African-American Leaders

An in-depth study into leadership styles of African-American leaders. Mentioned are Martin LutherKing and Malcolm X among others.

This research studies the ways in which African-Americans become leaders in the United States today, looking at the struggles that they have to overcome in terms of the general level of background racism that still exists in this nation. This paper comes to an understanding of how the particular challenges faced by African-Americans today produce certain kinds of leaders with specific strengths. As a part of understanding how it is that certain African-Americans find themselves called on to be leaders (and how some of them succeed), this paper looks first at some general ideas about leadership, using tenets pulled from communication theory to help us understand why it is that different leaders choose different leadership styles based on the demands of the moment in history they find themselves in.

This paper also looks at some of the most important African-American leaders of the 20th century as a way of attempting to understand if there are cross-generational values, forms of discourse, and styles of leadership that mark most or even all leaders in this community.
Finally, this proposal describes a research design that will allow for a deeper investigation into the ways in which leadership values and communication skills come together in today’s African-American communities to build leaders who are capable of addressing some of the most important issues facing African-Americans today, such as the high incarceration rate of black men, environmental racism, the high rate of single-parent families, and racism, especially by police.
Table of Contents

Leadership Style
Hoping Not to Fail
Research Design
Works Cited

It may be tempting to think that all great leaders are the same that they come into this world with certain traits that mark them as different from the rest of us. But this is not true: Leaders vary in important ways, and not simply because of differences in their own personalities. Rather, leaders are molded by the political and cultural circumstances of their moment in history even as they also mold those circumstances. One of the most important circumstances that molds any African-American leader is the prevalent racism in the United States and structures of inequality that have persisted since slavery.