Kaelen Felix illustrates WEB DUBOIS FOR 360 MAGAZINE

W.E.B. Du Bois: The Lost and the Found

W.E.B. Du Bois spent many decades fighting to ensure that African Americans could claim their place as full citizens and thereby fulfill the deeply compromised ideals of American democracy. Yet he died in Africa, having apparently given up on the United States.

In 1909, Du Bois was among the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), according to the organization’s website. During his time serving as the director of publicity and research, Du Bois founded The Crisis, a publication that focused on the African American pride and always published works from young members of this community.

After leaving the NAACP in 1934, Du Bois went on to become a voice in the civil rights movement. He was a leader of protests and was a part of the socialist party. In his lifetime, Du Bois wrote two books, The Souls of Black Folk and Black Reconstruction, in addition to his publication The Crisis.

In 1951, Du Bois was indicted as “an unregistered agent of a foreign power,” but was acquitted by a judge according to Britannica

Becoming increasingly radical and being intrigued with the principles of communism, Du Bois left America and moved to Ghana in 1961, according to the History Channels’ online publication. He then became a member of the American Communist Party. 

Poet and assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Elvira Basevuch, has taken a deeper look at Du Bois’ ideology and analyzed it in her upcoming book, W.E.B Du Bois: The Lost and the Found.

In this book, Elvira Basevich looks at the paradox of a man who wanted to change America but left in defeat by tracing the development of his life and thought and the relevance of his legacy to our our current state. She adeptly analyzes the main concepts that inform Du Bois’ critique of American democracy, such as the color line and double consciousness, before examining how these concepts might inform our understanding of contemporary struggles, from Black Lives Matter to the campaign for reparations for slavery.

She stresses the continuity in Du Bois’ thought, from his early writings to his later embrace of self-segregation and Pan-Africanism, while not shying away from assessing the challenging implications of his later work.

This wonderful book vindicates the power of Du Bois’ thought to help transform a stubbornly unjust world. It is essential reading for racial justice activists as well as students of African American philosophy and political thought.

Du Bois’ ideas and teachings were too radical for the time, but Basevich is taking a closer look at them and finding that many of these teachings a relevant today.

Her book is available for pre-order now and will be released on December 29, 2020.

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