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Lusane, Clarence 1953-

Lusane, Clarence 1953-


Born 1953. Education: Howard University, Ph.D, 1997.


Office—School of International Services, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20016-8071. E-mail—[email protected]


During early career, worked for eight years as a staff aide for U.S. Congressman Walter E. Fauntroy; worked for the Democratic Study Group, Washington, DC; taught at the Center for Drug Abuse Research at Howard University, the Center for Urban Policy, the Du Bois Bunche Center for Public Policy at Medgar Evers College, and the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University, New York, NY; British Council Atlantic Fellow for London Mayor Ken Livingstone, 2001-02; assistant director, 1990 Trust, 2002-03; School of International Services, American University, Washington, DC, currently assistant professor. Lecturer at universities, including North Carolina A&T, George Washington University, Harvard University, Yale University, Georgetown University, University of Paris, and the London School of Economics. Former chair, National Alliance of Third World Journalists. Consultant to organizations, including the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the World Council of Churches.


(With Dennis Desmond) Pipe Dream Blues: Racism and the War on Drugs, afterword by Jesse Jackson, South End Press (Boston, MA), 1991.

The Struggle for Equal Education, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1992.

New Beginnings and a Cautious Celebration: African Americans and the 1992 Election, William Monroe Trotter Institute, University of Massachusetts (Boston, MA), 1994.

African Americans at the Crossroads: The Restructuring of Black Leadership and the 1992 Elections, South End Press (Boston, MA), 1994.

No Easy Victories: Black Americans and the Vote, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1996.

Race in the Global Era: African Americans at the Millennium, South End Press (Boston, MA), 1997.

Hitler's Black Victims: The Historical Experiences of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi Era, Routledge (New York, NY), 2003.

(With Karen Chouhan) Black Voluntary and Community Sector Funding: Its Impact on Civic Engagement and Capacity Building, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2004.

Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice: Foreign Policy, Race, and the New American Century, Praeger Publishers (Westport, CT), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including Progressive, Race and Class, Black Scholar, Colorlines, Covert Action Information Bulletin, Z Magazine, Radical HistoryJournal, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and Miami Herald. Former editor, Black Political Agenda. National columnist, Black Voices.


A university professor who has also worked in government at the federal and local levels, Clarence Lusane is interested in the role of race in politics and human rights, both within America and internationally. Lusane's first book, Pipe Dream Blues: Racism and the War on Drugs, argues that the government's war on drugs has focused on prosecuting African Americans. Matthew S. Scott, writing in Black Enterprise, asserted that it "does provide an interesting history of the drug problem" but that "skimpy analysis and its narrow focus in many areas prevent it from being a significant book." In the Labor Studies Journal, Albert Vetere Lannon complained that Lusane argues for the legalization of some drugs as a solution, adding that the work "is more diatribe than expose, hurling masses of repetitious and contradictory ‘facts’ and statistics at the reader, sometimes from questionable sources" such as High Times and Popular Mechanics magazines.

Politics is the focus of Lusane's African Americans at the Crossroads: The Restructuring of Black Leadership and the 1992 Elections. Lusane uses the U.S. presidential campaign as a jumping-off point to discuss how African Americans should participate in politics. Lusane wonders whether supporting a major party such as the Democrats is the way to go, or if third parties or grass-roots campaigns are more effective in influencing government. "While Lusane does not provide definitive answers to these questions, he does sketch an agenda for action and, above all, he stresses the urgency of new thinking," reported Matthew Rothschild in the Progressive. Lusane also addresses topics such as crime and popular music—especially hip-hop and rap—that affect black culture. "Lusane argues that legislative victories and increased political clout for Black elected officials have failed to stop the tidal wave of decline faced by far too many Black communities," commented Lisa Sullivan in Social Policy. Although regretting that Lusane does not address gender politics in his book, Sullivan concluded that "Lusane clearly has written a book that can facilitate the intellectual development of this new generation of Black community leaders."

In Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice: Foreign Policy, Race, and the New American Century, Lusane discusses what it has meant to the African American community to have had two blacks serve as U.S. Secretary of State under the George W. Bush administration. His conclusion is that this seemingly important milestone for blacks has had no impact, because neither Powell nor Rice tried to represent African American concerns. Rather, they merely followed in line behind Bush's conservative Republican policies, all the while asserting the importance of their individuality over their racial identity. "Although insightful, the book features overt anti-Bush rhetoric," stated Michael LaMagna in the Library Journal.

Addressing a topic that has received little scholarly attention, Lusane writes on the history of blacks in Nazi Germany in Hitler's Black Victims: The Historical Experiences of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi Era. Here he notes that, unlike the Jews and some other ethnic and religious minorities, blacks in Germany were treated inconsistently by the Nazis. Sometimes they were imprisoned or their rights were taken away, but in other cases he cites examples of blacks who were well treated or even collaborated with the Nazis. At other times, they pretended to be loyal to Hitler but served as spies for the Allies. While critics found the book worthwhile, the fact that the black experience in 1940s Germany was so varied makes it difficult to ascertain the author's central theme. "It is not exactly clear what can be concluded from these disparate experiences, but Lusane has certainly successfully documented a black presence in Germany and Europe during the Nazi era and pointed the way towards many potentially fruitful research areas," remarked Sara Lennox on H-Net. Both Lennox and German Politics and Society contributor Kader Konuk were put off by the numerous spelling errors in the book, as well as by the fact that Lusane draws on only English texts and has no academic background in German history. Konuk nevertheless concluded: "Lusane's book contributes to the emerging field of African German studies and fills a gap in Holocaust studies. Lusane's most interesting findings include the involvement of African Germans in Nazi institutions, the relationship between Jews and blacks in Germany and the United States, and the appropriation of fascist ideologies by African American intellectuals. Disregarding the many, readily avoidable spelling mistakes in German and the often distracting and needlessly judgmental tone, Lusane's study provides good resources for teaching and fills out some of the overlooked desiderata in the field."



Black Enterprise, August 1, 1992, Matthew S. Scott, review of Pipe Dream Blues: Racism and the War on Drugs, p. 8.

Booklist, February 15, 1997, Randy Meyer, review of No Easy Victories: Black Americans and the Vote, p. 1013.

German Politics and Society, fall, 2003, Kader Konuk, review of Hitler's Black Victims: The Historical Experiences of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi Era.

Labor Studies Journal, January 1, 1995, Albert Vetere Lannon, review of Pipe Dream Blues, p. 54.

Library Journal, August 1, 2006, Michael LaMagna, review of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice: Foreign Policy, Race, and the New American Century, p. 107.

Progressive, January 1, 1995, Matthew Rothschild, review of African Americans at the Crossroads: The Restructuring of Black Leadership and the 1992 Elections, p. 41.

Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2006, review of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.

Social Policy, fall, 1994, Lisa Sullivan, review of African Americans at the Crossroads.


American University School of International Service Web site, (July 19, 2007), faculty profile of Clarence Lusane.

H-Net, (November 1, 2004), Sara Lennox, review of Hitler's Black Victims.

In These Times Online, (July 19, 2007), David Dyssegaard Kallick, "Interview with Clarence Lusane."

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