What Are You Working On?

Working Title and Paper: Revisiting the Problem of the Twentieth Century: Will Evangelical and Faith-Based Schools Mend the Color Line in the Twenty-First Century?

Currently, my most recent research and writing project explores WEB Du Bois’s notion of the color line; he noted that the problem of the 20th century was that of the color line. I have spent the past two years doing archival work on Du Bois in an effort to construct a document reader, one that I am co-authoring. Drawing from my archival work, the basic premise of my current paper explores the letters, writings, and publications via The Crisis in which Du Bois addressed the academic and religious divide among blacks and whites in society, as well as in education. Du Bois continued to add tension to the conversation by putting into question his sense of religiosity. His sense of faith brings in various debates regarding his belief in God…and not just among whites – but blacks, too. His faith mixed in with his Marxist leanings creates an interesting topic regarding the color line, education, and the Negro plight.

The initial point of my work explores Du Bois and his construction as it relates to race, faith, and education. It transitions into the late 20th and early 21st century as I attempt to analyze the question of the color line. My paper will be of most interest to many in that it attempts to highlight the concept of racial identity; it will address matters of multi-ethnicity as more than a modern phenomenon and a novel condition. Drawing from the age of Du Bois to the 1960’s origin that defined black as beautiful, black Americans sought a sense of pride and unity in their hair and cultural make-up. Thus, with a rising number of blacks attending college, a bourgeois attitude towards race, faith, and culture became cemented. However, the following 40 years witnessed a shift in which black American’s “sense” of self declined due to the values assigned by various member in society. Much like in the age of Du Bois, black thinkers and members of the black community have witnessed a shift in religious beliefs, class expectations, and behavioral norms.

The question of community and self brings back to light the notion of the color line in the 21st century. Students and faculty members of color have often been predicated on the notion of self-worth. This is noted in popular culture and is systematic in independent schools in which mainstream values are defined for them: language, dress, faith, and ideology. These latter components create newly minted historical questions of historical phenomena that should be debated among scholars and within the environment of independent schools. Hence, the challenges faced by Du Bois are still present. The question of evangelical and faith-based schools mending those challenges is explored in this work.

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