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tv   Lectures in History Philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois  CSPAN  July 17, 2021 8:00pm-9:06pm EDT

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month. the birthday of frederick douglass, we don't know the exact date. abraham lin on the, the emancipation proclamation and also the birthday of w.e.b. dubois. my wife was pregnant with our second child, and she went into labor february 22nd, and so we went to the hospital and they said f -- i said if you hold out a couple hours, we'll have a duboise baby. and you can imagine what with
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you would say to your husband 10 or 15 years down the road. but he was born on february 23rd, so we do have a duboise birthday. in a course like this talking about freedom, there's no person that exemplifies the struggle of freedom in america and the world more than w.e.b. dubois. and, of course, he became famous for -- this is a little bit of his life. his early years, he was born in great barrington, massachusetts. as he's born there, he's born to, his mother and father. his father, alfred, left the family not long after he left -- was born. his grandfather, alexander, was of haitian background, spent some time in santa domingo and ran a store in great barrington.
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his grandfather had some mixture , no doubt some german mixture along the line. duboise once asked him what was his makeup, he said i'm a little german, a little french, a little haitian, a little dutch. but thank god, no anglo-saxon. of course, the original people who trade in slaves and, therefore, we can see a bit of his early life. early life and early years of duboise there. he purchased a copy of the history of england x this becomes very important because this is a book that people would take door to door, and as a young boy,ing he read five or six volumes, and it's like the ensigh crow field ya britannica, i guess you would say. and he went from page to page reading the history of the ancient world.
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understand in great baggerton there were -- barrington, there were no ore blacks -- other blacks, maybe one or two. he was a precocious young man. he didn't want to leapt his mother down -- let his mother down. in a school with many whites, he excelled more than others. and in a place like this, the you know how it is with children, people accept each other. races and cultures don't matter that much. it's how good you can play the game, how you can jump rope, how you can bring your mother's cookies to school and all those types of things. one day he goes to school and kids are passing out cards, cards, you know, like greeting cards they exchange with each other, and this one girl wouldn't accept his card. then he saw his first racial incidence. if you're african-american or perhaps spanish or some other ethnic minority which comes and
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can be considered oppressed, you most likely remember the first time you had a racial incident. i can remember the first time i did. my brother and i were walking, someone was driving a pickup, and he said i smell a color. when people make racial epithets, they never come towards you, they're always going away. opinion so he early recognized. so he excelled in school. his mother told a story of once he wants some german textbooks. he didn't have the money to buy it. he worked in little stores in the morning and things like that. his best friend lucas, he was somewhat mentally challenged, i guess, would be the best world. he had some difficulty learning. they became best friends, and his friend's mother bought him
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german books. he excelled early on in german. the people in town saw how talented this young man was, and they wanted to make sure he went to college. he, of course, wanted to go to harvard. that was his dream school. they took up money to go his first year, but not to harvard. they could accept him as a black man but not as a premier student. so instead, he went to two years to fisk university in tennessee. he'd never been down south. and in the early years there became just very important to him. he left and went to university of memphis, livingston hall, the
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main campus. they could never go into the dorm -- and fisk became famous for jubilee singers. the jubilee singers, as we talked before, were the modern version of the negro spirituals. and, in fact, the choir traveled throughout the world and sang many, many songs. now, we'll come back to it in a moment, but at fisk he learned something that he had not seen before. he went down south and went to other parts of tennessee, and there for the first time he saw poverty, the poverty of -- he saw blacks who couldn't read and write, people who walked around -- he saw people who had to wash their clothes outside. he felt experience of people,
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none who'd ever gone to school. and you read about a young girl named josie and others. at fisk, however, he excelled. and then his work, he finished a four-year course in two years. then he applied to harvard, and then he was accepted and encouraged rigorous study there. at harvard he studied with the great philosophers in america. bushnell hart was one of the first great ones of the 19th century, and hart was -- the importance of learning facts and writing well. william james, of course, the writer. and he wrote his -- he won a prize in his senior year, and he wrote, of all people, on jefferson davis. he wrote about jefferson davis and the rise of slavery.
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from there he applied to graduate school, but first he wanted to two to germany, and he wanted to go to germany for several reasons. imperial knowledge. has anybody ever seen the movie to cojack? the bald-held guy? show me the facts, and i can attribute it myself. just show me the way, and i'll find it myself. and so duboise very much was -- he spent two years in germany. he wanted to get a doctorate in germany at humboldt university, but the german, his german peers resented him because he was in many ways smarter and protested, and he did not get his doctorate there. at the same time, the when he's in germany he has different feelings. he sees the racism of his fellow
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students, yet as he walks around, he doesn't experience that racism. it is what he became later on he talked about the doings of things. in germany, of course, as you see he studied economics at wilhelm university, ideas based on of ricardo perry and, of course, of karl marx and the theory of political economy, use of economic structures to understand the moderning world using the theories of hagel that we spoke about before. he saw race is an undeniable force in history. in other words, being black was not a negative for him, it was a positive. it was who he was, and he wanted to prove that. and later on he came back -- after he left germany, he went back to harvard and completed
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his doctoral studies, and he takes a job at -- he looked at many schools but could not get a job. they taught classics and modern language, and that means greek and latin. he also took science and biology. he was a young man in town, and, of course, he was wearing the top hat as germans wore, he wore three-piece students all the time, and he's there, he's invited to dinners almost every night. and, of course, a young man. so as a young man he's thinking about maybe about marriage, a future. and so he saw all these young ladies, and everybody was inviting him to dinner s so he made two lists. on one list it was the young women who could speak french, what else? could cook, serve tea and set a
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table. and then on the other list it was those who had -- [inaudible] so he had one woman who was on both. it does sound a bit silly, but it's actually true. and this was the woman. and soon he married her and later had children. in the process of doing this, he finished his doctoral thesis at harvard university. it's a classic. the presence of -- in the united states of america. and what this studied, it looked at every body and developed lists and documentation about the way the slave trade worked in each and every slave. the first time it had ever been done. he did it based on his empirical knowledge of facts and going back through every colonial
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constitution. and as you said, he -- in american history, there are many schools of social thought. only to preserve the integrity of america. another school was called the imperial school, and the imperial school was to reflect the idea of british imperialism, of the british society. and then, of course, the progressive school which was to include africans not just as slaves, but as men and women. so he wrote this book, it came out in the harvard series and became a classic. african slave trade 1638-1870. of course, as we know, the international slave trade ends in 1808, but it continued in america until 1865 until the
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civil war. he finishes this study and becomes dr. duboise. not too many places -- [inaudible] he was an erudite man. he liked concerts, museums, and lo and behold, he got a job in philadelphia work on a study of the city. and what he was to do was to study the plight of africans in the city to look at the socioeconomic conditions and get an idea about them. and it became the first imperialized social work of its time. he went ward by ward. in d.c., of course, there are
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eight wards. you've heard of in new orleans the lower ninth. he went into the eighth ward and spent hours and hours. now, here is a man attuned to empiring cl learning, and he goes door to door. there should be four people doing it, but they only hire him. and then, and this is the study. this is where he went map to map interviewing people, and it really set the stage for what we see now as the modern interview. as you know, when people want to -- how people want to vote, they do it. now they can do what, working class why notes are voting for donald trump. you answer that for me, i don't know why. african-americans in the south, they can look at the numbers, and they can say many will go for mrs. clinton. they can go to vermont and places based on polls and ethnicity. duboise was the first to actually do this ward by ward.
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he paid great tribute to the role of the quakers, and i've spoken about the quakers before. anthony -- who became the founder of the anti-slavery movement. but he found the first school for black, continuous school for blacks in philadelphia and one of the first schools in america, the african free school. and, of course, in the other book, suppression of slavery, he said on motion of one, probably anthony -- who was put forth to call for the quakers to bring an end to slavery in america. so he had great appreciation for that. the next year he got a job and he moved to atlanta, georgia, and then he worked at the atlanta university.
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there he taught sociology and imperial studies -- empirical studies. again, he taught greek and latin, and his son -- did anybody ever watch the andy griffith show? and what is the other guy's name? goaler pyle. gwork -- gomer pyle. rooks like a young girl but that is the vick victorian style. the child gets sick. he takes him throughout atlanta. no white doctor will help him. it was common up until probably the late '60 in some places. so his son dies of a disease
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which he could have easily been cured of. from that duboise wrote one of his great books on the passing of his first born, and his book -- [inaudible] but while duboise is there studying this, the other tragedies occur, and one is the tragedy of lynching. he's walking somewhere, and he passes a place, and he -- there's a klan, and there he comes upon a jar and it hooks very much like pickles, but instead of pickles, what are they? they're the nubblings of a human being. -- knuckles of a human being. i actually have seen body parts put in pickle jars outside of -- [inaudible] it was a token, a token of the
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fear that we've spoken about. and the same day he sees that, he starts documenting -- remember the year he was born, 1868, 291 blacks are lynched. the years he's in atlanta in the early 1900s, you can see the numbers. of course, we've talked about lynchings before. duboise, as he continued his scientific research, he gets the approach to begin a study of the american negro, and he did it with a.p. murray who was an african-american printer from a prestigious family who was at the library of congress. they start putting together an exhibit on the achievements of the african-american men of the 20th century. 500 photographs and many pictures of scientific -- [inaudible] as he's there, he wears the
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clothes that he had worn in germany; top hat, three-piece student, pocket watch, pocket square. very much the victorian. and as he's there, he used his theories to con a that district -- contradict and chastise and criticize -- a couple of years before and with his famous -- [inaudible] tamp down your bucket. and as you put your hand to pick it up, your hands can operate in two ways. in all things economic, they can be as one. but in all things social, they will be the five fingers. and, of course, we know that there's no such thing as separate but equal. but booker t. washington put forth a series duboise was not challenging, and we'll speak a bit about it more on the paris
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exhibit. in 1903 what is called the negro bible. he becomes the voice when he -- [inaudible] it's written first in serial form in atlantic monthly, and as you look in this book, you can see that he does something unique. he has a verse which is a verse of a negro spiritual, and then he would have a poem on the other side, very much in tradition of duboise in his own words. very much like this. you see the poem on one side. his famous poem was one of -- a famous poem was one that dr. king always read. this is by james russell lowe, a
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great poet. and the most famous lines -- yet the scaffolds -- then behind but then unknown. within the shadow keeping watch above his own. and, of course, king used that. and what does that mean just off your head? truth live on a scaffold. and what is a scaffold? just off your head. if you're an artist, you know what a scaffold is. >> [inaudible] >> a framework. it's like a ladder. it's something you stand on. as i told you, i used to work on ships for some years, and i would go out and they would build scaffolds. if you've gone to the washington monument, you see the scaffolds and the men and women in this case go up on the scaffolds. if you want to paint, you don't want to do it now, but in the old days if they were painting a building and it was made of hard plaster, men would go on the scaffold and paint.
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they lay on their back. as you know -- [inaudible] what is he saying? truth live -- [inaudible] against who? the scaffold represents who? it represents the average human being, the working man and woman. the throne represents what? off your held, what does the throne represent? the high and mighty, the king. but the truth will last forever and a lie will stand alone. and so see they're playing with words. so he used those to think about -- [inaudible] with this he wrote this book and became the negro bible, one part sociologicalling and one part
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deeply spiritual. and that plays -- some of the negro spirituals for you, and you can see the name of some of those if you look on the side there. nobody knows the trouble i've seen, and that was important. nobody knows the trouble i've seen, nobody knows -- anybody knows words? my sorrow. okay, but before that, nobody knows but jesus. now, in the original way it was nobody knows like jesus, and there's a difference queen like jesus and but jesus. -- between like jesus and but jesus. if you say like jesus then you mean somebody else doesn't know the troubles, if you say but jesus, it means what? if only jesus nose. if you say like -- jesus knows. finish if you say but jesus, it means you're only looking for salvation or freedom in heaven. and so the words steal away, steal away to jesus. steal away, steal away home. steal away to jesus means what?
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stealing away the heaven. but steal the way home means stealing the way to freedom. another, swing low, sweet chariot. come all our son -- tell all our sons i'm coming too. if you get to freedom, tell 'em what? i'm coming after you. so he used those beautiful poems, and he wrote about the meaning of the spirituals. he called them the sorrow songs. but he called them that because death, suffering and unforced longing toward the true world of hidden ways. now, duboise spoke of them as sorrow songs as i mentioned before. a little bit different because douglass said that often the
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people -- [inaudible] sometimes to forget about -- i'm happiest when i sing, but also i can be sad when i sing. you look at the different songs. as i told you about the blues, people would sing the blues. sing the blues when they're happy, when they're sad. you don't always sing the blues when you're sad. ray charles, i got a woman way across town, she's good to me, she's good to me. she gives me loving and money too, nothing for me she wouldn't do. is he sad? he's only sad one time, and that's when his wife catches him with the lady -- otherwise he doesn't have the blues. sometimes the country western music -- on sunday morning, it's nothing but the white man's blues. so there are different forms as we listen to that. and now in the book he takes on again booker t. washington. and booker t. washington, of
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course, is the leader of african-americans at the time. and duboise says this: easily the most striking thing in the history of the negro since 1857 is the -- of mr. booker t. washington. it began -- [inaudible] commercial developments was dawning. then it was the leading man began and his career of booker t. washington with a single definite program when the nation was literally aa shamed of having to to throw so much sentiment on the negro. conciliation to the south and submission and silence to pretty are call rights. and so he challenged the idea of booker t. washington which was to accept things as they are, to go slow, to participate in industrial education. and the best way to establish the difference between booker t. and w.e.b. was this poem by a
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great poet if, dudley ran dacialtion wrote at the height of the -- [inaudible] it seems to me that booker t. shows a mighty lot of cheek to study chemistry and greek, and when -- the. [inaudible] looks for a cook, why stick your nose if inside a book? i don't agree, said w.e.b., if i should have the knowledge of chemistry or greek, i'll do it. look for another hand to cook. and some in cultivating land but there are others who maintain the right to cultivate the brain. and so what is he saying there? it's a struggle between industrial education and advanced education, between -- education and the right to knowledge. and duboise and booker t. took on this with glee. now, it's very interesting because booker t., even though he disagreed with duboise's
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programs and in one case in the early 1900s when duboise was looking for a job, he wanted to be -- [inaudible] and booker t. washington undermined the effort. but when he was at riverport some years before, come to find out one of his classmates, margaret, who had been at fisk, was booker t.'s second wife and offered him a job in tuskegee. this was before he so openly disagreed with his policies. a year or so later he founded something he called the niagara movement, the forerunner of the naacp. he was joined by other great leaders. ida b. wells from memphis, tennessee, who would become the great writer in the south.
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and they both wanted to dispute the ideas of booker t. washington. it was time for blacks to fight, and duboise listed three things, the right to education, the right to vote and the right to participate in the american political system. and so all of these people came and met in knew niagara near the canadian border and founded this movement. and you can see the dates, 1905-1909. in 1909 they had a meeting at harper's ferry. harper's ferry represents what? harper's ferry is the place where john brown had his raid and there, and, of course -- they're black into white. and, of course, many black leaders. and they found this at harper's ferry in 1909.
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the journey to find the magazine is -- and there's duboise there. found the crisis at the same time they found the naacp, the 100th anniversary of lincoln birth. it is -- lincoln's birth. the grandfather clause was the notion that if your grandfatherren didn't vote, you wouldn't be able to vote. so it quickly fights for the rights of african-americans all over. the magazine is called the crisis. and the crisis magazine starts with issues on many deferent topics. the next -- different topics. the next year he publishes a book on john brown. he often said that was his favorite book. he wrote it in tribute to john
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brown. as we said, the naacp is founded at harper's ferry. do you remember what douglass said about brown? he died in slavery, who was the better man? and for douglass it was john brown. he said it was probably his worst book but also his most enjoyable book. and since then, of course, many books have been written about this man, john brown. the next year he goes international, and he found something called the pan-african movement the pan-african movement is movement to bring forth after cans from the rib -- africans from the caribbean -- [inaudible] to speak about the oppression of black people. and he wrote the same year to the nations of the world, and it was a plea sign by all these leaders. and here you can see there to develop policies, to decolonize
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the african countries and bring equality to the blacks, to stop the lynching, stop the robbing of the resources of haiti and ghana and guinea and many other places. and by 1919 it had developed so much it was called the pan-african congress. they had five between then and 1945. he wanted to have the first in america, in the united states, in new york, but woodrow wilson would not allow the other delegates. they did not want these guys -- and remember by 1919 many african-americans had fought in world war i. the -- [inaudible] many blacks had gone and fought with european forces, and they've come back to america. they went to france and got great dignity. in america they were just treated the same as they were before. and this is the first international gathering of people of color period. during the same time world war i
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is started, and duboise for the first time falters really. during world war i he calls the american -- [inaudible] what he said is now is time to close ranks and fight against the german force. many black leaders criticized him. you mean put down all of our desires and struggles that we've been pushing all these years to close ranks for an army and a people that don't accept us at home? so it created a great debate amongst the soldiers there. and he had these ideas. we make no ordinary sacrifice, but we make it gladly and willingly with our eyes lifted to the hills. and here he's saying this is the [inaudible] these are the great -- [inaudible] and this is the 369th regiment off the harlem. and i told you the story, they
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go to france. they -- and all of a sudden people are looking up, what is this? the french looking bewildered, and they -- when they see that, they applaud in gorily, and the french have never stopped liking jazz. jazz traditions have never stopped liking france. and duboise writes that in the criticism, and then he changes his tune. people change. and he writes later on as people come back from the war, we returned fighting, we we returned to fight. we should be vick is to have yous. and -- victorious. and he's calling again for african-americans to join, and that's in the midst of the 1919 rise where many soldiers who had fought in the war come home including washington d.c. as he does, as he's moving, the rise of another popular figure comes, and that is marcus -- [inaudible]
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born in queen anne, jamaica can, a very dark-skinned man, eloquent speaker, very loquacious. and many times more than what duboise and all the others together was with he -- [inaudible] who have never gotten their rights. and he walks around in military uniform, the women are dressed in white such as the -- and crypts a great, wonderful organization. but it's based on one notion, and that is of the back to africa movement showing that he will be able to go there. where in africa, we don't know. don't know what country, what region. as i mentioned before, oprah win industry thought she was zulu because she wanted to be like mandela. but she finds that she is 100%
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black. there's no white in her family. open a rah winfrey, so she's pure black and she's a billionaire. you couldn't be better than that, in my opinion. and so garvey was, of course, deeply suspicious of -- he walks into the naacp office one day, and he looks, and everybody is light, bright and almost white, and duboise is criticizing him. garvey is, of course, chastising, criticizing duboise too. and other players deal with their great differences. over political philosophy and things like that. a couple of years later, duboise -- [inaudible] ship line is going to go to take africans back to some importants in africa. it failed -- ports. the ship cannot if get out of port. remind you, i spent a couple years working on big ships.
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it didn't get out of water. during the period of time then duboise is constantly disillusioned with -- [inaudible] and he feeled the more radical answer should be developed. he has -- you remember that during the the scottsboro case when these nine african men are pulled off a train accusing of raping a white woman, the naacp takes no action. they think the people may have been guilty. find out the young black boy were absolutely not guilty, had been accused of something that they were not involved in. they become disillusioned with the roam of the naacp if -- role of, and they move steadily to the left. studied in germany, so in germany he started reading some of these works. the bible, of course, critique it for a reason.
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darwin, thank you, and karl marx. and he reads especially the preface to the condition on the political economy. and then he writes just this human error cannot judge itself by that particular -- many cannot judge each other by what they do at that particular time. it is not the man who determines the consciousness, it is the consciousness that determines the man's reasoning. in essence, it is not you who determines the external conditions, but external conditions determine who you are and the conditions of life form your consciousness. one does not have to be a working man to understand the plight of working people, but working people who work every day do understand the plight a little bit better. so he was trying to use
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philosophical understanding to understand, to rook at the -- to look at the problems of the world. and he used that critique to write one of the great books of american history, the black reconstruction, which -- and what he basically said in his book, he treated the black slaves as workers who were exploited. came out in 1935, reviewed in almost every publication in the country from the atlantic monthly through all the black press. but it's panned by the naacp and also panned by the mainstream white press. but a couple of years later, one of the greatest columbia historians, wrote a revisionist history of black reconstruction, of reconstruction, and gave great praise to this work. he was -- the early schools said that reconstruction was -- [inaudible] it led to the tearing up of the south even though if you look at the records, there were very few
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examples of african-american men raping white women. and so duboise is going back to his scholarship. he -- but then something happens. 1937 this organization is founded, southern negro youth congress. ethel jackson, now 98. she's my godmother. and here's young people in the south. esther jackson from -- louie vernon born in guyana, dorothy, his wife, who just turned 100, and all of these northerners moved down south. two people are there, the two greatest americans living at this time, in my opinion, paul robeson -- we'll deal with him
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another time -- and, of course, w.e.b. dubois. and becomes very active in the south. and here again are some of the pictures of the founders. the southern negro youth conference is the predecessor to student nonviolent coordinating committee. few boys continues to fight, continues to be active and plays an amazing role in the founding of the united nations in san francisco. he's there because he wants to bring together the, discuss the plight of the african nations. he goes there, of course, comes in contact with mrs. roosevelt. mrs. roosevelt, of course, the grand dame of american political society. she would go and work with blacks in the south. she was -- she fought for the rights of blacks in washington,
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d.c. mrs. roosevelt is this. when she goes to meetings and blacks -- why notes in the front, blacks -- whites in fron, blacks in the back, she takes a chair and sticks it in the middle, and she also becomes a great leader. she fights for the anti-lynching bill. her husband franklin would not sign it. he felt he would lose the votes of the south and also because he'd go into warm springs, georgia, every year, into klan country, because of the condition of his legs. but his wife -- [inaudible] but they disagree on the pace of -- duboise and mrs. roosevelt disagree on the pace of that. and soon after in 1947 he present an a appeal to the world, and it's mainly an appeal to the colored people of the
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world. the next year he becomes involved in a campaign, i guess it would be somewhat similar to bernie sanders' campaign, the '48 election. the man, of course, there is henry wallace and, of course, the great paul robeson. wallace has been vice president under roosevelt, but he was -- dumped in favor of harry truman. some, of course, where mrs. clinton, some with mr. trump. and i didn't understand duboise, when he was in germany at the turn of the century, he sees the movement of the german social democrats, the progressive -- [inaudible] during this period of time as the progressive party forms, the cold war develops. the americans and russians had been allies during the war, but
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now they are -- [inaudible] is so the progressive party starts bringing out ideas of corporate control and the rights of african-americans, the rights of women, and many activists become involved. duboise and, of course, the late pete segal who just died about a year ago. about one year ago. he also becomes again involved in issues around africa and found something called the council of african affairs. you all remember trans-africa, the movement that led the struggle against apartheid. the provost at howard university gave with up his position as provost in order to work for these causes. he was a member of the communist party, the fbi found out and did everything it could for him never to work again. robison, as far as i know, was
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never -- [inaudible] he never denouncedded communism. the first great african -- [inaudible] of the 20th century. and here you see his wife dorothy and paul robeson with dr. duboise. as he becomes active, the cold war is having tremendousfects. it's having a tremendousfect and sometimes there's a movement the end decolonization of egypt, vietnam, cambodia, decolonization in jamaica and throughout -- and haiti and throughout the west. and he has to organize a peace conference and forms the -- [inaudible] support the peace accord. and then he's with the new york
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city, famous new york city councilman and forms the information center. but as he's protesting, he -- very close to the white house, he's castigated because he's accused of being a foreign agent. he's no foreign agent. they demand that he sign an oath that he's a foreign agent. he refused. and he's handcuffed when he's indicted in union square, and he a says i am 83 and have been treated as nothing but a -- you know the words, but he's still sharp as a tack with his shoes and his -- of course, he's getting up in age. and soon he also plays another role in founding this magazine, one of the greatest magazines of the 20th century, again by esther jackson who i've shown you before. and others, jack to odell who
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became the -- [inaudible] and shirley graham duboise died some years ago, children's book writer. and this new magazine, and you can sigh with all the picture -- magazine and you can see with all the pictures a great writer. raisin in the sun, james baldwin, a great artist. james kelly who was from washington, d.c., tbrawpted a couple years before esther jackson. and her statues are this and she marries poncho who was her husband of many years. of course, one of the great leaders of american -- [inaudible] and publication of people like -- [inaudible] and many others. there's no place for progressives and harry belafonte and others. and this magazine becomes the
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key freedom magazine in the country. but soon, of course, he is getting old e he is disillusioned, and there he is with my godmother. he's in there house. how did they -- anywhere duboise went, there was a circle. it was the idea that a tenth of the black population would lead the race to freedom. he developed this notion at the beginning of the century. when he developed this notion, there were 9 million african-americans. 90% were in the south. of this 9 million, less than 20,000 had a college degree. there were about 700 lawyers, about 250 doctors, about 17,000 black educate -- educators, there were about 17,000 preachers. not necessarily educated. duboise once said the preachers were the most unique god ever produced, he's all
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things to all people. and the preacher is, indeed, the african-american preacher is very unique and spell-binding in many cases. but he had this notion to lead the -- [inaudible] of course, it did not. he becomes disillusioned. and so 1961 he's about to join the communist party. writes a letter to his chair. he also left early and went to ghana, and he went to ghana to complete -- there he is with kwame -- [inaudible] founded the convention party in ghana and led the country to independence. and he invited dr. duboise there to work and help, to help complete this book, the ensigh crow field ya africana. encyclopedia.
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you can see the suit he wears. i have a couple of those. and he -- [inaudible] his 95th birthday. they had it at freedom hall there. and he became -- his goal was to complete this ensigh crow field ya africana which was to complete -- [inaudible] and only a couple of years ago it was finally reprinted and completed at harvard. and there in ghana he had many, many people come as he completed his work. and ghana gives him citizenship. he denounces his own u.s. citizenship there. the next year in america is the march on -- as the march on is being formed, a great man could not tolerate duboise's radicalism and in many with ways sort of asked him prematurely to
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take a voluntary assignment, and duboise was fed up with that. he is, after all, trained in europe. he's not a mild man, he's not a man who likes any -- [inaudible] riggings comes to podium and announces the death of w.e.b. dubois, played a great role in organizing the march on washington and announced his death. and dr. king on duboise' birthday, february 23rd, 1968, on the 100th an verse arely vent -- anniversary event held again by esther jackson and others in honor of the -- [inaudible] and he said dr. day boys not only an a intellectual giant, he was -- he would have wanted his life to teach us something about our taxes of emancipation. dr. duboise confronted this
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powerful structure of distortion. he did not apologize for being black, and because of it he was never handicappedded. and so this was the life of w.e.b. duboise, perhaps our greatest intellectual. thank you. [applause] pleasure no, i don't know how much time, we have a little time left, so let's have have a little discussion of dr. duboise. for the next 15 minutes. you all have a sheet i gave you of just some quotes. i find them quite fascinating. but if i were to ask you what saved this man p why did he become what he was? just off your held, what would you tell me? >> because he was educated at such a young age, he was able to, like, have a love of learning but kind of was -- to others his entire life. and that, he realized, was the key to success in both his life
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and true to the advancement of black people in america for the future generation. >> thank you. because you see, you're exactly right, it's not enough just to be black or to be oppressed. you're jewish and oppressed or if you are mongolian and oppressed or his tanpanic -- hispanic, you must find ways to fight the oppression. it's not enough to say that i have been destroyed, but you must find ways. he saw knowledge as not just being the property of white people, to advance the race. and that's why he had differences with booker t. washington because he saw education as a way. and so sometimes -- not taking advantage of the great advantage that you have, it's for a reason. you are here, somebody's plague all this money for this -- paying all this money for great -- leave the campus and go out into the city to learn more
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about it, it's for a reason. each of us has a role in society one way or another. and so that was duboise. education. anyone else? >> [inaudible] believe in life -- i mean, i'm sorry, children will learn better from what you are than what you teach. he kind of practices what he preaches -- >> [inaudible] >> children learn more from what you learn that what you teach. and i think it's important to know that he practices what he preaches. >> i have two children, and i wasn't always a teacher, i was working most of the time, and my wife was struggling to get the kids through school. and i got them into one of these fancy psychological ises up the street -- schools up the street. ask one of my friends said you can't seven your kids there. send your kids there. they may learn, but they won't understand about being black.
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so i laughed at it. i said in my house, they will just know. there's no problem because you will learn about -- [inaudible] not that black is something all in itself, but we learn -- we learn from the books in the house, they learn from the company who who comes in, they will learn from the affection that we give them. they will also learn from the demonstrations we go to. they will learn how hard their mother works and trying to go to school and the sacrifices of the mother. they will learn all those things. it's not always what you say, it's two you are. as you -- who you are. as you walk around the campus and walk with your head held high, that sets an example. something else, what else made him? >> i would add that what made him was not only studying, but also actually going down, like, for example, writing the philadelphia negro, when he actually went down and saw the
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conditions they were living in because i remember it was written, like, in the backdrop of -- and the idea that people thought it was separate but equal, but very clearly when he went down there, it was not. >> thank you very much. it is some years after plessy v. ferguson is, separate but equal, but he goes to the birthplace of american democracy, and he sees the conditions of african-americans. and it's the -- does something called the -- [inaudible] duboise is doing his, this hard, nitty-gritty work asking questions, surveying. and we will look at a book about washington, d.c. and the struggles, and it's a study of just winning one neighborhood. and duboise went in this whole city. you know, i'm doing a study for the city on washington d.c. i'm trying to find about why so many african-americans have been
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forced out. but the problem is that the city government and the planners and people who keep the statistics have no systematic way of keeping it. it's almost as if they didn't care. i suppose they do, but so many african-americans are being forced out, and the city's changing so much, and people who decry gentrification yet in some ways are happy with it because it creates a neighborhood where there are more young, well-off. but what about the people who have been forced out? duboise was the first to look at that day by day. you see, people talk about property, and often it's not understand we have poverty in washington d.c. yeah, you have a kid who's 13 or say 6 or 7 and he's behind or she's behind because they didn't get the chance the go to preschool. why don't they have these opportunities? maybe their mother is 20, and maybe their mother had a child very young and didn't have the opportunity or take the opportunity. and i often go -- i walk to the
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corner, and i talk to moe, and moe is from guinea, and we talk about africa and things like that. get a cup of coffee before i go home, and young kids will come into the store. 4, 5 and 6, they come in to get candy and things like that when they should be in preschool, but they're not. if that person is 6, their mother is, what? maybe 20, 22. and then their grandfather maybe 42, great grandfather maybe 62. so it's not just the generation, the generations that preceded them. may not have had opportunities. 70% of african-american men never finish high school in d.c. on time. so duboise was doing this study. we have not engaged in the way to try to you said. it's not -- to understand. one must try to solve the social problem.
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duboise also founded these organizations. so he's not just a intellectual, he's an organizer. so what does that say about him? now, you know, dr. king was a great speaker, and they said all the jokes are he couldn't organize -- [inaudible] he didn't have to. all he had to do was figure out the theory. he's with you, he's marching, so why wouldn't he necessarily do the day-to-day work in and duboise, he's not doing it. today to organize is quite simple. you -- i don't know, you hashtag or tweet, something like that. people come out. but this is a different day. they have to go out and distribute it. so it's not as easy as it was before. one wants to find a movement around pan-africanism, one has to go to other countries and meet these leaders.
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and, of course, as you look at his work i would be remiss without saying duboise was one of the early writers on the condition of african-american women. he had a great -- [inaudible] he appreciates. and why? i suppose for the same reason i do, because he was raised by a single mother, and he was raised and he saw how hard she worked to produce for him. he's making this list, it's part in jest, but then he, of course, has a daughter. his son and then his daughter. and if even when he marries again, shirley graham, he has great appreciation for that. and one more question. why to you suppose duboise saw the need to leave america?
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very complex. he's fought, he's participated -- world war i, world war ii, towning of the united nations, he -- founding of the united nations, he goes down south to fight lynches. but then -- lynchings. but then at a certain point, he feels he has to leave. what's happening in the early '60s? >> [inaudible] >> and contrary on the other side, a what's that? >> [inaudible] >> civil rights movement, but the great period of political repression. it starts with the mccarthy period. starts in the early '50s, right after world war ii has ended. people like duboise, paul rivers' passport is taken.
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my godfather was put in jail and did something call went underground which meant he didn't see his wife for four or five years. he had to go live on a farm somewhere in idaho because the fbi was chasing him because he's accused of being a communist. it's a great period of political to oppression. you have other things, the bay of pigs invasion in cuba, americans -- [inaudible] contradiction with the russians as allies. the space race, all those things. thousands of blacks' passports are taken. many are denied jobs, are you now or have you ever been -- hollywood, many great writers lose are jobs. and a great period of political oppression. so duboise feels that. in fact, enough credit is not finn to martin luther king because it's the civil rights movement and his fighting and bringing in people like bob
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dylan and pete seeger and dick gregory and harry belafonte that helps usher in the end of the cold war. but he had to leave because of that. in the end, few boys goes -- duboise goes to africa with the mission he always wanted, that was to write this magazine -- write this book on the encyclopedia africana. so we'll end with that and have a nice break and think about what you're going the write your next papers on and always, when you write your next papers, hope they're better than the first one, and delay will always be -- and they will always be. thank you. and i'll give papers, i'll give you papers out today and we can discuss them. okay? [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> did you know you can listen to lectures in history on the
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go? stream it as a podcast anywhere. anytime. you're watching american history tv. ♪ >> watch booktv now on sundays on c-span2 or find it online anytime at it's television for serious readers. ♪ ♪ >> c-span's american history tv continues now. you can find the full schedule for the weekend on your program divide or at >> the actions of the great figures of history often seem preordained and almost always play out on the public stage. the human side is harder to uncover. set out to draw back the curtain on the domestic life of abraham lincoln. lincoln contended with political and military battlegrounds during the civil war. hisom


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