dubois with quote.jpg

"Few men ever worshiped Freedom with half such unquestioning faith as did the American Negro for two centuries.  To him, so far as he thought and dreamed, slavery was indeed the sum of all villainies, the cause of all sorrow, the root of all prejudice; Emancipation was the key to a promised land of sweeter beauty than ever stretched before the eyes of wearied Israelites.  In song and exhortation swelled one refrain -- Liberty; in his tears and curses the God he implored had Freedom in his right hand.  At last it came -- suddenly, fearfully, like. dream.  With one wild carnival of blood and passion came the message in his own plaintive cadences: -- 

Shout O children!

Shout, you're free!

God has bought your liberty!

 

*                      *                       *                        *                       *

"Your country?  How came it yours?  Before the Pilgrims landed we were here.  Here we have brought our three gifts and mingled them with yours: a gift of story and song -- soft, stirring melody in an ill-harmonized and unmelodious land; the gift of sweat and brawn to beat back the wilderness, conquer the soil, and lay the foundations of this vast economic empire two hundred years earlier than your weak hands could have done it; the third, a gift of the Spirit.  Around us the history of the land has centered for thrice a hundred years; out of the nation's heart we have called all that was best to throttle and subdue all that was worst; fire and blood, prayer and sacrifice have billowed over this people, and they have found peace only in the altars of the God of Right."

        *                      *                       *                        *                       *

the SOULS OF BLACK FOLK

-- A SAMPLER--

Believe in life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader, and fuller life.
— W.E.B. DuBois

 

"Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of lightly framing it.  All, nevertheless, flutter round it.  They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, How does it feel to be a problem? they say I know an excellent colored man in my town; or I fought at Mechanicsville... At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require.  To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem, I answer seldom a word."

        *                      *                       *                        *                       *

"From the double life of every American Negro must live, as a Negro and as an American, as swept on by the current of the nineteenth while yet struggling in the eddies of the fifteen century--from this must arise a painful self-consciousness, an almost morbid sense of personality, and a moral hesitancy which is fatal to self-confidence."

        *                      *                       *                        *                       *

"The war had naught to do with slaves, cried Congress, the President, and the Nation; and yet no sooner had the armies, East and West, penetrated Virginia and Tennessee than fugitive slaves appeared within their lines.  They came at night, when the flickering camp-fires shone like vast unsteady stars along the black horizon: old men and thin, with gray and tufted hair; women, with frightened eyes, dragging whimpering hungry children; men and girls, stalwart and gaunt -- a horde of starving vagabonds, homeless, helpless, and pitiable, in their dark distress."

        *                      *                       *                        *                       *

"But back of this still broods silently the deep religious feeling of the real Negro heart, the stirring, unguided might of powerful human souls who have lost the guiding star of the past and are seeking in the great night a new religious ideal.  Some day the Awakening will come, when the pent-up vigor of ten million souls shall sweep irresistibly toward the Goal, out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, where all that makes life worth living -- Liberty, Justice, and Right -- is marked 'For White People Only'."

          *                      *                       *                        *                       *

"And herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor -- all men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked -- who is good? not that men are ignorant -- what is Truth?  Nay, but that men know so little of men."