- DuBois was a very interesting speaker. He lived a very long time 1868-1963. His life spans from Reconstruction to the modern civil rights movement. He died the day after the march on Washington, although he was living outside the country.
- He couldn't get a job teachng in a major university because he was black. There were conventions against this even before there were laws. So instead he taught at Wilberforce College where he offered Latin, Greek, German, English, and Sociology.
- He is mostly known for his political activism. Helped found the NAACP.
- In the 1920's, he began a movement toward Pan-African and socialist that led to his joining the Communist Party of the U.S. in 1961. The Communists were the earliest to give an economic analysis of racism in the U.S.
- There were economic incentives to having a racist society. It provides cheap labor by forcing people into a limited amount of jobs. It also causes better wages for whites.
THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK
- this is a critique of Washington's Atlanta Compromise.
- The same analysis could have occured in the 1980's instead of the 1880's. Washington's speech came at a time when the country was a little embarrassed about spending tim and energy on righting social wrongs when it should have been more interested in money.
- DuBois talks about the two aspects of the "American Dream" which are 1) economic prosperity and 2) social justice. There is more to it than just dollars, almost a spiritual reason.
- In the second paragraph of the article, he describes what he sees as Booker T. Washington's program. It is a pretty acccurate understanding. Washington thought blacks should have industrial education, like VoTech training, not a full education. He believed in consiliation of the South which meant blacks should "go along and get along". Submission and silence to civil and political rights. This is what Dubois sees as Washington's program.
- What would Scorates and St Francis of Assissi say to this. Not to mention Araham Lincon who similarly sat amid the weeds and studied law so that he could not only become a lawyer but also a politician.
- So what is the use of learning? Why do you need to know anything? Go and scratch dirt.
- DuBois feels somewhat jealous of Washington. He is unsettled now that there is a black face to the movement.
- This same thing happened in the 1970's and 80's the people speaking out for liberation were old white men so changed to attractive young women in the 80's. Also got black people to speak in support of Civil Rights. This role that Washington gets to play, Dubois is getting none of it.
- The north says if that's all your people are asking for, why should we exercise ourselves ot get you more than you want.
- So they want Washington as the spokesperson and DuBois says no he's not the spokesman, I am. DuBois thinks we need the ability to respond and say this is not what I want.
- On p. 1602, DuBois says we found a leader in Frederick Douglass. He was a flaming abolitionist. He said they needed freedom and equality, he didn't just go along.
- On p. 1603, Dubois says a new leader arose, Booker T. Washington, because he was a leader of boht races--whited and blacks. The whites looked to him to justify what they did.
- Now we get to the heart of DuBois' article. He says there are three things the black people need. When we say all men are created equal, what's the implication of that?
1) political power--especially the right to vote, without that we have no power.
2) civil rights--the right to use the same water fountains and bathrooms, to work in the job that you want, and to live where you want to.
3) higher education--the opportunity to be educated fully with white people.
- The next list on p. 1603 is the opposite of civil rights, and what actually happened.
- disfranchisement means taking away the right to vote.
- On page 1606, we see the sociologist coming out in DuBois. He talks about the various views of Southern white men toward blacks.
"the ignorant Southerner hates the Negro, the workingmen fear his competition, the money-makers wish to use him as a laborer, some of the educated see a menace in his upward development, while others--usually the sons of the masters--wish to help him to rise"
- DuBois feels there is a strange aliance between blacks on the lowest end of the social spectrum and the Southern aristocracy.
- At the bottom of p. 1606, DuBois gives a list of things that keep blacks from rising in society.
1) slavery and race prejudice
2) industrial and common-school training
3) his future rise depends on his own efforts.
- America had never been about individualism,or making it on your own. The country said that black people couldn't get ahead on their own efforts because it took the whole country to keep them down and it will take the whole country to bring them up.
- DuBois sees Washington's program as a limited viewpoint. There are many other factors involved.
- The last sentence comes from the Declaration of Independence. This
is a great scene in American civil rights because it is such a great insight,
yet to live up to it is so difficult.