchised people in a modern world it helped bring into being but whose benefits are controlled and appropriated primarily by Europe and America. This was the catalyst behind the exertions of the voice of the slave and the Pan African Congresses of the early twentieth century to the writings of W. E. B. Du Bois, Kwame Nkrumah, Richard Wright, C. L. R. James, and Eric Williams, to name just a few. The “political” approach, which I exemplify here with the writings of Richard Wright, would subsequently be challenged by a preoccupation with the affirmation of “culture.”

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