9 Contemporary Black Academics You Should Know


Dr. Cornel West

Cornel West is an African-American philosopher, academic, activist, author and public intellectual. West received his undergraduate education at Harvard University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1973, and he received a Ph.D. at Princeton University in 1980, becoming the first African-American to graduate from Princeton with a Ph.D. in philosophy.

He previously taught religion and headed the African American Studies departments at both Princeton and Harvard, leaving to become professor of philosophy and Christian practice at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He co-hosts a weekly radio show with Tavis Smiley. He often appears as a commentator on MSNBC, CNN and other media outlets, participating in civic discourse and protesting unjust policies.


Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor and critic. His first novel Things Fall Apart (1958) was considered his most important work and is the most widely read book in modern African literature. Achebe attended Government College in Umuahia. Modeled on the British public school and funded by the colonial administration, Government College had been established in 1929 to educate Nigeria’s future elite. He also studied English, history and theology at the University of London, Nigeria’s first university.

blerds diop

Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop

Cheikh Anta Diop was a historian, anthropologist, physicist and politician who studied the human race’s origins and pre-colonial African culture. He studied philosophy in the Faculty of Arts of the Sorbonne. He gained his first degree in philosophy in 1948, then enrolled in the Faculty of Sciences, receiving two diplomas in chemistry in 1950.

In his 1954 thesis, Diop argued that ancient Egypt had been populated by Black people. He said that the Egyptian language and culture had later been spread to West Africa. His research and theories culminated into his most famous work The African Origin of Civilizations: Myth or Reality. He has been called one of the greatest African thinkers of the 20th century.

One Reply to “9 Contemporary Black Academics You Should Know”

  1. no neil degrasse tyson? ph.d , originally from the Bronx and head of the Hayden planetarium

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