W. E. B. Du Bois: A Study in Minority Group Leadership

W. E. B. Du Bois: A Study in Minority Group Leadership

W. E. B. Du Bois: A Study in Minority Group Leadership

W. E. B. Du Bois: A Study in Minority Group Leadership

Excerpt

The Reconstruction Period following the Civil War bred a countermovement in the South. An accommodation between the races was established which restored the caste status of Negroes. By law and custom the colored people were to remain an economically marginal group, politically and socially powerless, and segregated from the whites. Outside of the South, custom also demanded that Negroes should be treated as a separate and inferior people. Such conditions motivated Negroes to seek solutions to the race problem and various plans for salvation were promulgated. Three of the most important "planners" were Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, and W. E. B. Du Bois. In recent years two books have treated the leadership of Washington, and others are in process. In 1955 a study of Garvey was published. The careers of the Tuskegeean and Garvey were more dramatic and colorful than that of Du Bois, and both of these men were better known to Negroes and whites than Du Bois. While several master's theses have been written about Du Bois as litterateur, as editor, and as "social theorist," until 1959 there was no published volume devoted exclusively to an examination and evaluation of his leadership.

This omission is somewhat surprising when it is considered that Du Bois is regarded as an important figure in the literature of race relations. Impressive claims have been made about his contributions. Gunnar Myrdal and Arnold M. Rose concluded that Du Bois "set the tone" of the N.A.A.C.P. In 1925 Horace M. Bond referred to . . .

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