Pioneering historian, sociologist, editor, novelist, poet, and organizer W. E. B. Du Bois was one of the foremost African American intellectuals of the 20th century. While Du Bois is remembered for his monumental contributions to scholarship and civil rights activism, the spiritual aspects of his work have been misunderstood, even negated. W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet, the first religious biography of this leader, illuminates the spirituality that is essential to understanding his efforts and achievements in the political and intellectual world.
Often labeled an atheist, Du Bois was in fact deeply and creatively involved with religion. Historian Edward J. Blum reveals how spirituality was central to Du Bois' approach to Marxism, pan-Africanism, and nuclear disarmament, his support for black churches, and his reckoning of the spiritual wage of white supremacy. His writings, teachings, and prayers served as articles of faith for fellow activists of his day, from student book-club members to Langston Hughes.
A blend of history, sociology, literary criticism, and religious reflection in the model of Du Bois's best work, W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet recasts the life of this great visionary and intellectual for a new generation of scholars and activists.
Honorable Mention, 2007 Gustavus Myers Center Outstanding Book Awards
©2007 University of Pennsylvania Press (P)2012 Redwood Audiobooks
"This book is a marvelous probing into the unknown and unexplored dimension of the great W. E. B. Du Bois's life and work: his self-styled religious and spiritual temperament. Edward Blum is to be congratulated for this grand contribution!" (Cornel West, Princeton University)
"Blum's work powerfully evokes both the spirit and substance of Du Bois' moral vision in ways that will greatly benefit students and scholars of American religious and intellectual history for years to come." (Journal of American History)
"A greater tribute to the man cannot be found, even in the works of the most seasoned Du Bois scholars." (Church History)
I am an avid eclectic reader.
February is National Black History Month and I usually try to read a book by an African-American or a biography. I usually obtain my idea on who to read about from the United States post office stamp choice for Black History Month. I was perusing the review of stamps and decided to read about W.E. B. du Bois. I looked on Audible and found this book Edward J. Blum published in 2012. Unlike other biographies of du Bois, Blum explores his work and writings in depth and only touches on the man. Edward Blum explores a crucial but neglected aspect of the life and times of de Bois; the intersection of race and religion. The author illuminates the entire range of du Bois writings showing him to be a prophetic thinker and a visionary who anticipated trends in black theology and civil rights. Du Bois also was a big advocate for women’s right to vote and equal rights for women. Du Bois was the first African-American to graduate from Harvard University with a Ph.D. in history. Du Bois took advantage of Harvard’s foreign study program and studied at the University of Berlin. He studied under Europe’s most prominent social scientist. Du Bois taught and did research at Wilberforce University in Ohio, University of Pennsylvania and Atlanta University. The author states that du Bois was one of the foremost African-American intellectual of the 20th century. He was a pioneering historian, sociologist, editor, novelist, poet and a civil right advocate. He was a co-founder of the NAACP. He was a leading civil rights agitator in the 1902-1906 race riots. Blum goes into the investigation of de Bois by the FBI tying to prove he was a communist subversive. The author goes into detail about the disagreement between du Bois and Brooker T. Washington. Apparently du Bois felt that Washington was not doing enough to advocate education of the blacks. Blum indicates that du Bois was a big advocate for education of blacks and felt that until blacks and whites were educated together the black would receive an inferior education. Du Bois died the day before Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. I learned a great deal about African-American theology and history from reading this book. Andrew L Barnes did a good job narrating this book.
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