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As such, it serves as a manageable and affordable introduction to Du Bois’s thought in this period in a way that the more comprehensive multi-volume collections of Herbert Aptheker perhaps do not.It also provides, as Chandler intended, a look into the intellectual origins – or ‘prehistory’ (8) – of Du Bois’s most famous work, period was the educator Booker T.
However, it is Du Bois’s overall intellectual journey, rather than a specific narrative, that Chandler wishes the reader to glean from this collection.
To achieve Chandler’s vision, the essays are presented in a somewhat purist manner – in totality and in chronological order – leaving readers to deduce motifs, rather than these being highlighted by the editor’s own curation.
Nevertheless, Chandler does not simply reprint the essays, which are foregrounded in a lengthy introduction and further elucidated by substantial endnotes at the end of each essay.
The introduction explains in detail both Chandler’s editorial approach and the volume’s position within the historiographical landscape.
It also outlines some of the themes that are ultimately eschewed in the way the essays are presented afterwards, such as the development of the oft-quoted (and titular) term “color line” and the global nature of Du Bois’s vision.
The presentation of the essays that follow does, as Chandler intends, reveal the complex workings of a great intellect and allows one to engage deeply with the development of his thinking.Washington fleshes out his bucket phrase by stating that Blacks should make friends with their White neighbors and to learn “…agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions” (59).He goes on state that “the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands”, limiting the dreams of Blacks to manual labor (59).On New Year’s Day 1863, slavery was abolished in the United States ushering in a new albeit confusing era for the country.Even after the time of Reconstruction had passed, the nation continued to wrestle with what freedom meant to Blacks who themselves were navigating this new society.Nahum Chandler has dedicated many years to studying the works of one of the twentieth century’s foremost thinkers, W. Chandler, an intellectual and literary historian currently at the University of California, Irvine, regards Du Bois as first and foremost a ‘thinker whose practice was writing,’ something which he amply demonstrates in this assemblage of Du Bois’s early essays.i The collection under review here focuses upon the period c.1894-1906, representing the determinative years of the man who would go on to lead the Niagara Movement (1905-1910) to advance black rights in the United States, and play a major role in the formation of its successor movement, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (c.1909-present). Du Bois – something illustrated both in this volume and in his recent monograph, (Fordham UP, 2014).Conversely, in his collection of essays entitled “The Souls of Black Folks”, author W. The essay outlines three results of Washington’s ideas including Negro disenfranchisement which was seen in the effects of 63).Du Bois insists that those three issues must be overcome in order for Blacks to truly have a chance at success (63). Du Bois highlight two competing perspectives towards the definition of freedom in post-Reconstruction America.From the point of view of a potentially large undergraduate audience, the lack of short editorial introductions to each essay in turn, and – more tellingly – the absence of a substantial index (here only a short list of names), might serve to limit accessibility for those new to Du Bois.Overall, this volume suits more advanced scholars of Du Bois, and of intellectual history more generally, providing a significant addition to the number of edited collections of Du Bois’s work that already exist.