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Sociology W.E.B. Du Bois
by
Rashawn Ray

Introduction

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (b. 1868–d. 1963) was a pioneering social theorist, methodologist, public sociologist, and social activist. It is estimated that he wrote over four thousand articles, essays, and books during his ninety-five years. Although Du Bois has university and government institutes named after him, is the namesake of the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Career of Scholarship Award, and even has a Facebook appreciation group, he experienced professional marginalization and social isolation from whites and blacks during his professional life. Du Bois’s theoretical concepts and empirical findings were trend setting as he challenged ideologies about black inferiority. However, this path less traveled meant standing alone and making theoretical claims that individuals on both sides of the aisle pragmatically disagreed with. Unlike others during his era, Du Bois supplemented his theoretical suppositions on black plight, the urban and rural environment, and the black middle class with empirical research documenting structural racism as the main culprit of racial inequality. Du Bois, who pronounced the final s in his name, was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. During his teenage years, Du Bois developed an interest in race relations and became the local correspondent for the New York Globe. Upon graduating as valedictorian of his high school, Du Bois attended the historically black Fisk College (now Fisk University) in Nashville. After three years, Du Bois graduated from Fisk in 1888 and enrolled in Harvard on a scholarship as a junior. Du Bois received his bachelor’s degree in 1890 (as one of the selected commencement speakers) and his master’s in 1891. With a grant from a federal education fund for blacks headed by former president Rutherford Hayes, Du Bois spent two years at the University of Berlin in Germany studying economics and history. During his study abroad, Du Bois saw the pervasiveness of racism in a globalized context. While Du Bois wanted to complete his PhD at Berlin, he was refused additional funding and finished at Harvard in 1895 as the first African American to obtain a PhD from the university. Du Bois worked in various capacities at Wilberforce University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Atlanta University and was a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the editor of the Crisis. In his later years, Du Bois married Shirley Graham in 1951, after his first wife passed away; immigrated to Ghana; and became a Ghanaian citizen, dying there on 27 August 27 1963, on the eve of the March on Washington.

Sociological Publications

Du Bois’s publications are frequently assigned in courses in fields including sociology, history, African American and African diaspora studies, education, English, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, economics, political science, and communications. This section includes Du Bois’s original works that relate mostly to sociology. Because of the marginalization Du Bois experienced in the discipline of sociology at the time these texts were written, some of his more prominent works have been placed among the humanities. In fact, knowledge of Du Bois’s theoretical contributions are still limited by the lack of attention he is given in social theory courses.

Books

Du Bois’s dissertation, “The Suppression of the African Slave Trade in America,” became his first book (Du Bois 2007d). Regarded as the primary text on the slave trade, this book focuses on the initial treatment of individuals from Europe and Africa, the handling of slavery by the Constitutional Convention, the southern states’ plantation economy, the role of northerners in financing the slave trade, and the prelude to the Civil War. The same year his book was published, 1896, Du Bois married Nina Gomer, with whom he would have two children, and accepted a special fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania to work on a research project on blacks in Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward and teach in the Department of Sociology. This project became The Philadelphia Negro (Du Bois 2007c). Considered the premier text on urban life, Du Bois’s analysis rejects then-prevalent notions of biological and genetic differences between blacks and whites. Instead, Du Bois’s study shows that structural racism is the main factor leading to economic and cultural differences. The Philadelphia Negro also establishes that the birth of urban sociological research occurred in Philadelphia (and Atlanta, based on the Atlanta University Studies) and was led by Du Bois. So before the rise of the “Chicago school,” Du Bois had published his seminal sociological work. After this study, Du Bois accepted a position at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). The philosophical debate between Du Bois and Booker T. Washington began to further spiral and divide the black community. This feud came to its head when Du Bois published The Souls of Black Folk (Du Bois 2009) with a chapter titled “Of Booker T. Washington and Others,” in which Du Bois critiqued Washington’s perspective for racial uplift. Max Weber, who was a fan of Du Bois, asked in a letter if The Souls of Black Folk could be translated into German. The Souls of Black Folk also elaborates on the notorious “double consciousness” concept. He then wrote John Brown (Du Bois 2007b), “a tribute to the man who of all Americans has perhaps come nearest to touching the real souls of black folk” (Du Bois 2007b, p. 8). Finally, in his book Black Reconstruction in America (Du Bois 2007a), which he considered his magnum opus, Du Bois shows that during Reconstruction blacks did not receive their promised forty acres and a mule, nor did they obtain the right the vote, a chance at an equal education, or their fair share of the sharecropping system.

  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 2007a. Black Reconstruction in America: An essay toward a history of the part which black folk played in an attempt to reconstruct democracy in America, 1860–1880. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This book is the first sociological study to examine the role blacks played in reconstructing the United States following the Civil War. Using Marxist theories, Du Bois examines why Reconstruction failed by analyzing the changing labor market, the founding of public education, and the retransformation of the American political sphere while repudiating previous works on the limited roles of blacks during this time. Originally published in 1935.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 2007b. John Brown. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Du Bois provides a different lens on the life of John Brown. In 1859 Brown led an antislavery revolt. Du Bois painted him as a father, abolitionist, and crusader against slavery. Brown is credited with creating the spark that led to the Civil War and the eventual end of American slavery. Originally published in 1909.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 2007c. The Philadelphia Negro: A social study. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This book is Du Bois’s seminal sociological study. Combining fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork with six questionnaires and census and government data, The Philadelphia Negro was and still is a trendsetting analysis of urban life. Focusing on Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward, it examined blacks’ residential segregation, occupational pursuits and family lives, attitudes and behaviors, and organizational and institutional affiliations. Originally published in 1899.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 2007d. The suppression of the African slave-trade to the United States of America, 1638–1870. Harvard Historical Studies 1. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This book is considered the premiere text on the American slave trade. Using a historical sociological approach to analyze congressional documents; national, state, and colonial statutes; society reports; and personal narratives, this monograph candidly and impartially examines American slavery. Originally published in 1896.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 2009. The souls of black folk: Essays and sketches. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This book is considered one of Du Bois’s classic works, containing one of his most notable statements: “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” Du Bois highlighted the perplexities of being black in America and the true effects that emancipation had on blacks at the turn of the century. Originally published in 1903.

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Journal Articles

In addition to Du Bois’s notable books, he wrote several theoretical and empirical articles. Considered to be his signature article, Du Bois 2000 argues for a rigorous and critical empirical examination concerning the ways black isolation and discrimination not only affect blacks but also impact the social environment, education, economy, crime, and other social forces. Du Bois also wrote on his research program at Atlanta University (Du Bois 1903) and the Conferences for the Study of the Negro Problems held in Atlanta (Du Bois 1904a). He further wrote on economic development and racial uplift (Du Bois 1904b, Du Bois 1909, Du Bois 1911, Du Bois 1912, Du Bois 1913).

  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1903. The laboratory in sociology at Atlanta University. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 21:502–505.

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    This article provides an overview of the sociology program at Atlanta University. As the Atlanta University Studies attest, the program at Atlanta University was primarily concerned with “Negro problems.” Anyone wishing to conduct studies on blacks or the urban environment should replicate this program and the studies conducted from the late 1800s until the mid-1900s.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1904a. The Atlanta conferences. Voice of the Negro 1.3: 85–90.

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    This article provides an overview of the Study of the Negro Problems conferences that produced the Atlanta University Studies. In this piece Du Bois continues to defend his position to study issues related to the black experience and see the solutions directly tied to education.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1904b. The development of a people. International Journal of Ethics 14:292–311.

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    Providing a social and historical review of black life during and after slavery, this article gives a series of solutions centered on the importance of group leadership and the development of more public and industrial schools for blacks. This article is reported to have evolved from lectures that Du Bois gave while working with the Redpath Lyceum Bureau.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1909. Evolution of the race problem. In Proceedings of the National Negro Conference. Edited by the National Negro Conference, 142–158. New York: National Negro Conference.

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    This article stemmed from the National Negro Conference held in New York in 1909. In this lecture Du Bois combats claims that blacks are the cause of their own social, economic, and cultural relegation. Instead, he outlines key sociohistorical points in history that led to the conditions of blacks at the beginning of the 20th century.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1911. The economics of Negro emancipation in the United States. Sociological Review 4:303–313.

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    Du Bois presented this paper at the First Universal Races Congress in London in summer 1911. A review of the paper was published in the Sociological Review in 1912. Du Bois demonstrated that the state of blacks in the early 1900s was a direct result of a lack of landownership and economic capital from cotton.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1912. The upbuilding of black Durham: The success of the Negroes and their value to a tolerant and helpful Southern city. World’s Work 23 (January): 334–338.

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    Using the city of Durham, North Carolina, as an exemplar for black uplift and economic development, Du Bois discusses a “group economy” model and continues his views on the importance of economic cooperation. Black community members of Durham made a plan to invest their financial capital as a group, instead of as individuals, with a collective worth over $500,000.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1913. The Negro in literature and art. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 49:233–237.

    DOI: 10.1177/000271621304900124Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Combating the claim that blacks’ contribution to society is primarily limited to music and performance, this short article provides a social history of blacks’ contribution to literature in light of the discrimination they face getting their work published.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 2000. The study of the Negro problems. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568:13–27.

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    In this classic sociological piece, Du Bois lays out the reasons that social scientists should care to study black problems in America. In doing so, he discusses key problems that sociologists should tackle in the 20th century and the empirical approaches that researchers should use to do so. Originally published in 1898.

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Book Chapters

This section includes three book chapters that focus on Du Bois’s aims for racial uplift and progress. Du Bois 1903 outlines his Talented Tenth concept. Du Bois 1930a provides a biographical sketch of Frederick Douglass as a pioneer of race relations. Du Bois 1930b evolved from a presentation that he made at the National Interracial Conference in Washington, DC, in 1928. Du Bois highlights the importance of political mobilization in his discussion about a group of northern blacks who pushed the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill through Congress, resulting in a 75 percent decrease over a thirty-year period.

  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1903. The Talented Tenth. In The Negro problem: A series of articles by representative Negroes of to-day. Edited by W. E. B. Du Bois, 31–75. New York: James Pott.

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    This essay lays out Du Bois’s conceptualization of the Talented Tenth and firmly cements his position on black progress and uplift as distinct from Booker T. Washington’s. Du Bois conceptualizes the Talented Tenth as the top 10 percent of African Americans who are well educated, politically engaged, and in a position of influence to assist with ameliorating racial inequality.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1930a. Douglass, Frederick. In Dictionary of American biography. Vol. 5. Edited by Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, 406–407. New York: Scribner.

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    This essay provides a standard biography of the life of Frederick Douglass.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1930b. The Negro citizen. In The Negro in American civilization: A study of Negro life and race relations in the light of social research. Edited by Charles S. Johnson, 461–470. New York: Henry Holt.

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    Du Bois outlines the civil and political rights of blacks, what role social organizations can play in changing these rights, and what can further be done by the academic and research communities to show the political and economic caste system that exists in the United States.

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The Atlanta University Studies

For thirteen years Du Bois was the principal investigator and editor of what has come to be known as the Atlanta University Studies. He was also the coordinator of the infamous Conferences for the Study of the Negro Problems. Du Bois was a professor at Atlanta University from 1897 to 1910 and returned in the mid-1930s. He established Atlanta University as a sociological powerhouse of empirical research on the black experience. Focusing on community service and philanthropy, Du Bois 1898 was the third Atlanta University Study (the other two being Mortality of Negroes in Cities and General Social and Physical Condition of Negroes in Cities) conducted at Atlanta University with connections to other historically black colleges and universities and schools with a large black student population, including Fisk College (now Fisk University), Berea College, Lincoln University, Spelman Institute (now Spelman College), and Meharry Medical College. Du Bois 1901 begins with a series of resolutions on the plight of black schools. This report is a second investigation into the educational system in the United States. Following The College-Bred Negro (Du Bois 1900), Du Bois 1901 focuses on conditions and inadequacies of black schools and the lack of proper training for black teachers. The Atlanta Studies also focused on economics (Du Bois 1899, Du Bois 1902), religion (Du Bois 1903), family (Du Bois 1908), crime (Du Bois 1904), and health (Du Bois 1906). Remarkably, Du Bois and his research team produced these quantities of data and scholarship with the limited resources of a black university. The Atlanta University Studies are still possibly unmatched in terms of sampling design; research questions; use of historical, governmental, and census data; and scientific rigor and analysis of African Americans in the United States. In addition to facilitating the studies, Atlanta University had a research training program with core sociological courses in theory, methods, and social inequality to produce black sociologists. In March 1901 the Southern History Association wrote, “The very best and most advanced work on the sociological conditions of the Negro is being done by Atlanta University, through the courses of study, through its teaching corps, through its publications, and through its stimulus to the Negro Conference that meets in that city” (see under Articles Anderson 1903, p. 437–438). When Du Bois left Atlanta University to work as editor of the Crisis, the studies continued until 1916 and reconvened from 1943 to 1947. The years 1909–1914 saw new editions of studies from 1898 to 1907.

  • Du Bois, W. E. B., ed. 1898. Some efforts of American Negroes for their own social betterment. Atlanta: Atlanta Univ. Press.

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    This report includes results on the efforts that blacks were proactively taking to better their own social conditions via organizational pursuits. Focusing on black churches, secret organizations such as the Freemasons, and insurance societies, Du Bois details community service and philanthropic endeavors and financial records. These data show that black organizations served an essential purpose in their local communities.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B., ed. 1899. The Negro in business. Atlanta: Atlanta Univ. Press.

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    This report includes proceedings from the Fourth Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems held at Atlanta University, 30–31 May 1899. The report investigates the extent to which black men were able to become business owners during Reconstruction. Black business owners in the late 1800s were primarily owners of hotels and lodging houses, hair salons and barber shops, restaurants, and horse stables. Other blacks were pharmacists, grocers, retail merchants, and publishers.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B., ed. 1900. The college-bred Negro. Atlanta: Atlanta Univ. Press.

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    Part of the Fifth Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems held at Atlanta University, this report discusses college-educated blacks during the 1800s. This thorough pamphlet provides information on the number of black graduates by school, job prospects, group leadership, political activity, and property ownership. A key finding is that at the time of the study, 53 percent of all black college graduates were teachers. This report was so popular that Atlanta University issued a second edition in 1902.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B., ed. 1901. The Negro common school. Atlanta: Atlanta Univ. Press.

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    Using data from the state school reports, the Freedman’s Bureau, and surveys from schools, this study finds that only one out of one hundred black students were engaged in adequate secondary education. While the number of black schools and colleges had increased, it had not kept pace with the number increases and quality for whites.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B., ed. 1902. The Negro artisan: A social study. Atlanta: Atlanta Univ. Press.

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    This study investigates the training and work status of skilled black laborers who obtained a trade degree or certification. Detailing information on black skilled workers and the attitude of organized labor and employers toward blacks and black inventions, this study finds that black workers were trained inefficiently during slavery and that discrimination kept the percentage of blacks in labor unions low.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B., ed. 1903. The Negro church. Atlanta: Atlanta Univ. Press.

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    This report provides a social history of black churches and shows that Du Bois was quite fond of religion and acknowledged its importance. At the same time, he was quite critical of the leadership in black churches. Du Bois believed that black churches should have been doing more to better its members.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B., ed. 1904. Some notes on Negro crime, particularly in Georgia. Atlanta: Atlanta Univ. Press.

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    Providing data on the expenses of state prisons, this report is one of the first to address the racialization of crime. Although the number of lynchings was decreasing, the prison population and state revenue from crime were increasing. Du Bois states, “The sinister increase of this blood money is the greatest single cause of persistent crime in Georgia” (p. 61).

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B., ed. 1906. The health and physique of the Negro American. Atlanta: Atlanta Univ. Press.

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    This report is one of the first of its kind to conduct research in the vein of what sociologists and public health scholars call “health disparities research.” This study reports on the health of blacks, including mortality, morbidity, and obesity. Contrary to public opinion at the time, this study finds that mortality is higher in the South than in the North.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B., ed. 1908. The Negro American family. Atlanta: Atlanta Univ. Press.

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    Using data on 1,137 families, this report includes an extensive background on how black families developed, noting that blacks were not allowed to marry or have legal control over their children. Despite these legal constraints and low rates of homeownership and literacy, this study shows that blacks had roughly the same percentage of married couples (55 percent) as whites in 1900.

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Africana Studies

This section includes Du Bois’s four books that focus directly on Africa and Africana studies. Du Bois’s knowledge about Africa progressed throughout his professional life, as he traveled and gained more expertise on the social history and culture of the continent. Although Du Bois 2001 is considered the main text on Africana studies, Du Bois’s writings on Africa build on one another. In 1919 Du Bois tried to establish a Pan-African congress. However, it was not formally supported by black organizations. Instead, Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) received much more support. Historians note that Du Bois was bitter about his lack of support and often criticized Garvey for his methods. Scholars and Du Bois himself considered Du Bois 1939 to be less conventional than his other books on Africa. Based on an ethnographic study Du Bois conducted in Africa, Du Bois 1939 includes less documentation and more information about the cultural and social knowledge about Africa. In 1945 Du Bois was a consultant to the American delegation at the first United Nations conference held in San Francisco. Following this conference, Du Bois convened the Pan-African Congress to strategize on ways to alter colonialism in Africa (Du Bois 1945). The congress elected Du Bois international president and dubbed him the “father of Pan-Africanism.” Du Bois 1965 continued his investigation into the role of Africa in world development.

  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1939. Black folk then and now: An essay in the history and sociology of the Negro race. New York: Henry Holt.

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    In this second installment on Africa, Du Bois keenly focuses on areas including the Great Rift Valley and the Nile, the Niger and the desert, the Congo, Guinea, and the capes. He also discusses European influences in Africa resulting from colonization.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1945. Color and democracy: Colonies and peace. New York: Harcourt, Brace.

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    This monograph issues a call for granting independence to Africans and African nation-states. This book was quite timely as it provided much-needed insight into the proposals and thinking of Africans during the time of massive European colonization in Africa.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1965. The world and Africa: An inquiry into the part which Africa has played in world history. Rev. ed. New York: International Publishers.

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    Relying partly on his own travels for ethnographic evidence, Du Bois considered this book to be his most advanced work on Africa. Based on this, Du Bois categorizes this book as a response to the vast omission of Africa in world history and accomplishments.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 2001. The Negro. Mineola, NY: Dover.

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    This book is the first installment of Du Bois’s books on Africa. Including maps of the physical space of racial groups and the geography of Africa as it changed over time, Du Bois covers indigenous empires and groups in sub-Saharan Africa, including Songhai, Zimbabwe, and Ghana; the devastating impact the slave trade had on western Africa; and the history of Africans and their descendants in the United States and the Caribbean. Originally published in 1915.

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Opinion Editorials

In addition to Du Bois’s scholarly work, he was potentially the first public sociologist in the way that the former American Sociological Association president Michael Buroway defines this term. In 1909 Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which evolved from the Niagara Movement, of which Du Bois was a founding participant. Du Bois acted as the director of publications and research for the NAACP and was editor of the Crisis magazine from 1910 to1934. It was at this time that Du Bois further cemented his position as a consummate public sociologist. In 1909 Du Bois also became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., which was the first African American collegiate fraternity. Unlike Booker T. Washington, Du Bois saw black progress as systematically linked to education and knowledge and the leadership of college-educated blacks. Du Bois’s opinion pieces injected many of his personal and philosophical views about racism (Du Bois 1920, Du Bois 1995), sexism (Du Bois 1915), religion (Du Bois 1933), capitalism (Du Bois 1953), socialism (Du Bois 1913), and politics (Du Bois 1956). Through these outlets, Du Bois was able to connect with blacks and whites alike about some of the most pressing social issues of that time. Interestingly, like his scholarly work, Du Bois’s statements still ring true today. In fact, the parallels between Du Bois’s editorials and 21st-century rhetoric are profound. Due to philosophical differences, Du Bois left the NAACP and his position as editor of the Crisis, returned to Atlanta University, and published Black Reconstruction (Du Bois 2007a, cited under Sociological Publications: Books) and Dusk of Dawn (Du Bois 1940, cited under Autobiographies) In 1950 Du Bois ran for US senator from New York on the American Labor Party ticket, receiving slightly over 200,000 votes or 4 percent of the state’s total. At this time Du Bois was writing a series of opinion pieces on socialism and communism. The US secretary of state denounced Du Bois’s words as Soviet propaganda, and the US Department of Justice ordered Du Bois to register as an agent of a foreign principal for his organizational affiliations. Du Bois refused and was indicted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which was enacted in 1938. He was later acquitted, but this incident further fostered his alienation from the United States. Du Bois won the Lenin Peace Prize in 1959 and joined the Communist Party USA in 1961 before becoming a Ghanaian citizen.

  • Brownies’ Book. 1920–1921.

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    Selling for $1.50 a year or 15 cents per copy, this periodical, edited by Du Bois, provided positive messages and role models to black children. It was in syndication for two years.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1900. The American Negro at Paris. American Monthly Review of Reviews 22:575–577.

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    This article provides a review of the History of the American Negro exhibit at the Paris Exposition in 1900.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1913. Socialism and the Negro problem. New Review, 1 February, 138–141.

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    This article speaks directly to the leadership of the Socialist Party. Du Bois discusses the importance of the Socialist leadership seeing the problem of the color line as central to their cause. Du Bois understood that the Socialist Party faced a quandary—to turn its back on the discrimination of blacks or view socialism as a fundamental solution to “Negro problems.”

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1915. Woman suffrage. Crisis, November, 29–30.

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    Arguing for the equality of women, Du Bois states that women engage in and are successful at similar types of work as men. He further argues that women are not weaker than men and that these types of arguments are similar to those provided for the marginalization of nonwhites and the lower class.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1920. Race intelligence. Crisis, July, 20.

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    Du Bois argued that intelligence studies are frequently flawed due to sampling design. He further argued that the educational systems for blacks and poverty are the main factors explaining racial differences and not intellectual aptitude based on genetics.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1933. The church and religion. Crisis, October, 236–237.

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    This article expounds on Du Bois’s perspective of church as an organization and religion as a moral belief of right and wrong. On the one hand, Du Bois argues that religion is important and having an organization by which to express these beliefs is essential. On the other, Du Bois is critical of church leadership.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1953. Negroes and the crisis of capitalism in the United States. Monthly Review 4 (April): 478–485.

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    Du Bois employs a Marxist perspective to analyze the demographic trends of blacks, including wages, population distribution, and organizational affiliations. This article was reprinted in 2003 to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of The Souls of Black Folk (see Du Bois 2009, cited under Sociological Publications: Books).

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1956. Why I won’t vote. Nation, 20 October.

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    While arguing for the importance of a socialist political party, this article discusses why Du Bois did not plan to vote in the 1956 presidential election. He criticizes Democrats and Republicans on their indifference to racial inequality, corporate wealth, unaffordable health care, and gun control. Interestingly, many individuals view these same issues as extremely important in the early 21st century. Once again we see the timelessness of Du Bois’s words.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1995. The damnation of women. In W. E. B. Du Bois: A reader. Edited by David Levering Lewis, 299–312. New York: Henry Holt.

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    This essay firmly situates gender and women’s issues as a social problem next to race. Du Bois was at the cutting edge of intersectionality research by viewing race, gender, and class as interconnected social constructs that have structural consequences for the treatment of marginalized groups, such as blacks and women. Originally published in 1920.

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Literary Works

In addition to being an acclaimed scholar and public writer, Du Bois was a noted novelist and poet. He wrote two novels, Quest of the Silver Fleece (Du Bois 1911) and Dark Princess (Du Bois 1928), which are summarized here.

  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1911. Quest of the silver fleece: A novel. Chicago: McClurg.

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    This was Du Bois’s first novel. Using political economic analysis, this book tells the story of a male and a female protagonist who use “group economy” to provide a way for upward mobility for residents in an Alabama town in the post-Reconstruction era. It has a very similar story line to the real-life black Durham, North Carolina, on which Du Bois published in 1912 (see Du Bois 1912, cited under Journal Articles).

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1928. Dark princess: A romance. New York: Harcourt, Brace.

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    This novel uses literary style to tell a story of America on the verge of radical protests due to the racist nature of social interactions and social institutions. The New York Herald Tribune noted that this novel is clearly sociological and provides an insight for white readers into the lives of blacks in the early 20th century.

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Autobiographies

Unlike many public figures and scholars, Du Bois lived long enough to write not one but four autobiographies. In Darkwater (Du Bois 1921) and Dusk of Dawn (Du Bois 1940), Du Bois used his own experiences with race to discuss race relations and structural racism. Darkwater assembles a series of literary works, while Dusk of Dawn is more of a sociological analysis, situating race as a social and structural construct that determines black-white differences and the marginalized status of blacks. Du Bois then refutes the research on scientific racism relating to biological dispositions and genetic traits that supposedly determine intellectual and athletic aptitudes. The Autobiography of W. E. B. Dubois (Du Bois 1968) is a prototypical historical account of his life. “My Evolving Program for Negro Freedom” (Du Bois 1944) provides an introspective lens into the inner workings of Du Bois’s research program.

  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1921. Darkwater: Voices from within the veil. New York: Harcourt, Brace.

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    This book, which discusses Du Bois’s vision for social, political, and economic reform for equality for blacks, assembles his literary essays, poems, and spirituals. These essays have been interpreted as being brash to some, as Du Bois candidly challenged current ideologies and views on social issues, including race, gender, and class. Some of these works were previously published in the Atlantic and the Journal of Race Development.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1940. Dusk of dawn: An essay toward an autobiography of a race concept. New York: Harcourt, Brace.

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    Du Bois considered this book to be one of his autobiographies. He provides accounts of the significance of race in his life. He discusses his upbringing, the importance of education, his ideological feud with Booker T. Washington, his role as a social activist and proponent of racial equality, and his position on racial separatism as a solution to racial inequality.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1944. My evolving program for Negro freedom. In What the Negro wants. Edited by Rayford W. Logan, 31–70. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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    Although most consider the books in this section to be Du Bois’s autobiographies, this chapter in Logan’s book provides a review of Du Bois’s life in the context of his research program. Using personal experiences at Harvard University, Fisk College, and Atlanta University and in Germany, France, and England, Du Bois discusses how his research program on social change as it relates to ameliorating racial inequality evolved over time.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1968. The autobiography of W. E. B. Dubois: A soliloquy on viewing my life from the last decade of its first century. New York: International.

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    Unlike Du Bois’s other autobiographies, this book does not have a different unit of analysis, such as race in Dusk of Dawn (Du Bois 1940). The unit of analysis for this book is Du Bois himself. He chronicles his life and provides a deep subjectivity and insight into not only his thinking but his feelings and emotions.

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Biographies

There are many biographies of Du Bois. Some have gained national popularity, while others are more scholarly in nature. Both of these types are included here and are divided into books and articles. Many of these works, particularly the articles, focus on a specific aspect of Du Bois’s life and research. Sociologists may be particularly interested in the books by David Levering Lewis (Lewis 1993), Adolph L. Reed Jr. (Reed 1997), and Phil Zuckerman (Zuckerman 2004), as these texts are the most in line with sociological theory and thought.

Books

This section includes some of the most noted and cited biographies on Du Bois. Lewis 1993 is the most acclaimed, winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. David Levering Lewis’s book is also one of the most comprehensive, as he argues that other works on Du Bois were often inconsistent and not always completely reliable. Zuckerman 2004 is the most sociological of the texts, as the editor specifically focuses on the theoretical contributions of Du Bois to the discipline of sociology. Marable 2005 is written by one of the leading race historians and is framed in a sociohistorical and intersectional context to discuss how Du Bois’s perspective on racism was very much tied to his views on social class and gender. Blum 2007 and Johnson 2008 address the frequently misunderstand spirituality of Du Bois. Broderick 1959 is one of the first biographies on Du Bois.

  • Blum, Edward J. 2007. W. E. B. Du Bois, American prophet. Politics and Culture in Modern America. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press.

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    Blum focuses on a side of Du Bois that is often misunderstood and underemphasized: his spirituality. This book discusses how spirituality was related to Du Bois’s view of Marxism.

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  • Broderick, Francis L. 1959. W. E. B. Du Bois: Negro leader in a time of crisis. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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    This book is one of the first comprehensive analyses of Du Bois and his position as an African American leader. It chronicles Du Bois’s relationship with the white and black elite as he strived for racial change.

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  • Johnson, Brian L. 2008. W. E. B. Du Bois: Toward agnosticism, 1868–1934. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

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    This book focuses on Du Bois’s religious views until the time of his resignation as editor of the Crisis.

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  • Lewis, David Levering. 1993. W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a race, 1868–1919. New York: Henry Holt.

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    This book won a Pulitzer Prize for its study of Du Bois. It is considered one of the staple texts for chronicling the life, experiences, and scholarship of Du Bois. Using Du Bois as a protagonist, Lewis explores Du Bois’s influence and power as a scholar-activist to discuss the plight and progress of African Americans.

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  • Marable, Manning. 2005. W. E. B. Du Bois: Black radical democrat. Rev. ed. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

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    Written by the historian Manning Marable, this book, first published in 1985, was rereleased with a new introduction on the one hundredth anniversary of the publication of The Souls of Black Folk. This book argues that Du Bois’s perspective on racism in America was very much tied to his views on the historical ramifications of capitalism, woman suffrage, and peace.

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  • Reed, Adolph L., Jr. 1997. W. E. B. Du Bois and American political thought: Fabianism and the color line. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Winner of the 1998 National Conference of Black Political Scientists Outstanding Book Award, this book links Du Bois’s double-consciousness concept to the social theory of William James and other sociological perspectives of the 20th century to discuss Du Bois’s political perspectives. The political scientist Adolph Reed is one of the foremost experts on Du Bois. Having received his PhD from Atlanta University in 1981, he is part of the lasting tradition of Du Bois’s legacy.

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  • Zuckerman, Phil, ed .2004. The social theory of Du Bois. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.

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    Assembling a wide array of Du Bois’s works from editorials and lesser-known sources, this book focuses on the social theories of Du Bois as they primarily relate to race, economics, labor, education, and crime. Zuckerman frames Du Bois as a “political and literary giant of the 20th century” in light of his productivity, contribution to sociology, and role in influencing the political and attitudinal landscape of race relations in America.

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Articles

Each of the articles listed in this section focuses on a specific aspect of Du Bois’s professional life and his contribution to the social sciences and social activism. Most of these articles are framed as public sociology (Drake 1986). For example, Bauerlein 2004 writes on the relationship between Du Bois and Booker T. Washington before their philosophical feud over racial uplift became a defining aspect of these men’s biographies. Morris and Ghaziani 2005 focuses on Du Bois’s rejection of accepted sociological wisdom regarding the circumstances for racial differences. The authors state that Du Bois developed a “sociology of the black community” and established historically black colleges and universities, such as Atlanta University and Fisk College (now Fisk University), as respectable institutions of higher learning and vigorous empirical research (Morris and Ghaziani 2005, p. 51). Contee 1971 addresses Du Bois’s last known research project at the time of his death—the Encyclopedia Africana. Yancy 1978 gives us insight into Du Bois as a man and friend as the author interviews friends and acquaintances of Du Bois during his time at Atlanta University.

  • Anderson, Martha Goode. 1903. Atlanta: The center of Negro education of the world. Gunton’s Magazine, November, 433–441.

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    With Du Bois as its preeminent scholar, Anderson discusses Atlanta University as “one of the remarkable educational institutions of the world” (p. 435).

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  • Bauerlein, Mark. 2004. Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois: The origins of a bitter intellectual battle. Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 46:106–114.

    DOI: 10.2307/4133693Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Bauerlein provides a historical account of relations between Du Bois and Washington before their feud about education, the labor market, and racial progress. Bauerlein asserts that these two historic figures were acquaintances and cordial with one another until power struggles within the black community pitted them against one another.

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  • Contee, Clarence G. 1971. The Encyclopedia Africana project of W. E. B. Du Bois. African Historical Studies 4:77–91.

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    Contee chronicles the research project that Du Bois was engaged in at the time of his death in Accra, Ghana, in 1963. Du Bois was constructing the Encyclopedia Africana, which is considered to be one of his life goals.

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  • Drake, St. Clair. 1986. Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois: A life lived experimentally and self-documented. Contributions in Black Studies 8:111–134.

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    This article discusses Du Bois’s life as it relates to scholar activism, including his work in Africa and with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

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  • Morris, Aldon. 2007. Sociology of race and W. E. B. Du Bois: The path not taken. In Sociology in America: A history. Edited by Craig Calhoun, 503–534. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    Morris discusses what sociology could and would have been if Du Bois had not been a marginalized figure in the discipline. In 2006 Morris led a successful campaign for the American Sociological Association to rename its Distinguished Career of Scholarship Award after Du Bois.

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  • Morris, Aldon, and Amin Ghaziani. 2005. DuBoisian sociology: A watershed of professional and public sociology. In Special issue: Critical perspectives on W. E. B. Du Bois. Edited by Manning Marable. Souls 7.3–4: 47–54.

    DOI: 10.1080/109999405265425Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Morris and Ghaziani discuss the academic climate Du Bois faced as a black scholar compared to that faced by Mead, Thomas, and Park. These scholars argue that it was the pervasive professional marginalization and public climate that fostered the development of one of the greatest public sociologists of all time.

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  • W. E. B. Du Bois at Harvard. 1997. Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 15:126.

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    This short article discusses Du Bois’s time at Harvard, including his accolades as an award-winning orator, marginalization from the general student population, and accomplishment as the first African American to obtain a PhD from Harvard University.

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  • Yancy, Dorothy Cowser. 1978. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois’ Atlanta years: The human side; A study based upon oral sources. Journal of Negro History 63:59–67.

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    Interviewing ten individuals who were acquaintances of Du Bois during his time in Atlanta, Yancy portrays a more humanistic side of Du Bois that is often overshadowed by the focus on his scholarship.

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Encyclopedias

Many encyclopedias have been assembled on Du Bois. Two, Gates 2007 and Horne and Young 2001, are highlighted here for their scholarly contributions and comprehensiveness.

  • Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., ed. 2007. The Oxford W. E. B. Du Bois. 19 vols. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This is the most extensive collection of Du Bois’s work spanning the late 1890s to the 1960s. This collection is a nineteen-volume set of all of Du Bois’s works and includes a general introduction to each volume by Gates. Each volume is edited by a prominent scholar, and each work in each volume includes an introduction by a scholar.

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  • Horne, Gerald, and Mary Young, eds. 2001. W. E. B. Du Bois: An encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

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    This encyclopedia aims to include everything and everyone associated with Du Bois throughout his life.

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Audio Recordings

Two audio recordings of Du Bois from a few years before his death are included here. The first recording (Du Bois 1960) speaks to his personal views on the social organization of society and his disdain for the direction of the United States in the early 1960s. The second recording (Du Bois 1961) is an autobiography of his life and has similarities to his 1968 autobiography.

Public Discussions and Lectures on Du Bois

In this section are a few interesting and obscure public discussions and lectures by prominent sociologists, historians, social scientists, and black scholars. Feagin 2001 and Katznelson 1999 are presidential addresses to national academic organizations. Weber and Ploetz 1973 is an interesting discussion not only about Du Bois’s research but also about his ability to speak on social issues due to his nonwhite status. Max Weber quickly defends Du Bois, deeming him one of the great sociological minds of their day. Wilson, et al. 1996 assembles speeches by some of the most noted black scholars on the relevancy of Du Bois.

  • Feagin, Joe R. 2001. Social justice and sociology: Agendas for the twenty-first century. American Sociological Review 66:1–20.

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    Joe Feagin was the first president of the American Sociological Association to discuss Du Bois in a presidential address. Feagin opened his speech with a long quote from Du Bois on the social contradictions of America, and he called Du Bois “a pathbreaking U.S. sociologist.”

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  • Katznelson, Ira. 1999. Du Bois’s century. In Special issue: What is social science history? Edited by Paula Baker. Social Science History 23.4: 459–474.

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    This speech is Katznelson’s presidential address to the Social Science History Association. In this speech Du Bois’s significant contributions to social science research are chronicled. Katznelson concludes that Du Bois’s marginalization eventually led to the departure of one of the truly great minds from academia. He asserts that if scholars are really to honor Du Bois, they will finally systematically examine the problem of the color line.

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  • Weber, Max, and Alfred Ploetz. 1973. Max Weber, Dr. Alfred Ploetz, and W. E. B. Du Bois (Max Weber on race and society II). Sociological Analysis 34:308–312.

    DOI: 10.2307/3709734Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is an interesting article that translates and reprints a discussion about race between Alfred Ploetz and Max Weber. Ploetz is credited with coining the term “racial hygiene,” and Weber is considered one of the founders of sociology. Weber states that Du Bois is the most important sociological scholar in the southern states.

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  • Wilson, William Julius, Gerald Early, David Levering Lewis, Elijah Anderson, James E. Blackwell, Ronald Walters, and Chuck Stone. 1996. Du Bois’ The Philadelphia Negro: 100 years later. Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 11:78–84.

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    Assembling a powerhouse of academic star power, the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education asked some prominent black scholars to discuss the significance of The Philadelphia Negro (Du Bois 2007c, cited under Sociological Publications: Books) one hundred years after its original publication.

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Data Sources and Journals

This section includes the most relevant data sources on Du Bois to sociology. First, Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race Journal is a journal that publishes race articles in the vein of what race scholars call “Du Boisian sociology.” Edited by Lawrence D. Bobo and Michael Dawson and published by Cambridge University Press, Du Bois Review is already considered by some to be the leading race journal in the social sciences. There are too many websites on Du Bois to count. The two noted here, the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute and WEBDuBois.org, are most relevant to sociology.

Theoretical and Empirical Applications of Du Bois’s Work

Most of the scholars cited in this section are sociologists, along with historians, economists, philosophers, and African American and African-diaspora scholars. This section is split into categories that mostly resemble the contributions that Du Bois made to the discipline: Double Consciousness; Talented Tenth; The Philadelphia Negro and the Urban Environment; Race as a Social Problem; Gender, Sexuality, and Woman Suffrage; and Education and Religion. These works are extensions, updates, and responses to Du Bois’s work in these areas.

Double Consciousness

Double consciousness is one of Du Bois’s most noted theoretical concepts. It can be defined as an experience of split loyalty, competing commitment, and conflicting identification between “two worlds” or social systems (Bruce 1992). It is a phenomenon primarily related to being black in America. Blacks’ sense of self is normally shaped by how they see themselves as both Americans and as African Americans. While whites may normally have the luxury of choosing to operate under a single vision of self-consciousness, blacks’ personal identities are co-opted by their positions in different social systems. In The Souls of Black Folk (Du Bois 2009, cited under Sociological Publications: Books), Du Bois asserts that the distinct value systems and continued social and physical separation of blacks and whites places “the Negro [as] sort of [a] seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other [black] world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others . . . such a double life, with double thoughts, double duties, and double social classes” (p. 202). This quotation is normally the statement that scholars refer to when discussing double consciousness. Rawls 2000 is a great example of a theoretical extension of this concept. Rawls asserts that double consciousness creates two conflicting sets of obligations for African Americans: (1) the public self as a member of the black race and (2) the private self as an individual. For high-status blacks, this group-based self-representation is magnified by their hyperlevel of visibility in white-dominated environments and the small size of the black community within these environments. Lemert 1994 argues that the vitality of double consciousness extends beyond just examining blacks and provides insights into the identities of all marginalized groups. Twine and Steinbugler 2006, a study on interracial couples, is an example.

  • Blau, Judith R., and Eric S. Brown. 2001. Du Bois and diasporic identity: The veil and the unveiling project. Sociological Theory 19:219–233.

    DOI: 10.1111/0735-2751.00137Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using black newspapers published from 1900 to 1935, Blau and Brown discuss how Du Bois’s double-consciousness concept became integrated in black discourse on race relations in America. Similarly to Lemert 1994, they contend that Du Bois’s theoretical contributions should be included formally in the sociological theoretical canon.

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  • Bruce, Dickson D., Jr. 1992. W. E. B. Du Bois and the idea of double consciousness. American Literature 64:299–309.

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    This article provides an analytic overview of double consciousness.

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  • Lemert, Charles. 1994. A classic from the other side of the veil: Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk. Sociological Quarterly 35:383–396.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.1994.tb01734.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lemert explores why Du Bois does not matter more to sociology. Using classic works, including The Philadelphia Negro (Du Bois 2007c, cited under Sociological Publications: Books) and The Souls of Black Folk (Du Bois 2009, cited under Sociological Publications: Books), Lemert asserts that Du Bois’s theoretical contributions should be more directly included in the sociological canon.

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  • Moore, T. Owens. 2005. A Fanonian perspective on double consciousness. Journal of Black Studies 35:751–762.

    DOI: 10.1177/0021934704263839Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Moore compares Du Bois’s double-consciousness concept with Frantz Fanon’s analysis in Black Skin, White Masks on the psychological impact of living in a racialized society and the effect this has on the dual identities of blacks. Moore then proposes a single-minded consciousness to reorient the identities of African Americans.

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  • Rawls, Anne Warfield. 2000. “Race” as an interaction order phenomenon: W. E. B. Du Bois’s “double consciousness” thesis revisited. Sociological Theory 18:241–274.

    DOI: 10.1111/0735-2751.00097Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Extending the concept of double consciousness, Rawls asserts that a teamwork self evolves for many blacks who perceive double consciousness. The teamwork self embraces the struggle of blacks as they aim to be individual Americans and part of a group as African Americans. An individual who experiences the teamwork self is more committed to the group than to his or her individual self.

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  • Smith, Shawn Michelle. 2000. “Looking at one’s self through the eyes of others”: W. E. B. Du Bois’s photographs for the 1900 Paris Exposition. African American Review 34:581–599.

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    Smith revitalizes the pictures Du Bois assembled for the “American Negro” exhibit at the Paris Exposition of 1900. She argues that Du Bois’s pictures counter the perception of black criminality at the turn of the 20th century and further illuminate the saliency of his double-consciousness concept.

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  • Twine, France Winddance, and Amy C. Steinbugler. 2006. The gap between whites and whiteness: Interracial intimacy and racial literacy. Du Bois Review 3:341–363.

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    Using data from two ethnographic studies with 121 interracial families in the United Kingdom and the United States, Twine and Steinbugler find that whites in interracial relationships are provided with an “outsider within” perspective that allows them to see everyday forms of prejudice faced by minorities. In turn some whites develop double consciousness and are held more accountable for their treatment of minorities.

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Talented Tenth

Du Bois asserted that high-status blacks are constrained by their responsibilities to the black race as part of the Talented Tenth. Du Bois conceptualized the Talented Tenth as the top 10 percent of African Americans who are well-educated, politically engaged, and in a position of influence to assist with ameliorating racial inequality (Green 1977). The black middle class, or the black elite as E. Franklin Frazier labeled this group, is frequently associated with this concept. Battle and Wright 2002 uses a college degree as a proxy for the Talented Tenth and finds that college-educated blacks support Du Bois’s Talented Tenth theory. Scholars who conduct research on black Greek-letter organizations (BGLOs) have shown that members of these organizations, such as Du Bois himself, have historically contributed to the cause of racial uplift. Members of BGLOs were at the forefront of civil rights activism in the middle of the 20th century, and many members perceive that they have an obligation to be the voice and visual representation of black America in predominately white settings.

  • Battle, Juan, and Earl Wright II. 2002. W. E. B. Du Bois’s Talented Tenth: A quantitative assessment. Journal of Black Studies 32:654–672.

    DOI: 10.1177/00234702032006002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using data from the National Black Politics Survey, these researchers examine whether the Talented Tenth actually provides leadership to the black community. Battle and Wright find that black college graduates are more likely to be politically engaged, involved in their communities, and skeptical about the goals of middle-class blacks to improve the social and economic position of poor blacks.

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  • Green, Dan. S. 1977. W. E. B. Du Bois’ Talented Tenth: A strategy for racial advancement. Journal of Negro Education 46:358–366.

    DOI: 10.2307/2966779Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using Du Bois’s Talented Tenth concept, Green provides a strategy for racial uplift and educational and professional advancement among blacks.

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  • Rabaka, Reiland. 2003. W. E. B. Du Bois’s evolving Africana philosophy of education. Journal of Black Studies 33:399–449.

    DOI: 10.1177/0021934702250021Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article analyzes Du Bois’s writings on education. Rabaka argues that Du Bois saw faults in his Talented Tenth theory and later in life expanded it to the “guiding hundredth” to broaden the discussion to include more than just the black elite and focus on group leadership and struggle.

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The Philadelphia Negro and the Urban Environment

The Philadelphia Negro (Du Bois 2007c, cited under Sociological Publications: Books) is Du Bois’s seminal sociological work for its empirical analysis and methodological rigor. It is frequently used as a blueprint for conducting research on the urban environment. The works in this section discuss the lasting legacy of this classic book and update Du Bois’s findings from the end of the 19th century. Zuberi 2004, McDaniel 1998 (whose author is now known as Tukufu Zuberi), and Anderson 1996 are works by two of the leading sociologists on Du Bois. At the time these works were written, both were professors at the University of Pennsylvania. In this regard, it is not merely a coincidence that these scholars follow Du Bois’s trajectory of rigorous qualitative and quantitative analyses of race. Similarly, Katz and Sugrue 1998 brings together some of the leading race scholars to revisit the lasting contributions of The Philadelphia Negro.

  • Anderson, Elijah. 1996. Introduction. In The Philadelphia Negro: A social study. By W. E. B. Du Bois, ix–xxxvi. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania.

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    In the introduction to this edition of The Philadelphia Negro, Anderson provides background information that sets the stage for Du Bois’s classic ethnographic study in Philadelphia. Anderson then updates some of Du Bois’s main findings by presenting information about what Du Bois would find at the end of the 20th century if he conducted The Philadelphia Negro at that time.

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  • Katz, Michael B., and Thomas J. Sugrue, eds. 1998. W. E. B. Du Bois, race, and the city: The Philadelphia Negro and its legacy. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press.

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    Assembling some leading historians and sociologists, this book revisits Du Bois’s classic urban ethnography The Philadelphia Negro through a collection of essays that focus on ethnography, intellectual and social history, urbanicity, and statistical analysis to further cement Du Bois’s lasting legacy to sociology, history, methodology, and racial scholarship.

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  • McDaniel, Antonio. 1998. The Philadelphia Negro then and now: Implications for empirical research. In W. E. B. Du Bois, race, and the city: The Philadelphia Negro and its legacy. Edited by Michael B. Katz and Thomas J. Sugrue, 155–194. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press.

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    Calling The Philadelphia Negro “Du Bois’s quintessential empirical sociological production” (p. 155), McDaniel updates the demographic information about Philadelphia and reflects on the validity and reliability of Du Bois’s empirical stance and perspective on morality in research.

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  • Zuberi, Tukufu. 2004. W. E. B. Du Bois’s sociology: The Philadelphia Negro and social science. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 595:146–156.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716204267535Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critically analyzing Du Bois’s research on the African diaspora, Zuberi asserts that Du Bois transcended disciplinary boundaries by answering questions about the intersection between theory and social change, racial colonialism and enslavement, and the dehumanization of Africans.

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Race as a Social Problem

Du Bois’s remark, “The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line,” is frequently quoted. Du Bois saw it as one of his fundamental goals to shed light on race as a social problem and position the discourse on race to be a social and structural issue rather than a biological, genetic, or cultural issue (Bell, et al. 1996). Du Bois’s research continuously showed that structural racism (Appiah 1985, McDaniel 1990, Zuberi 2001, Zuberi 2006, and Rabaka 2006) was the main culprit for the delayed progress of blacks. The works in this section continue this lineage.

  • Appiah, Anthony. 1985. The uncompleted argument: Du Bois and the illusion of race. In Special issue: “Race,” writing, and difference. Edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Critical Inquiry 12.1: 21–37.

    DOI: 10.1086/448319Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This essay discusses how Du Bois saw it as one of his central goals to “assimilate the unbiological nature of races” (p. 22). Appiah argues that Du Bois thought more deeply, publically, and longer about race than any other social theorists of the 20th century.

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  • Bell, Bernard W., Emily Grosholz, and James B. Stewart, eds. 1996. W. E. B. Du Bois on race and culture: Philosophy, politics, and poetics. New York: Routledge.

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    This is a volume of essays by a range of social scientists on the political, rhetorical, cultural, and philosophical implications of Du Bois’s position regarding the social construction of race.

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  • Butler, John Sibley. 2010. The management of social theory: Obama and the American presidency in the age of segregated diversity. In Race in the age of Obama. Edited by Marino A. Bruce and Donald Cunnigen, 127–146. Research in Race and Ethnic Relations 16. Greenwich, CT: JAI.

    DOI: 10.1108/S0195-7449(2010)0000016008Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article uses Du Bois’s concept of racial uplift to discuss how President Barack Obama is transforming the racial landscape in America.

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  • McDaniel, Antonio. 1990. The power of culture: A review of the idea of Africa’s influence on family structure in antebellum America. Journal of Family History 15:225–238.

    DOI: 10.1177/036319909001500113Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article uses Du Bois’s work to illuminate the contradictions embedded in racial classification and the naming typology that ensues for native-born and foreign-born blacks in America.

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  • McKee, James B. 1993. Sociology and the race problem: The failure of a perspective. Champaign: Univ. of Illinois Press.

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    Using Du Bois’s perspective on race, McKee illuminates the inherent problems behind the assumption that assimilation among racial and ethnic groups will commence and be beneficial. McKee argues that that assumption supports the notion that minority groups are genetically inferior and culturally inept and need to be assimilated to function correctly in society. This book is the winner of the Distinguished Publication Award given by the American Sociological Association.

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  • Rabaka, Reiland. 2006. The souls of black radical folk: W. E. B. Du Bois, critical social theory, and the state of Africana studies. In Special issue: The state of black studies in the academy. Edited by Mark Christian. Journal of Black Studies 36.5: 732–763.

    DOI: 10.1177/0021934705285941Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rabaka discusses Du Bois’s work on social theory and outlines its significance to the development of Africana studies, radical political theory, and revolutionary social movements.

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  • Zuberi, Tukufu. 2001. Thicker than blood: How racial statistics lie. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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    This book problematizes statistical and methodological practices that have eugenic roots. Zuberi argues that while cultural differences among groups do exist, using race as a proxy or cause of these differences is inadequate. Zuberi also does an extremely efficient job documenting the historical record of racial classification on a global scale.

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  • Zuberi, Tukufu. 2006. Sociology and the African diaspora experience. In A companion to African-American studies. Edited by Lewis R. Gordon and Jane Anna Gordon, 246–264. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

    DOI: 10.1002/9780470996645Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this essay Zuberi discusses the racialization and Eurocentric perspective of sociological inquiry. He uses Du Bois as an exemplar of research that countered this dominant frame. Zuberi counts Du Bois as an omitted founding contributor to the perspectives of the infamous Chicago school of sociology.

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Gender, Sexuality, and Woman Suffrage

Although Du Bois was a race scholar, he understood that gender was also a social problem that needed to be addressed. Du Bois stood behind the cause of the woman suffrage movement (Pauley 2000). He frequently wrote opinion editorials and literary essays on sexism (Rabaka 2003). In particular, “Woman Suffrage” and “The Damnation of Women” (Du Bois 1915 and Du Bois 1995, cited under Opinion Editorials) are frequently cited as evidence of Du Bois’s progressive politics. Du Bois did not categorize race, gender, and class as segmented social constructs. Instead, he was one of the first scholars to conceptualize race, class, and gender as intersectional and interactive (Gillman and Weinbaum 2007).

  • Gillman, Susan, and Alys Eve Weinbaum, eds. 2007. Next to the color line: Gender, sexuality, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Critical American Studies. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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    Assembling feminist and queer studies scholars, this edited volume includes works that use Du Bois’s perspectives on race and gender to demonstrate the relevance of his positions on black and woman suffrage. The perspective that the editors take in this book is very much in line with the intersectionality framework, which asserts that race, gender, and sexuality are inextricably linked social constructs that structure social life.

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  • Pauley, Garth E. 2000. W. E. B. Du Bois on woman suffrage: A critical analysis of his Crisis writings. Journal of Black Studies 30:383–410.

    DOI: 10.1177/002193470003000306Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Pauley chronicles Du Bois’s writing in the Crisis about woman suffrage. In this piece Pauley argues that Du Bois’s rhetoric about women was based on the straining relationship between black men and women suffragists. Du Bois attempted to persuade blacks to support the woman suffrage movement because of its practical benefits to the black community.

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  • Rabaka, Reiland. 2003. W. E. B. Du Bois and “The damnation of women”: An essay on Africana anti-sexist critical social theory. Journal of African American Studies 7:37–60.

    DOI: 10.1007/s12111-003-1008-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This piece asserts that although Du Bois is classified as a “race scholar,” his theoretical perspective on gender and woman suffrage was quite progressive for his time. Using Du Bois’s “The Damnation of Women,” Rabaka demonstrates that, unlike scholars of the Frankfurt school tradition, Du Bois viewed the uplift of women to be one of the most pressing social issues of the 20th century.

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Education and Religion

Du Bois’s position on racial uplift stressed the need for educating blacks and providing the Talented Tenth with the skills to make social change. His position countered the more working-class perspective of Booker T. Washington (Alilunas 1973). In Du Bois 1973 Du Bois argues that black youth need to be educated in exceptional black schools that tell the truth about racial inequality in America. Du Bois asserts that writing, reading, math, and thinking were fundamental to this cause. Du Bois further critiques black families and churches and puts forth a cooperation perspective between the home and church for racial uplift. Scholars have argued that Du Bois’s position as a member of the black elite led him to be detached from the importance and significance of religion for racial uplift. However, as his “The Church and Religion” (Du Bois 1933, cited under Opinion Editorials) shows, Du Bois was not an atheist or against religion (Zuckerman 2002). He was against church leaders using the church as a vessel for their own personal gain. In this regard, Du Bois’s perspective on education and religion prefigures current rhetoric on racial uplift.

  • Alilunas, Leo J. 1973. What our schools teach about Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois. Journal of Negro Education 42:176–186.

    DOI: 10.2307/2967013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In conducting a review of elementary and secondary school textbooks, Alilunas determines that Washington is highlighted much more than Du Bois. He discusses the implications of the relegation of Du Bois and provides recommendations for balancing the historical record on these figures’ prominence.

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  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 1973. The education of black people: Ten critiques, 1906–1960. Edited by Herbert Aptheker. Amherst: Univ. of Massachusetts Press.

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    This book assembles a series of published and unpublished essays by Du Bois on education stemming mostly from editorials and speeches. This book was planned in the 1940s but was not published.

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  • Zuckerman, Phil. 2002. The sociology of religion of W. E. B. Du Bois. Sociology of Religion 63:239–253.

    DOI: 10.2307/3712567Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Zuckerman argues that Du Bois should be considered a founder of the sociology of religion for his focus on the religious dimensions of the African American community and his recognition of the social rewards that religious affiliation provides.

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Du Bois’s Agenda, Then and Now

Bringing together some of the most prominent social scientists on race, The Study of African American Problems: W. E. B. Du Bois’s Agenda, Then and Now is a special issue of Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science that updates the key sociologically relevant issues related to African Americans that Du Bois raised at the end of the 19th century, including gender (Collins 2000, Griffin 2000), identity (Jaynes 2000), social class (Anderson 2000, Katz 2000), social activism (Berry 2000), racial statistics (Zuberi 2000b), and racial attitudes (Bobo 2000). The articles in this special issue were prepared for a conference at the University of Pennsylvania titled “The Study of African American Problems.” Edited by two of the leading scholars on race relations, Elijah Anderson and Tukufu Zuberi, this volume consists of works written one hundred years after Du Bois’s seminal article “The Study of the Negro Problems,” originally published in Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 1898 (Du Bois 2000, cited under Journal Articles). While there is a total of twenty articles in this issue, only the most sociologically relevant ones are included here.

  • Anderson, Elijah. 2000. The emerging Philadelphia African American class structure. In Special issue: The study of African American problems; W. E. B. Du Bois’s agenda, then and now. Edited by Elijah Anderson and Tukufu Zuberi. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568.1: 54–77.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716200568001006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Updating Du Bois’s four-class typology of the black community, Anderson argues that federally mandated social programs have transformed the caste-like racial hierarchy that once existed. In turn these changes have manifested in a more complex class structure among blacks.

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  • Berry, Mary Frances. 2000. Du Bois as social activist: Why we are not saved. In Special issue: The study of African American problems; W. E. B. Du Bois’s agenda, then and now. Edited by Elijah Anderson and Tukufu Zuberi. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568.1: 100–110.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716200568001008Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Berry asserts that the work of Du Bois provided a blueprint for activism and social change. She issues a call for more scholar activism past the black-white dichotomy to continue the promise of a Du Boisian perspective.

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  • Bobo, Lawrence D. 2000. Reclaiming a Du Boisian perspective on racial attitudes. In Special issue: The study of African American problems; W. E. B. Du Bois’s agenda, then and now. Edited by Elijah Anderson and Tukufu Zuberi. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568.1: 186–202.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716200568001014Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Bobo pushes for a Du Boisian perspective on racial prejudice by highlighting how Du Bois conceptualized prejudice in The Philadelphia Negro.

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  • Collins, Patricia Hill. 2000. Gender, black feminism, and black political economy. In Special issue: The study of African American problems; W. E. B. Du Bois’s agenda, then and now. Edited by Elijah Anderson and Tukufu Zuberi. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568.1: 41–53.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716200568001005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collins argues that Du Bois’s perspective on social issues is implicitly related to viewing social life through an intersectional lens. To this end, this article uses black feminism to examine the black political economy.

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  • Griffin, Farah Jasmine. 2000. Black feminists and Du Bois: Respectability, protection, and beyond. In Special issue: The study of African American problems; W. E. B. Du Bois’s agenda, then and now. Edited by Elijah Anderson and Tukufu Zuberi. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568.1: 28–40.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716200568001004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article focuses on Du Bois’s position on gender by drawing attention to his lack of inclusion of women as intellectuals in “The Study of the Negro Problems” to formally including them in his article “The Damnation of Women.”

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  • Jaynes, Gerald D. 2000. Identity and economic performance. In Special issue: The study of African American problems; W. E. B. Du Bois’s agenda, then and now. Edited by Elijah Anderson and Tukufu Zuberi. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568.1: 128–139.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716200568001010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using autobiographic data and rap lyrics, this article shows that the work values of blacks have not changed since the 1970s, combating the claim that blacks’ malcontent about job prospects affects their work effort. Instead, Jaynes finds that blacks perceive that the job market undervalues their performance as workers.

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  • Katz, Michael B. 2000. Race, poverty, and welfare: Du Bois’s legacy for policy. In Special issue: The study of African American problems; W. E. B. Du Bois’s agenda, then and now. Edited by Elijah Anderson and Tukufu Zuberi. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568.1: 111–127.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716200568001009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using Du Bois’s analysis of poverty, Katz provides a methodological framework for examining race and the American welfare state.

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  • Zuberi, Tukufu. 2000a. Deracializing social statistics: Problems in the quantification of race. In Special issue: The study of African American problems; W. E. B. Du Bois’s agenda, then and now. Edited by Elijah Anderson and Tukufu Zuberi. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568.1: 172–185.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716200568001013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Zuberi discusses the implications of measuring race as an individual attribute in quantitative research.

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  • Zuberi, Tukufu. 2000b. Introduction: The study of African American problems. In Special issue: The study of African American problems; W. E. B. Du Bois’s agenda, then and now. Edited by Elijah Anderson and Tukufu Zuberi. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568.1: 9–12.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716200568001002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    While providing an overview of the special issue’s contents, this introduction positions Du Bois as a founder of sociological thought. As Zuberi notes, Du Bois was the first to illuminate the role of racial stratification in society and establish a blueprint for theoretically and empirically examining race and its underpinnings.

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LAST MODIFIED: 07/27/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199756384-0063

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