In the 1980s, Hazel Carby , Barbara Christian , bell hooks , Nellie McKay , Valerie Smith , Hortense Spillers , Eleanor Traylor, Cheryl Wall and Sheryl Ann Williams all contributed heavily to the Black Feminist Scholarship of the period. During that same time, Deborah E. McDowell published New Directions for Black Feminist Criticism , which called for a more theoretical school of criticism versus the current writings, which she deemed overly practical. In this essay McDowell also extensively discussed black women's portrayal in literature, and how it came across as even more negative than white women's portrayal. As time moved forward, theory began to disperse in ideology. Many deciding to shift towards the nuanced psychological factors of the Black experience and further away from broad sweeping generalizations. Others began to connect their works to the politics of lesbianism. Some decided to analyze the Black experience through their relationship to the Western world. Regardless, these scholars continue to employ a variety of methods to explore the identity of Black feminism in literature. 
Washington was a pragmatist who engaged in deliberate ambiguity in order to sustain white recognition of his leadership. Such visibility won him international fame and the role of black adviser to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft . His widely read autobiography, Up from Slavery (1901), stands as a classic in the genre of narratives by American self-made men, as well as the prime source for Washington’s social and historical philosophy. His racial philosophy did not long survive his death, but in theory and practice, his views on economic self-reliance have remained one of the deepest strains in Afro-American thought.