“Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in my own house?” W.E.B Du Bois exclaimed in his essay, Of Our Spiritual Strivings, as he pondered being a problem: a seventh son after other civilizations. The Negro watched Indians, Romans, Greeks, and Mongolians take a position of authority over the simple Negro. This white world reminded the Negroes of their inferiority, yet promised them a place with God if they behaved. And though early playground rejections would impact his later pathology toward Negro radicalism, it was his sense of understanding that equality in America could be achieved, though by his death, Du Bois concluded America was not ready for the Negro.
Du Bois shaped this double-consciousness as a sense of racial awareness and the veil; it was within this metaphorical Veil that Black people faced oppression. In order to deal with oppression and themselves as a race, Negroes must become aware of the Veil. This point seems silly in that who would be unaware of their oppression; however, Du Bois speaks to years of Jim Crow, sharecropping, and tenant farming in which the Negro’s labor and welfare were exploited. Du Bois’s Veil was expressed in the literary piece, Invisible Man; here, Ralph Ellison introduces the American conscious to a Negro mind that becomes aware of why he was oppressed.
This declaration was made after Ellison and a white man accidentally collided on the streets of New York. As Ellison sought to help the white man up, he screamed nigger at him; in a sense of frustration, Ellison reached for his knife to stab the man. It was at this moment the Veil was lifted; he knew he was an invisible man. White society. Du Bois and other Black actors sought to challenge the normative process that white America could shape the Negro into a proto post-American slavery slave.
As I further my study of W.E.B. Du Bois — I am keenly forced to address his adoption of communism as a ubiquitous form of egalitarian, righteous, and progressive truth. From Karl Marx to Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” the reality of the Black mind and how Black thinkers and activist reshape society dominates my study, teaching, and academic engagement. Hence I place greater value on my labor as it is myself and the rest of the talented tenth who must educate other Black folk on their obligation to the race — but also to remind whites of their daily actions and sense of being imprisoned by the lies of liberalism and social justice. This my friends are the things that divide us. We are not alike. I am not like you. And I will remind you of this at our next conference, in my papers, as I march across campuses, in protest, and while traveling from coast line to coast line. Ending this divide requires a level of work few are ready for.
Remembering the 50 anniversary of the assassination of King and the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968, which brought King to Memphis.#IAM2018 I AM A Man — by Ernest Withers, who captured this moving piece so that I get to show and teach my students daily about human dignity. The late Withers spoke on the Brooks campus twice.
Here at the African American Intellectual History Society Conference hosted by Brandeis University.
We are set to give papers on our panel theme: “W. E. B. Du Bois’s Black Thought at 150: History, Memory, Literature & Politics.”
I have posted this before, but it merits another posting seeing the contentious fear of outsiders seeking to be insiders. Yet, outsiders must be invited and, often and as sad as this image denote, must confirm to those who are the insiders. If we are thinking about true diversity…insiders must allow outsiders to be themselves. Thus, code switching to meet what insiders deem as dominant values must be reconsider. If mot you have diverse faces conforming to the reality of those who decide who can enter the door.
It was exciting being a participant at the Clark Atlanta University symposium. I was thankful that the university was able to award me funding. Joined by friends and colleagues, I was able to engage and learn from a number of top scholars in the field of history, sociology, religion, and African-American Studies. I was excited by how well my paper was received by the audience. And, I was able to get some feedback on my research as I further develop my arguments.
As seen above, I am discussing my paper that reflects a more traditional W.E.B. Du Bois. I will not comment much on my work here, but it was exciting sharing space with other academics seeking to advance their understanding of the past, and how reflecting on the past can bring about some resolutions to the problems of the 21st century.
On the final day of the symposium, Phil (pictured here to the left and Sho to the right) and I arranged to have coffee with artist Sho Baraka, who authored his lyrical album Talented Tenth—after that of W.E.B. Du Bois. This brotha is gifted. I am a fan. Better yet, I am in hopes of bringing him to Brooks campus to speak and perform. We were also recruiting him to write for a peer-reviewed journal we are editing.