Tag Archives: Du Bois


Making Literary History, Part II

Writing in The Bookman, Professor William Lyon Phelps expressed his appreciation for Gene Stratton-Porter’s work, but he also made plain his sense of its limitations. It’s not “idealism” that mars her novels, he writes, but “sentimentality,” which reigns over the average human breast even as it revolts the “elite” minority. Phelps did not consider Stratton-Porter […]

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 […]


Model Black Conservative

In a piece published in early October, Atlanta Journal-Constitution political columnist Jim Galloway implicitly casts Booker T. Washington as a model black conservative and compares him with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain: When the marches of the 1950s and ’60s came, it was Du Bois’ strategy of political confrontation that was extolled. Washington’s out-of-step economic […]

Booker T. Washington

A Figure of Controversy

By the time he died at age 59, Booker T. Washington inspired devoted admirers and fierce detractors, whose words together depict yet another “two-sided man.” As quoted in Robert J. Norrell’s 2009 biography Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington, Madame C. J. Walker, the first female American self-made millionaire called Washington “the […]