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Black Identity Viewed from a Barber's Chair


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About the Author

William E. Cross Jr., is Professor Emeritus of Higher Education and Counseling Philosophy at the University of Denver and the author of Shades of Black: Diversity in African American Identity (Temple); coeditor of Meaning-Making, Internalized Racism, and African American Identity; and coauthor of Dimensions of Blackness: Racial Identity and Political Beliefs.


“Black Identity Viewed from a Barber’s Chair is classic Bill Cross, a brilliant jazz ensemble—part intellectual history, part memoir, part social and political history, and part critical science. Elegant and original, this book is both groundbreaking and backward-looking in ways that carve new and innovative intellectual paths. Cross re-views Frazier, Clark, Du Bois, and the works on Black racial identities. And he reflects thoughtfully on his own work, the relentless persistence of the deficit perspective, and where the field needs to go. This book is just stunning; Cross moves in and out of political and intellectual history with brilliance.”—Michelle Fine, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

“An impressive synthesis of psychology and Black studies, Black Identity Viewed from a Barber’s Chair is an intellectually interesting journey through Black history by one of the most significant Black theorists of our time. Cross is an erudite and insightful thinker of the highest order, and this book provides context for the creation of Black psychology as a discipline. It is a fitting conclusion to his life’s work.”—Kevin Cokley, Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, and author of The Myth of Black Anti-Intellectualism: A True Psychology of African American Students

"This is a first-rate overview of Black identity by Cross, a leading psychologist and major developer of Nigrescence theory and the Cross Racial Identity Scale measuring Black self-identity. Here, he thoroughly analyzes his and other leading Black psychologists’ lifespan models of Black consciousness.... Summing Up: Highly recommended."—Choice

"[This book] is part professional memoir, part introduction to Black Studies; part intellectual history, part introduction to psychology; part declaration of support for humanist psychology; and altogether insistent on the manifest diversity of Black ontology.... All in all, with its conservational tone, accessible writing, and didactic quality, Cross very much delivers on the 'educational narrative' he sets out to offer. I recommend this book highly."—Ethnic and Racial Studies

"[T]his pointed book, which can be used as a casual read or as required academic reading, provides the sort of interrogation that we need to reengage, reimagine, and retell the stories of our Blackness in ways that uplift, empower, and advance us."—Teachers College Record

"The strengths of this text are many.... [T]he major themes and concepts are illustrated for the reader through application to historical events and prominent figures in ways that will resonate with many audiences…. In all, Black Identity Viewed from a Barber’s Chair is a worthwhile and engaging read for anyone interested in Black humanity and experiences."—Contemporary Sociology

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