W. E. B. Du Bois
Michael Eric Dyson takes white America to church
Dyson’s sermon on racism is inspiring, but will it speak to those who need to hear it most?
Black critiques matter
Criticism of the slave trade from 200 years ago speaks to us today—and not just about race.
What race riots accomplish
Some riots protest injustice. Others perpetuate it.
Race on the ballot—again
In 1900, W.E.B. Du Bois named the color line as the problem of the 20th century. The color line, which still persists, is on trial this presidential election.
While Donald Trump polls low among black voters, these numbers have improved slightly.
Spiritual striving for American identity
The question of American identity has historically been both complex and contested. What’s more, it often yields mythic notions rooted in exceptionalist dogmas like election, commission, moral regeneracy, sacred land, and innocent past.
Embedded in religious American exceptionalism is the American Dream: if an individual works hard, perseveres, and is a good citizen, there is no limit to how far she can advance.
Black scholarship speaks
The African American Intellectual History Society, founded in 2014, hosted its first annual conference last weekend at UNC Chapel Hill. Scholars from various disciplines delivered engaging papers around the theme “new perspectives on the black intellectual tradition.”
The changing nature of black identity in today’s world is complex.
by Edward Carson, John D. Wilsey, and Lilian Calles Barger
The black social gospel
In American history, some lives have mattered; others have not. That difference fundamentally has been a racial one.
by Paul Harvey
Du Bois's lesson we still haven't learned
Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot in Cleveland by an officer in training, suffered death. According to an Ohio grand jury, the case is closed.
Elsewhere in these United States, presidential candidates have and will continue to laud America as exceptional.
The Christian campus in black and white
W. E. B. Du Bois wrote his prophetic words “the problem of the 20th century is the problem of color line” decades before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Yet those words allowed blacks to note how the removal of Jim Crow from educational institutions was slow in many parts of the country. Often among those responsible were Christian segregationists in Christian schools and colleges.
The Souls of Black Folk, by W. E. B. Du Bois
selected by Brian Bantum
Justin Martyr and W. E. B. Du Bois on violent persecution
Helpful articles addressing the terrorist attack at Emanuel AME Church last week have appeared in a number of outlets, some offering superb analysis.
One question concerning the context of violence in church in particular, and persecution in general, is what commonalities exist between the experiences of persecuted groups.
Two accounts of what it means to be an American
One of the characteristic idiosyncrasies of Americans is that they are always fretting about their identity. They are a people constantly asking themselves, what does it mean to be a “real American”?
There are certain literary figures we can instantly associate with the issue of American identity.
How Selma helped me appreciate organ pipes
Sitting beside my best friend, we tensed as policemen clubbed civil rights protesters. We teared up as Martin Luther King Jr. marched alongside James Bevel, as Coretta Scott King talked with Malcolm X, and as the leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee strained to relate to their elders. Selma was an experience: visceral, soulful, inspiring, and shocking.
A visual image that struck me was based in sound: microphone before King, organ pipes behind him.
Old prayers for the new year
For this end-of-the-year post, we asked our favorite historians and writers to share prayers from the past that could serve as guides for our present.
by Edward J. Blum and Kate Bowler
What Twain, Du Bois, and my family each lost
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. At 7 p.m., thousands of individuals will gently sway lit candles to remember those lost girls and boys.
The day came from one of Ronald Reagan’s last acts as president.
How books change us and are changed
Books change. They change us individually and collectively. Tom Paine’s direct style convinced countless colonists that it was Common Sense to become an independent nation. Henry David Thoreau lectured New England college students that they were better off hand-crafting knives than they were sitting in stuffy classrooms. He influenced Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
Books are also changed.