Quotes by: W. E. B. Du Bois
No universal selfishness can bring social good to all. Communism - the effort to give all men what they need and to ask of each the best they can contribute - this is the only way of human life.
For most people, it is enough for the world to know that they aspire. The world does not ask what their aspirations are, trusting that those aspirations are for the best and greatest things. But with regard to the Negroes in America, there is a feeling that their aspirations in some way are not consistent with the great ideals.
After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, - a world which yields him no self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world.
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.
It can be safely asserted that since early Colonial times, the North has had a distinct race problem. Every one of these States had slaves, and at the beginning of Washington's Administration, there were 40,000 black slaves and 17,000 black freemen in this section.
Before and after emancipation, the Negro, in self-defense, was propelled toward the white employer. The endowments of wealthy white men have developed great institutions of learning for the Negro, but the freedom of action on the part of these same universities has been curtailed in proportion as they are indebted to white philanthropies.
The slavery of Negroes in the South was not usually a deliberately cruel and oppressive system. It did not mean systematic starvation or murder.
Make yourself do unpleasant things so as to gain the upper hand of your soul.
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.
Before the Civil War, the Negro was certainly as efficient a workman as the raw immigrant from Ireland or Germany. But, whereas the Irishmen found economic opportunity wide and daily growing wider, the Negro found public opinion determined to 'keep him in his place.'
Like Nemesis of Greek tragedy, the central problem of America after the Civil War, as before, was the black man: those four million souls whom the nation had used and degraded, and on whom the South had built an oligarchy similar to the colonial imperialism of today, erected on cheap colored labor and raising raw material for manufacture.
Reconstruction was a vast labor movement of ignorant, muddled, and bewildered white men who had been disinherited of land and labor and fought a long battle with sheer subsistence, hanging on the edge of poverty, eating clay and chasing slaves and now lurching up to manhood.
Most men today cannot conceive of a freedom that does not involve somebody's slavery.
But what of black women?... I most sincerely doubt if any other race of women could have brought its fineness up through so devilish a fire.
If the leading Negro classes cannot assume and bear the uplift of their own proletariat, they are doomed for all time. It is not a case of ethics; it is a plain case of necessity. The method by which this may be done is, first, for the American Negro to achieve a new economic solidarity.
The power of the ballot we need in sheer defense, else what shall save us from a second slavery?
If there is anybody in this land who thoroughly believes that the meek shall inherit the earth they have not often let their presence be known.
School houses do not teach themselves - piles of brick and mortar and machinery do not send out men. It is the trained, living human soul, cultivated and strengthened by long study and thought, that breathes the real breath of life into boys and girls and makes them human, whether they be black or white, Greek, Russian or American.
To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.