W.E.B. Du Bois (1868–1963)
From W.E.B. Du Bois: Writings
“I believe in Liberty for all men: the space to stretch their arms and their souls, the right to breathe and the right to vote, the freedom to choose their friends, enjoy the sunshine, and ride on the railroads, uncursed by color; thinking, dreaming, working as they will in a kingdom of beauty and love.”
The above is one of nine beliefs W.E.B. Du Bois lists in the “Credo” that opens his book Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil, which was published a century ago, in 1920. One the more famous essays from that work is “The Souls of White Folk,” his coda to the collection now considered his masterpiece, The Souls of Black Folk.
The essay was a wholesale revision of a shorter piece Du Bois had published ten years earlier. For our Story of the Week selection, we present the selection in full and discuss the assortment of events that caused him to change its substance and especially its tone.