Charismatic, singularly determined, and controversial, W.E.B. Du Bois was a historian, novelist, editor, sociologist, founder of the NAACP, advocate of women's rights, and the premier architect of the Civil Rights movement. His hypnotic voice thunders out of David Levering Lewis's monumental biography like a locomotive under full steam.
This second volume of what is already a classic work begins with the triumphal return from WWI of African American veterans to the shattering reality of racism and lynching even as America discovers the New Negro of literature and art. In stunning detail, Lewis chronicles the little-known political agenda behind the Harlem Renaissance and Du Bois's relentless fight for equality and justice, including his steadfast refusal to allow whites to interpret the aspirations of black America. Seared by the rejection of terrified liberals and the black bourgeoisie during the Communist witch-hunts, Du Bois ended his days in uncompromising exile in newly independent Ghana. In re-creating the turbulent times in which he lived and fought, Lewis restores the inspiring and famed Du Bois to his central place in American history.
Often labeled an atheist, Du Bois was in fact deeply and creatively involved with religion. Historian Edward J. Blum reveals how spirituality was central to Du Bois's approach to Marxism, pan-Africanism, and nuclear disarmament, his support for black churches, and his reckoning of the spiritual wage of white supremacy. His writings, teachings, and prayers served as articles of faith for fellow activists of his day, from student book club members to Langston Hughes.
A blend of history, sociology, literary criticism, and religious reflection in the model of Du Bois's best work, W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet recasts the life of this great visionary and intellectual for a new generation of scholars and activists.
Honorable Mention, 2007 Gustavus Myers Center Outstanding Book Awards
In this candid and engrossing memoir, he traces his evolution from political activist to activist scholar. He vividly recalls his involvement in the movement's heyday and in the subsequent turbulent period when King's visionary Dream became real for some and remained unfulfilled for others. He recounts his conversations with key African Americans of the past half century, including Black Power firebrand Stokely Carmichael and dedicated organizers such as Ella Baker and Bob Moses. His description of his long-term relationship with Coretta Scott King sheds new light on her crucial role in preserving and protecting her late husband's legacy.
Written from the unique perspective of a renowned scholar, this highly readable account gives readers valuable new insights about the global significance of King's inspiring ideas and his still unfolding legacy