One of my upper-school administrators gave me an article published from the wire report in the Houston Chronicle about W.E.B. Du Bois. I have written a few conference papers about Du Bois, and I teach and disseminate his writings frequently in my courses. I first read his Souls of Black Folk while a junior in high school. Thus, my interest in him comes from his intellectual curiosity and his activism against the democracy of racism that was so inculcated in American culture. As I have noted on this blog before, Du Bois is “perceived” as a radical by those who cannot understand the plight of 20th century blacks in an undemocratic society once called Jim Crow America. In my classes, I try to emphasize to students how important it is that they do not conform to rules of textbooks and tradition, but to explore truths in a deconstructing way. Hence, the truly bright ones might one day eradicate falsities that have contributed to the problem of the 21st century. 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.
Though I am currently working on a book about Du Bois and have read a number of works about him, I still find some but not many faults in him for abandoning America in the 1950s. He set sail for Ghana in self-exile as a member of the Communist Party. However, this action and his writings, do not make him a radical. He was a communist; he was a communist for many good reasons; I think he is being honored because he championed a vanguard of academics and civil rights advocates. Du Bois literally transformed the concept of race and class in America.
According to a recent report:
“He’s the most famous son of a quit mountain hamlet in western Massachusetts. But until recently, people looking for signs of W.E.B. Du Bois’s life and legacy in Great Barrington would have had a hard time finding them. The Civil rights activists and black scholar is set to be featured prominently as the town readies to celebrate its 250th birthday. In addition, a portion of the River Walk has been named in his honor and organizers are planning a Du Bois guided-tour of the town. In previous years, almost all planned events or projects were met with resistance by residents upset over his radical views and membership in the Communist Party.