W. E. B. DuBOIS: A Profile by Rayford W.--Ed. Logan

W. E. B. DuBOIS: A Profile

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An anthology of conflicting interpretations of DuBois edited by a long-time friend and colleague at Atlanta University. The custody battle for the soul of the black leader goes on: Herbert Aptheker claims him for the international Left and ""scientific"" history; Harold Isaacs focuses on lyric African rhapsodies to convict him of ""romantic racism""; for Vincent Harding he is the ancestor of Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X and Fanon, a prophet of ""black messianism."" There is even a valiant, albeit hopeless, effort by Basil Mathews, biographer of Booker T., DuBois' arch-rival, to save him for the NAACP and gentlemanly accommodation with the white South. The editor preserves a nice balance, points up numerous partisan misquotes and sidesteps the problem of true allegiance by denying that DuBois' career had the ""remarkable continuity"" discerned by Aptheker. Logan sticks to stressing ""paradox"" or what DuBois himself called his""two-ness -- an American, a Negro; two souls; two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body. . . ."" The early years, his home in Great Barrington, Mass., Fisk, Harvard and graduate school in Germany and the quarrel with Booker T. (industrial education vs. the Talented Tenth, accommodation vs. protest), the Niagara Movement and the birth of the NAACP are covered especially thoroughly. Missing from the composite portrait is DuBois as poet and novelist. Unlike Freedomways, Eds., Black Titan (1970) this is considerably more than a collection of eulogies. Indeed, in lieu of a definitive biography (it ""may have to await a quiescence of the 'Black Revolution'""), this is the best critique available.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1971
Publisher: Hill & Wang