In his many novels, poetry, histories, editorials, plays, and letters, W. E. B. Du Bois poured so much of his blindingly incandescent soul into his writings that no single volume could ever contain all of his words or works. In fact, had not the historian David Levering Lewis taken it upon himself to pen his Pulitzer Prize-winning double-volume biography of Du Bois, it is quite possible (sadly) that the deeper significance and greater scope of Du Bois’ many exemplary contributions to humanity would have eluded modern readers. THE WISDOM OF W. E. D. DU BOIS, part of Citadel Press’ Philosophical Library Series, employs twelve original essays to showcase excerpts from what seemed to be Du Bois’ ceaselessly prolific pen and life. Here, to be savored, in bite-sized nuggets of instant motivation and inspiration is Du Bois at his most brilliant on such subjects as the dynamics of creativity, the healing joy of love, the prophetic vision of democracy, the spiritual perils of war, and much more. These pages throb with uncompromising faith in the truth and beauty of the human spirit.
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The Wisdom of W. E. B. Du Bois
On Cultural Workers
“The thinkers, dreamers, poets of the world must be its workers. Work is God.”
“The main thing is the YOU beneath the clothes and skin--the ability to do, the will to conquer, the determination to understand and know this great, wonderful, curious world.”
Du Bois On Du Bois
“I am one who tells the truth and exposes evil and seeks with Beauty for Beauty to set the world right.”
“...In the civilized world each serves all, and all serve each, and the binding force is faith and skill, and the skill is bounded only by human possibility and genius, and the faith is faithful even to the untrue.”
“The world is shrinking together; it is finding itself neighbor to itself in strange, almost magic degree.”
“The time must come when, great and pressing as change and betterment may be, they do not involve killing and hurting people.”
On Art and Beauty
“Art is not simply works of art; it is the spirit that knows Beauty, that has music in its soul and the color of sunsets in its headkerchiefs; that can dance on a flaming world and make the world dance, too...”
On Human Nature
“Human nature is not simple and any classification that roughly divides men into good and bad, superior and inferior, slave and free, is and must be ludicrously untrue and universally dangerous as a permanent exhaustive classification.”
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The words of wisdom, warning, compassion, joy, and hopefulness offered by W. E. B. Du Bois in the pages that follow are remarkable for their ability to articulate the essential challenges of his own age while illuminating the plight of the modern, and, indeed, virtually every known historical era. He was at once a scientist in his skillful use of history as a tool for comprehending the present, and a prophet in the application of his gift for analyzing the present as an indicator of the future. Because he lived simultaneously firmly entrenched within his time and decades ahead of it, the light of his wisdom, like that of his great love for humanity, is one that never diminishes.