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Black nationalism

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-Z020-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2005
Retrieved June 16, 2024, from

Article Summary

The philosophical underpinnings of black nationalism date back to the mid-nineteenth century, prior to the abolition of chattel slavery in the United States. Its key ideas are that black people should possess their own nation-state; that the flourishing of African peoples (including those of African descent in the Western hemisphere) requires racial solidarity and group self-help; that geographical racial separation is necessary for racial harmony; that blacks should cultivate pride in the historic achievements of those of African descent; that the survival of the race depends on militant collective resistance to anti-black racism and white supremacy; that psychic health requires the development and preservation of a distinctive black ethno-cultural identity; and that Africa is the authentic and rightful homeland of those who are racially black, regardless of where they were born or currently reside.

In its broadest sense, black nationalism is the view that blacks constitute a distinct people or nation with their own collective aims, and that their wellbeing depends upon their ability to sustain political, economic and cultural solidarity. Central to all versions of black nationalism are the beliefs that the primary source of black oppression is racism, and that overcoming racial domination will require some form of group autonomy and self-reliance, perhaps even a separate black republic.

Citing this article:
Shelby, Tommie. Black nationalism, 2005, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-Z020-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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