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Mass Motorization and Mass Transit
Right to DREAM
Corporate Warriors
Our House Divided
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Prophets, Gurus, and Pundits
The Civil War Guerrilla
The Triangle Fire, Protocols Of Peace, And Industrial Democracy In Progressive Era New York

The City on the Hill from BelowThe City on the Hill from Below

The Crisis of Prophetic Black Politics

Stephen H. Marshall

American Political Science Association's Foundations of Political Theory First Book Award, 2012

Narrated by Kenneth Lee

Available from Audible

Book published by Temple University Press

Within the disciplines of American political science and political theory, African American prophetic political critique as a form of political theorizing has been largely neglected. In The City on the Hill from Below, Stephen H. Marshall interrogates the political thought of David Walker, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison to reveal a vital tradition of American political theorizing and engagement with an American political imaginary forged by the City on the Hill.

Originally articulated to describe colonial settlement, state formation, and national consolidation, the image of the City on the Hill has been transformed into one richly suited to assessing and transforming American political evil. The City on the Hill from Below examines how African American political thinkers appropriated and revised languages of biblical prophecy and American republicanism to recast the classic American political self-image of the nation as the City on the Hill.

Stephen H. Marshall is Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies and the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas-Austin.


The City on the Hill from Below is an engaging exploration of a great theme. Marshall provides a very able analysis of the major African American political writers he examines: David Walker, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison.”

—Rogers M. Smith, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

“This is a well-written, incisive intellectual work that offers critical insights into political theory and African American politics. Highly recommended.”


“Even compared to recent—and excellent—publications on black political thought, Stephen H. Marshall's The City on the Hill From Below stands out.... By addressing so many important thinkers and themes, the book represents a significant contribution to the study of black political thought and political theory more generally.”

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