Leave it to Michael Eric Dyson to write this. (I remember he did something similar almost 20 years ago in his book “Race Rules.” )
It’s an interesting list. It would be a bit more interesting if it included people I met over the years, like Jared Ball and Rosa Clemente. They are no strangers to public intellectual work, but, alas, they don’t color within the lines.
But then again, looking at the older generation:
* Herb Boyd has written about 25 books in the 30 years since he left academe AND he has TWO National Association of Black Journalists awards (one with Dyson!), including a NABJ Hall of Fame award: when does HE get picked as a starter on the schoolyard? When he turns 80 in three years?
* Another friend and mentor, Don Rojas, should be writing and teaching right now about the Grenada revolution.
* A Black radio broadcaster I grew up listening to, Imhotep Gary Byrd, is holding on in the 21st century, incredibly, with a free two-hour show on WBAI-FM on Friday nights and a WLIB/WBLS two-hour simulcast on Sunday nights. He will turn 70 (?) in 2019: when does HE get a DAMN NATIONAL show in either/both broadast mediums!?!? Almost 30 (!) years ago in Newark, when I had more hair and teeth than I have now :), I used to listen to the Rev. Al Sharpton on Byrd’s WLIB show, so how can Sharpton get TWO national Black radio shows and ONE national white TV show and Byrd, with almost 50 years in the game as a living legend, can’t get ONE of these?!? (Even the guy at The New York Daily News who used to cover Byrd and the rest of New York City’s Black radio fairly just got canned. :))
* And, if we can broaden out to Latinos here, will Amy Goodman hire Juan Gonzalez as a REAL “Democracy Now!” co-host once The slow-death News lets him go? How much more award-winning (I still remember his “stolen” Pulitzer for 911 ash) investigative journalism does his 66-year-old, clearly-spends-all-his-spare-time-writing-serious-history-books butt has do? When he’s cut, will he get the $200,000 a year New York City professorships others of less stature, ability and accomplishment get?
I just remember that Manning Marable and Earl Ofari Hutchinson were among those who started this “post-Civil Rights Movement Black public intellectual” thing 40 years ago on the Op-Ed pages of Black newspapers that only a few give a crap about now. Time is not the only thing that keeps on slipping into the future.