18 January 2012

W. E. B. Du Bois

African Revolutionary Writers, Part 2

W. E. B. Du Bois

Dr W. E. B. Du Bois is a legend. How much is owed to this man’s life’s work is impossible to over-estimate. He began his political career in the 19th Century and went on through the 20th Century, eventually dying in independent Ghana, where he had gone to serve the revolution, although well into his 90s by that time.

Yet in spite of his eminence and the great amount that he wrote, it has been extremely difficult to find original documents of Du Bois’ on the Internet, especially documents that coincide with his leadership, together with Paul Robeson, of the Council on African Affairs, based in New York, after the anti-fascist war of 1939-1945, when the independence of African countries started to get under way. The first was Libya, on 24 December 1951.

Eventually a friend in New York sent the two rare documents that can be downloaded via the link below. What they at the very least demonstrate is the very broad consciousness that Du Bois had, together with his tremendous sense of history and of historical time.

The 1946 letter to the New York Times is evidence of the unique leadership that Du Bois gave on the national and colonial question, while the article on M. K. Gandhi shows his great understanding of all the difficulties.

Du Bois is also particularly famous for his role as an organiser and participant in several of the five Pan-African Conferences, especially the last one in Manchester in 1945.

  • The above serves to introduce the original reading-text: W. E. B. Du Bois, Two Pieces of His Writing, 1946 and 1956.

  • A PDF file of the reading text is attached