|"WEB DuBois: Protagonist of Afro-American Protest" (63-83)
WEB DuBois was the most important black protest
spokesman of the first half of the 20th century:
- criticized white racist social institutions
- argued that change would not come until blacks
- although his political positions changed over
the years, DuBois is best remembered as promoter of
integration who demanded that blacks be given the
opportunity to participate fully in the larger
- He believed that integration would be achived by
an elite vanguard of college educated professionals,
"the Talented Tenth".
- These achievers would help bridge the
psychological divide within Negro consciousness
|One ever feels his twoness- an American,
a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two
unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals
in one dark body, whose dogged strength
alone keeps it from being torn asunder. The
history of the American Negro is the history
of this strife-- this longing to attain
self-conscious manhood, to merge his double
self into a better and truer self. In this
merging he wishes neither of the older
selves to be lost.... He simply wishes to
make it possible for a man to be both a
Negro and an American, without being cursed
and spit upon by his fellows, without having
the doors of opportunity closed roughly in
his face. (The Souls of Black Folk)
Extraordinary Academic Career:
- Graduated from Fisk University (at age 20) and
then was the 1st black to earn a PHd from Harvard
- He wrote the first in depth study of a urban
black community in The Philadelphia Negro (1899) and
is credited with the invention of modern sociology.
- He believed that social science would teach
American leaders how to solve the problem of
First Prominence: In Opposition to Booker Washington
|Booker Washington sought, in the midst of the
lynchings, disenfranchisement, and segregation, the
advancement of black folk through the tactics of
accommodation: seeking good will of powerful whites, not
protesting discrimination, pursuing economic advancement
through industrial education (technical schools) and the
accumulation of property.
|Souls of Black Folk (1903)
- Only militant protest and agitation
in the pursuit of civil rights will
advance the condition of black people.
- Condoning racism only perpetuates it
among whites and makes blacks think that
they themselves are to blame for their
oppression and poverty.
- Social justice will never be
achieved by flattering white racists,
tossing away constitutional rights, and
belittling the self.
- What was needed instead was
clamorous protest and an aggressive
legal campaign to demand constitutional
rights and end segregation.
Niagara Resolutions (1905)
- not only a political manifesto fro
the civil rights movement but an attempt
to wrest support away from Washington's
- denouncing separate but equal legal
doctrine (Plessy v. Fergusen)
- denouncing the injustice of Jim Crow
segregation and disenfranchisement
- denouncing gradualist/
Foundation of NAACP (1908)
- An inter-racial protest organization dedicated
to publicizing injustices perpetrated against blacks
to a national audience, pursuing litigation in
courts, and lobbying the legislature.
- DuBois founds The Crisis: the NAACP's official
- With Booker Washington's death in 1915, the
NAACP became the leading black protest organization
in the country.
- Criticized on the left by the socialist A.
Philip Randolph and on the right by the black
nationalist Marcus Garvey.
Embrace of Marxism (1930's and 40's)