Cornel West

Cornel Ronald West (born June 2, 1953) is an American philosopher, author, critic, actor, civil rights activist and prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America. West is a 1973 graduate of Harvard University and a doctoral graduate of Princeton University. He is currently a professor of African American studies at Princeton and of Religious philosophy and Christian studies at the Union Theological Seminary in New York. West is known for his combination of political and moral insight and criticism and his contribution to the post-1960s civil rights movement. The bulk of his work focuses on the role of race, gender, and class in American society and the means by which people act and react to their "radical conditionedness." West draws intellectual contributions from such diverse traditions as the African American Baptist Church, pragmatism and transcendentalism. West was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and grew up in Sacramento, California, where he graduated from John F. Kennedy High School. His father was a general contractor for the Defense Department, and his mother was a teacher and a principal. Irene B. West Elementary School in Elk Grove, California, is named for her.


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