For Immediate Release
November 21, 2014
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Miami Book Fair International

(BPRW) Black Prophetic Fires: African American Leaders and Their Visionary Legacies

-- Cornel West in conversation with Helene Atwan --

(Black PR Wire) -- In Black Prophetic Fire, distinguished scholars and intellectuals Dr. Cornel West and Christa Buschendorf provide a fresh perspective on six revolutionary African American leaders: Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X, and Ida B. Wells. Join the always provocative Cornel West and Beacon Press’ renowned director, Helene Atwan, for an illuminating conversation Saturday, Nov. 22, 2:00 p.m., at the Chapman Conference Center (Building 3, 2nd Floor, Room 3210).

Black Prophetic Fire, (Beacon Press; $26.95) Cornel West’s latest book with distinguished scholar Christa Buschendorf, provides a fresh perspective on six revolutionary African American leaders: Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X, and Ida Wells-Barnett. West examines the impact of these men and women on their own eras and across the decades. He not only rediscovers the integrity and commitment within these passionate advocates but also their fault lines. West finds that Douglass and, to some extent, Du Bois fall short of the high standards he holds them to, while King has been sanitized and even “Santaclausified,” rendering him less radical. By providing new insights that humanize all of these well-known figures, West takes an important step in rekindling the Black prophetic fire so essential in the age of Obama. Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, writes that Black Prophetic Fire, “…reminds us what true leadership, sacrifice, and courageous, inspirational truth-telling looks like and why it is so urgently needed in the quest for justice today.”

About the Authors and Guests

Dr. Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is a Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. He has written more than twenty books and has edited thirteen. He is best known for his classics Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, Colbert Report, CNN and C-Span and Tavis Smiley. He is co-host of the popular radio show Smiley & West on Public Radio International. Dr. West made his film debut in the Matrix – and was the commentator (with Ken Wilbur) on the official trilogy released in 2004. He has appeared in over twenty-five documentaries and films including Examined Life, Call & Response, Sidewalk and Stand. He has also recorded three spoken word albums including Never Forget, which featured collaborations with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One and the late Gerald Levert.

Helene Atwan has been director of Beacon Press since October 1995. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Virginia. She began her career in publishing at Random House in 1976, and has worked at Alfred A. Knopf, Viking Press; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; and Simon and Schuster. Her acquisitions at Beacon include Gayl Jones’s The Healing, a National Book Award Finalist; Danielle Ofri’s Singular Intimacies; Rashid Khalidi’s Resurrecting Empire and The Iron Cage; Richard Blanco’s For All of Us, One Today; Cornel West’s Black Prophetic Fire; and Anita Hill’s Reimagining Equality, as well as books by Bill Ayers and Lauren Slater, and ten volumes of poetry by Pulitzer Prize winner Mary Oliver. She served for eight years on the board of PEN-New England and is the Administrator of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.