Understanding Du Bois

Understanding Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois and American Political Thought: Fabianism and the Color Line
by Adolph Reed, Jr.
Oxford University Press, 1997, 282 pp., $35

W. E. B. Du Bois’s productive use of his ninety-five years on earth casts a vigilant shadow over anyone who thinks about the political dimensions of the black experience. Few observations made during our century have been so prescient as Du Bois’s well-known 1903 declaration, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” Few monographs have challenged and redirected American historical inquiry as did Black Reconstruction in 1935. Since his death in 1963, no black intellectual has acquired the authoritative stature of Du Bois. All this justifies the attention Du Bois’s life and writings have received in recent years. But it does not explain why Du Bois remains the iconic black intellectual.

In W. E. B. Du Bois and American Politica...

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