The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois

Citadel Press
2
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The men and women who shaped our world—in their own words.

The Wisdom Library invites you on a journey through the lives and works of the world’s greatest thinkers and leaders. Compiled by scholars, this series presents excerpts from the most important and revealing writings of the most remarkable minds of all time.

THE WISDOM OF W.E.B. DU BOIS

“Throughout history, the powers of single blacks flash here and there like falling stars, and die sometimes before the world has rightly gauged their brightness.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote of W.E.B. Du Bois, “History cannot ignore [him] because history has to reflect truth, and Dr. Du Bois was a tireless explorer and a gifted discoverer of social truths. His singular greatness lay in his quest for truth about his own people.” Du Bois was the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard (1896). A brilliant writer and speaker, he was the outstanding African-American intellectual of his time. His lifelong active struggle for racial equality and civil rights resulted in the founding of both the Niagara Movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As editor of the NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis, Du Bois presented the literary genius of many of the Harlem Renaissance’s most compelling voices; and his own works—the sociological study The Philadelphia Negro and his famous 1903 treatise, The Souls of Black Folk—eloquently delineated the African-American struggle for identity in America. During his lifetime, Du Bois was a powerful force in academia, literature, civil rights, and the peace movement. Using excerpts from his many books as well as from articles, essays, poems, letters, and speeches, The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois provides a telling portrait of the man and his groundbreaking ideas. It is a tribute to a voice that would not be silenced and to a pioneer who, in his passion for justice movingly declared, “the cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.”
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Additional Information

Publisher
Citadel Press
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Published on
Aug 1, 2018
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Pages
100
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ISBN
9780806540221
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Literary Collections / Essays
Reference / Quotations
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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"This moving account of a key figure in American history contributes greatly to our understanding of the past. It also informs our vision of the servant leader needed to guide the 1990s movement."
—Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children's Defense Fund
"First-rate intellectual and political history, this study explores the relations between the practical objectives of SNCC and its moral and cultural goals."
—Irwin Unger, Author of These United States and Postwar America
"Robert Moses emerges from these pages as that rare modern hero, the man whose life enacts his principles, the rebel who steadfastly refuses to be victim or executioner and who mistrusts even his own leadership out of commitment to cultivating the strength, self-reliance, and solidarity of those with and for whom he is working. Eric Burner's engrossing account of Robert Moses's legendary career brings alive the everyday realities of the Civil Rights Movement, especially the gruelling campaign for voter registration and political organization in Mississippi."
—Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Eleonore Raoul Professor of the Humanities, Emory University, author of Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South
Next to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, Bob Moses was arguably one of the most influential and respected leaders of the civil rights movement. Quiet and intensely private, Moses quickly became legendary as a man whose conduct exemplified leadership by example. He once resigned as head of the Council of Federated Organizations because "my position there was too strong, too central." Despite his centrality to the most important social movement in modern American history, Moses' life and the philosophy on which it is based have only been given cursory treatment and have never been the subject of a book-length biography.
Biography is, by its very nature, a complicated act of recovery, even more so when the life under scrutiny deliberately avoids such attention. Eric Burner therefore sets out here not to reveal the "secret" Bob Moses, but to examine his moral philosophy and his political and ideological evolution, to provide a picture of the public person. In essence, his book provides a primer on a figure who spoke by silence and led through example.
Moses spent almost three years in Mississippi trying to awaken the state's black citizens to their moral and legal rights before the fateful summer of 1964 would thrust him and the Freedom Summer movement into the national spotlight. We follow him through the civil rights years — his intensive, fearless tradition of community organizing, his involvements with SNCC and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and his negotiations with the Department of Justice —as Burner chronicles both Moses' political activity and his intellectual development, revealing the strong influence of French philosopher Albert Camus on his life and work.
Moses' life is marked by the conflict between morality and politics, between purity and pragmatism, which ultimately left him disillusioned with a traditional Left that could talk only of coalitions and leaders from the top. Pursued by the Vietnam draft board for a war which he opposed, Moses fled to Canada in 1966 before departing for Africa in 1969 to spend the next decade teaching in Tanzania. Returning in 1977 under President Carter's amnesty program, he was awarded a five-year MacArthur genius grant in 1982 to establish and develop an innovative program to teach math to Boston's inner-city youth called the Algebra Project. The success of the program, which Moses has referred to as our version of Civil Rights 1992, has landed him on the cover of The New York Times Magazineemphasizing the new, central dimension that math and computer literacy lends to the pursuit of equal rights.
And Gently He Shall Lead Them is the story of a remarkable man, an elusive hero of the civil rights movement whose flight from adulation has only served to increase his reputation as an intellectual and moral leader, a man whom nobody ever sees, but whose work is always in evidence.
From his role as one of the architects of the civil rights movement thirty years ago to his ongoing work with inner city children, Robert Moses remains one of America's most courageous, energetic, and influential leaders. Wary of the cults of celebrity he saw surrounding Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X and fueled by a philosophy that shunned leadership, Moses has always labored behind the scenes. This first biography, a primer in the life of a unique American, sheds significant light on the intellectual and philosophical worldview of a man who is rarely seen but whose work is always in evidence.
The incredible story of a forgotten hero of nineteenth century New York City—a former slave, Yale scholar, minister, and international leader of the Antebellum abolitionist movement. At the age of 19, scared and illiterate, James Pennington escaped from slavery in 1827 and soon became one of the leading voices against slavery prior to the Civil War. Just ten years after his escape, Pennington was ordained as a priest after studying at Yale and was soon traveling all over the world as an anti-slavery advocate. He was so well respected by European audiences that the University of Heidelberg awarded him an honorary doctorate, making him the first person of African descent to receive such a degree. This treatment was far cry from his home across the Atlantic, where people like him, although no longer slaves, were still second-class citizens.

As he fought for equal rights in America, Pennington's voice was not limited to the preacher's pulpit. He wrote the first-ever "History of the Colored People" as well as a careful study of the moral basis for civil disobedience, which would be echoed decades later by Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.  More than a century before Rosa Parks took her monumental bus ride, Pennington challenged segregated seating in New York City street cars. He was beaten and arrested, but eventually vindicated when the New York State Supreme Court ordered the cars to be integrated. Although the struggle for equality was far from over, Pennington retained a delightful sense of humor, intellectual vivacity, and inspiring faith through it all. American to the Backbone brings to life this fascinating, forgotten pioneer, who helped lay the foundation for the contemporary civil rights revolution and inspire generations of future leaders.
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