Uncrossed Rivers and Intellectual Opportunism with Dr. Todd Burroughs

Todd Steven Burroughs rejoined us to review Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.

*And here is the Gil Noble’s Like It Is episode featuring Assata Shakur mentioned in our interview.


  1. We know that Dr. Gates is a corporate academic with an assimilationist orientation, but his treatment of our Esteemed Ancestor Paul Robeson is about as fair as one could expect. Gates focuses on Robeson as the seminal activist-entertainer. He highlights Robeson’s “We Charge Genocide” activities, and he says that Robeson internationalist-oriented tactics would be modeled by later civil/human rights activists. I can’t imagine that the Gates of “Black Demagogues and Pseudo-Scholars” would dare to give Robeson such credit. The scaffold does sway the future, a bit here and a bit there.

  2. Anything focusing on gates’s work is a waste of time. It’s like beating on a puppy as a gorilla. The goal to strive for should be to obtain the equivalent (or greater) power that makes him relevant and use it to make him irrelevant as well as other shines like him. Moving beyond the peanut gallery of radicalism to dominance is going to take a re-education process so daunting it’s hard to fathom anyone over 25 being affected. The underlying acceptability of gates’s revisionist minimalist viewpoints are based in historical ignorance, fear and economic gain. It’s a lot easier to walk a paved road off a cliff than through a thorn bushel of uncertainty and conflict. The fear in the aforementioned analogy is misplaced and economic gain represents the ease of access. Lastly only one leads to possibility, whatever that possibility may be.

  3. You guys failed to mention the disappointing Peniel Joseph’s appearance as the so called authority of the Black Power movement.

  4. Dr. Bobby Wright said the only contradiction in the black community is that there are no contradictions……Why is it that Dr. Gates is allowed to dump all forms of scientific and intellectual objectivity when he gets ready to comment on black history while still holding the title of only rigorous brainiac super Kneegrow scholar??????

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