DERRICK DARBY was born in the Bronx, New York and raised in Queensbridge Housing Projects before moving to Manhattan to attend Martin Luther King Jr. High School. He graduated from Colgate University with a B.A. in Philosophy and received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. He has taught at the University of Virginia, Northwestern University, Texas A&M University, University of Kansas, and is now teaching at the University of Michigan.
His work has connected philosophy with issues and concerns that impact black America. Rights, Race, and Recognition, his most recent book, draws on the legacy of race and the denigration of black humanity to argue that all rights are products of social recognition. He is also the co-editor of Hip Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason, which draws on hip hop to introduce students to philosophical problems and to answer perplexing questions. This book contains a foreword by Dr. Cornel West who says: “This path-blazing book begins and ends with the language and realities of the streets—especially the mean streets of the downtrodden yet creative demos in postmodern America.”
He is currently writing a book that combines the story of his journey from Queensbridge to the Ivory Tower with his knowledge of hip hop, philosophy and race matters, to tell the story of the rise and decline of socially conscious rap. He is also writing a book on social justice and racial inequality.
Derrick Darby lectures to scholarly and general audiences in the US and abroad on issues relating to human rights, social justice and inequality, race and racism, hip hop and popular culture. In addition to having been interviewed on various media outlets, he was the feature cover story on Our Texas magazine in 2007 for black history month.