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Thu, 03.13.1969

The Institute of the Black World (IBW) is Formed

The Institute of the Black World (IBW)

*The Institute of the Black World (IBW) is celebrated on this date in 1969. IBW was a think tank based in Atlanta, Georgia, founded and directed by African diaspora intellectuals until 1983.

Led primarily by Vincent Harding, it was originally a project of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Described by the historian Derrick E. White as "a collection of activist-intellectuals who analyzed the educational, political, and activist landscape to further the Black Freedom Struggle in the wake of King's assassination." In addition to Harding, Stephen Henderson and William Strickland (of the University of Massachusetts) formed the core leadership in the early years of the IBW.

The IBW sought to build connections across a range of diverse Black approaches, including Black nationalism, integration, and Marxism and sought to reach three specific audiences: First, Black scholars developing Black Studies programs; second, black elected officials; and third, grassroots organizations. IBW included nationalists John Henrik Clark and Julius Lester, integrationists such as C. T. Vivian, and intellectuals from outside of the United States, particularly the Caribbean, including Marxist theorist C. L. R. James, cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter, historians Robert A. Hill and Walter Rodney, and economists George Beckford and Norman Girvan.

The IBW's orientation has been described as "pragmatic Black nationalism... rooted in specific issues such as Black Studies or the creation of a black political agenda for the seventies; thus, its pragmatism critically engaged and employed the best practices from a variety of ideological perspectives, including cultural and political nationalism, as well as integration." The organization closed in 1983.

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