It has long been one of my life goals to join the ranks of the Talented Tenth. I hope to do this by making contributions to the thinking of my community and by advancing the thought processes of my students; it is important that they not conform to rules of textbooks and tradition, but to extrapolate both truths in a deconstructive way as well falsities that will permit them to challenge the problems of the 21st century. W.E.B. Du Bois concluded that this problem is one of race and economics: “for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line”-a prescient statement. Setting out to show to the reader the strange meaning of being black here in the dawning of the Twentieth Century,Du Bois explains the meaning of the emancipation, and its effect, and his views on the role of the leaders of his race.
What is the Talented Tenth?
It states (read all of it here): The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men. The problem of education, then, among Negroes must first of all deal with the Talented Tenth; it is the problem of developing the Best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own and other races. Now the training of men is a difficult and intricate task. Its technique is a matter for educational experts, but its object is for the vision of seers. If we make money the object of man-training, we shall develop money-makers but not necessarily men; if we make technical skill the object of education, we may possess artisans but not, in nature, men. Men we shall have only as we make manhood the object of the work of the schools � intelligence, broad sympathy, knowledge of the world that was and is, and of the relation of men to it � this is the curriculum of that Higher Education which must underlie true life. On this foundation we may build bread winning, skill of hand and quickness of brain, with never a fear lest the child and man mistake the means of living for the object of life.