I'm still deleting duplicates out of my Outlook contacts. I'm down to about 6800 names which is about right. Who did I stumble across this morning but Ralph Dumain.
Back in the golden age of SCAA, during the early 90s, there were several standout intellects. I've already talked about Eugene Holman. But he was an island in a sea of calm compared to the tempests that Dumain would stir up. Dumain was a great fan of Ellison. He wrote:
Ellison's significance is manifold. His place in American history is on a par with that of Richard Wright; the two of them together as cultural figures punctuate 20th century American history. Ellison represents the heroic reach of black modernism, taking Wright's achievement into the realm of cultural philosophy. Wright pulled himself up from the backward environment of the rural south, threw off the smiling mask of submission, and intervened in world culture to place himself and Black America at the very center of the existential and political concerns of the twentieth century, fighting for a secular, humanistic, and rational philosophy of man and warning of the violence to come if the thrust toward freedom were not accommodated. Ellison reiterated these political and existential themes, but took Black modernism one step further. I detect three central themes in Ellison that demand recognition today more than ever. These themes would seem to work against one another but in fact are complementary: (1) the relation of self to environment and the primacy of individual responsibility over collective identification; (2) the Negro (his term) as the cultural and intellectual foundation and avant-garde of American society; (3) the multidimensional, essentially multicultural and non-stereotypical cultural being of the Negro-American.
He wrote of MLK:
Metaphysically, King's major objection to Hegel comes from the influence of Personalism. King felt that for some thinkers -- Hegel and Spinoza among them -- the individual tended to disappear into the whole.
The section "Dialectical opposition for total truth and freedom" [p. 119-128] explains the influence of Hegel on King. Most interesting is King's analysis of the dialectical interaction between repression and nonviolent resistance as the motor of progress of the movement for social justice.
With any luck, Dumain might come out and blog with us. The great minds of SCAA are missed, and the security and freedom now afforded by the blogosphere would be greatly enriched by their presence.
If you're out there, Burlinda Radney, James White, Hal Womack, Pilar Quezzaire-Belle, Ron Buckmire, Rodney Coates, John Alexander Clark, Stephanie McNeal, Rodney Jordan, Darryl Hamilton... give us a hat tip.
I still keep in touch with Charles Isbell, Kenny Crudup, Ed Brown and Lester Spence.