From Emerson to King: Democracy, Race and the Politics of Protest

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Patterson offers an exploration of Emerson's contribution to the national debate on democracy, race, and social reform. Emerson's writings, she contests, reveal a consistent pattern of contradiction between fundamental individual rights and race as a factor impossible to dismiss in a consideration of democratic values: ownership, nonconformity, freedom. She traces Emerson's legacy through the writing of African-American intellectuals of succeeding generations: Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King, Jr.