Dubois as a Socialist Essay Sample

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I. Du Bois as Sociologist
A. Du Bois’ study of the Philadelphia Negro community published in the ‘nineties stands out even today as a most valuable contribution B. It was because of the objective conditions of the Negro that Du Bois, intellectually a product of this period, seized upon sociology with such inherent belief and urgency. -Despite its affinity for reform, the prevailing theory of Social Darwinism did not refute the ideology of racism. The Negro was outside its vision. Du Bois therefore extended the whole range of social inquiry in America. C. Another work of this period was Du Bois’ Suppression of The African Slave Trade. Written fully fifteen years before Charles Beard’s The Constitution: An Economic Interpretation, this is one of the pioneer applications in the United States of economic analysis to historic phenomena

II. The Du Bois-Washington Dispute
A. Frederick Douglass preceded Booker T. Washington in pressing forward the need for industrial training for Negroes. B. Washington’s famous Atlanta speech in 1895
-Booker T. Washington in pressing forward the need for industrial training for Negroes C. The Negro migrations northward speeded the growth of the Ghetto -These highly urban concentrations of misery marked both the beginning of the Negro’s migration into industry and the birth of a professional class far removed from the Southern hinterland. D. Outside the Ghetto the radicalization of the middle classes and of labor was evidenced by hundreds of thousands of socialist votes in the 1904 elections.

III. The Talented Tenth and Its Program
A. Du Bois conceived that the intense political activity in the United States between 1892 and 1912 placed the Negro electorate in a decisive position -“with the right to vote goes everything; freedom, manhood, the honor of your wives, the chastity of your daughters, the right to work, and the chance to rise” – Hand in hand with these miraculous powers of the ballot went his conception of a Talented Tenth which would uplift the illiterate and poverty-stricken Negro mass to the level of an advanced world. B. In Du Bois’ Philadelphia Negro (1895), this conception is already established -writes that the Negro upper class “forms the realized idea of the group.”

And Du Bois finds his precedent: after a series of riots and repressions culminating in 1840, the Philadelphia Negroes were in a desperate situation. C. Du Bois’ Talented Tenth was no mere imitation of this doctrine of Progressivism but a natural exaggeration rooted in the extreme conditions of Negro life D. Du Bois’ Souls of Black Folk, a product of this period, is widely celebrated to this day -North and South, the post-Civil War counter-revolution was the supreme fact in American Negro life E. However deep its historical toots, the Talented Tenth remains a conception of limiting, restraining and subordinating the Negro masses

F. The Talented Tenth did not serve to release and guide these new energies, it fettered them; it substituted solidarity with liberal reformism for the specifically new forces and independent activities of the Negro masses

IV. Early Years of the NAACP
A. Du Bois, the only Negro in the NAACP leadership
B. Abolitionists had attempted to dominate the Negroes within their ranks, this was possible in individual cases, not with the mass
-The white Abolitionists, consciously or otherwise, were forced to base themselves upon the rebellious and fugitive slaves
C. The Talented Tenth was dominated because it was isolated from the negro mass
D. The sponsors of the NAACP had limited their plans mainly to legal action and enlisting the big names of liberalism
E. Du Bois, almost completely on his own, emphasized the need for a Negro magazine
-The Crisis proved to be a great success, reaching over a hundred thousand circulation in less than ten years

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