W. E. B. Du Bois: Black Radical Democrat

W. E. B. Du Bois: Black Radical Democrat

W. E. B. Du Bois: Black Radical Democrat

W. E. B. Du Bois: Black Radical Democrat

Synopsis

'Marable's biography of Du Bois is the best so far available.' Dr. Herbert Aptheker, Editor, The Correspondence of W.E.B. Du Bois 'Marable's excellent study focuses on the social thought of a major black American thinker who exhibited a 'basic coherence and unity' throughout a multifaceted career stressing cultural pluralism, opposition to social inequality, and black pride.' Library Journal Distinguished historian and social activist Manning Marable's book, W. E. B. Du Bois: Black Radical Democrat, brings out the interconnections, unity, and consistency of W. E. B. Du Bois's life and writings. Marable covers Du Bois's disputes with Booker T. Washington, his founding of the NAACP, his work as a social scientist, his life as a popular figure, and his involvement in politics, placing them into the context of Du Bois's views on black pride, equality, and cultural diversity. Marable stresses that, as a radical democrat, Du Bois viewed the problems of racism as intimately connected with capitalism. The publication of this updated edition follows more than one hundred celebrations recently marking the 100th anniversary of Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk. Marable broadens earlier biographies with a new introduction highlighting Du Bois's less-known advocacy of women's suffrage, socialism, and peace and he traces his legacy to today in an era of changing racial and social conditions.

Excerpt

What is happening to Marx’s theory has, in the course of history, hap
pened repeatedly to the theories of revolutionary thinkers and leaders of
oppressed classes fighting for emancipation. During the lifetime of great
revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received
their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and
the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death,
attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them,
so to say, and to hallow their names, to a certain extent, for the “consola
tion” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter,
while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance,
blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it.

V. I. Lenin, The State and Revolution, 1917

You really have to forget about the last years of Du Bois’ life.

—Wall Street Journal, November 4, 1963

Both W. E. B. Du Bois and Karl Marx had the great fortune—or misfortune—to be so productive in their respective careers as social theorists that competing schools of thought and warring interpretations of their

This essay was originally presented for the opening plenary of the Ninety-Ninth
Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, San Francisco, California,
August 13, 2004. Revised in September 2004.

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