W. E. B. DuBois: The Trumpet of Confrontation

  • W. E. B. DuBois: The Trumpet of Confrontation

  • An Excerpt from "THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN AMERICA" Published electronically by its author, Norman Coombs,and Project Gutenberg.(C 1993) by Norman Coombs.

  • Narrator

    In contrast to Washington's policy of conciliation and compromise, W. E. B. DuBois believed that it was necessary to act like men in order to be accepted as men, speaking the truth as he saw it, loudly, clearly, and fearlessly, was to him the minimum criterion for manliness.

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  • This led to a contrasting style of leadership.

  • Where Washington had been polite and ingratiating, DuBois was self-assertive and, frequently, aggressive.

  • Where Washington had tried to win the trust of white bigots, DuBois insisted on confronting them with the truth as he saw it.

  • Where Washington had counseled peace, DuBois clamored for action.

  • The contrasting leadership styles of Washington and DuBois were rooted in their differing life experiences.

  • Narrator

    DuBois was born in February, 1868, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

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  • His grandfather had procured his own freedom through participating in the American Revolution.

  • DuBois received his elementary and secondary education in an integrated setting which prevented his becoming conscious of the color bar.

  • However, receiving an integrated college education was not so simple.

  • Instead he headed South to Fisk University to further his education, there, the daily insults of discrimination and segregation came to him as a shock.

  • He had not been trained to accept them, and these daily harassments filled him with anger and hostility.

  • Narrator

    He returned north to pursue his graduate education at Harvard University, and he also spent some time at the University of Berlin exploring the new field of sociology.

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  • DuBois's first-class education as well as his own scholarly bent led him to put considerable faith in reason and learning as the tools with which to rebuild the world.

  • He came to believe that bigotry and discrimination were rooted in ignorance and that scholarship could destroy them by exposing them to the light of truth.

  • He strove to demonstrate that the Afro-American was not innately inferior and that his inferior status sprang from his unequal and unfair treatment in America.

  • While at Harvard, he wrote “The Suppression of the African Slave Trade” which was of such high quality that it became the first volume in an important historical series published by Harvard.

  • Narrator

    Soon afterwards, while teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, he conducted extensive sociological research which resulted in “The Philadelphia Negro".

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