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Du Bois, WEB

Page history last edited by A.J. 15 years, 6 months ago

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) was a civil rights activist and professor of sociology who wrote extensivley on Black rights and most noteabley the concept of the double conscious.  He was known for examining many solutions to the racism and injustices during his time.  His idea or the double concious aided him in his examination of African Americans, and their role and situation in American society. 


The double conscious is somewhat of an extension of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's notion of defineing the self and the act of creating one's self through others. It is the idea that African Americans can view society through two very different lenses; one being Black and the other being American.  He describes his double conscious in an essay called "Our Spiritual Strivings" from a book titled The Souls of Balck Folk, which is a collection of essays by Du Bois,

     "The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, — this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge      his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He does not      wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa; he does not wish to bleach his      Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he believes that Negro blood has yet a message for the world. He simply      wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his      fellows, without losing the opportunity of self-development"

This theory set African Americans apart from White Americans bacuse they had the ablility to recognize both the Black perspective and the American perspective.  It explains that the Whites are not necesarily deifned by by being White but being not Black and how being Black is defined by subordination and suppression.  African Americans are then able to see the oppressed and nonenclusive side of America and also how they are included into the society after the Emancipation Proclaimation.  





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