W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography 1868-1963

W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography 1868-1963

Language: English

Pages: 912

ISBN: 0805088059

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of W. E. B. Du Bois from renowned scholar David Levering Lewis, now in one condensed and updated volume

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois―the premier architect of the civil rights movement in America―was a towering and controversial personality, a fiercely proud individual blessed with the language of the poet and the impatience of the agitator. Now, David Levering Lewis has carved one volume out of his superlative two-volume biography of this monumental figure that set the standard for historical scholarship on this era. In his magisterial prose, Lewis chronicles Du Bois's long and storied career, detailing the momentous contributions to our national character that still echo today.
W.E.B. Du Bois is a 1993 and 2000 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction and the winner of the 1994 and 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

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well-phrased chronicling of John Brown, the biography was much more an allegory than a critical study. Du Bois endeavored passionately to convey to the twentieth century the meaning of the life of the wrathful, violent abolitionist. “Has John Brown no message—no legacy, then?” the author asked rhetorically in the closing pages. “He has and it is this great word: the cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” Du Bois had said as much in The Suppression of the African Slave Trade, but

democracy. Especially does the party realize that a group of 10,000,000 people who have in a generation changed from a slave to a free labor system, reestablished family life, accumulated $1,000,000,000 [in] property, including 20,000,000 acres of land, and reduced their illiteracy from 80 to 30 per cent, deserve and must have justice, opportunity and a voice in their own government. The party, therefore, demands for the American of Negro descent the repeal of unfair discriminatory laws and the

by Marshall’s Hotel (where he frequently took meals), the famous African-American establishment memorably recaptured by James Weldon Johnson in Black Manhattan. Marshall’s gaslit rooms drew the likes of “Diamond” Jim Brady, Bert Williams, Lillian Russell, Florenz Ziegfeld, and Will Marion Cook. Du Bois gleaned most of the facts about the sensational Washington affair shortly after the story broke, and very likely in the Marshall dining room. The Wizard’s costly mistake, Du Bois thought, had been

MS—ch. 4, “Volunteer Transplant,” p. 5. “… a mere millionaire?”: W.E.B. Du Bois to Mary White Ovington, Nov. 8, 1904, Ovington Collection/Reuther Library/WSU; also Aptheker, ed., Correspondence, I, p. 78. 8. Ovington’s evolving socialism: Wedin, Ovington MS—ch. 4, “Volunteer Transplant,” pp. 1–6. Phipps money for Ovington’s settlement house: Ovington to W.E.B. Du Bois, Jan. 25, 1905, Du Bois Papers/U. Mass.; Ovington, The Walls Came Tumbling Down, p. 34. 9. “… conscientious study of the

although they were probably not especially charmed by it. Unlike the affable Morgan, or wealthy William Monroe Trotter, a cocky Bostonian about to enter Harvard, Du Bois was never capable of mixing comfortably with his white classmates. The few efforts he made left bruises. There was the glee club rejection his first year and mention of other club rebuffs. He would have given his eyeteeth to write for the Harvard Monthly but was certain that the editors “were not interested in [his] major

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