53. Pilgrim’s Progress: Alexander Crummell

Posted on 24 May 2020

From his time in Liberia to his later concentration on the reform of African American culture, Alexander Crummell identifies progressive “civilization” as a means of liberation.

Further Reading

• A. Crummell, The Future of Africa: Addresses, Sermons, etc., Delivered in the Republic of Liberia (New York: 1862).

• A. Crummell, Africa and America: Addresses and Discourses (Springfield, MA: 1891).

• W.J. Moses (ed.), Alexander Crummell: Destiny and Race. Selected Writings, 1840-1898 (Amherst: 1992).

•  Two addresses by Crummell to the American Negro Academy


• K.A. Appiah, In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (New York: 1992), chapter 1.

• R. Gooding-Williams, In the Shadow of Du Bois: Afro-Modern Political Thought in America (Cambridge, MA: 2009), chapter 3.

• W. Moses, Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent (Cary: 1989).

• J.R. Oldfield, Alexander Crummell (1819–1898) and the Creation of an African-American Church in Liberia (Wales: 1990).

• G.U. Rigsby, Alexander Crummell: Pioneer in Nineteenth-Century Pan-African Thought (New York: 1987).

• S.L. Thompson “The Grammar of Civilization: Crummell and Douglass on Doing Things with Words,” in B. Lawson and F. Kirkland (eds), Frederick Douglass: A Critical Reader (Malden, MA: 1999), 173-203.

• S.L. Thompson, “Crummell on the Metalogic of Non-standard Languages,” Philosophia Africana 10 (2007), 77-106.

• P. Wirzbicki, “Alexander Crummell on Coleridge and the Politics of Abolitionist Selfhood,” Modern Intellectual History (2019), 1-26.

Stanford Encyclopedia: Alexander Crummell


dukeofethereal 2 June 2020

Just curious to know what the plans are once this series ends regarding Volume 1 of Africana Philosophy. 

Will you and Chike continue to tackle this series and move on to the larger 20th century once you conclude with the 18th/19th century Diaspora section? By then Peter would be juggling with the end of Renaissance and starting Reformation. 

Or will Chike be taking a break and spend that time revising the script for 20th Century Africana Philosophy (which in itself is Volume 2) and Peter tackles Western Philosophy solely and return to the usual Bi-Weekly production once the script for 20th century Africana is ready?

I just don't see Peter/Karyn starting Chinese any time soon and I would prefer Africana to be completed in it's entirety before he moves to starting Chinese or Post Dignaga India.

I think for clarity sake, it would make more sense to tackle post Dignaga India before tackling China since Chinese would continue to translate Sanskrit texts post Tang collapse. We've yet to cover the end of Buddhism in mainland India. 


One last question, how many interviews are there left ? One for Crummell and one most likely for Du Bois? They're not listed here;


Yes, what you would prefer is happily exactly what is going to happen: Chike and I will press on with the 20th c, and at the same time I hope Karyn and I will be writing scripts for the China series which will come after that. I am not sure what would come next after classical China; either more India, more China (plus Japan, Korea), or something on the Americas.

Regarding interviewsm before getting to Du Bois (who is the transitional figure from 19th to 20th c) there will be one on Crummell and I hope one on Ida B. Wells, though that is not recorded yet.

dukeofethereal 3 June 2020

In reply to by Peter Adamson

That is good to hear.  Will Du-bois be given 3 scripted episodes? 

Regarding other areas of philosophy, a deeply rich tradition that you could cover would be Tibetan. There is more material there than let's say Korean.  Though what you will need are collaborators who are willing  work on Tibetan, Korean, Japanese and the Americas. 


By then you would have covered every literary tradition that is non 'Western'. 


You make it sound so easy!

Anyway yes, that is roughly the plan. Chike is a Du Bois specialist so you can bet we are giving him the extensive coverage he deserves; we do have three scripted episodes plus an interview planned on our tentative list.

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