August 13th, 2004

W.E.B. Du Bois: Lessons for the 21st Century


MICHAEL BURAWOY: So I'd like to welcome you all to the opening of the 2004 Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association. [ Applause ] I am of course delighted that there are so many people
here. This year, we have, for the first time, both an opening and an ending to our meetings. We have an opening plenary tonight, the Du Bois Plenary, and we will have a Krugman-Cardozo Plenary at the
end to close the meetings. This is an experiment. We'll see if we can really get as much support, enthusiasm, participation as we have already here tonight. And in between, there's gonna be a lot of
excitement and-- Yeah. Right. Not just at the front. We're gonna be through the building. Many of the sessions by the way are going to be in this ballroom. It is called the Imperial Ballroom. [
Laughter ] I just wanted you to know that nobody in the American Sociological Association had anything to do with the naming of this room. And we may, we may, we may decide to change the name. [
Laughter ] Let me remind you, there is--oh, I'm up there. [ Laughter ] Let me remind you that there is a--there will be an official welcoming party directly after this plenary in Continental Ballroom
4. Let me also remind you, as you all know, that this opening plenary is jointly sponsored and deliberately so with ABS, the Association of Black Scholars, SSSP, Society for the Study of Social
Problems, and SWS, Sociologists for Women in Society. [ Applause ] There have been times when these organizations have been at loggerheads and not speaking to one another. At least at the beginning of
these meetings, we are speaking to one another. [ Laughter ] We open with a Du Bois panel. This panel originated in the discussion between myself and Aldon Morris after one of the many sessions on Du
Bois last year, commemorating as you know the 100th anniversary of the publications of The Souls of Black Folk. And we discussed it then and I am delighted. Now a year later, we have such
distinguished panelists with us today. Patricia Hill Collins and Aldon Morris are also familiar sociologists, and they're familiar figures at our meetings, so I'd like to give a special thanks. Thanks
to them definitively, but a special thanks to Gerry Horne from the history department at the University of Houston, though he is now at the University of North Carolina, though he will be moving. [
Laughter ] Apparently. I hope that's not official secret. [ Laughter ] Well it was. I better be careful here, and I've never done this before. It's one of, I think, strange things about being
president, you never do things twice. And second, Manning Marable from Columbia University, where he is-- [ Applause ] --obviously a popular figure already among sociologists, but he is in public
affairs, history and political science, extraordinarily not in sociology, and director of the Institute of Research in African-American Studies. So, special thanks for you two, but thanks for all the
panel for coming here and of course for everybody else for coming here too. Why Du Bois as an opening plenary in a conference devoted to public sociology? The answer is simple. I think he is the most
distinguished public sociologist of the 20th century, whether we consider the United States or the whole world. That's my hypothesis. [ Applause ] That's my hypothesis, and you'll see if it makes any
sense in 2 hours' time. And in order to sort of bring everybody up to speed, I'm going to give in 2 minutes, 3 minutes a thumbnail sketch of the life of this extraordinary man who lived to the age of
95, and he did an extraordinary number of things. Du Bois lived from 1868 to 1963. He was a child of postbellum America. He lived to see the early independence of Africa. Educated an historian at
Fisk, Harvard where he got his Ph.D. and Berlin, this was already a unique achievement for an African-American of those times. He took up a position as an assistant instructor -- with all that, an
assistant instructor teaching sociology at University of Pennsylvania where he wrote one of the great, the classic community studies, The Philadelphia Negro, that appeared in 1899. He was professor at
Atlanta University from 1897 to 1910 and then again was chair of the sociology department, Atlanta University from 1934 to 1944. It was during this time that he finished the great and stirring and
optimistic book, Black Reconstruction of America. It was Marxist social history, long before Edward P. Thompson. In between, he was one of the founders of NAACP in 1910 and edited his journal, The
Crisis, from 1910 to when he resigned in 1934. Throughout this period, he fought relentlessly as a public intellectual for racial justice, discovering just how deep racism runs. His sociology informed
his practice and his practice deepened his sociology. In 1944, he returned to the NAACP, whereupon he faced increasing attention and hostility from the US state. He continued the pursuit of justice in
the national and in the global sphere, calling on the United Nations to examine the crimes of the US government against its own people. As a result, he was indicted under the McCarran Act to curtail
his personal and intellectual freedoms, but was finally cleared of all charges. Ever more committed to the idea that the emancipation of black people and thus of the whole world would come only from
that seizing hold of history themselves, he joined the US Communist Party in 1961 and immediately left for Ghana. He died there in 1963, a close friend of Kwame Nkrumah. His life was one of the
discovery in contestation of racism ranging from the local to the national to the global. He welded his sociology and his Marxism to a longstanding commitment to Pan-Africanism in an ever- expanding
public arena, that is W.E.B. Du Bois. And tonight, we're going to have four commentaries on the life of W.E.B. Du Bois as public sociologist, and I'm going to go in order of the program, that is from
Aldon Morris, to Patricia Hill Collins to Gerald Horne, and finally to Manning Marable, and I'm going to introduce very, very briefly each one as they come to the podium. Aldon Morris, sociologist
from Northwestern University, a renowned scholar of social movements and of the civil rights movement in particular, the movement that Du Bois inspired but missed. Drawing on Du Bois's life, he will
look into the tensions between public sociology and professional sociology but especially for African-Americans. The title of his paper is “Du Boisian Sociology: A Watershed in Professional and
Public Sociology.” May I welcome Aldon Morris. [ Applause ] ALDON MORRIS: Good evening. W.B. Du Bois was a sociologist a century ahead of his discipline. From the turn of the 20th century, he
advanced sociological principles that broke radically from those embraced by mainstream sociology. Thus, Du Bois argued that black people were not inferior biologically or culturally, that race was
socially constructed, that race, class and gender inequalities were interdependent and reinforcing, and that worldwide capitalism was the fundamental source of global racism. His work thoroughly
integrated multimethods. Politically, he advocated social equality and championed race, class and feminist consciousness as necessary for liberation. Du Bois was a pioneer of professional and public
sociology. One hundred years later, sociology is finally catching up with Du Bois's path-breaking intellectual landscape and incorporating its insights into the core of the discipline. Yet, Du Bois's
seminal achievements are extraordinary given the academic marginality and discrimination he encountered. Du Bois was a sociologist and public intellectual of the highest order. He earned bachelor's
degrees from Fisk and Harvard. From Harvard, he also earned a master's and a Ph.D. in history following graduate work at the University of Berlin where he studied with the leading social scientists,
including Max Weber. And when he graduated with a doctorate in history in 1896, Du Bois was the first African-American to receive a Harvard Ph.D. and certainly one of the most educated men in America.
Now, what kind of career awaited Du Bois? If you were a white scholar with the same exquisite training and intellectual gifts as Du Bois, you could land a prestigious position in a leading research
university. Indeed, you can aspire to be the founding father of American sociology, like Albion Small and W.I. Thomas and Robert Park. You might establish the discipline's first department and edit
its first journals. Being American Negro at the turn of the 20th century was challenging. The sting of racism was especially piercing for Du Bois, who was supremely confident of his intellect. Yet
white America viewed such an individual as inferior. Moreover, Du Bois emerged from graduate school precisely when Jim Crow was ushering in black disenfranchisement, severe economic exploitation and
segregated public accommodations. It was not unusual for southern blacks to be doused with gasoline, hung to tree limbs and lynched. Even white university scholars, whatever their private views,
failed to support racial equality and to open up the academy to black scholars. This was the social environment in which Du Bois sought an academic position. Because white research universities were
closed to him, Du Bois was restricted to black colleges, most of which were located in the Jim Crow South. As the sun of professional sociology rose in America, Du Bois occupied a completely different
stage than [inaudible] and Ward and Mead and Small and Thomas and Park. They were white, respected and positioned to ignite the official engines of sociology. Unlike the white founders, Du Bois had
little choice but to develop a sociology--to develop sociology as a weapon of liberation, wherein he would use scientific knowledge to change white minds, awaken blacks to the power of education and
to reshape how they saw themselves. There is a movement afoot today to push sociology from its academic closet into the public arena. Sociologists of this ilk worry that sociology has become too
insular and that the task of developing its core principles, bodies of knowledge, techniques and findings need to be paired with expressing to the world those important moral and political concerns
that could help humanity to solve some of its most pressing problems. Now, enter Du Bois. Being a member of an oppressed group, Du Bois did not have the luxury to debate whether sociological knowledge
should be used to initiate change, because the lynch rope, economic exploitation, daily insults and political disfranchisement that haunted him had to be addressed. This oppression closed off space
for Du Bois to work, to live, to study and produce science. Nothing less than his dignity and humanity were at stake. Moreover, the scientific sociology of his day advanced the claim that blacks were
inferior. He therefore needed to fashion a sociology that banished the lies of the dispassionate scientists. Thus, he embraced the public sociology early on, believing it would produce a better
science and a better society. Long before Du Bois became a sociologist, he decided to use scholarship to liberate his people. From adolescence, Du Bois believed he had something important to say to
the world about race. He further embraced this view at Fisk because of the virulent southern racism he encountered. On the eve of his 25th birthday Du Bois declared, "These are my plans: to make a
name in science, to make a name in literature and thus to raise my race." He believed that the value of sociology was in its ability to guide social change. While in Europe before the turn of the 20th
century, he declared “And above all, I began to understand the real meaning of scientific research and the dim outlines of methods of employing its techniques and its results in the new social
sciences for the settlement of the Negro problem in America." Du Bois was clear about the sociology he thought relevant to understanding and changing the world. He rejected the grand theorized the
grand theorizing of Spencer, Giddings and Sumner. Criticizing these approaches, Du Bois wrote "they sought the help of biological analogy as a suggestive aid to further study. The elaborate attempt to
compare the social and animal organism failed because analogy implies knowledge but does not supply it. It suggests but does not furnish lines of investigation." For Du Bois, abstract concepts such as
consciousness of kind, survival of the fittest were not conducive to understanding real societies, real concrete societies. To produce relevant scientific sociology, Du Bois advocated an empirically
grounded approach based on data collected through multiple methods. From this empirical base, one developed interpretive frameworks. Du Bois's mission was clear, "I determine to put science into
sociology through a study of the condition and problems of my own group. I was going to study the facts, any and all facts, concerning the American Negro and his plight, and by measurement and
comparison and research, work up to any valid generalizations which I could." Du Bois never wavered from the idea that truth was the crucial club to be wielded in the pursuit of equality. For him, the
essence of the scientific journey was a pursuit of truth because it was a shining sword that toppled tyranny. Thus for Du Bois, professional sociology and public sociology were of the same cloth,
representing an unbroken continuum. Now, Du Bois never held an academic position at a major research university. When he left Harvard in 1895, he landed at Wilberforce, a small black undergraduate
institution infused with religiosity and political conservatism. There, he taught Latin, Greek, German and English. He begged the administration to teach sociology. In his words, "Try as I might,
however, the institution would have no sociology, even though I offered to teach it on my own time." Describing Wilberforce's students Du Bois wrote, "Most of the student body was in high school
grades and poorly equipped for study." The library consisted of a few piles of old books in the attic. Du Bois explained, "I was determined to have a library, but there was no money. There was never
money for anything." Du Bois remained at Wilberforce for only 2 years. Reflecting on Wilberforce's initial promise, Du Bois wrote, "I returned ready and eager to begin a life work, leading to the
emancipation of the American Negro. History and other social sciences were to be my weapons, to be sharpened and applied by research and writing. Where and how was the question in 1895. I became
uneasy about my life program. I had published my first book, but I was doing nothing directly in the social sciences and saw no immediate prospect." Thus Du Bois began his sociological career in a
highly marginalized manner, hardly conducive to nurturing a scholar of his caliber. In 1896, Du Bois became affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, where he was given the title of assistant
instructor in sociology. This was not a real professorship because it was temporary and offered only because the university recruited him to study--to conduct the study of black Philadelphians. After
completing the study, he moved on because no white university will hire Negroes. With a broken academic heart he explained, "If it would have been--it would have been a fine thing if after this
difficult successful piece of work, the University of Pennsylvania had at least offered me a temporary instructorship in the college or in the warden school." With righteous indignation, he concluded.
"White classmates of lower academic rank than I became full professors at Pennsylvania and Chicago. Here in my case, an academic accolade from a major American university would have given impetus to
my work." As he looked back on his rue departure he wrote, "But then as now, I'd know an insult when I see it." Du Bois accepted a position as professor of economics and history at Atlanta University
in 1897, remaining at this black institution for 13 years, launching the first groundbreaking sociological studies of the black community. His plan called for a longitudinal study of all employed
aspects of the black community commencing over 100 years. Now, what our interest here are the working conditions at Atlanta. He complained about cramped office space and students unprepared for
research, but the overriding problem was his inability to secure research funds. Du Bois begged white philanthropists repeatedly to support his pioneering research. He reported that each year, he was
on a budget of $5,000 which includes his salary, cost of publications, investigation, and annual meeting. White philanthropists were not sympathetic, causing Du Bois to conclude that they had no
interest in funding a research program at a Negro college under Negro scholars. The wrath of Booker T. Washington also figured heavily on these denials for powerful whites finishes to support
Washington's racial conservatism on which Du Bois of course unleashed a broadside at attack. In that era, Washington was the gatekeeper of philanthropic funds for blacks, and his recommendations
usually stood. Hemmed in by unsympathetic whites and a fierce black opponent, Du Bois never had an abundance of research funds. Now this functionality created limitation for Du Bois's scholarship, but
it contrasted sharply with the institutional riches enjoyed by the white founders of American sociology. For example, Robert Park and W. I. Thomas at the University of Chicago had access to one of the
finest libraries in the world. They attracted gifted graduate students who went on to edit sociology's major journals, serve as president of the American Sociological Association and to lead the
discipline. They also had access to research funds. While Du Bois begged for support, W.I. Thomas received $50,000 in 1908 to study problems of immigration which lead to the publication of The Polish
Peasant. Thomas received continuous foundation support for years even after being forced to resign from the University of Chicago because of a sex scandal. Now, let me rush and say that fundamentally,
American sociology—two minutes?. Okay. [Laughter] Let me then just contrast Du Bois's principles of sociology with others. His general principles of race, is that race is a socially constructed and
dynamic category rooted in history and culture. Human agency resides in both oppressed and dominant groups. Thus class--thus race and class conflicts are inevitable and required for social change.
Capitalism is an economic system that produces worldwide class and racial inequalities. Thus racism is structurally produced by the drive for profits from ruling classes. Race, class, and gender
inequalities are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. And he also paid close attention to the subjective lives of subordinate groups. And finally, he paid careful attention to conducting empirical
studies from the ground up utilizing multimethods which are required to produce valid sociological analysis that may serve as a springboard for progressive change. Now, let me conclude then by saying
that even though his sociology was groundbreaking that the American Journal of Sociology, The American Sociological Review, social forces, and the general literature played--paid almost no attention
to his work. So it caused him to state, "So far as the American world of science and letters was concerned, we never belonged. We remain unrecognized in learning societies and academic groups. We
rated merely as Negroes, studying Negroes. And after all, what had Negroes to do with America or science?" Black sociologists, simply put, they cannot be creditable if they do not know the work of Du
Bois and many--as we see now, many white sociologists are finally catching up to Du Bois. For black sociologists, he's our intellectual heritage. He is our classic soul brother number one. So-- [
Applause] Let me--let me close with this. Despite all of the work that he did, despite all of the discrimination that he encountered, what is clear that W.B. Du Bois was one of the most productive
sociologists ever, authoring 20 books, 33 pamphlets, 19 edited books, 58 edited studies, and 2,000 articles in magazines and periodicals and they all was about scholarship being pushed for social
change. I thank you. [ Applause ] MICHAEL BURAWOY: Thank you, Aldon, for that stirring beginning. And now I turn to Patricia Hill Collins, sociologist at the University of Cincinnati. Fairest as we
all know, multiple oppressions, black feminist consciousness, also renowned for a work on intellectuals and not just the notables but the everyday organic intellectuals of the African-American
community. The title of her talk is “Negotiating the Color Line: Black Public Intellectuals, Color Blind Racism, and the Legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois.” Let me welcome Patricia Hill Collins. [ Applause
] PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: Good evening. I will sketch out the main ideas of an argument for you. There may be some gaps here and there but it's because I want to get the scaffolding out so you have my
ideas. Sociology was established during a period of immense change for the United States. When William E.B. Du Bois predicted that the problem of the 20th century would be the color line, he pointed
to a Jim Crow racism whose logic of segregation became deeply interwoven into all aspects of American society. Everything under Jim Crow was about color. Seeing it, measuring it, finding even one drop
of it and assigning social value to individuals and groups based on their placement in a system of racial apartheid. But the color line ensured just about race. In a country where race and class
remained so tightly intertwined, keeping the races segregated also assured that money would stay in white families and that black Americans would become intergenerational debtors. This same logic of
segregation also shaped the ideas about public and private that were deeply gendered. The public sphere of work, occupations, and government required a private sphere of gender and sexuality to give
it meaning. The color line thus describes one strand of a logic of segregation that profoundly affected all aspects of American society. Now when it comes to race and class and gender and sexuality,
our own times are marked by similar and dramatic changes. In contrast to the turn of the 20th century, the problem of the 21st century seems to be the seeming absence of a color line. Legally outlawed
in the 1950s and 1960s, the color line policies of Jim Crow segregation that kept the vast majority of African-Americans from quality education, good jobs, adequate healthcare, and the best
neighborhoods are for many, a distant memory or a lesson in a high school history text. Yet when it comes to race, have we really arrived? Formal legal discrimination has been outlawed. Yet despite
widespread acceptance by the American public of Martin Luther King Junior's call that we judge one another by the content of our character and not the color of our skin, this newfound color blindness
seems unable to upend the social inequalities that were installed under Jim Crow. The celebration of border crossings, boundary bending, having color and marginality as a space of radical subjectivity
has not been uniformly enjoyed by everyone. By whatever measures used in the United States or on a global scale, people of African descent remained disproportionately clustered at the bottom of the
social hierarchy. How can this be? How can America be colorblind, color worshipping and racially stratified all at the same time? We are left with a curios color blindness that replicates a
longstanding color line, a color blind racism if you will, that relies on a seemingly new logic of inclusivity. Many of us would like to believe that intellectual work and the tools we use to do it
are unaffected by social conditions such as these. Such beliefs suggest that only blacks have the particularity of race, whereas every one else are simply individuals judged by universalistic
criteria. But the intellectual production of William E.B. Du Bois and that of all African-Americans who strive to do intellectual work in a society that from one generation to the next aims to render
us servants must continually struggle to create the conditions that make our own intellectual production possible. Despite his brilliance, Du Bois for example found his career was unavoidably tethered
to the politics of contesting the injustices of racial segregation. His racial touchstone was not an imagined community. Instead he knew how the color line affected his everyday life. How could Du
Bois ignore the color line when despite his accomplishments in speaking several languages, receiving a doctorate from Harvard and all of the wonderful things we've heard thus far, the University of
Pennsylvania refused to offer him a position. They didn't hire black people then, even eminently qualified ones. They were not alone. Until the social conditions of lived black American experience
have been changed, these links between black intellectual production and the meaning of race in America will persist. Moreover, within these knowledge power relations, not all black intellectuals are
the same. Du Bois belong to a privileged class of African-American thinkers. He was part of group of men who had access to literacy, schooling, and jobs that paid him to read and to think, then as
now. He was one of the lucky ones whose combination of class and gender privilege enables him to seek out end or be thrust into the public limelight. Because he faced a series of choices concerning
his participation in this particular knowledge power relations, he lives a legacy concerning the promises and pitfalls of black intellectual production that might speak to the contradiction of our own
politics of color blind racism. So, Du Bois's stature as a black public intellectual provides an important starting point for sketching out how the placement of African-American public intellectuals
within the two racial formations of the color line of Jim Crow segregation and the seeming absence of the color line under color blind racism shapes black intellectual production. Du Bois's
experiences remain valuable because they differ so dramatically from the paths taken by contemporary public intellectuals. During his long and distinguished career, Du Bois moved among academic and
activist settings in the context of racial segregation. This movement, I would argue, shaped the questions, themes, and direction of scholarship. He never retained the comfortable academic positions
offered to others of his aptitude and training. Yet the challenges of the color line made the intellectual work that he needed to do clear and exceedingly powerful. In contrast, as a class,
contemporary black intellectuals have fared far better under the seemingly oxymoronic color blind color line than Du Bois did under the strictures of racial segregation. A number of black intellectual
celebrities who claim to be following in the footsteps of Du Bois as penultimate black intellectuals hold prestigious academic positions at elite colleges and universities. Yet despite these heady
accomplishment, the direction of their intellectual work on racism, as well as the terms of their participation in contemporary racial politics seems far less clear. In what ways might Du Bois's
legacy as a black public intellectual shed light on these contemporary issues? So let me bracket this by then and now. Then. As a sociologist, Du Bois confronted the difficulty of placing himself
within what is now the dominant motive intellectual production associated with western science. A series of ideas shaped the concept of intellectualism within western society, namely binary
understandings of universalism and particularism, objectivity and special interests, as well as public and private distinctions that grew in tandem and mirror these ideas. Within dominant norms,
intellectualism itself is equated with universalism, and with a series of values that seemingly foster the objective, value-free, public science of society. Within scientific norms, one becomes an
intellectual via the shift away from espousing particularistic causes and/or identities, and certainly away from perceived special interests. Basic research, for example, is often deemed to be more
important and more intellectual than scholarship for social utility. Now black intellectuals have found themselves within a rock and a hard place within this use of intellectualism, labeled by one
thinker as a "dialectic of the universal and the particular". On the one hand, Du Bois--during Du Bois's career, black intellectuals had great difficulty becoming intellectuals and certainly were not
recognized for their universal scholarship. African-Americans came to the discipline with the desire to use the tools of science but struggled with widespread perceptions that there are essential
racial differences, for example, their alleged biological predisposition for stupidity, uncivilized sexuality and violence, as well as the particularity of their experiences with racism made them less
suitable for intellectual pursuits. But on the other hand, black intellectuals who identified too closely with so-called black special interest by becoming champions of African-American issues run the
risk of being painted as being too parochial and incapable of seeing beyond their own vested interests. There is no way to win within this logic. Given this impossible situation, how did Du Bois
managed to position himself within this dialectic of the universal and the particular and rise to the status of penultimate black public intellectual that we celebrate tonight. Du Bois was a public
intellectual, but who was his public? I suggest that his social location within the specific historic conditions of Jim Crow segregation had an important influence on all aspects of his life and
fostered attending to multiple publics. He attended to the black public because he knew he was a member of that public forever and it would affect life and career. He attended to the scholarly public
of sociology because he knew he belonged even if they told him he did not. And he attended to the American public because he had a great love of democracy and social justice. Negotiating these
multiple publics with competing interests and competing standards rounded his scholarship. Take for example, Du Bois's description of the African-American students that he taught at Atlanta
University. He says, "I taught history and economics and something called 'sociology'," which he puts in quotes, "at Atlanta University. I was fortunate with this teaching and having vivid the
mind--having vivid in the minds of my pupils a concrete social problem of which we all were parts, and which we desperately desired to solve. There was a little danger then of my teaching or of their
thinking becoming purely theoretical." The students in his classes not only kept him from uncritically embracing universalism, in this case, purely theoretical views on the so called race problem. But
he saw his work as squarely planted within this tradition of moral social service. Now the particularity of Du Bois's color line politics at the same time, despite our celebration this evening, also
limited his angle of vision. In contrast to Du Bois's clarity regarding the binary of race and how racialization elevated the universal over the particular, the necessity of challenging the
public-private binary that framed gender was far less clear to him. Here the treatment of women within selected aspects of his work early on his career illustrates this. Basically Du Bois espoused
extensive tolerance toward black women, and tried to serve as sympathetic spokespersons for their interests. If you're to listen to Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and similar black feminist
thinkers of his time, Du Bois missed an opportunity to advance a more complex race, class, and gender argument that would have led to a more substantive understanding of the workings of racial
segregation and the color line – that veil is definitely gendered. Let's think about that. [Applause] The contours of such an analysis were certainly available to him. For example, Ida
Wells-Barnett's analysis of lynching advanced the more complex analysis of how race, gender, and sexuality intercepted in constructing the color line, yet the form in which she communicated her ideas,
specifically pamphlets, three of her works on lynching were not typically recognized as scholarship but instead were relegated to journalism. Because Wells-Barnett is more typically categorized as a
public activist and Du Bois as a public intellectual, her intellectual production remains marginalized. This categorization fosters dismissal of her groundbreaking analysis of the working of the color
line. Now black cultural critic, Hazel Carby suggests that we look beyond Du Bois's obvious accomplishments as a black public intellectual and take a closer look at how gender politics frame the very
categories of public, private, and intellectual. In discussing Du Bois, Carby suggests that women's analysis have been relegated to the realm of domestic intellectual labor where male intellectuals do
the real work. Feminists or gender analysis thus applies only to the separate sphere of women, a framework that grants women gender and leaves men genderless. Carby's ideas added much-needed gendered
critique and signal the distinctions between so called public intellectuals, who in this case are male and in this case Du Bois, by becoming a public intellectual, also gains the masculinity that is
attached to the public sphere. And domestic intellectuals whose activities support the achievements of those in the public limelight, these relations apply to all intellectual work, including black
intellectual production. Now, let me move on to today. How much time do I have left? [ Inaudible Remark ] Six minutes, ooh. [ Laughter ] I'll give you 7, 7. [ Inaudible Remark ] Seven minutes, ooh! I
think I've scared my panel. [ Laughter ] I want 10. No. [ Inaudible Remark ] [ Applause ] Okay, you got that. [ Applause ] PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: I'm just kidding. Let me move on. Today, because I
think there are some real lessons here for today, particularly this division between public and domestic, before we glorify public too uniformly. Contemporary black intellectuals operate in a racially
stratified society, yet it is also a society with both a strong ethos of letting the marketplace solve social problems and a color blind legal structure that strives to free the marketplace of the
influences of special interests groups. One defining feature of the new racism is the changing influence of mass media as a site where ideas concerning class, race, gender, and sexuality are
reformulated and contested. Under color blind racism, blackness or color must be seen as evidence for the alleged color blindness that seemingly characterizes contemporary economic opportunity. You
have to see color to know the color is not working, in other words. A meritocracy requires evidence that racial discrimination has been eliminated. The total absence of black people would signal the
failure of color blindness. At the same time that blackness must be visible, it must also be contained and denuded of meanings that threaten elite power. Now, black intellectuals function in this
context that buys, sells, and rents people and their images for popular consumption in marketplace relations. Moreover, black public intellectuals are a tiny segment of a larger group of thinkers that
in turn make up a fraction of black civil society. Just as William E.B. Du Bois was one stellar black public intellectual, in a much smaller academic arena, the short list of black public
intellectuals today constitute a very small group that has received unprecedented media attention within a greatly expanded field of American higher education. Several factors: distinguished black
public intellectuals from their historic parts like Du Bois, as well as from their domestic contemporaries today who are--there are quite a few. First, they have unprecedented access to the mass
circulation print media and are often sought out by the media to comment on anything that is perceived to do with race, whether they know anything about it or not. [ Laughter ] [ Applause ]
Exceedingly rare these days are black thinkers who are producing intellectual work for black audiences, disseminated within black-controlled media, as was the case of Du Bois's day. Second, the vast
majority are professors, and those with prestigious university positions have used them to extend their influence beyond the academy. Unlike Du Bois, many no longer have daily contact with
African-American communities or with African-Americans. [Applause] Instead--I'm supposed to get you thinking, this is a plenary. [ Laughter ] VOICE: You're doing that. PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: Instead,
their primary social location typically links a privileged academic lifestyle, not with the needs of African-American community, with the demands of mass culture. And finally, black public
intellectuals have benefited from Americans' concerns prior to the events of 9/11, for example, with race. They serve as experts on everything, from the LA riots to affirmative action, to the
nomination of Clarence Thomas and Lani Guinier, and anything that had to do with Louis Farrakhan, says one commentator. Now these criteria produced a short list of black public intellectuals whose
mass media visibility far outpaces their actual numbers, as well as establishes a pecking order among black public intellectual themselves. Some become academic superstars. This is not Du Bois's
legacy is my point, all right? The public intellectuals today are not the legacy of Du Bois, and we don't wanna be misled. For example, we've got two that I would just name, Henry Louis Gates and
Cornel West, that I'm sure you're all familiar with. Consulted less often... and it's the conditions that create these people, not the people themselves. This is why I'm taking a sociological approach
here. Consulted less often as a black public intellectual, writer Toni Morrison rounds out the top three. A recurring roster of academic superstars follow this pantheon of Gates, West - and Morris and
Manning, we might have to chat here now. [ Laughter ] [ Applause ] [ Inaudible Remark ] He--a little bit worried before the presentation, but--alright. [ Laughter ] [ Inaudible Remark ] In some
respects, many of these new academic superstars resemble African-American musicians who wish to cross over in earnest beyond race music by finding a way to broaden their appeal to a mass/white
audience. For artists and intellectuals alike, the real money lies not in black markets, but with white ones. Such artists routinely begin their careers catering to a black market until they feel they
have achieved sufficient visibility to cross over. Yet they could never become white, and more importantly in the context of an allegedly color blind society, their white audiences do not want them to
be white. Rather, black musicians and black public intellectuals are like crossover from the particularism of race and enter the allegedly universalistic and white space of the public, carrying with
them race music/race ideas that are of value in a society where color blind erases the rules. They reassure white constituencies that the basic values of a newly color blind American society, in this
case, associating intellectual with raceless, genderless objectivity are visible. Describing these marketplace relations, one thinker observes, "The reality is that even in the era of the black public
intellectual, black thinkers and artists are rarely allowed a public complexity, but rather are reduced to the smallest possible racial box in order to sell them and their ideas to a mainstream
audience, black and non-black, who have never thought of blackness as being complex at all. Now, if there's only room for a few black intellectuals at the top, what happens to the much larger numbers
of black intellectuals who will never become stars? Colleges, universities, and other American institutions that recruit and train intellectuals remain committed to universalistic logic. As a result,
aspiring intellectuals matriculating in these institutions frequently find their attachment to race challenged and undermined by an alleged universalistic ethos. African-American graduate students,
for example, are routinely discouraged from studying topics that are "too black". The choice of race will hurt their careers because they will only be seen as being able to do race work.
Conversely--thank you--those blacks who can cross over into any category other than domestic black American are encouraged to do so. Biracial backgrounds, immigrant status, Jamaican, Trinidad, you
have British, anything marketable that upholds beliefs about American society values that can sell are trotted out. Now thus far, I have discussed contemporary black intellectual production without
attending to the gender politics of the public-private split that denies black women positions, and the racialization and feminization of domestic intellectual work which, by the way, is not just done
by black women or done by women or done by good people, it's a lot of people in sociology, and how contemporary black public intellectuals are situated within these relations. This too is part of Du
Bois's legacy as a black public intellectual. Certainly, the same public-private split shapes contemporary black intellectual production, primarily because whites continue to control the media sources
that anoint a hand-picked list of black men as black public intellectuals. Have you noticed how they're men? Just a casual observation, alright? It may go back a hundred years ago. Just as token
blacks are included to give weight to the thesis that America is truly a color blind society, token women are included on the list of black public intellectuals. Moreover, whether they are women or
men, those black intellectuals who do the domestic intellectual work of counseling students, writing letters of recommendation, sitting on committees, researching papers, and recruiting students
become relegated to the devalued domestic sphere of black intellectual production. In a sense, the public-private split between public and domestic black intellectuals invokes gender and race, but it
is really about power. It is a reduction of the vast majority of black thinkers to the particularistic, domestic, dirty work of serving institutional agendas of negotiating the new color blind racism,
as well as being held to impossible standards produced by elite black public intellectuals who are well funded. Gender shapes our understanding of the split between public and domestic, but it is one
that transcends the notion of warfare between men and women, or between whites and blacks, or between any groups. Moreover, whereas the duties may resemble those of prior generations of black
intellectuals, the greatly changed context of American higher education, its embeddedness in marketplace relations, meaning that this form of intellectual labor when--may not return benefits to
African-Americans as a collectivity. Doing the domestic intellectual labor of supporting black students and junior faculty members, for example, may get a few people through school who then turn
around and criticize those who do the domestic labor for not being "scholarly enough". Now, let me finish up with just one or two final comments because I think this has all changed. Michael is
getting happy over here. I heard him go uhm. Alright. [ Laughter ] Because I really think that things have changed dramatically in post 9/11. And I'll just say that then I'll just--I will just end
because I could read a few things here. Prior to 9/11, race was at the top of the domestic agenda. But after 9/11, you no longer need the scary black men and the hedonistic black women to scare the
American public into supporting racial apartheid. That was the '90s. Now, we have dark-skinned Arabs because the focus is shifted from the domestic to the global terrain. And what we must ask
ourselves today is what this means for black intellectual production. If these in fact are--and black public intellectuals. If in these are in fact marketplace relations where anything that can be
bought and sold on the marketplace is what affects black public intellectuals, well the market has changed. The market for what they are selling is changing. So perhaps these new social relations are
not inherently bad for black intellectual production. Certainly, the norms of mainstream intellectual production suggest that unlike William E.B. Du Bois, when black intellectuals self identifify as
black, they seriously limit themselves because their gifts are diverted from loftier, more important question. Certainly, this describes the pressures placed on black public intellectuals today to
become critics on behalf of a broader public and not just the minority African-American public. But how are African-American interests served when folded into the concerns of an unsympathetic white
American public? What would be more important or could be more important to African-American intellectuals than contributing to an ongoing freedom struggle that has repeatedly enriched America itself?
In this endeavor, Du Bois does provide a provocative model for today. He earned his legacy of penultimate black public intellectual. Not as a disembodied individual, but instead as one who used a
particular situation of social justice, injustice to raise universal questions concerning the very meaning of American democracy. In this regard, from our diverse social locations, we would do well to
heed his legacy. Thank you. [ Applause ] [ Laughter ] MICHAEL BURAWOY: Patricia Hill Collins was on the program committee, so [laughter] special dispensation. Yes. Well, thank you very much. I guess
we learned that there are public sociologists and public sociologists. Well, next we have Gerald Horne, a distinguished public historian who has written extensively about the life and lessons of Du
Bois and also of the extraordinary life of Shirley Graham Du Bois, W.E.B. Du Bois's wife, whom I didn't hear much of from Patricia. [ Laughter ] He has written, he has written critical accounts of US
foreign policy in Africa, as well as the repressive policies of the McCarthy era. He will talk to us today about Du Bois as an international figure and his Pan-Africanism. The title of his talk, “Du
Bois and Internationalism on the Soviet Union and Japan”. Gerald Horne. [ Applause ] GERALD HORNE: Well first of all, thank you very much for inviting me. In January 1942, as Hong Kong and a good
deal of Asia were reeling from a massive Japanese military assault, a meeting in the United Stated of African-American leaders voted 36 to 5, with 15 abstaining, that African-Americans were not 100
percent behind the war that their nation had declared on Tokyo weeks earlier. Similarly, a 1942 poll conducted amongst black New Yorkers found that 18 percent said they would be better off under
Japanese rule, and an additional 31 percent declared that their treatment would be the same, and only 28 percent said it would be worse. Reflective of sentiments then obtaining both the man who became
Malcolm X and the future eminent historian John Hope Franklin expressed profound qualms about fighting on behalf of the United States, not least due to the atrocious Jim Crow that was an everyday
reality for African-Americans. The theory of my brief remarks is simple. The thesis of my brief remarks is simple: that other than the struggles of African-Americans and their allies within these
borders, the decisive if least studied and understood reason explicating how and why white supremacy began its agonized, though reluctant retreat, is an understanding of the international correlation
of forces, in particular historic moments, that examining this issue through the prism of W.E.B. Du Bois provides insight into this important matter and that going forward understanding the relations
among and between United States and non-state actors, not to mention China, Japan, Brazil, and Southern Africa amongst other regions, nations, and entities will help us comprehend as much as anything
else how and why white supremacy will proceed on this continued and inevitable devolution. Now, it was not a mere rhetorical flourish when the 1930s W.E.B. Du Bois insisted in his magisterial black
reconstruction, that it was impossible to understand the black experience in the United States without reference "to that dark and vast sea of human labor in China and India, the south seas and all of
Africa". “African-Americans and Asians,” said Du Bois shared a "common destiny". In that both were "despised and rejected by race and color, paid a wage below the level of decent living. Driven,
beaten, imprisoned and enslaved in all but name." With the "resultant wealth distributed and displayed and made the basis of world power and universal dominion and on arrogance in London and Paris,
Berlin and Rome, New York and Rio de Janeiro". Yet even before Du Bois uttered these words, he, and I should add a critical mass of other African-American activists and intellectuals have looked to
Asia, notably Japan, as living evidence of the proposition that the notion of white supremacy was inherently flawed that melanin deficiency was not a precondition to building an advanced society. [
Laughter ] Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and Marcus Garvey, famously clashed about all matter--manner of matters, but all were united in their admiration for Japan. In 1912, for example, Washington
asserted that "There is no other race living outside of America whose fortunes the Negro peoples of this country have followed with greater interest or admiration than Japan. In no other part of the
world," he said, "have the Japanese people a larger number of admirers and well-wishers than amongst the black people of the United States." Garvey, of course, exceeded both Du Bois and Washington in
his admiration for Japan, an understandable development, since in the pre-World War II era, Tokyo was to nationalism as Moscow was to Marxism, and New Delhi was to the mainstream civil rights movement
later exemplified by Martin Luther King Junior. Approximately 85 years ago, a federal agent anxiously noted Garvey's words that "Japan was combining with the Negro race to overthrow the white race
because the black man was not getting justice in this country." Meaning the United States. Yet it was Du Bois, the historical sociologist, who attempted to place the rise of Japan in context and plot
its impact on white supremacy at home and abroad. At the time of Japan's epochal defeat of Russia in 1905, the defeat that captured the imagination of figures as diverse as China's Sun Yat-sen,
India's Nehru, and Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh, Du Bois wrote that "Since 1732 AD, when Charles Martel beat back the Saracens at Tours, white races have had the hegemony of civilizations. But now the
Russo-Japanese war has marked an epic. The magic of the word white is already broken. The awakening of the yellow race has ascertained that the awakening of the brown races will follow in time. No
unprejudiced student of history can doubt". Du Bois, an accomplished novelist, took to fiction to illustrate this fraught theme. In his riveting novel, Dark Princess, which he once called his favorite
book, Matthew Towns, the leading black character meets with the Japanese figure who tells him, "I have been much interested in noting the increased political power of your people". Then he asked,
"I've been wondering how far you have unified and set plans either for yourselves in this land or even further with an eye towards international politics and the future of the darker races". This
Japanese figure inform Towns of "the Great Council of the Darker Peoples" which was the "meet in London 3 months hence, we have given the American Negro full representation". Another leading character
in this novel, a South Asian Indian woman says of her Japanese comrade, "He is our leader, Matthew, the guide and counsellor, the great prime minister of the darker world". Presumably the great
Japanese leader agreed with her assessment that "The strongest group among us believes only in force, nothing but bloody defeat in a worldwide war against whites will in their opinion ever be beat
sense and decency into Europe and America and Australia.. They have no faith in mere reason and alliance with the press labor [inaudible thought religion nothing. Pound their arrogance into submission
they cry, kill them, conquer them, humiliate them". Du Bois was not alone in rationalizing the depredations of Japan, notably in Korea and China, just as US elites and US progressives alike
rationalize Stalinism when they needed an ally against Germany during the period stretching from 1941 to 1945. When Du Bois visited Shanghai in 1936, he interrogated Chinese leaders about their
hostility towards Tokyo and suggested that they were not as robust in their critique of white supremacy. Said Du Bois, "They made no reply, they talked long but they did not really answer my
question," concerning their supposed silence in the face of Anglo-American and European outrages. During this 1936 visit to China, Du Bois recalled sitting with a group of Chinese leaders at lunch.
Rather tentatively he said, he told them that he could, "well understand the Chinese attitude towards Japan, its bitterness and determined opposition to the substitution of Asiatic for European
imperialism". Yet what he could "not quite understand is seemingly placid attitude of the Chinese towards Britain". Indeed said Du Bois, "The fundamental source of Sino-Japanese enmity was in China's
submission to white aggression and Japanese resistance to it". Chinese leaders he thought were, "Asian Uncle Toms of the same spirit that man of faith--that animates the white folks inward in the
United States". Of course he used the actual term. With a wave of his hand, Du Bois dismissed concerns about violations of Chinese sovereignty by Japan. He argued, "In 1841, the English seized Hong
Kong China with--Hong Kong China with far less right than the Japanese had them seizing Manchuria". Du Bois went further to say, "I believe in Japan. It is not that I find, that I sympathized with
China less but that I hate white European and American propaganda, theft, and insult more. I believe in Asia for the Asiatics and despite the hell of war and fascism of capital, I see in Japan the
best agent for this end". Now in the cold light of history, I see this as being a mistake in viewpoint. On the other hand, it was a viewpoint that though has been profoundly rejected in Seoul and
Beijing, quite frankly continues to resonate in New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, in other words in any place which ones endured the fierce oppression of European colonialism. Again, this rather
blatant pro-Tokyo bias was not unique to Du Bois. The organization that became the Nation of Islam for example, was foremost in this category as exemplified in their notion of the Asiatic black man
positing the Asian as opposed to--or the alleged Asian as opposed to the African roots of US Negroes, an idea that has not disappeared to this day as revealed in the words of certain rappers. This
pro-Tokyo bias was part of a larger transnational trend as well whereby oppressed nationalities oftentimes look for support towards the antagonist of their own ruling class. Think of the relationship
between the Kurds in the United States and Saddam Hussein's Iraq for example or more broadly the relationship between Nelson Mandela's African National Congress and the former Soviet Union. Speaking
of the former Soviet Union, what separated Du Bois from his socialist and communist oriented African-American comrades was a sympathy for Japan, something that was profoundly immune to black leftists
such as Langston Hughes, Shirley Graham, Paul Robeson, and Claudia Jones and others of that ilk. And in a trend that has replicated itself transnationally as these black leftist came under assault,
particularly during the cold war era, the stage was set for the accelerated rise of various forms of nationalism not unlike what has transpired in Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. Du Bois, as we
know, joined this US communist party a few years before his death in 1963, a development that was facilitated mightily by the party membership of the second wife, the writer Shirley Graham, and
decades before had joined the socialist party, though he clashed repeatedly with this organization because of his perception that they were less than aggressive in confronting white supremacy. Du Bois
also differed from many of his socialist party comrades in being a devotee of the Bolshevik revolution virtually from its onset in 1917. A major reason for this was his view that this nation was
assisting the block that came to be known as the "third world" and fighting what he saw as the greater foe, that is to say European colonialism. Many of his opinions on the Soviet Union and how its
existence tended to weaken global imperialism, thereby creating more space for democratic struggles in the metropole, were summarized in a--of his that was never published entitled Russia and America:
An Interpretation. This book was based on several trips to this vast Euro-Asian land mass in 1926, '36 and '49, and again in the late 1950s after he had regained his passport. As he saw it, and this
opinion has been validated by contemporary historians of various stripes, the domestic allies of Moscow, that is to say the US communist party was the most vigorous nationally in its opposition to
white supremacy as exemplified in the Scottsboro case of the 1930s and the [inaudible] case stretching into the 1950s, including the Martinsville Seven, the Trenton Six, Willie McGee, Rosa Lee Ingram,
Robert Wesley Wells and others too numerous to mention. Moreover as he saw it, the threat of socialism was sobering to US elites helping to impel them towards social welfare measures that theretofore
redeemed to be heretical, including unemployment compensation, social security and all the rest. In a sense the US Supreme Court in 1954 agreed with Du Bois when it ruled unanimously in Brown versus
Board of Education. As many historians had pointed out, it's not inappropriate to speak of cold war civil rights, that is to say the United States State Department in its brief filed in this important
case conceded that the existence of Jim Crow was hampering the international position of the United States, a point alluded to in the justices' opinions. Of course the ironic outcome of Du Bois--Du
Bois's internationalism arrived when those of the left like himself found themselves increasingly isolated as the cold war proceeded. I find it ironic that those who often complaining about what they
term "identity politics" and therefore long for an era when class--identity and class struggle are paramount, somehow ignored the fact that for decades, class was deemed to be an outlaw of category
only invoked by Marxists who were discredited, and as a result inevitably other sharp forms of identity arose to fill this vacuum. Moreover looking forward, the anti-corporate led globalization
movement would be well advised to rethink the idea that this trend should be resisted since supposedly certain forms of globalization infringe on US sovereignty. For the fact is that African-Americans
and oppressed groups generally in this nation often have made progress precisely because US sovereignty was infringed. In fact, this argument about infringing US sovereignty is little more than the
old states' rights argument globalized. Going back to the illegal slave trade, a subject dealt with in Du Bois's first book, the US flag became the major flag for slave traders since this nation
argued that it would be a violation of its sovereignty to allow the British Navy to search ships hoisting the US flag. And just as the international community played such a huge role in ridding this
nation of Jim Crow, the international community played an outsized role in routing US slave traders. In that same vein, the recent call by the Congressional Black Caucus for the United Nations, the
OSCE and other global bodies to monitor presidential elections in 2004 in light of the massive-- [ Applause ] In light of the massive fraud that deprived African-Americans of the vote in 2000,
particularly in Florida, bespeaks once again the point that justice often requires curbing US sovereignty, not enhancing it. [ Applause ] This is consistent with the Du Bois tradition, a tradition
which recognized early on the tension between national security and white supremacy and whose strategy, not least the organizing of Pan-African congresses, was designed to take advantage of that
tension. One of the problems we face today in continuing this Du Boisian tradition is whether the present challenges to US hegemony, including the EU and China or non-state actors are capable of
playing the role in domestic politics once played by the former Soviet Union and Japan. Whether they do or not, the entire nation owes Du Bois a debt of gratitude for impressing on this tension
between the desire to protect white supremacy and the desire to protect national security. Du Bois and those who followed him helped to save this nation from disaster. In any case, thank you very much
for your [laughter] rapt attention and I look forward to your comments and questions. [ Applause ] MICHAEL BURAWOY: Thank you, Gerry. You show the discipline of a true communist. [ Laughter ] Thank
you very much. Du Bois with his grand Pan-African internationalist perspective, finally we come now to Manning Marable, political scientist and historian, is one of the leading intellectuals in the
tradition of W.E.B. Du Bois. He is a political biographer of Du Bois, perhaps a biographer of the political life of Du Bois, or perhaps both, a wide ranging journalist, a public figure, commentator on
African American history, struggles for racial justice today, advocate of grassroots organizations, as well as defender of socialist visions. He will talk of the radical legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois in a
paper entitled “Reconstructing the Revolutionary Du Bois”. Let me welcome Manning Marable. [ Applause ] MANNING MARABLE: Thank you, Michael. Both W.E.B. Du Bois and the Karl Marx had the great
fortune or perhaps misfortune to be so productive in their lives as social theorists that competing schools of thought and warring interpretations of their work have continued to grow long after their
deaths. In Du Bois's case, because of his unusual longevity, he passed away at the age of 95 in Ghana, only hours before the historic 1963 March on Washington DC, the revisionist interpretations
regarding the meaning and significance of his social thought actually began decades prior to his death. The organization that he helped to found, the NAACP, proudly kept alive his writings and ideas
generated during his nearly quarter century of struggle against Jim Crow segregation as the editor of that--that organizations' of principal journal, The Crisis, from 1910 to 1934. But it rejected and
harshly denounced the progressive ideas espoused by Du Bois in his later years, especially during the domestic repression of McCarthyism and the cold war. Social scientists in the 1950s commenting on
Du Bois's work tended to bifurcate both his scholarship and his political career relegating the second half of his life into oblivion. This even prompted Du Bois once to complain to Fisk University
librarian, Arna Bontemps that "my career did not end with Booker T. Washington. I hope you will not either overstress that earlier part of my career or forget the latter part." Du Bois possessed
excellent powers of social prognostication. His most famous prediction first given publicly in July 1900 that the problem of the 20th century would be the problem of the color line, still has profound
meaning for us today. But even Du Bois probably could not and would not have anticipated the political orientation represented by the nationwide celebration of the centennial of the publication of his
most famous work, The Souls of Black Folk, last year. There were at minimum over 100 major public events honoring Du Bois throughout the United States, at universities, and liberal arts colleges, and
museums, and community centers. The largest single celebration of souls organized by the NAACP in Detroit's Cobo Arena on April 27, 2003 numbered over 8,000 participates including Michigan's governor,
one senator, several congressional representatives, and even the chief executive officer of DaimlerChrysler. [ Laughter ] The preponderant interpretation of those events was that the celebration of
souls in Du Bois was about the celebration of the realization of a colorblind, racially integrated American society, all the things that Pat talked about. The goal of racial equality and political
representation for minorities within liberal democracy was the primary focus of attention. Now occasionally, the press coverage of the souls centennial celebrations mentioned the fact that Du Bois was
also by the way the prime architect of Pan-Africanism. Rarely was mentioned his credentials as an advocate of womens, suffrage, as an advocate of socialism or as a devoted advocate of peace. Having
participated in about a half dozen of these events, I cannot in good conscience say that there was a wholesale theft of the Du Boisian intellectual legacy. But certainly, only in a minority of
instances were there serious examinations of Du Bois's most radical ideas. The last 30-odd years of his political and intellectual life we're obscured, ignored, or relegated to history's unpleasant
footnotes. This plenary was designed to consider the praxis, the theory in action of Dr. Du Bois as a major public intellectual and sociologist and to explore the relevance of his major ideas to our
own times. Given that we have just witnessed in effect last year the repackaging of Du Bois into a mainstream liberal integrationist, semi-sanitized from the Marxist left, perhaps we should take 10
minutes to reconsider the core radicalism of Du Bois. Du Bois was initially trained in graduate school as a historian but he soon discovered that history as a discipline could not answer the kinds of
questions he wanted to pursue. During the initial academic appointment he held at Wilberforce University from 1894 to '96, Du Bois came into the conclusion that the Negro problem could be
constructively addressed to the systematic investigation and intellectual understanding. As he put it "The ultimate evil is stupidity. The cure for it was knowledge based on scientific investigation.
A rigorous social science approach could help to explain how racial hierarchies and social inequality function within American society," Du Bois believed. In the fall on 1896, he relocated to the
University of Pennsylvania where over the next 18 months he produced the Philadelphia Negro, which was a massive study which involves for example the interviewing of over 5,000 individuals. This
laborious process made Du Bois "painfully aware that merely being born in a group does not necessarily make one possessed of complete knowledge concerning it". In his 1968 autobiography, Du Bois
reflected that despite its limitations, the Philadelphia Negro presented Negroes for the first time "as a striving palpitating group and not an inert sick body of crime, as a long historical
development and not a transient occurrence". In other words, the African-American people for Du Bois were the prime actors in the making of their own history, and unique cultural and social
experience. This was an extremely radical position to take in 1899. It's actually a fairly radical position to take in 2004. [Applause] Perhaps the clearest exposition of Du Bois's faith and the
persuasive power of empirical researches found in his address, “The Study of the Negro Problem” delivered at the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences in Philadelphia on November the
19th, 1897. "The American Negro,” Du Bois argued, “deserves study for the great end of advancing the cause of science in general." The African-American was after all, "a member of the human race,
and as one who in the light of history and experience is capable of a degree of improvement and culture, is entitled to have his interests considered according to his numbers and in all conclusions as
to the common will". We can appreciate the difficulty of Du Bois's challenge to the social scientific community by just for a moment recalling the kind of crisis confronting the African-American
community at the end of the 19th century with literally more than 100 African-Americans lynched every year. The year prior to Du Bois's address, the Supreme Courts Plessy v. Ferguson decision
legalizing race--the principle of separate but equal. What Du Bois sought through social science investigation was the possibility of formulating a more liberal enlightened social policy affecting
African-American people. Scholarship was thus not detached from group advocacy. It would give greater legitimacy to the Negroes' claims for social and economic opportunity and justice. During the next
13 years at Atlanta University, Du Bois was the prime organizer of that university series of academic conferences on the study of the Negro problem. These conferences were never designed to be overtly
or openly political, but Du Bois could not take refuge in the social laboratory removed from the daily struggles of his people. There was no rearguard in the collective effort to stem disfranchisement
or to halt racial exclusion in public accommodations. As Du Bois writes, "One could not be a calm, cool, and detached scientist while Negroes were lynched, murdered, and starved". Du Bois slowly
recognized to his dismay furthermore that the academic audience for scholarly endeavors was largely limited to other Negroes and that few whites, and those few whites who sympathize politically with
their plight. But it would be a mistake to say that the totalitarianism of racial segregation and the Jim Crow regime of the south had finally turned Du Bois away from sociological research and social
inquiry. Rather, he began to apply the sociological imagination to new sets of issues, a political and cultural significance preoccupying African-Americans themselves on their own terms. Beginning in
1899, Du Bois penned a provocative series of essays in popular magazines documenting African-American efforts to stop political disfranchisement, to defend black higher education. Drawing heavily upon
the earlier ideas of Alexander Crummell, Du Bois began to argue that the tiny black middle class possess the necessary resources and potential to constitute itself as a leadership group for the entire
oppressed race. This “talented tenth” thesis was clearly outlined during 1903, '04 at the beginning of Du Bois's ideological and political struggle with conservative black educator Booker T.
Washington. African-Americans must be as Du Bois put it "trained for social power". Du Bois boldly argued in the Outlook Magazine, a famous essay widely read published in October 1903. If Negroes were
to be the central actors in the making of a new racial history, the problem of racism must therefore be analyzed first and foremost from a black perspective, employing a language and a cultural style
resonating within the African-American community. My argument is that Du Bois first and foremost when he sat down and when he wrote, he thought first of the African-American people, and that whites
could be observers, they could be even participants in a new conversation about race, but they would not dictate the terms of the discourse. Du Bois's April 1904 essay, The Negro Problem From the
Negro Point of View: the Parting of the Ways,” I argue lays a general framework for the rest of his intellectual life until he dies in Ghana in 1963. Du Bois now dedicated himself to the role of
public intellectual to the construction of viable institutions and mediums of African-American capacity building. In another series of essays which if they--and this is my greatest regret about his
intellectual life. If they had been collected and the essays published that he wrote that were not col--never collected from 1902 to about 1908, they would have been as provocative and politically
perhaps more important than The Souls of Black Folk. Du Bois advanced an argument for a radical black world view. It is 1905, the Negro Ideals of Life, Du Bois suggested that the unique historical
experiences and cultural heritage of black folk in America had nurtured a common consciousness, but was a consciousness that had been socially constructed through the historical experiences that they
had shared and their common struggle. In 1905, Du Bois's radical [inaudible] William Monroe Trotter and others launched the Niagara movement, challenging Booker T. Washington's accommodation,
campaigning for full civil rights and social equality. In December that same year, he launched the Moon Illustrated Weekly. Plagued by limited funds, the Moon managed to publish only 31 issues going
out of business in July 1906. But the following year in '07, Du Bois established The Horizon, subtitle, A Journal of the Color Line. Over the next three years, Du Bois wrote 195 signed editorials and
short essays documenting the end of--the struggle against Jim Crow racial segregation, literary criticism, politics, essays on music, and this was the training ground providing experience for him to
establish The Crisis in November 1910 with the rise of the NAACP. As Du Bois acquired a clearer sense of himself as a public intellectual and black leader, he experienced--he experimented with
different forms of writing to present his radical message. One of his most successful and enduring poetic presentations was of the meaning of black radical consciousness, was “Credo” published
first in October 1904 and subsequently in his 1920 book Dark Water. “Credo” celebrated the oneness of the human family irrespective of race and it also emphasized the unique qualities of "the
Negro race in its beauty, of its genius, the sweetness of its soul and its strength in that meekness which shall yet inherit this turbulent earth". “Credo”, “Credo” praised the qualities of
black radi--racial pride, service and sacrifice while also declaring that "all war was murder". Du Bois wrote, "I believe that armies and navies are at bottom the tinsel and braggadocio of oppression
and wrong; and I believe that the wicked conquest of weaker and darker nations by nations whiter and stronger but foreshadows the death of that strength". This theoretical strategic shift in Du Bois's
thinking inevitably led him to the political left. By 1904, Du Bois considered himself a "socialist of the path". In 1907, Du Bois observed that that class exploitation of all American working people
regardless of race was directly linked to the subordinate status of all African-Americans. "It is only a question of time," Du Bois writes, "when white working people and black workers will see their
common cause against the aggression of exploiting capitalists." That for Negro Americans, socialism represented the "one great hope for all Negro-Americans". Over the next four decades of public life
in his intellectual work, Du Bois continue to craft a socialism that reflected the historical experiences and material interest about blacks and the American people in general. One potentially
fruitful way to approach the study of the radical Du Bois is perhaps to place him within the framework of what Perry Anderson termed “Western Marxism”. As in the writings of European Marxist
intellectuals such as Sartre, Lukacs, Marcuse and Benjamin and others, there's an overwhelming preoccupation with aesthetics and art in Du Bois. I once asked Du Bois' literary executor and historian
Herbert Aptheker to describe Du Bois in only one word. Herb was surprised and he said, "Manning, Du Bois was an artist." In the middle of establishing the NAACP and starting up The Crisis for example,
Du Bois was also writing his first novel, The Quest of the Silver Fleece. The Harlem Renaissance's explosion of new Negro literature a decade later prompted Dr. Du Bois to add his own expressive voice
by writing, as Gerald pointed out, Dark Princess, a romance, in 1928. Even during the bleak years of McCarthyism, Du Bois's principal writings in the 1950s were his novels The Ordeal of Mansart.
Mansart Builds a School, and Worlds of Color. Like Sartre, Du Bois had a long pre-Marxist intellectual history prior to his political gravitation toward Marxism-Leninism. As a public intellectual, he
engaged in ideological contestation with the forces of reaction in a wide variety of ways, from his regular newspaper columns in the African-American press to his 2-year effort with novelist Jessie
Fauset in the '20s to produce a children's magazine, The Brownie's Book. In the early years of the NAACP, Du Bois wrote and staged the ambitious public pageant “The Star of Ethiopia” which he
described later as "an attempt to put into dramatic form for the benefit of large masses of people a history of the Negro race". “The Star of Ethiopia” premiered in New York City in 1913. The
black pageant had a cast of 1200, was staged in DC, Philadelphia, and then after World War I, in Los Angeles in 1924. In conclusion, my central point here is that the final decades of Du Bois's life
including his decision in 1961 to join the US Communist Party represented no radical departure, represent no sharp rupture of his political or intellectual orientation. In fact, the central
theoretical elements of Du Boisian social thought of black radical and democratic analysis of US and global society were basically in place prior to Du Bois's joining the NAACP in 1910. Du Bois did
not cease to be a sociologist when he left Atlanta University that year to become the editor of The Crisis or to become the principal spokesperson for what later would be called the Black Freedom
Movement. He continued to rely on the tools of the social scientist in understanding and in interpreting the problems of the world around him, employing different modes of creative expression and
presenting to the world an engagement with diverse publics. But he now saw, however, that he could make a much more valuable contribution both to people and to the world by not simply interpreting the
world but through his efforts to change it. Thank you. [ Applause ] MICHAEL BURAWOY: Thank you very much, Manning. Seems that there are Du Bois and Du Bois, there are multiple interpretations. I think
also that the hypothesis I presented to you 2 hours ago, at least from my standpoint, has been confirmed. We are going--good I need--that needs applause. Yes. [ Applause ] [ Laughter ] Very few of my
hypothesis are ever confirmed. [ Laughter ] We have--well, we have 7 minutes left and I think we should have two questions. I don't think that we can draw a conclusion to the opening plenary without
having two questions. And I don't know if it's the case, but I am hoping and praying that there's a roving mic somewhere. One, do I--two. And the roving mic is to be seen. You should know this.
There's gonna be people with roving mics and--with other sessions, we're gonna have cards. They are going to be Berkeley students who are going to be dressed in a Marxist-- [ Laughter ] The Marxist
labor--the Marxist section t-shirt and it says on it--What did they say on it? The original-- [ Inaudible Remark ] Sociologist. Well, we made a mistake. It should be W.B. Du Bois. Okay, two questions.
Hands up, can I--anybody wants to raise a question? A comment--Yes? [ Pause ] Audience Member: For any and all of the panel, please. If you were to add a few words or change a few words from Du Bois's
“Credo” as Professor Marable suggested. For the 21st century, what would you add? What would you change? MICHAEL BURAWOY: Very good. I'm gonna--one, I'm going to take two questions and you're
gonna have a minute each. [ Inaudible Remark ] Okay. With a question over this side, my left? Anybody want to question over here? Yes, here at front. Or here at the back, I should go to the back,
shouldn't I? Is there somebody at the back? I saw a hand over there. [ Inaudible Remark ] No. Well then it's down the front here. Yes? [ Inaudible Remark ] I'm sorry, I can't--all these lights, I
can't see too well. Yes please, this gentleman here. AUDIENCE MEMBER: I can't let this panel go without raising this question because of the recent Michael Moore movie, and a few scenes, maybe more
than a few where he stresses the multiple minorities in our country that are overseas oppressing other minority members. I'd like a comment from our panel. Thanks. MICHAEL BURAWOY: Thank you. Okay, so
those are our two questions. And I'm gonna give each of you a minute, minute and a half, and then I'm going to play 30 seconds of the voice of W.B. Du Bois. [ Inaudible Remark ] Not now, not now,
after the answer and question. [ Inaudible Remark ] [ Laughter ] Aldon is always so keen. [ Inaudible Remark ] Okay, we're gonna do it after the minute and a half. [ Inaudible Remark ] That's how
we're gonna end. Okay. Okay. Do you want to have a--who wants to go first? [Inaudible] Aldon, you go first. [ Inaudible Remark ] MANNING MARABLE: I wanna go first. [ Laughter ] MICHAEL BURAWOY: You
wanna go? Alright. [ Inaudible Remark ] Go, Manning. MANNING MARABLE: Alright. Real uncharacteristically brief. First, I think you mean that--was the question the problem the 20th century is the
problem of the color line? That--that observation or which-- AUDIENCE MEMBER: The Credo [inaudible]. MANNING MARABLE: Or the Credo? AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, the Credo. [ Inaudible Remark ] MANNING
MARABLE: The credo is the thing I--what? [ Simultaneous Talking ] MANNING MARABLE: I believe--oh, I see. You know that's--that would take too long. [ Laughter ] The similar one would be the prob--the
one that everybody knows is the problem of the 20th century. See, I would argue that the problem of the 21st century is the problem of global apartheit or global apartheid. It's the uneven and the
inequitable division of resources and wealth and the super exploitation of the nonwestern world. One could say the north versus the south or the core against the periphery. But in the United States,
it's the deadly triad or= the unholy trinity of what I call the--a kind of new racial--new racial domain that links together mass incarceration, mass unemployment, and mass disfranchisement. And those
three things, Du Bois would be interrogating right now and that's what the task of sociology, public sociology should be doing and is doing. Among a number of the people in this room, I saw Howie here
tonight. And I think that the second issue is that no ruling class worth--worth a name doesn't understand the capacity of divide and conquer and to get Latinos and blacks and Native Americans and
others to fight its wars for it because the most disadvantaged people within the society are disadvantaged economically in the most, in the cruelest of ways and become the permanent reserve army of
imperialism. And that's not a surprise. That's an old--that's an old thing. But ultimately, the only way to break the lock on that is to step outside the box and to understand why Du Bois and Robeson
and others did that as long as we fight on this terrain domestically here in the United States, the progressive movement will never get anywhere. We must globalize and internationalize our
perspective. And when we begin to do that and that as people of color in the United States--and that's why I think it's so important for us to--to really understand the radical Du Bois because inside
of Du Bois's vision of world, globe--or black emancipation, it could not take place inside of the US within the framework of the logic of the box that racism imposes in this country. You have to step
outside of that in order to achieve the kind of dialog and alliances and connections and coalitions necessary to fight the power. [ Applause ] ALDON MORRIS: Well, I think that the most fundamental
change or emphasis now from Du Bois would be a much more clear focus on the role of capitalism as a system generating inequality, and I think that Du Bois predicted that the 21st century will be
largely a world run by communistic governments, and of course he was wrong on that as we know. And I--so I think that the real issue that he will confront now is that now that there is no real ferment
for communism or possibly even socialism, then what happens to a serious critique of capitalism. And I think he would look at those intersections of race and class within a larger capitalist system.
Also as was already mentioned, I think that the way in which Du Bois pointed out the white wedge, how it was created to divide the working class in the United States, that I think was he would still
push us to try to think about looking at how inequality works as a system and how ruling classes are still very much in the business of coming out with ways to divide and conquer groups who have
interests in common but cannot seem to really see those interest and to organize and to mobilize to try to bring them about. Thanks. [ Applause ] [ Pause ] PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: I think there are
many ways to cut into this particular, these two questions as I link them together. But I think what I'd say is that what we're dealing with now is a whole new form of social organization in some
ways. Because it is still very much grounded in the logic of segregation of all kinds of things, but it's racial segregation, gender segregation, who belongs where and who doesn't belong where. It's a
whole discourse on belonging, who belongs here, whether it's nationalism, nation states. There are so many ways of cutting into this, and it is both domestic and it's global, right? So when you talk
about global apartheid, that is exactly I think a very powerful idea. But at the same time this particular form of segregation is overlaid by a new ideology that does not enable us to see it. So,
under the logic of segregation, it was defended as an open practice. We want segregation and we want everything for us and we want you to have nothing. It was that kind of a thing. Whereas now there's
this illusion that the world is far more integrated and far more equal than it actually is, unless things in fact break through on our television news like Sudan, for example. So, your question about
the role of the manipulation of multiple minorities, and that I think is quite on target in terms of Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice in terms of who is actually--[Applause] And this would be my point
about not just black public intellectuals, I was addressing the sociological issue, but the whole notion of the need to have visible representatives of this imperial power in producing these
particular policies. And unfortunately, it is eroding the moral and ethical capital that African-Americans have longed had as--as moral ethical people. Because if you can then associate the face of
these types of policies, that face is no longer a white face, you can assume that racism is passe and we're into a whole other realm in some way, when in fact global apartheid is still uphill. So
having said that, I think what we need to think about here is we need much better social science tools to unpack these relationships. I for one feel we've got very powerful tools in sociology but we
need to rethink how we use them and how we talk about things. I don't think we have a particularly compelling argument about racism and global apartheid that people can understand. I think we are
surrounded by people who honestly think that things have fundamentally changed and we're in a whole new environment. I don't know whether they're watching too much Fox News or what. [Laughter] But I
think we can do better. [ Applause ] GERALD HOME: I'll be brief because I'm as eager and anxious to hear Du Bois's voice as many of you are. With regard to the first question I think that politically,
Du Bois or any sentient being would be struck by the lack of analysis in the 21st century of the alliance of the 20th century which has gotten us into this present pickle. That is to say the alliance
between US imperialism and so called Islamic fundamentalism, particular in Afghanistan and how there has been a lack of scrutiny even--and particularly in the 911 commission report, and how that
particular alliance is going to bedevil this nation for some years to come with consequences that appears right now too ghastly to contemplate. With regard to the second question, actually I was
struck in the Michael Moore movie by the opening scenes and the Congressional Black Caucus members marching up, trying to get an intervention on the part of a US senator or even Al Gore himself with
regard to the fraudulence and chicanery of that 2000 election which I think bespeaks another point which is that one of the problems we have in this country is that the US ruling class and those who
are supporting them are obviously out of stop with the mass of humanity. This sort of a right wing, star of the beast, meaning star of the government type of philosophy of course is not necessarily
the major current in a good deal of the world. On the other hand, if you look at the vote of so called minorities like the Congressional Black Americans, Congressional Black Caucus, much more in tune
with the sort of left wing progressive social democratic trend which is now the major current politically. And so going forward, it seems to me that the Republican party is going to have a demographic
problem because the sort of subliminal white supremacy that basically they're standing for is gonna have a hard time going forward as the demographics of the nation change. I mean look at Gore winning
California by 1.3 million votes, for example in the 2000 presidential election, which suggests that it's going to take even more fraudulent tactics on their part [laughter] to stay in power which is
both the good news and the bad news. [ Laughter ] [ Applause ] MICHAEL BURAWOY: I think one thing is clear, that we are really being privileged and honored to have such distinguished public