This book discusses anyone who made a contribution to their field. For example some of the people mentioned were: Will Marion Cook, Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, Mary McLeod Bethune, James Baldwin, Frederick Douglass, Lewis Latimer, Benjamin Banneker, Howard Thurman, Benjamin Mays and so many others.
Most biographical profiles of African-Americans are to general in their view of the person or superficial in the analysis of that person's contribution to American life. Dick Russell avoids both mistakes by providing you with an in depth portrait of Black men and women whose lives and work impacted upon the cultural milieu of America. A genius is defined as one who has an exceptional natural capacity of intellect. Black Genius shows you such persons but goes further in documenting the distinctive character or spirit of African-American experience that birthed these individuals. You have men and women representative in the fields of the arts, science and theological realms. Their individual achievements in those fields are a part of a continuous thread of genius passed down from one generation to the next. You will find people here that are not well known (and their work) except within their own communities or fields. Such examples are Bob Moses, Carl & Allen Shaw, and Elma Lewis. Others are better known but the inner depth of their intellectual qualities are invisible. Albert Murray, Paul Robeson and others are just a few examples. Black Genius is a fresh look at African-American intellectuals from a different perspective and gives us a greater appreciation for their contributions. I enjoyed the fact that individuals were included that were not well known or hidden in obscurity. These are the people who serve as the continued thread and spirit of African-American life and culture. I highly recommend this text for those wanting to get a greater in depth look at the heart of what makes an African-American Genius.