Picture of author.

Cornel West

Author of Race Matters

43+ Works 5,744 Members 81 Reviews 15 Favorited

About the Author

Professor, writer, and civil rights activist Cornel West was born on June 2, 1953 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and raised in Sacramento. He graduated from Harvard University in 1973 with an M.A. and later taught African-American studies there. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Haverford show more College, and Princeton University, the latter as professor of religion and director of African-American studies. West earned his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1980. He has written more than twenty books, including Race Matters and Restoring Hope: Conversations on the Future of Black America. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Cornel West, 17 January 2008. Photo taken by Esther.


Works by Cornel West

Race Matters (1993) — Author — 1,840 copies
The Cornel West Reader (1999) 445 copies
The Radical King (2015) — Editor — 229 copies
The Future of the Race (1996) 224 copies
Black Prophetic Fire (1900) — Author — 126 copies
Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Culture (1990) — Editor — 104 copies
African American Religious Thought: An Anthology (2003) — Editor — 51 copies
Tragicomique Amérique (2005) 1 copy

Associated Works

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010) — Foreword, some editions — 5,278 copies
Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology (1992) — Contributor, some editions — 443 copies
I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson (1972) — Introduction, some editions — 375 copies
Fires in the Mirror (1993) — Foreword — 292 copies
Africa: The Art of a Continent (1995) — Introduction — 144 copies
Imperium in Imperio (1899) — Introduction — 120 copies
Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America (1995) — Contributor — 91 copies
Moral Issues and Christian Responses (1997) — Contributor — 83 copies
Spirits of the Passage: The Transatlantic Slave Trade in the Seventeenth Century (1997) — Introduction, some editions — 63 copies
Critical White Studies: Looking Behind the Mirror (1997) — Contributor — 57 copies
Howard Zinn on Race (2011) — Introduction, some editions — 45 copies
Cornel West: A Critical Reader (2001) — Afterword — 33 copies
The Suitcase: Refugee Voices from Bosnia and Croatia (1997) — Foreword — 29 copies
Jay-Z: Essays on Hip Hop's Philosopher King (2011) — Foreword, some editions — 18 copies
Race Traitor 10 (1999) — Contributor — 4 copies
The Analog Sea Review: Number Four (2022) — Contributor — 2 copies


Common Knowledge



Finally got around to reading this. It was a very enlightening read. This is not a biography or commentary but simply a collection of MLK's writing curated and introduced by Cornel West. It really gave me a more profound insight into his politics (which was more complex than most discussions tend to show, even me who knew about that didn't know the full extent) but also pacifism in general. I'm not against violence to resist oppression, non-violence does not always work, but I will admit to having a more limited understanding of non-violence which has been expanded by this book.
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dond_ashall | 26 other reviews | Feb 7, 2024 |
An engaging premise. The middle chapter on the various strands of resistance, with an emphasis on humanists and art is by far the best. I'd love for someone to compile all of Dr. West's critical writings on literature one day.
JuntaKinte1968 | 2 other reviews | Dec 6, 2023 |
I had a lot of trouble deciding exactly how I was going to review this book -- Frankly, there's so much material to cover that I won't get to most of it. First of all, I'm impressed by the density and complexity of the writing -- For that reason alone, I believe the author inherently knows what he's talking about. I appreciate Dr. West's objective assessments of various past and present states of affairs in the USA -- As well as his overall worldview. While I did read the entire book and also reread the first chapter ("Nihilism in Black America") -- My comments here mainly concern what I was able to glean from the prefaces, introductions and epilogue of this work.

Here are some highlights with regard to noteworthy content: (1) Imperial meltdown -- And how imperial meltdown = spiritual blackout); (1) (a) How we're living in a soulless time, in which everything has been commodified and monetized -- Particularly due to the inescapable influence of social media); (2) Bernie Sanders as a missed opportunity -- I'm in agreement with the policies promoted by Sanders, but I never voted for him, as I didn't believe he could win in a general election; (3) The grey area of commonality between Obama and Trump -- In terms of actions both presidents have taken in regard to furthering America's endless wars; (4) The obscene pentagon budget -- That could ideally be allocated to fund infrastructure, healthcare, house, education etc.

Dr. West also seems to be very open, fair and compassionate in his understanding and acceptance of the LGBTQ community (I'm saying this as a white LGBTQ person who's always felt like an outsider in the LGBTQ community) & in recognizing how problematic sexism, homophobia and patriarchal attitudes can be -- Within more conservative sectors of the African-American community.

In Closing: Here's a quote from p. ix of this work [which relates to (1) (a) above]: "The major culprit of democratic possibilities here and abroad is the ever-expanding market culture that puts everything and everyone up for sale. The expansion of corporate power is driven by this pervasive commercialization and commodification ... Market activities of buying and selling, advertising and promoting weaken nonmarket actives of caring and sharing, nurturing and connection. Short-term stimulation and instant titillation edge out quality relations and substantive community."
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stephencbird | 17 other reviews | Sep 19, 2023 |
I found this book to be a great introduction to MLK. We tend to associate MLK with Selma and the Civil Rights Movement, but gloss over the numerous other issues MLK stood and fought for.

Cornell West's collection is a great primer to this towering figure of history. In the collection of various essays, speeches and articles MLK had lent his voice to, we are given insight to his views on issues that are still (if not more so revenant today such as living wages, as well as his views on Capitalism, Communism, Gandhi, WEB Du Bois and Vietnam.

West's collection shows MLK's written word was every bit as potent as his speeches.

Anyone who has done reading on MLK will probably be familiar with the content and it's subject matter. Even so, this is a great collection and would be a good refresher for those already knowledgeable about MLK.
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melkor1917 | 26 other reviews | Jul 10, 2023 |



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