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Almost one-hundred years ago, W.E.B. Du Bois proposed the notion of the "talented tenth," an African American elite that would serve as leaders and models for the larger black community. In this unprecedented collaboration, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cornel West—two of Du Bois's most prominent intellectual descendants—reassess that relationship and its implications for the future of black Americans. If the 1990s are the best of times for the heirs of the Talented Tenth, they are unquestionably worse for the growing black underclass. As they examine the origins of this widening gulf and propose solutions for it, Gates and West combine memoir and biography, social analysis and cultural survey into a book that is incisive and compassionate, cautionary and deeply stirring.
"Today's most public African American intellectual voices. . . . West and Gates have made a valuable contribution." —Julian Bond, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Brilliant. . . . A social, cultural and political blueprint . . . that attempts to illumine the future path for blacks and American democracy." —New York Daily News
"Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cornel West are among the most renowned American intellectuals of our time." —The New York Times Book Review