Genius in Motion: Tracking Du Bois' Intellectual Journey

By Ware, Reviewed Leland | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), December 12, 1993 | Go to article overview

Genius in Motion: Tracking Du Bois' Intellectual Journey


Ware, Reviewed Leland, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


W.E.B. DU BOIS Biography of a Race By David Levering Lewis 701 pages, Henry Holt, $35

A DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY of one of the great minds of the 20th century has finally been published. The product of eight years of research, "W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race" is the first of a projected two-volume work. The research is derived from personal papers and other records that did not become available until 1980, 17 years after the subject's death. The author, David Levering Lewis, is a professor of history at Rutgers University.

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1868. He was the product of a family that could trace its New England roots back to the American Revolution. Du Bois' first exposure to segregation did not occur until 1885, when he travelled to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Fisk University. After graduating in 1888, Du Bois enrolled at Harvard, where he received an undergraduate degree in 1890. He subsequently pursued graduate studies in History and Economics at Harvard and the University of Berlin in Germany. Du Bois returned to the United States in 1894 and was awarded a Ph.D. degree from Harvard in 1895, the first African-American to receive this distinction.

Despite his remarkable credentials, Du Bois' race precluded him from the mainstream of academia. He was eventually able to obtain a position as an assistant instructor at the University of Pennsylvania. During this period he prepared a groundbreaking study, "The Philadelphia Negro," which was one of the seminal works in the then-emerging academic discipline of sociology. In 1897, Du Bois joined the faculty at Atlanta University where he began a years-long study of African-American life and culture. In 1903, he published his best-known work, "The Souls of Black Folk." It was highly acclaimed then and it remains one of the outstanding contributions to American letters. It was in this text that Du Bois made his visionary and oft-quoted prediction that "the problem of the 20th Century would be the problem of the color line." Half a century before academics began to criticize Eurocentrism and to consider multiculturalism, Du Bois was engaging in what decades later would become known as critical theory.

Lewis' biography provides the reader with a vivid description of life within the upper reaches of the African- American community at the turn of the century. He explains, among other things, the conflict between DuBois and Booker T. Washington. At the turn of the century the founder of Tuskegee Institute exercised on unprecedented amount of power and influence. Washington's accommodationist approach to race relations won the support of wealthy patrons and was calculated to appease Southerners intent on nullifying rights granted to black citizens by the 14th and 15th Amendments.

Acquiescing to the suppression of black political and civil rights enraged progressive thinkers like Du Bois. These philosophical differences evolved into a bitter personal animosity. Washington eventually used his considerable influence to block financial support to Atlanta University. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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 article

This article 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 article

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

Cited article

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 article

Genius in Motion: Tracking Du Bois' Intellectual Journey
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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

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.