W. E. B. Du Bois: “Agitation”


W. E. B. Du Bois came of age during the nadir of race relations in the United States. The gains that African Americans had achieved during Reconstruction were undone as segregation became the standard across the country, southern states denied blacks the right to vote or participate in the political process, and the nation was swept by an epidemic of racial violence, especially in the form of lynching. Du Bois himself, despite his superior education and record of scholarship, could not obtain a faculty position in a “white” college or university. This was the reality that Du Bois confronted as he began his career as a professor and intellectual, and he chose to address the era’s racial injustice with his pen. Various documents trace the development and evolution of his political thought from the beginning of his career in the late nineteenth century to his resignation from the NAACP in 1934. In 1910 Du Bois published the essay “Agitation,” arguing for the active...

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W. E. B. Du Bois (Library of Congress)

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