“Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here in the dawning of the Twentieth Century. This meaning is not without interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” – W.E.B. Du Bois
W.E.B. Du Bois was one of the most influential leaders of black thought in American history. Setting out to show to the reader “the strange meaning of being black here in the dawning of the Twentieth Century,” Du Bois wrote at length about the meaning and importance of emancipation for blacks, as well as its effects. His voice also ably demonstrated views on the role of the leaders of his race.
In addition to his prescient writing, Du Bois attended Harvard, becoming the first black man to earn a doctorate there. He went on to be a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University, and he also co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). His 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk remains one of the most important works about black culture, and his Black Reconstruction in America challenged the prevailing views that blacks did not participate in any meaningful way during Reconstruction.
The Talented Tenth is a short essay Du Bois wrote at the turn of the century about the work and skills of minorities. Black people, of course, comprised about 10% of the population, thus the phrase “Talented Tenth”. Du Bois calls upon Americans to more fully integrate minorities and help them.
This edition of Du Bois’s The Talented Tenth is specially formatted with a Table of Contents and over a dozen pictures of Du Bois, his life, and work.