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Cornel West GS ’80: Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy, Harvard Divinity School

<h5>Amid a national reckoning with racial injustice, Cornel West GS ’80 has been a leading voice.</h5>
<h6>Gage Skidmore / <a href="" target="_self">Wikimedia Commons</a></h6>
Amid a national reckoning with racial injustice, Cornel West GS ’80 has been a leading voice.
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” So ended a recent video released by Joe Biden’s campaign, which commemorated civil rights movements past and present. Indeed, Cornel West’s famous quote resounds today.

West, the first African American to graduate from Princeton’s Graduate School with a Ph.D. in philosophy, is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard and Professor Emeritus at Princeton, among other institutions. He preaches a message of resilient love and justice that is more than just apt, but necessary amid the political reckoning that has continued from the summer.


Named fourth of Prospect Magazine’s top 50 thinkers of 2020, West has turned his talents to nationwide discussions about racial justice, leadership, and the future of our great social experiment. Though Bernie Sanders’ former co-campaign chair is not enamored with the Democratic ticket, he has vehemently criticized President Donald Trump. West also contributed prominently during this summer’s uprisings after George Floyd’s murder.

The public intellectual is known to cross disciplines, not only as a scholar and an activist, but also as a champion for the sounds of soul, jazz, and hip hop. This year, he appeared at a virtual benefit concert, organized by the Harvard, Yale, and Princeton Glee Clubs, for equity and justice in arts and education. West also hosts “The Tight Rope,” a weekly podcast, with Brown University’s Professor of Africana Studies Tricia Rose.

Guest contributor Morgan Smith ’21 serves as President of the American Whig-Cliosophic Society.

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