Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Quote of the Evening

"'Do you trust white people?' You do not and you know that you do not, much as you want to; yet you rise and lie and say you do; you must say it for her salvation and the world's; you repeat that she must trust them, that most white folks are honest, and all the while you are lying and every level, silent eye there knows you are lying, and miserably you sit and lie on, to the greater glory of God."

W.E.B. Du Bois, Darkwater (Amherst, NY: Humanity, 2003) (1920), 102.

If the only thing you've read of Du Bois is Souls of Black Folks, then you haven't read Du Bois. Arguably the greatest thinker and intellectual in American history (not African-American, but American), Du Bois' writings and narratives remain powerful and poignant today. Du Bois' personal journey--from democratic idealist to socialist to communist, culminating in his self-imposed exile to Ghana ("I am departing America and have not set a date for return") represents one of the greatest live tragedies in the modern era. He died August 27, 1963--one day before Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I think "the greatest thinker and intellectual" label is field dependent, for I'm confused as to how you would fail to be thinking that title surely belongs to Edward Witten.