Du Bois Criticism Volume 2. Du Bois was a major force in twentieth-century society who helped define African-American social and political causes in the United States. Alternately considered a leader and an outcast, Du Bois espoused controversial opinions about race and politics and was regarded by many as a prophet. He is widely remembered for his conflict with Booker T. Washington over the role of blacks in American society—an issue that he treated at length in the essays collected in The Souls of Black Folk A writer of important works in many genres, Du Bois is particularly known for his pioneering role in the study of black history.
According to Herbert Aptheker, however, Du Bois was above all a "history maker," and his works and ideas continue to attract attention and generate controversy. Du Bois had an almost idyllic childhood in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Class and race distinctions were negligible in the small town of 5,, where Du Bois's family was part of a community of fifty blacks.
When his mother died soon after his high school graduation, some residents of the town gave Du Bois a scholarship on condition that he attend Fisk University, a southern school founded for the children of emancipated slaves. Du Bois accepted the scholarship and in traveled to Fisk in Nashville, Tennessee—his first journey to the southern United States. Yet he was "deliriously happy" at Fisk, where he met students of his own race, excelled at his studies, and during summers taught young blacks who lived in destitute rural areas of Tennessee.
After graduating with honors from Fisk, Du Bois entered Harvard in There he met several professors who would provide lifelong inspiration, particularly William James, who became a mentor and friend. After receiving a bachelor's degree, Du Bois studied for two years at the University of Berlin. In he received his doctorate from Harvard—the first black American to do so—and published his dissertation The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, — Du Bois's efforts at finding a teaching position, however, proved frustrating.
The University of Pennsylvania, for instance, commissioned Du Bois to do a sociological study of the city's black population but did not offer him a faculty position. Du Bois eventually found a position at Atlanta University, where he taught from to and to In Du Bois formed the Niagara Movement, the first black protest movement of the twentieth century. From to Du Bois served as the organization's director of publicity and research, and as editor of Crisis , the official publication of the NAACP, which became one of the most prominent journals directed at a black audience.
Du Bois contributed editorials condemning lynching and disenfranchisement, and his discussion of arts and letters in Crisis has been credited as a catalyst for the Harlem Renaissance literary movement. Du Bois's popularity as a leader of black America began to decline in with the publication of the editorial "Close Ranks," which urged support for American involvement in World War I, and his conflict with Marcus Garvey, the popular Jamaican leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and "back-to-Africa" movement.
He was removed from the organization twice for ideological differences, once after opposing the NAACP's idea of integration, and later for supporting Progressive Party candidate Henry Wallace for president in while the NAACP's executive secretary unofficially campaigned for Harry Truman.
In Du Bois was indicted as an unregistered "agent of a foreign principal" because of his involvement in the "subversive" Peace Information Center, an organization that sought to inform Americans about international events and to abolish the atomic bomb.
Although Du Bois was acquitted, his passport remained in the custody of the United States government. He died at the age of ninety-five in Accra, Ghana. Du Bois's works spread across a wide range of genres and subjects including history, sociology, fiction, biography, and autobiography. His most celebrated work, The Souls of Black Folk , is a collection of fourteen essays that comment on the state of blacks in America. Washington and Others," Du Bois praised Washington for preaching "Thrift, Patience, and Industrial Training," but condemned his apologies to those in power, maintaining that Washington "does not rightly value the privilege and duty of voting, belittles the emasculating effects of caste distinctions and opposes the higher training of our brighter minds.
Commissioned by the University of Pennsylvania, the study includes data gathered from approximately 5, interviews and pioneered the scholarly study of black Americans. Du Bois's historical works include The Gift of Black Folk , which examines the contributions blacks have made to civilization; Black Reconstruction , a revisionist interpretation that employs a Marxist perspective and focuses on the role blacks played in Reconstruction; and Black Folk, Then and Now , in which Du Bois outlined the history of blacks in Africa and America.
In addition to his nonfiction, Du Bois also published five novels during his career. The Quest of the Silver Fleece centers on a young black man who, after gaining some education, travels North, where he becomes involved in politics and then returns to the South to further the struggle of blacks for education and a better life.
Dark Princess , published in , concerns a young black man who, embittered by racism, leaves America for Europe, where he becomes involved in politics and a plot against colonialism. The trilogy centers on the life of a black man who strives to serve his race as a teacher.
Though not gifted intellectually, the protagonist is honorable and through his story, Du Bois dramatizes the major events of black history in America and the culture of the American South.
Capitalism is depicted in a negative fashion in the novels whereas socialism is portrayed in a positive light. Much of the commentary on Du Bois has centered on his controversial political views, particularly his turn toward Communism and support for Stalinism.
His fiction, for example, has been largely ignored. Nevertheless, many of Du Bois's works are considered ground-breaking. The Philadelphia Negro , for example, was the first systematic study of an urban black population, while The Souls of Black Folk , scholars contend, remains one of the most profound and succinct delineations of the dilemma of black Americans. Despite the controversy that surrounded his ideas and actions throughout his lifetime, Du Bois continued to fight for equality between races.
This Library of America volume presents his essential writings, covering the full span of a restless life dedicated to the struggle for racial justice. The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States — , his first book, renders a dispassionate account of how, despite ethical and political opposition, Americans tolerated the traffic in human beings until a bloody civil war taught them the disastrous consequences of moral cowardice.
The Souls of Black Folk , a collection of beautifully written essays, narrates the cruelties of racism and celebrates the strength and pride of black America. Washington, and remembers the death of his infant son. It describes his boyhood in western Massachusetts, his years at Fisk and Harvard universities, his study and travel abroad, his role in founding the NAACP and his long association with it, and his emerging Pan-African consciousness.
They record his evolving positions on the issues that dominated his long, active life: During his editorship of the NAACP magazine that he founded, Du Bois wrote pieces on virtually every aspect of American political, cultural, and economic life. Witty and sardonic, angry and satiric, proud and mournful, these writings show Du Bois at his freshest and most trenchant.
Nathan Huggins — , volume editor, was director of the W. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University. His books include Black Odyssey: The Life of Frederick Douglass.
- W.E.B. DuBois’s Thoughts on Education The Souls of Black Folk, written by W.E.B DuBois is a collection of autobiographical and historical essays containing many themes. DuBois introduced the notion of “twoness”, a divided awareness of one’s identity.
(Full name William Edward Burghardt Du Bois) American essayist, journalist, historian, novelist, biographer, poet, playwright, nonfiction writer, speech writer, critic, and autobiographer. The.
Turning high fashion into politics: Henry Louis Gates Jr. on W.E.B. Du Bois and the New Negro movement of Historian, sociologist, novelist, editor, and political activist, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was the most gifted and influential black intellectual of his time. Web Dubois a Massachusetts born man that was greatly admired in his later years by many of his peers for his big steps he took for the African American civil rights.4/4(1).
W.E.B. DuBois’s Thoughts on Education The Souls of Black Folk, written by W.E.B DuBois is a collection of autobiographical and historical essays containing many themes. DuBois introduced the notion of “twoness”, a divided awareness of one’s identity. Introduction W.E.B. DuBois, is one of the greatest African American thinkers, oraters and writers of history. His works are often bold.