Tuesday, July 29, 2008

W.E.B. Du Bois: An American Prophet?

To help preface our discussion on Thursday, I offer the following links to articles, essays, and other items of interest. This, like the post on Sister Aimee, will provide you with a wealth of information for your final project.

Start here with a short biographical sketch of Du Bois, and a photo-text exhibit on Du Bois's life.

The University of Massachusetts-Amherts contains the largest collection of Du Bois's papers, and hosts an on-line repository with tons of pictures and a large number of documents. (You can read "Credo" here.) In fact, the Afro-American studies department at UMass-Amherst takes it name from Du Bois. Here's another collection of things Du Bois (click on the animated map to see where in the world Du Bois traveled), and a short summary of his early life in Great Barrington.

Here's a report about the history of Du Bois's Encyclopedia Africana project, another project related to Du Bois's encyclopedia idea, and some pictures from Du Bois landmarks in Ghana.

I mentioned in the Du Bois lecture that he spent time studying in Germany. Read some thoughts about that here, and read Du Bois's musings on the "talented tenth."

In terms of Du Bois resources on-line, there's Professor Robert Williams's fabulous repository of Du Bois resources, the resources page at the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass-Amherst, Dr. Steven Hale's Du Bois on-line selections, resources from the Documenting the American South project, the Perspectives in American Literature (PAL) page, the reading room at Harvard's Du Bois Institute, documents from the FBI files of Du Bois (though redacted), Du Bois's New York Times featured author page (subscription required), the e-project at the University of Virginia Library (scroll down for Du Bois), and in other various places Paul Harvey points out.

Another interesting site comes from Dr. Richard Rath, a historian who does sensory history among other things, teaches at the U. of Hawaii and with some students developed a kind of soundtrack to Souls of Black Folk. It is amazingly cool, and a helpful resource in teaching. Check it out here.

Other on-line readings from Du Bois include Darkwater (1920) which includes an interesting story titled “Jesus Christ in Texas.” Du Bois's “A Litany at Atlanta” is a psalm of lament written in response to the 1906 Atlanta race riot.

Thursday night's discussion will focus on the work of Edward J. Blum, who has agreed to join us for class to discuss his recent book W.E.B. Du Bois, American Prophet (U. of Pennsylvania, 2007).

Ed has also written a few things for the University of Pennsylvania Press blog. Here's a piece about how Du Bois might respond to several contemporary high-profile atheists--interestingly enough a charge leveled many times over at Du Bois himself. Here's an editorial wherein Blum offers political advice to Barak Obama and the Democratic Party via the work of Du Bois. Finally, here's an entry celebrating Du Bois's birthday.

And while there are other on-line items regarding Du Bois I will highlight in class and subsequently post links to, you may want to listen to one of Blum's lectures when he spoke at the University of Houston in April. It will help to further contextualize ch. 4.

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