W.E.B. Du Bois quotes

W.E.B. Du Bois photo
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W.E.B. Du Bois

Birthdate: 23. February 1868
Date of death: 27. August 1963
Other names: ویلیام دوبوآ

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community, and after completing graduate work at the University of Berlin and Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. Due to his contributions in the African-American community he was seen as a member of a Black elite that supported some aspects of eugenics for blacks. Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909.

Before that, Du Bois had risen to national prominence as the leader of the Niagara Movement, a group of African-American activists that wanted equal rights for blacks. Du Bois and his supporters opposed the Atlanta compromise, an agreement crafted by Booker T. Washington which provided that Southern blacks would work and submit to white political rule, while Southern whites guaranteed that blacks would receive basic educational and economic opportunities. Instead, Du Bois insisted on full civil rights and increased political representation, which he believed would be brought about by the African-American intellectual elite. He referred to this group as the Talented Tenth, a concept under the umbrella of Racial uplift, and believed that African Americans needed the chances for advanced education to develop its leadership.

Racism was the main target of Du Bois's polemics, and he strongly protested against lynching, Jim Crow laws, and discrimination in education and employment. His cause included people of color everywhere, particularly Africans and Asians in colonies. He was a proponent of Pan-Africanism and helped organize several Pan-African Congresses to fight for the independence of African colonies from European powers. Du Bois made several trips to Europe, Africa and Asia. After World War I, he surveyed the experiences of American black soldiers in France and documented widespread prejudice and racism in the United States military.

Du Bois was a prolific author. His collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk, is a seminal work in African-American literature; and his 1935 magnum opus, Black Reconstruction in America, challenged the prevailing orthodoxy that blacks were responsible for the failures of the Reconstruction Era. Borrowing a phrase from Frederick Douglass, he popularized the use of the term color line to represent the injustice of the separate but equal doctrine prevalent in American social and political life. He opens The Souls of Black Folk with the central thesis of much of his life's work: "The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line."

He wrote one of the first scientific treatises in the field of American sociology, and he published three autobiographies, each of which contains essays on sociology, politics and history. In his role as editor of the NAACP's journal The Crisis, he published many influential pieces. Du Bois believed that capitalism was a primary cause of racism, and he was generally sympathetic to socialist causes throughout his life. He was an ardent peace activist and advocated nuclear disarmament. The United States' Civil Rights Act, embodying many of the reforms for which Du Bois had campaigned his entire life, was enacted a year after his death.

Works

Black Reconstruction
W.E.B. Du Bois
The Negro
The Negro
W.E.B. Du Bois
John Brown
John Brown
W.E.B. Du Bois
Dusk of Dawn
W.E.B. Du Bois

Quotes W.E.B. Du Bois

„The most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history is the transportation of ten million human beings out of the dark beauty of their mother continent into the new-found Eldorado of the West.“

—  W.E.B. Du Bois, book Black Reconstruction

Source: Black Reconstruction in America (1935), p. 727
Context: The most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history is the transportation of ten million human beings out of the dark beauty of their mother continent into the new-found Eldorado of the West. They descended into Hell; and in the third century they arose from the dead, in the finest effort to achieve democracy for the working millions which this world had ever seen. It was a tragedy that beggared the Greek; it was an upheaval of humanity like the Reformation and the French Revolution. Yet we are blind and led by the blind. We discern in it no part of our labor movement; no part of our industrial triumph; no part of our religious experience. Before the dumb eyes of ten generations of ten million children, it is made mockery of and spit upon; a degradation of the eternal mother; a sneer at human effort; with aspiration and art deliberately and elaborately distorted. And why? Because in a day when the human mind aspired to a science of human action, a history and psychology of the mighty effort of the mightiest century, we fell under the leadership of those who would compromise with truth in the past in order to make peace in the present and guide policy in the future.

„The theology of the average colored church is basing itself far too much upon 'Hell and Damnation'—upon an attempt to scare people into being decent and threatening them with the terrors of death and punishment..

[]“

—  W.E.B. Du Bois, Writings: The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade / The Souls of Black Folk / Dusk of Dawn / Essays

Source: Writings: The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade / The Souls of Black Folk / Dusk of Dawn / Essays

„How shall Integrity face Oppression?“

—  W.E.B. Du Bois

The Ordeal of Mansart (1957) [Kraus-Thomson, 1976, ], p. 275
Context: How shall Integrity face Oppression? What shall Honesty do in the face of Deception, Decency in the face of Insult, Self-Defense before Blows? How shall Desert and Accomplishment meet Despising, Detraction, and Lies? What shall Virtue do to meet Brute Force? There are so many answers and so contradictory; and such differences for those on the one hand who meet questions similar to this once a year or once a decade, and those who face them hourly and daily.

„One ever feels his twoness, -- an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose strenth alone keeps it from being torn asunder.“

—  W.E.B. Du Bois, book The Souls of Black Folk

Source: The Souls of Black Folk (1903), Ch. I: Of Our Spiritual Strivings
Context: After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, — a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness, — an American, a Negro; two warring 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.

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„There is but one coward on earth, and that is the coward that dare not know.“

—  W.E.B. Du Bois, book Dusk of Dawn

The Study of the Negro Problems, paragraph 50, in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. XI (January 1898) http://www.webdubois.org/dbStudyofnprob.html
Source: Dusk of Dawn

„The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.“

—  W.E.B. Du Bois, book John Brown

John Brown: A Biography (1909): "The Legacy of John Brown"

„Either the United States will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.“

—  W.E.B. Du Bois

"Niagara Movement Speech" (1905) http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/niagara-movement-speech/ <!--originally a portion of this was cited here to an Address to the Nation speech at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (16 August 1906); published in the New York Times on (20 August 1906) — but that does not correspond with the info at the link. -->
Context: The school system in the country districts of the South is a disgrace and in few towns and cities are Negro schools what they ought to be. We want the national government to step in and wipe out illiteracy in the South. Either the United States will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.
And when we call for education we mean real education. We believe in work. We ourselves are workers, but work is not necessarily education. Education is the development of power and ideal. We want our children trained as intelligent human beings should be, and we will fight for all time against any proposal to educate black boys and girls simply as servants and underlings, or simply for the use of other people. They have a right to know, to think, to aspire.
These are some of the chief things which we want. How shall we get them? By voting where we may vote, by persistent, unceasing agitation; by hammering at the truth, by sacrifice and work.
We do not believe in violence, neither in the despised violence of the raid nor the lauded violence of the soldier, nor the barbarous violence of the mob, but we do believe in John Brown, in that incarnate spirit of justice, that hatred of a lie, that willingness to sacrifice money, reputation, and life itself on the altar of right. And here on the scene of John Brown’s martyrdom we reconsecrate ourselves, our honor, our property to the final emancipation of the race which John Brown died to make free.
Our enemies, triumphant for the present, are fighting the stars in their courses. Justice and humanity must prevail.

„Believe in life! Always human beings will progress to greater, broader, and fuller life.“

—  W.E.B. Du Bois

Last message to the world (written 1957); read at his funeral (1963)

„We do not believe in violence, neither in the despised violence of the raid nor the lauded violence of the soldier, nor the barbarous violence of the mob, but we do believe in John Brown, in that incarnate spirit of justice, that hatred of a lie, that willingness to sacrifice money, reputation, and life itself on the altar of right. And here on the scene of John Brown’s martyrdom we reconsecrate ourselves, our honor, our property to the final emancipation of the race which John Brown died to make free.“

—  W.E.B. Du Bois

"Niagara Movement Speech" (1905) http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/niagara-movement-speech/ <!--originally a portion of this was cited here to an Address to the Nation speech at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (16 August 1906); published in the New York Times on (20 August 1906) — but that does not correspond with the info at the link. -->
Context: The school system in the country districts of the South is a disgrace and in few towns and cities are Negro schools what they ought to be. We want the national government to step in and wipe out illiteracy in the South. Either the United States will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.
And when we call for education we mean real education. We believe in work. We ourselves are workers, but work is not necessarily education. Education is the development of power and ideal. We want our children trained as intelligent human beings should be, and we will fight for all time against any proposal to educate black boys and girls simply as servants and underlings, or simply for the use of other people. They have a right to know, to think, to aspire.
These are some of the chief things which we want. How shall we get them? By voting where we may vote, by persistent, unceasing agitation; by hammering at the truth, by sacrifice and work.
We do not believe in violence, neither in the despised violence of the raid nor the lauded violence of the soldier, nor the barbarous violence of the mob, but we do believe in John Brown, in that incarnate spirit of justice, that hatred of a lie, that willingness to sacrifice money, reputation, and life itself on the altar of right. And here on the scene of John Brown’s martyrdom we reconsecrate ourselves, our honor, our property to the final emancipation of the race which John Brown died to make free.
Our enemies, triumphant for the present, are fighting the stars in their courses. Justice and humanity must prevail.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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