W. E. B. Du Bois
American sociologist, historian, socialist, activist, and writer
Quotes about Du Bois
- 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.
- Aberjhani, in The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois (2003), p. xvi
- Completing the story of slavery meant acknowledging the many black abolitionists who advocated for the freedom of slaves. It further meant recognition of the thousands of African Americans who fought to free themselves during the Civil War as opposed to waiting for emancipation.
- Aberjhani, in The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois (2003), p. 96
- Very possibly it was his hope that one day someone might have reason to say of him what he imagined at the end of his essay on Crummell that Christ must have said upon greeting the priest's weary spirit: "Well done!"
- Aberjhani, in The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois (2003), p. 130
- W. E. B. DuBois was so taken with the Nazi movement that he put swastikas on the cover of a magazine he edited, despite complaints from Jewish readers.
Even after Hitler achieved dictatorial power in Germany in 1933, DuBois declared that the Nazi dictatorship was “absolutely necessary in order to get the state in order.”
As late as 1937 he said in a speech in Harlem that “there is today, in some respects, more democracy in Germany than there has been in years past.”
- Thomas Sowell, Who Is “Fascist”? The abuse and proper use of a political label. National Review, February 13, 2008
- Black Reconstruction is not the sort of book any scholar would want as the foundation of a new interpretive school. Du Bois was no historian. He consulted only limited sources and did no original archival research, an omission that “disturbed many scholars, several of whom dyspeptically noted the author’s generous foundation support,” according to his biographer David Levering Lewis. The germ of the project was a dispute Du Bois had with the editors of Encyclopedia Britannica in 1929. They commissioned an entry on black history from him, which he withdrew when they asked him to delete some excessively rosy passages on Reconstruction. Obviously the Britannica editors wanted a racially progressive spin on history, or they would not have gone to Du Bois. But there is a line between creative reinterpretation and outright fantasy, and in their professional opinion, Du Bois had crossed it.
- The version of Reconstruction history that Du Bois presents is based on motivated reasoning and tendentious distortions of the evidence. That is why it is so disturbing that this school is now the conventional wisdom. With no tools other than repetition and vehemence, these brazen innovators succeeded in getting their misrepresentations enthroned as orthodoxy and the commonsense histories of yesterday not just superseded but slandered as racist.
- It is no coincidence that the two most prominent Reconstruction revisionists, Du Bois and Eric Foner, are both Marxists. Du Bois died a Stalinist and appointed prominent communist historian Herbert Aptheker as his literary executor. Foner is a longtime Soviet sympathizer whose father and uncles were CPUSA members. In 1990, he encouraged Mikhail Gorbachev, faced with upstart secessionists in the Baltics, to imitate Abraham Lincoln’s example and preserve his union.