Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

By Philip S. Foner; Robert James Branham | Go to book overview

strength of character and of purpose that won for her the respect of the noblest and best. She was a woman who strove to inculcate in the minds of her children the highest principles of morality and virtue both by precept and example. She was not well versed in the polite etiquette of the drawing room, the rules for the same being found in the many treatises devoted to that branch of literature. She was possessed of a much broader culture, and with discernment born of intelligent observation, and wise discrimination she welcomed all with the hearty manner of a noble soul.

I have thus striven to give you a glimpse of my mother. In so doing I am conscious of having made frequent mention of my father. It is difficult to say any thing of mother without the mention of father, her life was so enveloped in his. Together they rest side by side, and most befittingly, within sight of the dear old home of hallowed memories and from which the panting fugitive, the weary traveler, the lonely emigrant of every clime, received food and shelter.


151 TO THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD

W. E. B. Du Bois

Discussing "The Concept of Race" in Dusk of Dawn, Du Bois writes, " Africa is of course my fatherland. . . . On this vast continent were born and live a large portion of my direct ancestors going back a thousand years or more." But he adds, "The physical bond is least and the badge of color relatively unimportant save as a badge; the real essence of this kinship is its social heritage of slavery; the discrimination and insult; and this heritage binds together not simply the children of Africa, but extends through yellow Asia and into the South Seas. It is this unity that draws me to Africa."* It was also this sense of unity that brought Du Bois ( 1868-1963), at the turn of the twentieth century, to the First Pan-African Conference in London and that led to his prominent and continuing role in the Pan-African movement.

The term "Pan-Africanism" had been coined just the year before by conference organizer and London barrister Henry Sylvester Williams, a native of Trinidad. Thirty-three delegates from various nations responded to the call for the convention (promoted and partly sponsored by Booker

____________________
Dusk of Dawn: Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race ( New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1940), 116.

-905-

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