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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

9. Social

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Activities: Author Activities

W. E. B. Du Bois - Selected Archive Items

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[4801] Arthur Rothstein, Sharecropper's Children (1937),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USF34-025464-D].
Photograph of three African American children on a porch. Landowners rarely kept sharecroppers' homes in good condition. Du Bois hoped that an educated "Talented Tenth" of African Americans would help lift such children out of poverty.

[5719] Cleveland Advocate, Oppose "Birth of a Nation" (1915),
courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.
Civil rights groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, organized protests against D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. The film glorified the Ku Klux Klan and helped the organization gain new strength.

[7102] J. E. Purdy, W. E. B. Du Bois (1904),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-28485].
Taken a year after the publication of The Souls of Black Folk, this portrait shows Du Bois as a refined and serious intellectual. In his lifetime Du Bois led the NAACP and championed the cause of African American advancement through education.

[7132] Anonymous, Steal Away to Jesus (n.d.),
courtesy of John W. Work's Folk Songs of the American Negro (1907), Fisk University.
These lyrics remind listeners that those who obey the divine Lord are assured ultimate salvation, while unredeemed sinners, whether slaves or masters, have cause to tremble. This song could also refer to "stealing away" to forbidden worship meetings, or it could be an Underground Railroad code.

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