The Talented Tenth

  • The Talented Tenth

  • W. E. B Dubois

    The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men.

    Profile Picture of W. E. B Dubois in The Talented Tenth
  • The problem of education, then, among Negroes must first of all deal with the Talented Tenth;

  • it is the problem of developing the Best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own and other races.

  • Now the training of men is a difficult and intricate task.

  • Its technique is a matter for educational experts, but its object is for the vision of seers.

  • If we make money the object of man-training, we shall develop money-makers but not necessarily men;

  • if we make technical skill the object of education, we may possess artisans but not, in nature, men.

  • W. E. B Dubois

    Men we shall have only as we make manhood the object of the work of the schools–intelligence, broad sympathy, knowledge of the world that was and is, and of the relation of men to it–this is the curriculum of that Higher Education which must underlie true life.

    Profile Picture of W. E. B Dubois in The Talented Tenth
  • On this foundation we may build bread winning, skill of hand and quickness of brain, with never a fear lest the child and man mistake the means of living for the object of life.

  • If this be true–and who can deny it–three tasks lay before me;

  • first to show from the past that the Talented Tenth as they have risen among American Negroes have been worthy of leadership;

  • secondly to show how these men may be educated and developed; and thirdly to show their relation to the Negro problem.

  • W. E. B Dubois

    You misjudge us because you do not know us.

    Profile Picture of W. E. B Dubois in The Talented Tenth
  • From the very first it has been the educated and intelligent of the Negro people that have led and elevated the mass, and the sole obstacles that nullified and retarded their efforts were slavery and race prejudice;

  • for what is slavery but the legalized survival of the unfit and the nullification of the work of natural internal leadership?

  • Negro leadership therefore sought from the first to rid the race of this awful incubus that it might make way for natural selection and the survival of the fittest.

  • In colonial days came Phillis Wheatley and Paul Cuffe striving against the bars of prejudice;

  • and Benjamin Banneker, the almanac maker, voiced their longings when he said to Thomas Jefferson,

  • Profile Picture of Benjamin Banneker in The Talented Tenth

    Benjamin Banneker

    “I freely and cheerfully acknowledge that I am of the African race and in colour which is natural to them, of the deepest dye;