Writer, Teacher, Civil Rights Spokesman (1868-1963)
Many of the people in this book point out again and again two important truths: 1. We must use our imaginations to consider what other peoples lives are like and remember they are people just like us who want the same out of life. When we do that, we wont want to exploit them. We will want to be in partnership with them. If we dont do that, we lose our own humanity. And, 2. When we fail to grant other people their full humanity, they become merely objects in the way of our needs and profit. Wood or bananas, oil or water, well take it, by force if necessary, when we think that we are more deserving.
W.E.B. DuBois recognized that poverty and race were the major problems of the twentieth century. He said: To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships. And he helped describe for whites and blacks how divided an African-American can feel in the United States: One ever feels his twoness—-an American, a Negro, two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings, two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
Born in western Massachusetts, W.E.B. DuBois was educated at Fisk, Harvard and the University of Berlin. A list of his writings covers forty-five pages, but it is The Souls of Black Folk (1903), a collection of essays, sketches and musical passages, that established him as one of the preeminent voices (along with Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Martin Luther King, Jr.) in the twentieth-century movement for justice and equality. For more than sixty years he brought intelligence, scholarly integrity and moral purpose to an unequaled striving for racial understanding and equality for all races.