Knowledge, Power, and Black Politics

Collected Essays

By Mack H. Jones

Subjects: Political Science, African American Studies
Series: SUNY series in African American Studies
Paperback : 9781438449081, 318 pages, January 2015
Hardcover : 9781438449074, 318 pages, January 2014

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Table of contents

List of Figures and Tables
Foreword by Robert C. Smith
Section I. Epistemology and Theory

1. A Frame of Reference for Black Politics
2. Scientific Method, Value Judgments, and the Black Predicament in the United States
3. NCOBPS: Twenty Years Later
4. Political Science and the Black Political Experience: Issues in Epistemology and Relevance
Section II. Black Politics: Theory and Practice
5. Black Politics: From Civil Rights to Benign Neglect
6. Black Political Empowerment in Atlanta: Myth and Reality
7. Black Mayoral Leadership in Atlanta: A Comment
8. The Voting Rights Act as an Intervention Strategy for Social Change: Symbolism or Substance
Section III. Race and Public Policy
9. The Black Underclass as Systemic Phenomenon
10. Political Philosophy and Public Assistance in Liberal Society
11. Affirmative Action: What Is the Question—Race or Oppression?
12. Racism, Multiculturalism, the Black Conservative Movement, and the Post-Civil Rights Era
13. On Display; Hypocrisy, Deceit, and Arrogance: Bush and the Invasion of Iraq
14. Contemporary International Developments and Their Implications for a Global African Community
Section IV. Commentaries and Reviews
15. The White Custodians of the Black Experience: A Reply to Rudwick and Meier
16. Limitations of the Civil Rights Philosophy and Agenda: A Different Perspective
17. Cornel West, the Insurgent Black Intellectual, Race Matters: A Critical Comment
18. Deracialization and Crossover Appeal: Routinization and Depreciation of Black Political Participation

Develops an alternative framework for describing and explaining African American politics and the American political system and applies it to a number of case studies.


Few scholars have influenced the development of the study of black politics as much as Mack H. Jones. Through his writings one can trace the emergence, evolution, and maturation of the scientific study of the field. Knowledge, Power, and Black Politics brings together difficult-to-find and out-of-print essays by this important figure. In the first part of this volume Jones demonstrates how American social science creates a misleading caricature of African American life, one that can only lead to misguided public policies. He offers an alternative frame of reference, the dominant-subordinate group model, and argues that it offers greater descriptive insights and prescriptive utility for those interested in understanding politics internal to the African American community. The framework established in the first section is used to examine a broad range of topics such as the history of black politics from the period of enslavement to the modern era and the dynamics of the civil rights movement, as well as a range of contentious public policy issues, including public welfare, affirmative action, the black underclass, racism and multiculturalism, the black conservative movement, deracialization, presidential politics, and US foreign policy toward developing countries.

Mack H. Jones is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Clark Atlanta University and the coauthor (with Lucius J. Barker and Katherine Tate) of African Americans and the American Political System, Fourth Edition.


"For more than four decades, Mack H. Jones's work has been pivotal in directing the scope of black politics. Although his work is widely cited, never before have his seminal writings been compiled in one volume. Taken together as a whole they provide a guidebook to the field and present a powerful commentary on black politics in the current era. With force and clarity, Jones trains his sights on the most significant issues of epistemology, historical developments, policy initiatives, and political figures and groups. His clarity of vision on the instrumental uses of knowledge to advance the principle of freedom drives his incisive analysis, intellectual rigor, and, most of all, fearlessness. We have much to continue to learn from the work assembled in this collection. " — Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd, author of Gender, Race, and Nationalism in Contemporary Black Politics