“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.
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.”
During the week of 2/19 – 2/23, the online forum Black Perspectives is publishing a roundtable of essays from academics and thought leaders addressing the 150th anniversary of W.E.B. Du Bois. My essay addresses a Communist Du Bois and sympathetic King to socialism. It is titled “Race, Religion, & Radicalism: Martin Luther King Jr. and W.E.B. Du Bois.” I explore their juxtaposition of a radical Christian message to their radical walk, as they and Christ despised capitalism and its greed. This is a public forum opened to those who may know little about our academic work and topics. Read more about the forum and the authors here.
I was reading the New Testament book of Matthew yesterday on the birth of Jesus Christ. Many Christians proclaim a desire to live a life of Christ. In reading Matthew, here in the Christmas season, it is clear that Jesus was seeking refuge from King Herod, in regions that made him an undocumented person. I just read a study on the number of evangelical Christians who favor Trump because he will keep folks out and deport others. Ephesians 2:14, ” For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has torn down the dividing wall of hostility”. Would you deport Jesus? Preachers — be radical this Christmas and take your church to the next level and aim to bring radicals to the pew. Be like Christ here. The 21st century church must disavow its complacency and promulgate equality through radical preachers with radical members who love people more than capitalism and party idolatry, and who will subscribe to what Psalm 82: 3-4 notes: “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
In the Gospel according to Mary Brown and her child Joshua, who represents one of W.E.B. Du Bois’s Black biblical characters, he found comfort among those who were societal outcasts. He, who was [the Black] Jesus Christ, marched with the poor, with sinners, and communists; however, whites did not embrace this Christ. Better yet, the white South lynched this Christ because they could not accept a Christ that accepted all people. Because of this, the very people who awaited him – the Christian South, killed Joshua.
At the young age of 82, W.E.B. Du Bois, founder of the NAACP, Pan-Africanism, professor, and member of the Communist Party USA, offered this Thanksgiving prayer:
“Give us thankful hearts, O God, in this the season of Thy Thanksgiving. May we be thankful for health and strength, for sun and rain and peace. Let us seize the day and the opportunity and strive for that greatness of spirit that measures life not by its disappointments but by its possibilities, and let us ever remember that true gratitude and appreciation shows itself neither in independence nor satisfaction but passes the gift joyfully on in larger and better form. Such gratitude grant us, O Lord. Amen.”–Psalm 100