W. E. B. Du Bois and American Political Thought: Fabianism and the Color Line

W. E. B. Du Bois and American Political Thought: Fabianism and the Color Line

W. E. B. Du Bois and American Political Thought: Fabianism and the Color Line

W. E. B. Du Bois and American Political Thought: Fabianism and the Color Line

Synopsis

In this explosive book, Adolph Reed covers for the first time the full sweep and totality of W. E. B. Du Bois's political thought. Departing from existing scholarship, Reed locates the sources of Du Bois's thought in the cauldron of reform-minded intellectual life at the turn of the century, demonstrating that a commitment to liberal collectivism, an essentially Fabian socialism, remained pivotal in Du Bois's thought even as he embraced a range of political programs over time, including radical Marxism. He remaps the history of twentieth-century progressive thought and sharply criticizing recent trends in Afro-American, literary, and cultural studies.

Excerpt

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois is generally recognized as a central figure in the history of Afro-American politics, a major contributor to more than a half-century's debate over the condition of and proper goals and strategies for blacks in the United States and, more broadly, peoples of African descent, worldwide. He enjoyed an unusually long and prominent career as a scholar, essayist, and activist. He was a pioneer in the formation of sociology as an academic discipline in the United States, author of one of the first revisionist histories of Reconstruction, a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), shaper -- along with first Booker T. Washington and then Marcus Garvey -- of two pivotal controversies over racial strategy, elder statesman of the Harlem Renaissance, hero of Nkrumahite Pan- Africanism, militant foe and victim of McCarthyism. Moreover, among prominent Afro-American political actors in this century Du Bois is perhaps the most systematic thinker (at least insofar as coherent writing is the expression of systematic thought). No other black intellectual or activist has written so much or so widely, and few have been so insistent on grounding strategic thinking on clear normative and theoretical principles.

It is, therefore, something of an anomaly that Du Bois, more than others, has been claimed by advocates of many different, often diametrically opposed, ideological positions. Sometimes he is linked simultaneously with apparently . . .

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