Cedric Johnson, associate professor of political science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, has written a new foreword to Harold Cruse’s “Rebellion or Revolution?”–a book first published in 1968.
Cruse (1916-2005) was a social critic, essayist and teacher of African American studies at the University of Michigan. He is described as “One of the leading writers of African American intellectual life in the second half of the 20th century.” He gained international attention with the publication of his influential and inflammatory book, “The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual.”
“Rebellion or Revolution?” features reviews and essays written by Cruse between 1950 and 1966. It examines relevance of such figures as James Baldwin, Booker T. Washington, Albert Camus and Josephine Baker, as well as such subjects as Marxism and the African American community, the economics of black nationalism, and the emerging Black Power movement. According to the publisher, “Rebellion or Revolution?” contains a number of significant writings not available elsewhere.
In his foreword, Johnson writes “I fell in love with the work of Harold Cruse during the 1990s…My growing scholarly interest in Black Power and gnawing dissatisfaction with black liberal and black nationalist thinking spurred me toward a more careful consideration of Cruse’s work.” He writes that, in the end, “Cruse does not encourage a politics grounded in the experiences and interests of the black working class, but instead he rehabilitates the racial uplift politics of the Jim Crow Era where black elites serve as the role models and legitimate voice of the masses.”
He goes on to write that “These very contradictions make his work all the more intriguing and rewarding…Cruse’s gift to black political culture and the American Left was his willingness to disturb conventional wisdom and pose difficult questions. These writings embody the kinds of critical perspective and intellectual courage that are sorely missing in contemporary American public life.”
Johnson is author of “Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics,” which was chosen for the 2008 W.E.B. DuBois Outstanding Book Award by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Johnson is also co-author of “Bibliography of African American Leadership: An Annotated Guide” with Ronald W. Walters and “Searching for a Deeper Understanding of Devolution through Black Media,” with Adolphus G. Belk Jr. and Tamelyn Tucker-Worgs.
A member of the faculty since 2001, Johnson earned his B.A. in political science from Southern University-Baton Rouge, an M.A. in Black Studies at the Ohio State University, and an M.A. and his Ph.D. in government and politics at University of Maryland, College Park. A member of the American Political Science Association and the National Conference of Black Political Science, he serves on the planning committee for the Rochester Labor Lyceum.