Today, W.E.B. Du Bois’ would probably be considered a Black Activist. It was his goal, and life’s mission to empower Black people by encouraging education and helping Black people to see themselves in a new light. This is most notably seen in his many written works. I found the two pieces that we read by Du Bois, (“Striving of the Negro People” and “The Name Negro”), to be not only interesting, but compelling encouraging, as well. In both of these pieces of literature, Du Bois hits on a lot of important topics concerning the hardships faced by the Negro of that time, and even of today. I could relate to a few of his experiences to some capacity, which is why I think these essays really opened my eyes and made me excited to be a Black woman. It is true that we see things with different eyes, and often have to hide those sightings or feelings for fear of judgement. We aren’t born with this “Double Consiousness”, yet through our life experiences it is something that we develop. By we, though, I am not just speaking of the Black race, (though that is what his essay seems to be explicitly about), rather the minority groups in a “majority” run America. I am speaking of the legal and illegal immigrants, the poor, the uneducated, the “ethnic” groups, the artists and dreamers who see the world in a different light. Those who aren’t deemed “normal” by society’s standard; the peculiar; the odd balls. We have to be conscious of the other side, while often suppressing the conscious knowing in our hearts of who we are and what we, too, are capable of. Our “powers, of body and of mind, have in the past been so wasted and dispersed as to lose all effectiveness, and to seem . . . like weakness,”. Coming back, however, to the Black race, it is clear to see through Du Bois’ piece how the hard working Negro has, (both in the past and in some cases today), been pushed away from doing the thing his heart desires, and forced into something else. Du Bois speaks of the “black artisan” the “Negro lawyer or doctor”, who, while gifted in their skill, were undermined and unsupported by the majority around them. I found this to be an interesting observation because it causes me to question if this has anything to do with our lack of Black doctors, lawyers, and skilled laborers today. Has this mindset plagued the souls of the Black man and been passed down among the generations ever since? Are our hopes and aspirations of attaining “freedom, of political power, of school training” just “vain dreams”? Personally, I don’t think so. I think that we can be who we were made to be, in spite of all the hardships and stumbling placed in our path. Do I think that we will ever be truly equal? In the eyes of my Lord we already are, but to the eyes of man, I don’t think it will ever be 100%. In spite of that, though, I can honestly say that I am unashamed of being a Negro. Especially after reading, “The Name Negro”, and reading how Du Bois argues that the name means what you want it to, I too, and honored to the descendant of a strong race who overcame slavery and racial prejudice. But even after reading all of this, and coming to a conclusion that I am comfortable and confident in my own skin, I take greater pleasure in being a part of the Body of Christ.
Du Bois, W.E.B. “Strivings of the Negro People.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
Du Bois, W.E.B. “The Name “Negro” (1928).” DuBois, The Name “Negro” (1928). N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.