Archive | November, 2011

Book Cover

On Intangible Influences

In the final chapter of his 2011 book, The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency, Randall Kennedy comments on several of Obama’s critics on the black left, including author and Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson, who, he says, went from vigorous support for Barack Obama the candidate to vocal […]


Dreams of My Stepfather

In this interview excerpt from the National Visionary leadership Project’s series of African American oral histories, David Graham Du Bois, the son of W.E.B. Du Bois’s second wife Shirley Graham, talks about his parents’ partnership and his stepfather’s commitment to socialism. He also discusses W.E.B. Du Bois’s views on racial progress and patriotism, his own […]


Quotable: W.E.B. Du Bois

The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line. Du Bois coined the line for a speech he delivered in July 1900 at the first Pan-African Conference in London and it remains just as resonant today. Indeed, one might even say that the problem of the twenty-first century is the problem […]

The Souls of Black Folk

1903: The Souls of Black Folk

I’ve previously introduced W.E.B. Du Bois on this blog as an opponent of Booker T. Washington’s, but he deserves significant mention in his own right as an influential and much-admired author, scholar, political organizer and, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “gifted discoverer of social truths.” A classic of early sociology and African […]


Friday Fun: I Heard It Through the Grapevine

In Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington makes reference to the “grape-vine” telegraph, the unofficial and effective, if not always entirely accurate, means by which Civil War-era slaves kept themselves informed as to the goings on of the nation. The term became even more popular when Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight and the Pips (above) […]

Masks of the Great War

Post-War? Post-Racial?

The 2011 British remake of Wuthering Heights sets itself apart with casting that may be more faithful than creative, writes Steve Rose in the Guardian Meanwhile, across the channel, the Museum of the Great War opens in Meaux, France, and focuses “less on the battles than on evoking the atmosphere of the war and its […]