Mercy, Mercy Me: African-American Culture and the American Sixties

By James C. Hall | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
W.E.B. DU BOIS AND
DEDICATION TO THE DEAD

The temptation among us is to split hope and history. As a result,
we hold to a religious hope that is detached from the realities of the
historical process. Or we participate in a history which ends in de-
spair because the process itself delivers no lasting victories for the
participant. The problem is that, even though hope yields victories,
history precludes enduring triumphs.

WALTER BRUEGGEMAN, Hope within History1

If the condemned of the earth do not understand their pasts and
know the responsibilities that lie upon them in the future, all on
earth will be condemned. That is the kind of world we live in.

C.L.R. JAMES, “On the Origins”2

What might it mean to understand the past? Certainly the cliché about not repeating mistakes has relevance, although as a comprehensive ethic or political strategy in the face of entrenched racism it may be dangerously trite. More compelling may be the assertion that through the past one achieves, often at some significant cost, a kind of moral illumination. In this context, the present has meaning (or perhaps has meaning imposed upon it) through the recognition of past suffering, the creation of a kind of ancestral solidarity. Yet this too may melt into thin air. Such a confidence may be shown to be mostly narcissistic projection, indeed even neurosis. If both the instrumental and mythic pursuits of the past prove faulty, if not ephemeral, why does C.L.R. James's assertion remain so compelling, and seem to direct so much sixties—and more recent—AfricanAmerican cultural practice? A central argument of this book has been that a striking component of post–World War II African-American intellectual and cultural life has been the increasing, if not obsessive, attention to this problem of the cultural significance of historical memory. Black anxiousness about the promise of modernity has been articulated most forcefully through an extended evaluation of the possibilities of “past-ness.” A further

-187-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Mercy, Mercy Me: African-American Culture and the American Sixties
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 283

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.