W.E.B. Du Bois’s “Black Reconstruction in America”

The following piece was published in the December ’07 issue of Internationl Socialist Review and reviewed by Keeanga-Yamahtt Taylor.

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6 thoughts on “W.E.B. Du Bois’s “Black Reconstruction in America”

  1. Hey Carson, next week sometime, if you are not travelling the world waving papers at academics, I want you to pick out an iconic DuBois text for me to read. I heard mixed references to him when I was at PVAMU, and want to read for myself. Who knows, maybe I’ll finish this book in time for you to finish “My Grandfather’s Son” and we can chat it up over some java.

  2. That sounds like a great idea Jim; I am writing an essay review for a journal on Edward Blum’s book on Du Bois and David Lewis’ work; I am running behind due to class stuff but should have it done this week and ready to send off; I am going to run some of it here on this blog; I will get you a copy. I have an extra copy of Blum’s book that you should read. Go to the section called academic blogs and read the American Religion Blog. Blum, Stephens, Baker, Harvey and Fea have written a number of pieces. Here is the link. Oh, I leave for Rochester, New York on the 26th of this month.

    I hope to start on Thomas’ book this week; it is not the tome I am reading now (Lewis book), so I suspect I will get it read in two days. I usually eat books for breakfast so I should be able to do the same with this one. Of course Thomas book will probably upset my stomach some.

  3. I just can’t share in your idol-worship of Du Bois. There’s something about a man who was in lock-step with Sanger on eugenics, openly admired Stalin, supported Imperial Japanese aggression against China and Manchuria from a colonial-racist perspective, and who joined the Communist party and renounced his US citizenship. I am opposed to the entire concept of pan-Africanism, because I find it inherently racist.

    Of course I can appreciate certain aspects of a man while deploring others, but what are your opinions regarding those stances Du Bois took that I listed above? I’m interested in just how much you respect the man.

  4. Beo,

    I like your comment, I first read Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folks as a high school student. I found his understanding and criticism of the race problem to be historically true; his attack of white supremacy reflected the continual 20th century problem; he is the quintessential black intellectual. He looked at America and saw racism; he looked at democracy and saw a farce; he looked at Jim Crow and saw evil. I will admit that he did not know about the atrocity under Stalin…but who did. FDR loved Stalin; however, as was the case for many blacks who made up the vanguard of the intelligentsia, they saw something better in Communist Russia than democratic America. We have come long way since then.

    Pan-Africanism was bigger during the period of Jim Crowism. Imagine being black in America. You were a second class citizen. As a black urban youth, Du Bois was my sports star; he was not perfect.

    I must admit I did not know about the Sanger issue. I will look into it.

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