Term of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

David Dudley

Committee Member 1

Dustin Anderson

Committee Member 2

Gautam Kundu


As a result of the increasingly popular notion that the United States of America has evolved into a post-racial society, most American discussions on race (academic, or not) tend to be non-comprehensive and oversimplified. When assessing the current socioeconomic dilemmas unique to African-Americans, scholars on both sides of the political spectrum often overlook a critical component of the African-American condition: the looming threat of black nihilism which Dr. Cornel West defines as “the lived experience of coping with a life of horrifying meaninglessness, hopelessness, and (most important) lovelessness” (West 14). By performing a close analysis on the activist George Jackson’s book Soledad Brother, this study illuminates key characteristics of the detrimental phenomenon. In addition, this study utilizes the revolutionary drama of poet and Black Arts Movement founder, LeRoi Jones, in order to bridge the gap between black nihilism and W.E.B. Dubois’s notion of double consciousness. An evaluation of black nihilism in the works of Jackson and Jones adds a layer of understanding towards the African-American condition by revealing the various societal and political factors that foster feelings of ineptitude and helplessness in the black American community. The revelations of this study nullify any notion that America has become a post-racial nation. By bridging the theoretical gap between black nihilism and double-consciousness, this study will contribute to future research in Africana studies and black existentialism. By expounding on one of Du Bois’s most prominent conceptions, this study becomes part of the Du Boisian body of research which is still growing.

Research Data and Supplementary Material