Claudia Jones reading The West Indian Gazette in London in the 1960s (Credit: Schomburg Center)

Black Perspectives is the leading online platform for public scholarship on global black thought, history, and culture. As engaged scholars, we are deeply committed to producing and disseminating cutting-edge research that is accessible to the public and is oriented towards advancing the lives of people of African descent and humanity. Formerly referred to as the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) Blog, Black Perspectives serves as the medium to advance these critical goals. Although many of the writers are historians, we provide a crucial online space for scholars working in various academic fields.

Some have suggested that we should only include black writers because of our commitment to advancing the field of black intellectual history. We maintain the position that non-black writers can and should study and write about black history. We didn’t select the name “Black Perspectives” to suggest that only black people will write for the blog but to convey the point that each piece we publish (regardless of the writer’s race) will center the perspectives–as in the ideas, activities, and experiences–of black historical actors. Moreover, we selected the name “Black Perspectives” to reiterate our interest in global black intellectual history as well as our commitment to interdisciplinarity and intersectionality.

We understand African American and African diasporic thought in its broadest terms and encourage the use of interdisciplinary research approaches. We also value diversity and inclusion and welcome all scholars–regardless of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, or any other social category—to contribute as long as the research is thorough and accurate in its portrayal of black thought, history, and culture.

**All contributors to the blog grant the AAIHS an unlimited perpetual license to publish the posted content in any media. Authors do not retain ownership of pieces and must obtain written permission from the blog’s senior editor in order to reprint in other venues. Anyone interested in reprinting pieces that appear on the blog must submit a request in writing to the senior blog editor via email at aaihs10@gmail.com.


Editing Team

Senior Blog Editor–Keisha N. Blain


Keisha N. Blain is a historian of the 20th century United States with broad interdisciplinary interests and specializations in African American History, the modern African Diaspora, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She completed an MA and PhD in History at Princeton University. Her research interests include black internationalism, radical politics, and global feminisms. She is currently a Visiting Research Scholar in Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Iowa. Her articles have appeared in Souls, the Journal of Social History, and Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International. Her forthcoming book, Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018), uncovers the crucial role women played in building black nationalist and internationalist protest movements in the United States and other parts of the African Diaspora during the twentieth century. She is one of the co-editors of Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism and Racial Violence (University of Georgia Press, 2016).

Associate Blog Editor–Ibram X. Kendi

KendiIbram X. Kendi is an assistant professor of African American history at the University of Florida. An intellectual and social movement historian, Ibram studies racist and antiracist ideas and movements. His new book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, was recently published by Nation Books. It was recently awarded the 2016 National Book Award for nonfiction. Ibram is also the author of the award-winning book, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965–1972, and fourteen essays on the Black Campus Movement, Black power, and intellectual history in books and referred academic journals. He has received research fellowships, grants, and visiting appointments from a variety of universities, foundations, professional associations, and libraries, including the American Historical Association, Library of Congress, National Academy of Education, Spencer Foundation, Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, Brown University, and Princeton University. A regular public speaker and contributor of op-eds, Ibram completed a PhD in African American Studies at Temple University. He is currently working on the first general history of New York Black power, Black Apple: Malcolm X and Black Power in New York, 1954-1974—a book under contract with NYU Press. Follow him on Twitter @DrIbram.

Assistant Editors

Charlee M. Redman is a masters candidate in French Studies at the University of Maryland-College Park. Her interests include twentieth-century and contemporary Francophone literature from the Caribbean and Africa as well as early modern culture, the medical humanities, and eighteenth and nineteenth century French literature. She is particularly interested in the intersection of environment, place, and identity. Follow her on Twitter @charleemyranda.


Richard M. Mares is a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University. He is currently working on his dissertation entitled, “Too Western in My Approach to Tyranny’: Black Internationalism and Robert F. Williams’ Activist Network in the Cold War, 1950-1976.” This project examines the strategies used by an activist network to weather the political climate of the Cold War. Using Robert F. Williams’ life and thought as a nucleus, it explores the lived experience of a select group of African American expatriates during the 1960s and 1970s. This cohort includes Williams, his wife Mabel Robinson Williams, journalists Julian Mayfield and Richard Gibson, activists Mae Mallory and Vicki Garvin, and the civil rights attorney Conrad J. Lynn.


Melissa Shaw is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Queens University, studying 20th century Black Canadian History. She was awarded her B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Toronto with a Specialist in History and Political Science and Minors in Francophone Studies and Philosophy of Science. Her dissertation, “Blackness and British “Fair Play”: Burgeoning Black Social Activism in Ontario and its Responses to the Canadian Colour Line, 1919-1939,” explores the symbiotic relationship between anti-Black racisms in Canada and the rise of Black Canadian activism in Ontario. Focusing on the social articulations of race consciousness within a variety of Black Canadian organizations, it examines the ways activism initiatives contended with anti-Black racism by claiming rights for Blacks as Canadian citizens and British imperial subjects through local, continental, and Pan-African methods and race politics networks. Follow her on Twitter at @MelissaNShaw.

Editorial Assistants

Sydney-Paige Patterson is a graduate of the John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program at New York University. She currently works as the Executive Assistant to the High School Director at Hyde Leadership Charter School in Bronx, NY. Her work examines twentieth century social movements, focusing primarily on interactions between African-Americans and Dalits in India. She is a Gary, Indiana native and Michael Jackson music lover. Follow her on Twitter @PinkyGilmore


Christopher Shell is a senior at Howard University. He is currently majoring in History and pursing a minor in Political Science. His research explores the critical impact and legacy that Marcus Garvey and Black internationalism played in Australian Aboriginal movements of the 20th century. He is a member of the  Golden Key International Honour Society and has received several awards and fellowships including the Schomburg-Mellon Research Fellowship. He is currently serving as the President of the Howard University Chess Club and has plans to pursue a PhD in History. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisShell95.


*Click here to read the bios of the 2017 Summer Interns for Black Perspectives.