There is no God but Love and Work is his prophet — help us to realize this
truth O Father which thou so often in word and deed has taught us. Let
the knowledge temper our ambitions and our judgements. We would not
be great but busy — not pious but sympathetic — not merely reverent, but
filled with the glory of our Life-Work. God is Love & Work is His Rev-
Du Bois is often credited with focusing his efforts on examining and aiding the plight of urban African Americans. As he squared off in philosophical positioning with Booker T. Washington, of the Tuskegee Institute, Du Bois seemed clearly to urge blacks to reject agrarian labor favored by Washington; instead, he urged blacks to explore their creativity and professional abilities. After 1910, he wrote from Harlem, and his actions and utopianism seemed to compel southern blacks to flee the rural United States for urban centers to explore their own economic and creative horizons. Specifically, Du Bois, the sociologist, vehemently criticized the “color line” that Washington and others chose to accept as an opportunity for gradual change. The interaction with southerners of other classes and races, writes Du Bois, provided the means that “[t]he American Negro and all backward peoples must have for effectual progress” (The Souls of Black Folk 74). Du Bois, the novelist, however, did not limit his hopes to the “Talented Tenth” but instead looked to the land. In The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911), Du Bois creates a novel clear in its image of rural utopianism and seemingly incongruous with much of his own logic.
Quest is an epic of cotton, similar in its naturalist texture with Frank Norris' story of wheat, The Octopus. Du Bois follows cotton from its planting by black