W.E.B DuBois and Booker T. Washington

Before this class, I had not read W.E.B. DuBois’s Credo. I found it very powerful, with the nine paragraphs, all starting with “I believe.” It was very reminiscent, for me, of the Nicene Creed, though in that, the paragraphs start with “We believe.” I’m sure there was a reason for this distinction, of DuBois using only “I.” He seems to definitely set himself apart from others, as is evident in the Sernett reading of his, “Of the Faith of the Fathers.” There, he made several points to scholarly assess “black religion,” while not including himself into it. Despite the first claim in Credo, “I believe in God,” DuBois does not seem to categorize himself into the religious ideas of  

DuBois words were very well put, and that kind of ties into (though opposes) Booker T. Washington’s argument, that “no race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.” Booker T. Washington places hands-on work and manual effort above belief, words, or the “Talented Tenth” DuBois advocates for.

The Sernett chapter of DuBois made me think of a conversation I had with my boss. She’s African-American, and was raised in Brooklyn and New Jersey. The church that she went to was very much like the church DuBois mentioned on page 325, “stiff and formal…very quiet and subdued.” She said she wore white gloves, pressed dresses, and sat quietly in the pew every Sunday. There were no loud “Amens!” or the third part of DuBois’s “religion of the slave” — “Frenzy.” I think that it just shows what we were talking about on Thursday, the differences between classes, forms of worship, and location. 

DuBois just had a lot of powerful statements and claims in his writings, and they were all very thought-provoking. From the statement, “North is greed and South is blood,” in his Litany of Atlanta, to the “beauty of its [the Negro race] genius and the sweetness of its soul.” Perhaps I need to read more of both men to fully understand and appreciate their viewpoints, but I believe WEB DuBois to have a very effective and clear way of communicating his arguments, a much more book way of doing things.  

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