Purdue University Graduate School

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“Nobody is going to save the Negro but himself”: Black Conservatism during the Modern Civil Rights Era, 1945-1968

posted on 2022-07-28, 01:12 authored by Brett D RusslerBrett D Russler

During the civil rights era, the two African American political traditions Black conservatism and Black nationalism substantively overlapped. Surveying the literature on Black radicalism and the long civil rights movement, however, mention of this, let alone of a well-articulated strain of conservatism within the African American community during the period, is few and far between. Understanding why Black conservatism has been left out of these conversations comprises my research question. I argue that it is the significant differences between the two ideologies that largely explain this. Namely, Black conservatives’ practice of condemning Blackness, whether during the civil rights era or today, answers why they are left out of the scholarship on Black nationalism and civil rights. It draws a sharp line between Black conservatives, not only from Black nationalists, but mainstream African American identity, too.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • History

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Cornelius Bynum

Additional Committee Member 2

Nancy F. Gabin

Additional Committee Member 3

David C. Atkinson

Additional Committee Member 4

La Tasha B. Levy

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