W. E. B. Du Bois, fully William Edward Burghardt Du Bois

W. E. B.
Du Bois, fully William Edward Burghardt Du Bois
1940
1963

American Sociologist, Civil Rights Leader, First African American to receive Ph.D. from Harvard, Co-Founder of NAACP, Writer and Educator

Author Quotes

And yet not a dream, but a mighty reality- a glimpse of the higher life, the broader possibilities of humanity, which is granted to the man who, amid the rush and roar of living, pauses four short years to learn what living means

How shall Integrity face Oppression? What shall Honesty do in the face of Deception, Decency in the face of Insult, Self-Defense before Blows? How shall Desert and Accomplishment meet Despising, Detraction, and Lies? What shall Virtue do to meet Brute Force? There are so many answers and so contradictory; and such differences for those on the one hand who meet questions similar to this once a year or once a decade, and those who face them hourly and daily.

John, she said, does it make every one unhappy when they study and learn lots of things. He paused and smiled. I am afraid it does, he said. And, John, are you glad you studied? Yes, came the answer, slowly but positively. She watched the flickering lights upon the sea, and said thoughtfully, I wish I was unhappy,—and—and, putting both arms about his neck, I think I am, a little, John.

The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, -- this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost... He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American...

To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.

And yet this very singleness of vision and thorough oneness with his age is a mark of the successful man. It is as though Nature needs must make men narrow in order to give them force.

I believe in pride of race and lineage and self - in pride of self so deep as to scorn injustice to other selves.

Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature. He was simple, calm and courageous. He seldom lost his poise; pondered his problems slowly, made his decisions clearly and firmly; never yielded to ostentation nor coyly refrained from holding his rightful place with dignity. He was the son of a serf but stood calmly before the great without hesitation or nerves. But also—and this was the highest proof of his greatness—he knew the common man, felt his problems, followed his fate.

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.

To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires.

But 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.

I believe that all men, black, brown, and white, are brothers.

Liberty trains for liberty. Responsibility is the first step in responsibility.

The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.

To the real question, “How does it feel to be a problem?” I answer seldom a word.

But we do not merely protest; we make renewed demand for freedom in that vast kingdom of the human spirit where freedom has ever had the right to dwell: the expressing of thought to unstuffed ears; the dreaming of dreams by untwisted souls.

I believe that there are human stocks with whom it is physically unwise to intermarry, but to think that these stocks are all colored or that there are no such white stocks is unscientific and false.

Life has its pains and evils—its bitter disappointments; but like a good novel and in healthful length of days, there is infinite joy in seeing the World, the most interesting of continued stories, unfold.

The most ordinary Negro is a distinct gentleman, but it takes extraordinary training and opportunity to make the average white man anything but a hog.

Unfortunately there was one thing that the white South feared more than Negro dishonesty, ignorance, and incompetency, and that was Negro honesty, knowledge, and efficiency.

But what of black women?... I most sincerely doubt if any other race of women could have brought its fineness up through so devilish a fire.

I do not laugh. I am quite straight-faced as I ask soberly:

Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.

The Negro cannot stand the present reactionary tendencies and unreasoning drawing of the color line indefinitely without discouragement and retrogression. And the condition of the Negro is ever the cause for further discrimination.

We are training not isolated men but a living group of men, - nay, a group within a group. And the final product of our training must be neither a psychologist nor a brickmason, but a man. And to make men, we must have ideals, broad, pure, and inspiring ends of living, - not sordid money-getting, not apples of gold. The worker must work for the glory of his handiwork, not simply for pay; the thinker must think for truth, not for fame. And all this is gained only by human strife and longing; by ceaseless training and education; by founding Right on righteousness and Truth on the unhampered search for Truth...and weaving thus a system, not a distortion, and bringing a birth, not an abortion.

Author Picture
First Name
W. E. B.
Last Name
Du Bois, fully William Edward Burghardt Du Bois
Birth Date
1940
Death Date
1963
Bio

American Sociologist, Civil Rights Leader, First African American to receive Ph.D. from Harvard, Co-Founder of NAACP, Writer and Educator