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The Time is Always NowBlack Political Thought and the Transformation of US Democracy$
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Nicholas Bromell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199973439

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199973439.001.0001

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“A Greater, Broader Sense of Humanity and World Fellowship”

“A Greater, Broader Sense of Humanity and World Fellowship”

Black Worldly Citizenship from Douglass to Malcolm X

(p.79) 4 “A Greater, Broader Sense of Humanity and World Fellowship”
The Time is Always Now

Nick Bromell

Oxford University Press

This chapter brings together the stories of the travels of Frederick Douglass, James Weldon Johnson, and Malcolm X in an attempt to explore what their perspectives might portend for political theory and US public philosophy as these struggle to reconcile the conflicting obligations of national and world citizenship. It then considers how Douglass, Johnson, and Malcolm would enter the conversation between Nussbaum and her critics. On the one hand, they would share Balfour's view that the particularities of history should not be erased by principles claiming to be universal, and that political theory itself must take care to recall its own historical situatedness. On the other hand, Douglass and Malcolm would agree with Nussbaum that some conception of universal moral truth is necessary to US democracy, and indeed to moral life of any kind.

Keywords:   Frederick Douglass, James Weldon Johnson, Malcolm X, political theory, public philosophy, citizenship

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