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by W. E. B. Du Bois
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From Library Journal
Surprisingly, this 1915 title by one of our nation's most important African American writers has floundered in obscurity for decades. Du Bois here offers one of the earliest histories of African peoples and their cultures, from the devastation caused by European colonization to the lives of blacks in the early 20th century. This edition contains a new afterword by historian Robert Gregg. Essential for all libraries.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
New York Times
The whole is written with an intellectual force, a breadth of learning, and a judicial poise that compel respect.
James Weldon Johnson
The book ought to be generally read, for it sets forth authentic data which form the kind of background essential to race consciousness.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2001
"Robert Gregg, who provides a helpful afterword here, argues the merits of this wide-ranging narrative. . . . Important by any standard."
This classic treatise by W.E.B. Du Bois (1869-1963), the most important African American leader of the first half of the twentieth century and the cofounder of the NAACP, presents a brief history of Africa and people of African descent. To appreciate this pioneering work, published in 1915, it is important to recall its historical context. At the start of the last century, most whites had no appreciation of African Americans as fellow human beings worthy of dignity or as inheritors of a rich and varied culture.
Faced with this seemingly insurmountable wall of racism, Du Bois's stance against the injustice of the time takes on heroic proportions. Through his writings he hoped to dispel the vast ignorance about black people that fed the racism of most whites.
THE NEGRO remains valuable to this day as a ground-breaking work. In an age of colonialism and blatant discrimination, Du Bois succeeded in proving that black people were inheritors of a proud cultural legacy and a long history. He thus laid the foundation for later generations of scholars. This edition is complemented by an informative introduction by Kenneth W. Goings, professor and chair of African-American and African Studies at The Ohio State University.
Nevertheless, I have not been able to withstand the temptation to essay such short general statement of the main known facts and their fair interpretation as shall enable the general reader to know as men a sixth or more of the human race. Manifestly so short a story must be mainly conclusions and generalizations with but meager indication of authorities and underlying arguments. Possibly, if the Public will, a later and larger book may be more satisfactory on these points. -- W.E. Burghardt Du Bois, New York City, February 1, 1915
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