Neither American history nor American society anticipated, sanctioned, or encouraged the development of either Black intellectuals or a Black middle class. Both emerged and developed against horrendous obstacles and both are great achievements. Both were sanctioned and given moral direction by the American Negro Academy, an organization founded in 1897 by Alexander Crummell, W.E.B. Du Bois, Francis Grimke, and others for the purpose of organizing Black intellectuals to defend and redeem Blacks, through intellectual, artistic, and scientific achievements in the face of racist detractors, and to help the Black middle class develop as the leadership class of Black America. Black intellectuals have had a difficult time fulfilling a leadership role, partly because they have failed to remember the three cultural heritages of Black people: Black, African, and Euro-American. The times demand that Black intellectuals approach themselves and their world from all three cultural perspectives, for the sake of Black people and for the sake of America, both of which desperately need their leadership.