THE SEVENTH SON: The Thought and Writings of W. E. B. DuBois by Julius -- Ed. Lester

THE SEVENTH SON: The Thought and Writings of W. E. B. DuBois

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Seventy years of writing by one of America's foremost intellectuals and black leaders cannot be easily compressed into two volumes. Lester emphasizes DuBois' political commentary, including some very early writing for a black newspaper, extensive selections from Crisis editorials, and post-World War II essays, many of which appeared in the radical National Guardian. Lester's scanty samplings of DuBois' historical works and novels, which is perhaps partly attributable to lack of space, also reflects his desire to stress the prophetic or contemporary value of DuBois' views. In fact, DuBois' commentary had, of course, dubious political merit in various ways at various times: he supported World War I believing the NAACP liberals' assurances that Negroes would benefit thereby; he lauded Kwame Nkrumah, hand-picked by the former British governor, as a man of the people, not a colonially groomed black; and he eulogized Stalin as ""a great man. . . he knew the common man, felt his problems. . . ."" Jester's introduction basically compresses DuBois' autobiographies, adding routine historical context but emphasizing race aspects somewhat at the expense of DuBois' political ideals. The eloquent ""Litany at Atlanta"" and the ""Credo"" are reproduced; among the historical writings Lester does include are monographs written at Atlanta University and a substantial portion of The Philadelphia Negro. Most of the works represented can be found elsewhere at a fraction of the cost, including the complete Philadelphia Negro, Suppression of the Slave Trade, Dawn of Dusk, and the novels. The Crisis selections are in ABC of Color, edited by DuBois, and other essays and excerpts are included in W. E. B. DuBois Speaks, edited by Philip Foner; together the two last books are roughly equivalent to this one and far less expensive.

Pub Date: July 20th, 1971
Publisher: Random House