In this book, Jonathan Holloway explores the early lives and
careers of economist Abram Harris Jr., sociologist E. Franklin
Frazier, and political scientist Ralph Bunche--three black scholars
who taught at Howard University during the New Deal and, together,
formed the leading edge of American social science radicalism.
Harris, Frazier, and Bunche represented the vanguard of the young
black radical intellectual-activists who dared to criticize the
NAACP for its cautious civil rights agenda and saw in the turmoil
of the Great Depression an opportunity to advocate class-based
solutions to what were commonly considered racial problems. Despite
the broader approach they called for, both their advocates and
their detractors had difficulty seeing them as anything but "black
intellectuals" speaking on "black issues."
A social and intellectual history of the trio, of Howard
University, and of black Washington, Confronting the Veil
investigates the effects of racialized thinking on Harris, Frazier,
Bunche, and others who wanted to think "beyond race--who envisioned
a workers' movement that would eliminate racial divisiveness and
who used social science to demonstrate the ways in which race is
constructed by social phenomena. Ultimately, the book sheds new
light on how people have used race to constrain the possibilities
of radical politics and social science thinking.