In essence, this exchange served as a foreshadowing of the black strife of the 20th and 21st Centuries. However, this was impossible, especially since the Americas were advanced in comparison to the Americas. At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, — a world which yields him no self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. This weakness was not a weakness, but actually a double aim: he was looking to not only escape white contempt, but also have better living conditions. For God has bought your liberty! This is the story when I encountered God.
Du Bois talks about how he felt less than, he really touches on his youth and how he remembered the exact moment when he realized he was less than others. These powers, of body and of mind, have in the past been so wasted and dispersed as to lose all effectiveness, and to seem like absence of all power, like weakness. O water, voice of my heart, crying in the sand, All night long crying with a mournful cry, As I lie and listen, and cannot understand The voice of my heart in my side or the voice of the sea, O water, crying for rest, is it I, is it I? In the work place, for example, mean are usually given more opportunity than women. Instead of sitting by and letting himself succumb to the injustices of the Veil, he decided he would pursue education that would empower him. This parallels what he describes in the essay itself.
They were physically free, but had little access to opportunity and civil liberty afforded to their White counterparts. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without losing the opportunity of self-development. Even though they were free, there was still the feeling that they were not as equal as white citizens. Here at last seemed to have been discovered the mountain path to Canaan; longer than the highway of Emancipation and law, steep and rugged, but straight, leading to heights high enough to overlook life. The innate love of harmony and beauty that set the ruder souls of his people a—dancing and a—singing raised but confusion and doubt in the soul of the black artist; for the beauty revealed to him was the soul—beauty of a race which his larger audience despised, and he could not articulate the message of another people. Du Bois attended Fisk University, a black college located in Nashville, Tennessee, from 1885 to 1888.
It is negative assumptions that is held against the Negro that causes this strive. In 1891, Du Bois attended graduate school at Harvard and received a Master of Arts degree. It refers to the very first thing we do in build—we prepare a solid and stable support for the superstucture. Throughout the 20th Century, blacks continued to fight for equal rights. By telling the reader that he will examine racial relations within the 20th Century, Du Bois positions his text as a historical one. DuBois sought a land comprised of various cultures all equal to each other but no culture striving to be like another, because that would create a culture that would be dominant. No, not that, but each alone was over-simple and incomplete, — the dreams of a credulous race-childhood, or the fond imaginings of the other world which does not know and does not want to know our power.
It is a peculiar sensation, this double—consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. To him, so far as he thought and dreamed, slavery was indeed the sum of all villainies, the cause of all sorrow, the root of all prejudice; Emancipation was the key to a promised land of sweeter beauty than ever stretched before the eyes of wearied Israelites, In song and exhortation swelled one refrain — Liberty; in his tears and curses the God he implored had freedom in his right hand. The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife,—this longing to attain self—conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. Although Blacks are physically free, they are not emotionally, intellectually, mentally, or economically free. Throughout his book, Du Bois shapes the framework of American society from the Negro lens. If we make a habit of not really listening, we will lose the power to hear. The exchange was merry, till one girl, a tall newcomer, refused my card,—refused it peremptorily, with a glance.
I remember well when the shadow swept across me. Du Bois describes it as a veil that colored people are forced to live behind. The first decade was merely a prolongation of the vain search for freedom, the boon that seemed ever barely to elude their grasp,like a tantalizing will-o-the-wisp, maddening and misleading the headless host. But they should not keep these prizes, I said; some, all, I would wrest from them. Du Bois talks about double consciousness in light of simultaneously being a Negro and American, and feeling like other people view the two as mutually exclusive. The simile itself is not something that would commonly be found in English, but it does sound like a direct translation of an expression from an Asian language. The ballot, which before he had looked upon as a visible sign of freedom, he now regarded as the chief means of gaining and perfecting the liberty with which war had partially endowed him.
Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. Du Bois attended an integrated school in Massachusetts, and one year, a new student had enrolled. Alexander returned to Connecticut, leaving Alfred in Haiti with his mother. To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? He felt the weight of his ignorance,not simply of letters, but of life, of business, of the humanities; the accumulated sloth and shirking and awkwardness of decades and centuries shackled his hands and feet. Nevertheless, out of the evil came something of good,—the more careful adjustment of education to real life, the clearer perception of the Negroes' social responsibilities, and the sobering realization of the meaning of progress. Away with the black man's ballot, by force or fraud,—and behold the suicide of a race! He realized at that moment that there was a vast veil between white and black America.
To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships. At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. These powers of body and mind have in the past been strangely wasted, dispersed, or forgotten. America should not be set in the view as Africans would have it, but rather that America should be a land of incorporation, rather than assimilation. The cold statistician wrote down the inches of progress here and there, noted also where here and there a foot had slipped or some one had fallen. Posnock aids us to identify a universalism with in the cultural and concludes importance of back tracking and bring back cosmopolitan intellectual to understand the whole picture. Instead his desire was for African Americans to stay close to their roots, but at the same time without assimilating into white culture.
As the time flew, however, he began to grasp a new idea. I like to meditate in prayer for questions and answers that I may be looking for. Of Our Spiritual Strivings is a hopeful call to arms intended to unite African Americans. In a wee wooden schoolhouse, something put it into the boys and girls heads to buy gorgeous visiting-cardsten cents a packageand exchange. Since the foundation bears the weight of the entire structure, it must be done well. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. Du Bois The Souls Of Black Folk is a sentinel work both in terms of describing for the modern reader the struggle of the freed slaves in their movement from slave to truly free, but also in describing the character or soul of the black community of the time.
In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. Was anything impossible to a power that had done all this? Are they all wrong,—all false? With other black boys the strife was not so fiercely sunny: their youth shrunk into tasteless sycophancy, or into silent hatred of the pale world about them and mocking distrust of everything white; or wasted itself in a bitter cry, Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house? I answer seldom a word. As the time flew, however, he began to grasp a new idea. Had not votes made war and emancipated millions? By the poverty and ignorance of his people, the Negro minister or doctor was tempted toward quackery and demagogy; and by the criticism of the other world, toward ideals that made him ashamed of his lowly tasks. In a wee wooden schoolhouse, something put it into the boys' and girls' heads to buy gorgeous visiting—cards—ten cents a package—and exchange.