Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil

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Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920 - African Americans - 276 pages
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In "Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil," W.E.B. Du Bois puts forth a masterpiece of social and political thought. Some of his most important and controversial ideas on race, class and gender are contained in this book. Published in 1920, this daring collection of fiery essays, poetry and short fiction challenged the prevailing views on important social issues.

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User Review  - schraubd - LibraryThing

The Souls of Black Folk is far more famous, but I think this is a superior piece of work. It represents Du Bois at his most complex -- he's not starry-eyed over the promise of liberalism anymore, but ... Read full review



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Page 153 - But hail thou Goddess, sage and holy, Hail divinest Melancholy, Whose saintly visage is too bright To hit the sense of human sight...
Page 176 - Before I'll be a slave I'll be buried in my grave, And go home to my Lord And be free.
Page 190 - And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
Page 159 - ... has been rudely outraged. In the field, in the rude cabin, in the press-room, in the factory she was thrown into the companionship of coarse and ignorant men. No chance was given her for delicate reserve or tender modesty. From her childhood she was the doomed victim of the grossest passion.
Page 14 - Lord! In the pale, still morning we looked upon the deed. We stopped our ears and held our leaping hands, but they — did they not wag their heads and leer and cry with bloody jaws: Cease from Crime! The word was mockery, for thus they train a hundred crimes while we do cure one. Turn again our captivity, O Lord!
Page 152 - This is the damnation of women. All womanhood is hampered today because the world on which it is emerging is a world that tries to worship both virgins and mothers and in the end despises motherhood and despoils virgins.
Page 158 - We Southern ladies are complimented with the names of wives, but we are only the mistresses of seraglios." Out of this, what sort of black women could be born into the world of today? There are those who hasten to answer this query in scathing terms and who say lightly and repeatedly that out of black slavery came nothing decent in womanhood; that adultery and uncleanness were their heritage and are their continued portion. Fortunately so exaggerated a charge is humanly impossible of truth. The half-million...
Page 44 - Always Africa is giving us something new or some metempsychosis of a world-old thing. On its black bosom arose one of the earliest, if not the earliest, of self-protecting civilizations, and grew so mightily that it still furnishes superlatives to thinking and speaking men. Out of its darker and more remote forest fastnesses, came, if we may credit many recent scientists, the first welding of iron, and we know that agriculture and trade flourished there when Europe was a wilderness.
Page 13 - O Silent God, Thou whose voice afar in mist and mystery hath left our ears an-hungered in these fearful days — Hear us, good Lord! Listen to us. Thy children: our faces dark with doubt are made a mockery in Thy Sanctuary. With uplifted hands we front Thy Heaven, O God, crying: We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord! We are not better than our fellows. Lord; we are but weak and human men. When our devils do deviltry, curse Thou the doer and the deed, — curse them as we curse them, do to them all...
Page 174 - No other women on earth could have emerged from the hell of force and temptation which once engulfed and still surrounds black women in America with half the modesty and womanliness that they retain.

About the author (1920)

Civil rights leader and author, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on February 23, 1868. He earned a B.A. from both Harvard and Fisk universities, an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard, and studied at the University of Berlin. He taught briefly at Wilberforce University before he came professor of history and economics at Atlanta University in Ohio (1896-1910). There, he wrote The Souls of Black Folk (1903), in which he pointed out that it was up to whites and blacks jointly to solve the problems created by the denial of civil rights to blacks. In 1905, Du Bois became a major figure in the Niagara Movement, a crusading effort to end discrimination. The organization collapsed, but it prepared the way for the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in which Du Bois played a major role. In 1910, he became editor of the NAACP magazine, a position he held for more than 20 years. Du Bois returned to Atlanta University in 1932 and tried to implement a plan to make the Negro Land Grant Colleges centers of black power. Atlanta approved of his idea, but later retracted its support. When Du Bois tried to return to NAACP, it rejected him too. Active in several Pan-African Congresses, Du Bois came to know Fwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, and Jono Kenyatta the president of Kenya. In 1961, the same year Du Bois joined the Communist party, Nkrumah invited him to Ghana as a director of an Encyclopedia Africana project. He died there on August 27, 1963, after becoming a citizen of that country.

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