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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 - Author Questions

Back Back to W. E. B. Du Bois Activities
  1. Comprehension: What criticisms of Booker T. Washington does Du Bois offer in Chapter 3, "Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others"? On what points does he agree with Washington? On what issues does he disagree? How are his strategies for strengthening the African American community different from Washington's?

  2. Comprehension: What does Du Bois mean when he talks about the "double-consciousness" and "two-ness" of African American identity?

  3. Context: Du Bois repeatedly calls for African Americans to work toward attaining "self-conscious manhood" and complains that Booker T. Washington's policies are "emasculating" and in opposition to "true manhood." What is the role of masculinity and manhood in Du Bois's theories about racial struggle? How does his equation of racial strength and self-consciousness with masculinity compare to the depictions of minority women's struggles for strength and self-consciousness in works by writers such as Anzia Yezierska or Sui Sin Far?

  4. Exploration: Like Du Bois, Frederick Douglass found himself "stirred" and "moved" by the haunting strains of the Sorrow Songs. How does Douglass's account of his relationship to the Sorrow Songs in Chapter 2 of his Narrative compare to Du Bois's discussion of the songs in Chapter 14, "The Sorrow Songs"?

  5. Exploration: How do you think Du Bois's work and philosophy might have influenced later African American protest movements? You might think about Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, the Nation of Islam, and the Black Power movement.

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