Bell has worked as a professional futurist for over 40 years. The World Futures Studies Federation awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. In 2008, the Association of Professional Futurists selected Bell's two-volume work The Foundations of Futures Studies as one of the ten most important futures studies books.
Life courses, both professional and personal, are often directed by unplanned experiences. At crossroads, which path is followed and which hard choices are made can change the direction of one’s future. Wendell Bell’s life illustrates how totally unforeseen events can shape individual lives. As he notes, despite our hopes and our plans for the future, there is also serendipity, feedback, twists and turns, chance and circumstance, all of which shape our futures with sometimes surprising results.
Roy Simón Bryce-Laporte was an academic pioneer, a social scientist committed to truth, a scholar of the history and sociology of the black diaspora, a dedicated teacher, an inspiring mentor, a kind and compassionate person, and a man devoted to social justice, freedom, equality, and dignity for all human beings, as the articles in this special issue edited by Aubrey W. Bonnett and Charles S. Green illustrate.
As a preface to his appeal for a public sociology, Michael Burawoy (2005: 4) quotes a passage by Walter Benjamin that pictures the “angel of history” with his face turned toward the past, where he sees a catastrophe that keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage. Although the angel would like to stay and make whole what has been smashed, he is caught in a violent storm that “irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward.”