Essay On W.E.B Dubois

The Life of

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. A descendant of African American, French, and Dutch ancestors, he demonstrated his intellectual gifts at an early age. He graduated from high school at age 16, the valedictorian and only black in his graduating class of 12. He was orphaned shortly after his graduation and was forced to fund his own college education. He won a scholarship to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he excelled and saw for the first time the plight of Southern blacks.

Du Bois had grown up with more privileges and advantages than most blacks living in the United States at that time, and, unlike most blacks living in the South, he had suffered neither severe economic hardship nor repeated encounters with blatant racism. As violence against blacks increased in the South throughout the 1880s, Du Bois's scholarly education was matched by the hard lessons he learned about race relations. He followed reports about the increasing number of lynchings, calling each racially motivated killing "a scar" upon his soul. Through these and other encounters with racial hatred, as well as through his experience teaching in poor black communities in rural Tennessee during the summers, Du Bois began to develop his racial consciousness and the desire to help improve conditions for all blacks.

Du Bois received his bachelor's degree from Fisk in 1888, and won a scholarship to attend Harvard University. Harvard considered his high school education and Fisk degree inadequate preparation for a master's program, and he had to register as an undergraduate. Du Bois received his second bachelor's degree in 1890 and then enrolled in Harvard's graduate school. He earned his master's degree and then his doctoral degree in 1895, becoming the first black to receive that degree from Harvard.

By that time, Du Bois had begun his research into the historical and sociological conditions of black Americans that would make him the most influential black intellectual of his time. His doctoral dissertation, The Suppression of the African Slavetrade to the United States of America, 1638-1870, was published in 1896 as the initial volume in the Harvard Historical Studies Series. After teaching for several years at Wilberforce University in Ohio, Du Bois conducted an exhaustive study of the social and economic conditions of urban blacks in Philadelphia in 1896 and 1897. The results were published in The Philadelphia Negro (1899), the first sociological text on a black community published in the United States. After he became a professor of economics and history at Atlanta University in 1897, he initiated a series of studies as head of the school's "Negro Problem" program. These works had a profound impact on the study of the history and sociology of blacks living in the United States.

In 1897 Du Bois made a famous statement on the ambiguity of the black identity: "One feels his two-ness an American, a Negro, two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings, two warring ideals in one dark body." He advanced these views even further in The Souls of Black Folk (1903), a powerful collection of essays in which he described some of the key themes of the black experience, especially the efforts of black Americans to reconcile their African heritage with their pride in being U.S. citizens.

With The Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois had begun to challenge the leadership of Booker T. Washington, a fellow educator who was then the most influential and admired black in the United States. Du Bois objected to Washington's strategy of accommodation and compromise with whites in both politics and education. Du Bois perceived this strategy as accepting the denial of black citizenship rights. He also criticized Washington's emphasis on the importance of industrial education for blacks, which Du Bois felt came at the expense of higher education in the arts and humanities.

Du Bois also challenged Washington's leadership through the Niagara Movement, which Du Bois helped to convene in 1905. The movement grew out of a meeting of 29 black leaders who gathered to discuss segregation and black political rights. They met in Canada after being denied hotel accommodations on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls and drafted a list of demands. These included equality of economic and educational opportunity for blacks, an end to segregation, and the prohibition of discrimination in courts, public facilities, and trade unions.

Du Bois was hired to head the NAACP's publicity and research efforts. He was also named editor of the NAACP's magazine, The Crisis, which soon became the most important national voice for the advancement of black civil rights, largely through Du Bois's reporting and editorials. His writings on lynchings in the South, his positions on why blacks should support the U.S. war effort during World War I (1914-1918), and his criticisms of Marcus Garvey, the black separatist who led the "Back to Africa" movement, were all broadly influential.

Du Bois resigned from the NAACP staff in 1934 because he was unwilling to advocate racial integration in all aspects of life, a position adopted by the NAACP. Du Bois had argued that blacks should join together, apart from whites, to start businesses and industries that would allow blacks to advance themselves economically. He returned to Atlanta University, where he taught, wrote books, and founded a new journal, called Phylon. During these years he published two important books, Black Reconstruction (1935), a Marxist interpretation of the post-Civil War era in the South; and Dusk of Dawn (1940), an autobiography. Following extended conflicts with university officials, he was forced to retire from Atlanta University in 1944.

In 1961 Du Bois moved to the newly independent West African nation of Ghana. In an act of defiance just before his departure, he joined the American Communist Party. Once in Ghana, he began work on the Encyclopedia Africana, a reference work on Africans and people of African descent throughout the world. When his passport expired in 1963 he applied to have it renewed, but it was denied by the U.S. government because he was a registered Communist. He renounced his U.S. citizenship and became a citizen of Ghana in February of that year, shortly before his 95th birthday. Ghanian President Kwame Nkrumah welcomed Du Bois's decision and deemed him "the first citizen of Africa." Du Bois died a few months later.

Primary Sources

This page contains links to the freely accessible e-texts of some of W.E.B. Du Bois' writings. I have also included a few secondary sources, such as commentaries and discussions, which concentrate on a particular DuBoisian work. Also, some hyperlinks point to audio and video presentations. In general, the works contained below are arranged in chronological order from earliest to latest.

The first section below presents links to online bibliographies of DuBois's works as well as links to web pages describing the collections of his works at various physical repositories.

In the next section below comes a listing of primary texts written by DuBois as well as any related materials by him or other authors. The follow­ing drop-down menus provide an easy way to peruse the items listed on this web page; by clicking the desired selection one can jump to view its details. The primary sources include:
Because many of Du Bois's publications are not—or at least not yet—available on the Internet, I do not claim to provide a full and complete listing of all of his works. I will, however, add more links to re/sources as I find them on the Web.

— Robert W. Williams, Ph.D.  [Bio] 

LATEST LINK (for 15 July 2017)

Bibliographies and Collections of Du Bois's Works

The Credo online repository of the Du Bois Collection of primary and secondary materials at the University of Massachusetts Amherst library provides a searchable and browsable interface for examining the materials found within the Du Bois holdings at the library. Note that only the metadata description can be searched (not the items themselves). For more information visit my intra-site About page.
Robert W. McDonnell's "The W.E.B. Du Bois Papers" (The Crisis, 1980) provides an interesting account of how a multitude of Du Bois's written works, including correspondence as well as published and unpublished documents, came to be archived at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst library. McDonnell also describes how individual papers were carefully organized (or even reassembled from scattered pages) and laboriously processed for storage on microfilm. In the article he indicates the other repositories that house original works by Du Bois: specifically, the libraries at Fisk University and Yale University, as well as the Schomburg Center.
[Citation: McDonnell, Robert W. 1980. "The W.E.B. Du Bois Papers." The Crisis, 87:9 (November): 359-364].
The Papers of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Guide. 1981. Compiled and written by Robert W. McDonnell, this very large (12 Meg PDF file) provides a "table of contents" for the papers available for viewing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst's W.E.B. Du Bois Library. The Library also has a "Du Bois Central" page for links to the DuBois-related resources that are physically accessible there.
Finding Aid for the W.E.B. Du Bois Papers in the Special Collections and University Archives at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library of the University of Massachusetts Amherst (no date provided). In addition to a "Biographical Note" (by Kerry W. Buckley), a "Scope and Content of the Collection," and a "History of the Collection", there is a detailed inventory of the collection with its items corresponding to their location on the various reels of the microfilm set. The content list basically parallels those of the 1981 Guide/Finding Aid compiled by Robert McDonnell (described above). However, there are several notable differences between the later and earlier Finding Aids for the Du Bois Collection:

 • Later materials added to the collection are contained in "Series 22. Additions to the Du Bois Papers." [as printed in the PDF file].
• "The Series 17. Photographs" are categorized differently than the 1981 Finding Aid—the latter more typically listing the photos by the name of the persons photographed.
• The "Series 18. Memorabilia" section and "Series 19: Audiovisual" section (as printed in the PDF file) are presented with less detail than the 1981 Finding Aid.
• The 1981 Finding Aid's "Selective Index to the Correspondence" is not included (presumably because a search function can be used to locate items on the webpage and in the PDF versions of the later Aid).

Dr. Randolph Bromery, former Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst (1971-1980) and a geophysicist, describes in two different video interviews how the University obtained the bulk of Du Bois's papers for the Special Collections repository at the school's library. Neither of the videos is dated in any explicit manner. The interviews convey Bromery's personal role in procuring the papers held by Shirley Graham Du Bois in Cairo, Egypt and the papers held by Herbert Aptheker in New York City. Further information on Bromery's life is available at the National Visionary Leadership Project, which contains a series of video interviews in which he conveys his life experiences and career (among which is the video regarding Du Bois's papers).
W. E. B. Dubois Collection at Yale University. Yale University houses the W. E. B. Dubois Collection (JWJ MSS 8) of correspondence and drafts of various works. In the words of the Beinecke Library staff: the collection "contains items presented to the James Weldon Johnson Collection by Mr. DuBois, by way of Carl Van Vechten, with additional items from other persons". Note that this is a listing of items that only can be accessed physically at the Library itself.
Umbra Search is a metasearch engine that concentrates directly on primary and secondary sources of African American history. As a metasearch engine it compiles results based on the search hits of the various repositories that it specifically accesses, such as the Digital Public Library, the Credo repository at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Library, the collection at Yale's Beinecke Library, and many others. When one types a search string, Umbra Search will suggest names and keywords that pertain to the terms being typed. In general, this metasearch engine is very useful. In my experience, however, it did not always find a document by Du Bois that I knew was located at, for example, the Credo repository. Umbra Search hence does not substitute for a focused search of individual repositories.


 Primary Sources by DuBois and Related Materials
   [Arranged chronologically from earliest to latest]

"The Renaissance of Ethics: A Critical Comparison of Scholastic and Modern Ethics." 1889. Du Bois wrote this essay as a Harvard undergraduate for Philosophy IV, a class taught by William James. "The Renaissance of Ethics" (TROE) is accessible at the W.E.B. Du Bois Collection (Call No. JWJ MSS 8, Box 3, Folder 57)[Finding Aid], which is housed at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University.
   TROE is a hand-written essay spanning 51 pages of text. The manuscript contains marginal comments by William James, the professor. Du Bois the student discussed the limitations of scholastic philosophy and the important role that science has in attempting to discover the ultimate ends/goals of the world. On the basis of that future discovery, he argued, our duty in the world will be grounded. For Du Bois, duty was paramount. In his words:

The fundamental question of the Universe, for ages past, present, and to come, is Duty. Given a universe with two horrible futures and the question becomes to each individual How much difference will it make if This be tomorrow's universe rather than That? in [sic] other words the great question the world asks is How much better is the best possible universe I can help make, than the worst possible? (pp.15-16)

"The Afro-American." Circa 1894. This previously unpublished manuscript from the "Papers of W. E. B. Du Bois" (Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Massachusetts Amherst) is presented online in the Journal of Transnational American Studies (2010). Dr. Nahum D. Chandler (bio) provides the abstract accompanying the text.

This hitherto unpublished essay by W. E. B. Du Bois, the text titled "The Afro-American," which likely dates to the late autumn of 1894 or the winter of 1895, is an early attempt by the young scholar to define for himself the contours of the situation of the Negro, or "Afro-American," in the United States in the mid-1890s. It is perhaps the earliest full text expressing his nascent formulations of both the global "problem of the color-line" and the sense of "double-consciousness" among African Americans in North America.

An essay by Dr. Chandler accompanies the Du Boisian manuscript. As the abstract conveys,

[Chandler] proposes a path for the initial reading of this essay by rendering thematic the worldwide horizon that framed Du Bois's projection from this early moment and by bringing into relief the interwoven motifs of the global "problem of the color-line" and the sense of "double-consciousness" for the "Afro-American" in the United States.

Chandler relates the text to Du Bois' thinking as expressed in various early writings, including "Strivings of the Negro People" (1897), "Beyond the Veil in a Virginia Town" (unpublished manuscript circa 1897 written presumably during his time conducting research in the Farmville, VA area), "The Study of the Negro Problems" (1898), and The Souls of Black Folk (1903).

Nahum D. Chandler, "Of Horizon: An Introduction to 'The Afro-American' by W. E. B. Du Bois—circa 1894" published in the Journal of Transnational American Studies, v.2, n.1 (2010)
DuBois Congratulates Washington. 1895. This is a graphics file of a letter that Du Bois sent to Booker T. Washington after the latter's Atlanta Exposition speech on 18 September 1895. Given their later debates over socio-political goals and tactics, it is interesting to read what Du Bois sent Washington in a handwritten letter:
My Dear Mr. Washington:
            Let me heartlily congratulate you upon your
phenomenal success at Atlanta -- it was a word
fitly spoken.
            Sincerely Yours,
            W.E.B. Du Bois  

Wilberforce, 24 Sept., '95
The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870. 1896. Based on his doctoral dissertation, this was Du Bois' first book; it was published as Volume 1 in the Harvard Historical Studies (NY: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1896).
[Review] "Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro. By Frederick L. Hoffman, F.S.S." Du Bois pubished this book review in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, v.9 (January 1897): pp.127-133.
"Strivings of the Negro People." 1897. This was incorporated as Ch. I in Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk.
"The Study of the Negro Problems." 1898. Du Bois set forth various aspects of his social-scientific research program in this piece. It was originally published in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. XI, January 1898, pp. 1-23.
The Negroes of Farmville, Virginia: A Social Study. Bulletin of the Department of Labor, Vol. 14. Washington, DC: GPO, January 1898, pp. 1-38.
Secondary Source:
In the "Notes" section of The Yale Review, Vol. 6 (February 1898) we find an anonymously written piece, "The Bulletins of the Department of Labor". The one-paragraph note indicates the social-scientific importance of The Negroes of Farmville, Virginia, but does not refer to Du Bois by name (p. 437):
      The Bulletins of the Department of Labor for November, 1897, and January, 1898, contain valuable studies of especial classes of the population. The former has articles on the Italians in Chicago, and on the Anthracite Mine Laborers, while the latter treats in a special paper of the Negroes of Farmville. These special studies are a valuable supplement to the general statistics published by the Department of Labor as well as by the Census Bureau for the entire country. Mass figures, if they are to be made of any use, must be interpreted in the light of detailed study of specific classes and localities, and Col. Wright is giving great value to the Bulletin of the Department of Labor by inspiring such investigations.    [Note: With the exception of the boldface at the beginning of this short note, nothing else was put in bold or even italic lettering.  — RWW]
Page 437 in the full text of the periodical (at Google Books)
Related Information:
Charles Edward Burrell, in his A History of Prince Edward County, Virginia, from Its Formation in 1753 to the Present (Richmond, VA: Williams Printing Co.,1922), covered the history of the county in which Farmville is located. While Burrell discussed African Americans in the county (search for the word "Negro"), his overall -- and patronizing -- perspective is evident in his justification of the disfranchisement of African American males (see, e.g., pp. 191, 192-3, 203, 360). The work is available at the Internet Archive: download page.
Background Source: 
"Interview with Bancroft Winner Melvin Patrick Ely" (dated 23 May 2005):
Dr. Ely [faculty page 1; page 2] discusses the African American town of Israel Hill -- a town where Du Bois had conducted some of the sociological work that was published in his Negroes of Farmville, Virginia (1898). Ed Pompeian is the interviewer, asking questions about Ely's Israel on the Appomattox: A Southern Experiment in Black Freedom from the 1790s Through the Civil War (NY: Knopf, 2004). The interview is posted at the History News Network site (sponsored by George Mason University):
The Philadelphia Negro. 1899. This is Du Bois' path-breaking book of social research on African Americans in an urban environment.
"A Negro Schoolmaster in the New South." 1899. This was the basis for Ch. IV in DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk.
"The Negro in the Black Belt: Some Social Sketches" [NBBS]. Bulletin of the Department of Labor, No.22. Washington, DC: GPO (May 1899): pp.401-417. Students of Atlanta University gathered data for this report, which Du Bois acknowledged within the document.
Contemporary Sources related to "The Negro in the Black Belt"

• The Boston Evening Transcript (7 June 1899: p.10, col.5) printed a summary of the NBBS entitled "A Study of the Negro; Interesting Sketch of Types in the South". It was a "Special to the Transcript" written by someone named "Lincoln" and included several long quotations from the NBBS. The article also presented the following biographical sketch:
  Dr. Dubois [sic] is an instructor in Atlanta University, but is perhaps principally known by reason of his close-range studies of the negro [sic] in various parts of the United States. He is perhaps the most scholarly colored [sic] man in this country, and as such his observations and conclusions are entitled to great weight.
[The article at the Google News Archive]

• In the New York Times (17 July 1899; p.3) an anonymous writer published a review of the NBBS. Entitled "Negro Life in the South" , the news article contained an extensive set of subtitles: "A Study of the Residents of the Georgia 'Black Belt.' Much Depravity Is Found. Whisky, Tobacco, and Snuff Used to Excess—The People in the Towns Better than in the Country."
[Citation page at the New York Times Archives (free registration is required to view or download the ~121 KB PDF file of the news article)]

The American Monthly Review of Reviews [20:1 (July 1899): p.11] noted anonymously the NBBS as "giving statistical information about groups of negro [sic] families in certain towns and villages of Georgia and Alabama."
[Page 111 at Google Books]

• Kelly Miller published "The Education of the Negro" as Chapter XVI in the U.S. Dept. of Interior Annual Report, FY Ending 1901; Report of the Com­mis­sioner of Education, v.1 (1902): pp.731-859. He provided a synopsis of the NBBS, summarizing the findings for the different locales studied (at pp.777-778).
[Page 777 at Google Books]
  [As part of a brief bio of Du Bois, Kelly Miller wrote" "Mr. Du Bois has done more to give scientific accuracy and method to the study of the race question than any other American who has essayed to deal with it." (p.859).]
  [DuBois's Farmville study is summarized also: pp.775-777.]

• John R. Commons briefly outlined the sociological and geographical scope of the NBBS in his article "Racial Composition of the American People: The Negro" published in The Chautauquan (8:3, November 1903: pp.223-234) at p.234.
[Page 234 at Google Books]

Bibliographies referencing "The Negro in the Black Belt"

Studies in American Social Conditions—2: The Negro Problem. Edited by Richard Henry Edwards. (Madison, WI: s.n., December 1908). Under a section heading, "What are the Negro's social, moral, and religious condi­tions?", Edwards briefly noted NBBS provided "Interesting social sketches." [p.23]. In crafting the bibliography Edwards acknowledged the assistance and approval of Du Bois himself, among others (pp.13-14). Also note that many of DuBois's other works were included within the bibliography (between pp.15-32).
[Start page at Google Books]

• In Social Progress: A Year Book and Encyclopedia of Economic, Industrial, Social and Religious Statistics 1905, edited by Josiah Strong (NY: Baker and Taylor, Publishers, 1905) we find an anonymously written piece on "Bureaus of Labor" (pp.259-260) which contains a section on "The [U.S.] Department of Commerce and Labor." That section contained a subsection entitled "Leading Articles of the Bulletin" in which the NBBS was listed (p.260).
[Page 260 at Google Books]

• G.W.W. Hanger wrote an entry on "Labor Bureaus" for the The New Encyclopedia of Social Reform, edited by William D. P. Bliss (NY: Funk & Wagnalls, 1908): pp.675-677, which contained a subsection, "Some Leading Articles of the Bulletin", published by what he called the "U.S. Federal Department of Labor". Listed therein was the NBBS (p.676). This subsection is very similar to the one in the Social Progress yearbook (see above).
[Page 676 at Google Books]

• "Books for Negro Study Groups" appeared in several issues of Madison Hall Notes (University of Virginia). The NBBS was specifically listed in v.8, n.22 (15 February 1913): p.2.
[The NBBS listed on Page 2 at Google Books]
  [Note also that, among other authors's books, many of DuBois's works were included on the lists of "Books for Negro Study Groups"; visit:
* Madison Hall Notes, v.8, n.25 (8 March 1913): p.2
* Madison Hall Notes, v.8, n.26 (15 March 1913): pp.1-2.]

"The Twelfth Census and the Negro Problems" (1900) was published in The Southern Workman, 29:5 (May): pp.305-309. Du Bois discussed how the next decennial Census could, and should, collect even more useful data on African Americans.
"To the Nations of the World" -- Address at the 1900 Pan-African Conference. Initially conceived and then organized by H. Sylvester Williams, a Trinidadian-born lawyer practicing in London, the Pan-African Conference (sometimes called Pan-African Congress) was held in London from July 23 to 25, 1900. After participating in the 1900 Paris Exposition, Du Bois attended this conference, which also included Anna Julia Cooper. A.M.E. Zion Bishop Alexander Walters was elected to preside. Du Bois chaired the "Committee on Address to the Nations of the World," which was designated to craft a document to be sent to colonial governments.
     Du Bois read "To the Nations of the World" on the closing day of the conference. The colonial powers were asked to preserve the independence of the free peoples of Africa and African descent, and to treat humanely their subjects in Africa and of African heritage around the world. The address is also notable for the second sentence of its first paragraph (which is quoted in its entirety here):

     "In the metropolis of the modern world, in this the closing year of the Nineteenth Century, there has been assembled a Congress of men and women of African blood, to deliberate solemnly upon the present situation and outlook of the darker races of mankind. The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line, the question as to how far differences of race, which show themselves chiefly in the color of the skin and the texture of the hair, are going to be made, hereafter, the basis of denying to over half the world the right of sharing to their utmost ability the opportunities and privileges of modern civilization."

 The "problem of the color line" later appeared in Du Bois' "The Freedmen's Bureau" (1901) and in Chapter 2 of The Souls of Black Folk (1903).

1900 Paris Exposition (Exposition Universelle Internationale de 1900)
"The Evolution of Negro Leadership." 1901. This DuBoisian book review of Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery became part of Chapter III in Souls.
"The Relation of the Negroes to the Whites in the South." This essay, originally published July 1901, was the basis for Ch. IX, "Of the Sons of Master and Man," in Du Bois' Souls.
"The Talented Tenth." 1903. Pp. 33-75 (Ch. 2) in The Negro Problem: A Series of Articles by Representative American Negroes of To-day, by Booker T. Washington, et al. (New York: James Pott and Company, 1903).
Primary Source by a Contemporary: 
The Rev. Henry Lyman Morehouse wrote an essay in 1896 that is considered to have originated the term, the "talented tenth". Initially published in the periodical, The Independent (23 April 1896, p.1), Morehouse's "The Talented Tenth" can be found in The American Missionary, 50:6 (June 1896): pp.182-183, which is the provenance of the essay found on this website.
Secondary Source: 
In the "Talented Tenth", an encyclopedia entry by Dr. Christopher George Buck [home page], Buck compares DuBois's use of the idea of a Talented Tenth with Alain Locke's more international application of it. The citation: pp.1295-7 in Richard T. Schaefer (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society, v.3 (Sage Publications, 2008).
Du Bois published his review of The Negro in Africa and America by Joseph A. Tillinghast in the Political Science Quarterly, 18:4 (December 1903): 695-697.
"The Atlanta Conferences". 1904. DuBois originally published this essay in Voice of the Negro, Vol. 1, No. 3 (March 1904): 85-90.
"The Development of a People". 1904. Du Bois published this essay in the International Journal of Ethics, Vol.14, No.3 (April 1904): pp.292-311. He analyzed the factors that promoted—and that would continue to promote, he argued—a racial group on the path to social progress. He summarized his analysis thusly:

     Let me for a moment recapitulate. In the life of advancing peoples there must go on simultaneously a struggle for existence, accumulation of wealth, education of the young, and a development in culture and the higher things of life. The more backward the nation the larger sum of effort goes into the struggle for existence; the more forward the nation the larger and broader is the life of the spirit. For guidance, in taking these steps in civilization, the nation looks to four sources: the precepts of parents, the sight of seers, the opinion of the majority and the traditions of the past.  [Par.37]

"The Negro Farmer" by W.E. Burghardt Du Bois. 1904.
(Original citation: Pp. 69-98 in U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor. Bureau of the Census. Negroes in the United States. Bulletin 8. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904).
    Du Bois' piece is the second of two essays plus many pages of data in tabular format -- all of which utilized data from the 1900 U.S. Census (the Twelfth Census). The first essay was written by Walter F. Willcox; it is entitled "The Negro Population" (pp. 11-68) and summarizes demographic and occupational data gathered from the 1900 U.S. Census.
    In his essay Du Bois examined a variety of data, including farm distribution by geographic region, the sources of farm income, and the classification of farms by land tenure. He pointed out that in many Southern states Black farmers contributed much to the rural economy, especially through their operation of farms (p. 91).
Secondary Source:
Charles D. Edgerton. Review of Negroes in the United States. By Walter F. Willcox and W. E. Burghardt Du Bois. Bulletin 8, Bureau of the Census. Washington, 1904 [Citation: Publications of the American Statistical Association, New Series, v. IX, No. 69, (March 1905): 182-191].
    In general, Edgerton commended the new data published in the report by Willcox and Du Bois, as well as the useful ways in which the presentation of the data made comparisons over time and region easier (p. 183). He made suggestions about data that should be collected during later censuses. Regarding Du Bois and the necessity for a "textual interpretation" of census data, Edgerton wrote:
      No man, perhaps, is better equipped than Professor Du Bois to interpret the economic situation of the negro peasantry. Not so much because he possesses some negro blood, and under our social conventions is accounted a negro. He was born in Massachusetts, not among the cabins of the cotton kingdom; and his spiritual affinity, if not with his white kin rather than his black, is at least with the instructed rather than the simple. But, after his sociological training at Harvard and Berlin, and after his service at the University of Pennsylvania, he turned to work for the negroes of the South. He has studied their condition with a trained eye and a passionate interest. He has been the moving spirit of the Atlanta negro conferences. He has directed the valuable investigations of special topics, such as the college-bred negro, the negro common schools, and negroes in business, the results of which have been published by Atlanta University. His more personal observations and conclusions have been given in various magazines, and in his book, "The Souls of Black Folk." His studies illuminate those data of the agricultural census which most need to be interpreted in the light of facts beyond the field of the enumerator, -- such data as those of ownership, forms of tenancy, and sizes of farms.
   [Notes: Quotation is located on pp. 188-189. Also to be stated is that "Negro" was not capitalized in the original.  — RWW]  [Start page]
"Sociology Hesitant." Ca. 1904-1905. This is an unpublished document that scholars have determined was composed by Du Bois somewhere in late 1904 or early 1905. It is an important text that allows us to explore Du Bois's views on social science, including sociology's unit of analysis as well as his understanding of sociological laws in relation to human free will. The Credo online database, housed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst library, contains page facsimiles of the typescript, along with pencil corrections and Du Bois's signature at the end of the document.
"The Individual and Social Conscience." 1905. This primary source by Du Bois resulted from his participation as a discussant at the Third Annual Convention of the Religious Education Association which convened in Boston during February 1905. The piece was originally untitled and was Du Bois's contribution to a session on the theme "How Can We Develop in the Individual a Social Conscience?"
"Atlanta University." 1905. In the American Unitarian Association, From Servitude To Service: Being the Old South Lectures on the History and Work of Southern Institutions for the Education of the Negro (Boston: American Unitarian Association, pp.155-197).
"Address to the Country" [ATTC] (a.k.a. "Address to the Nation" or the Niagara Movement Address). 1906. Du Bois wrote the ATTC for the Second Annual Meeting of the Niagara Movement, which was held at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, in mid-August 1906. It was published in the New York Times on 20 August 1906.
Page on this web site with the ATTC text published in The Broad Ax, a Chicago newspaper (Vol. XI, No. 44 (August 25, 1906) at p.1), as well as versions (re-)arranged via my digital humanities project, Retextualizer.
"Die Negerfrage in den Vereinigten Staaten." 1906. Translated as "The Negro Question in the United States" by Joseph G. Fracchia and published in New Centennial Review (v.6, n.3 (2006): pp. 241-290). DuBois originally published this essay in Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik, v.22 (January 1906): pp. 31-79.
    In this long essay, Du Bois continued his practice of using different publishing venues to communicate information about African Americans, especially the progress made in economic and educational terms as well as the impediments to African American success within U.S. society and politics. He provided an overview of the economic history of blacks in America, first in terms of a slave economy, and later under different forms of tenant farming. He analyzed the negative consequences of the convict labor system, especially with regard to its tendency to undermine the legitimacy of the criminal justice system due to the sham legal proceedings often associated with it (p. 256). Du Bois also offered details on the industrial condition of Blacks with particular emphasis on labor unions and the discriminatory practices of some unions. Turning to political history he covered the long struggle for voting rights and the various ways that African Americans had been hindered from exercising their franchise, including those practiced by state governments. Du Bois explicitly connected race, class, and politics: "[T]he fact that there is in America a proscribed race also makes it easier to proscribe classes, and class privileges are responsible for the fact that Negroes find deaf ears for their wishes." (p. 284)
    DuBois ended with a moral appeal grounded in the data that he had presented throughout the essay (p. 287):

    The fact of racial antipathy is as old as the interaction of people with one another. But the history of the centuries is the history of the discovery of the human soul and in every age the curse of the average person was his own narrowness, his blindness toward the riches that surrounded him, the notion that his own narrow heart and his small mind are the measure and borders of the universe. Above all in our days we do not want to forget the trivial observation that even in the nooks and alleys, and under threadbare clothing, lay hidden riches and depths of human life that we will perhaps never experience in ourselves.
    In the struggle for his human rights the American Negro relies above all on the feeling of justice in the civilized world. We are no barbarians or heathen, we are educable and our education is increasing; our economic abilities have proven themselves. We too want to have our chance in life. Whoever wants to get acquainted with our living conditions, be welcome; we demand nothing other than that one gets acquainted with us honestly and face to face, and does not judge us according to hearsay or according to the verdict of our despisers.

 Note by Robert Williams:

 Joseph Fracchia [department page] offers us a nicely rendered translation; he appends several translator's endnotes that amplify or clarify several aspects of the original DuBoisian text. The translation is contained within a special issue of the New Centennial Review on Du Bois that is edited by Nahum Dimitri Chandler. Other pieces in this issue are written by Nahum D. Chandler, Hortense J. Spillers, Nicole A. Waligora-Davis, Rebecka Rutledge Fisher, Karen E. Fields, and Jeremy W. Pope. The entire issue and individual articles can be purchased either in print form or else in downloadable PDF files. For purchases one would need first to use the "Table of Contents" drop-down menu list located on the navigation bar and select "Volume 6, Number 3 (2006)". After the contents of that particular issue are displayed, one then can make purchase choices.

[W.E.B. Du Bois's Reply] (1906) is an untitled response to the question "What's Next; or, Shall a Man Live Again?" that seems to have been sent to numerous persons by Clara Spalding Ellis (Introduction). As was written on the title page:

"The great question answered by two hundred living Americans of prominence in politics; in the army and navy; in science, art, music and literature; in the mercantile world; in the professions; and in the chairs of universities. An expression from secular life only (the views of all clergymen being excluded.)"

The replies were compiled in a book published by Ellis as What's Next; or, Shall a Man Live Again? (Boston: The Gorham Press, 1906).
     Du Bois's brief reply (perhaps written by him or received by Ellis in January 1904) is presented here verbatim and in its entirety:

W. E. B. Du Bois, A. M., Ph.D., Professor of Economics and History, Atlanta University. January 30, 1904.

I have a thousand years of work laid out before me. And each year as it flies leaves the vision of another thousand. I should like to live to finish all this; it seems reasonable that I should; I hope I may. [p.46]

Atlanta, Ga.

     There does not appear to be a reference to Clara Spalding Ellis in the Du Bois Papers' Finding Aid (University of Massachusetts Library).
"The Economic Revolution in the South


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