The Philosopher W.E.B. Du Bois
Du Bois's relatively unknown but philosophically rich "The Individual and Social Conscience" (1905) receives attention on several pages herein, including the full text
itself and my research
on it, as well as
and the peer-reviewed, final version of my initial
research project on the IASC (which discusses its philosophical aspects in terms of Africana, Hegelian, and pragmatist thought).
— Robert W. Williams [Bio]
W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) is widely recognized as a significant figure: for his pursuit of social justice, for his literary imagination, and for his pioneering scholarly research. He is read with profit today in the academic fields of sociology, literature, and history, and in the trans-disciplinary realms of urban studies and gender studies. Nevertheless, Du Bois was, and remains still, a contentious figure.
W.E.B. DuBois challenged the oppressive dimensions of the society in which he lived. His increasingly radical stances on the political and economic issues of his day, as well as his emigration to Ghana, heightened his controversy in some circles. For many, time has not lessened the more provocative aspects of his life.
In a world that can be improved to promote the highest ideals of knowledge, peace, and love, I would like to think that the progressive spirit of Du Bois lives on. . . . But where in the wide world? Perhaps. . . . Here, there -- and anywhere with a connection to the Web. On WEBDuBois.org, how is where. High-tech communications permits wider and speedier interactivity across the globe itself. It is an interconnectivity which challenges what we mean by the terms "global" and "local" even as it brings us in "virtually" closer proximity to one another.
Yet all jubilation over high-tech aside, I am also aware that there is a digital divide which separates the electronically outfitted, jacked-in, and techno savvy from those less technologically equipped and trained. It is a divide that spotlights the unequal material relationships in which we as humans are implicated. Such disparaties would probably alarm Du Bois, and might have provided him with further evidence of poverty amidst plenty (or maybe because of it).
This website will showcase various aspects of Du Bois' life and thinking. On the Sources page I offer links to the freely available texts written by and about Du Bois. The online texts range from medical ones that discuss solving problems of male impotence, sociological and literary works to those of biography and political activism. On the About page, I list links to sources covering numerous aspects of his life and biography. On the Research page are links to the full texts of several hard-to-find-online essays by DuBois; they are housed on this site. I have annotated many of those DuBoisan texts with comments and external links to material available on the Internet. Also, and to assist you in locating items on this site, I have provided a Search feature and a Site map, which lists the various web pages herein.
At a site focused on W.E.B. DuBois -- and indeed for that very reason -- I will end my welcoming message via a trenchantly sharp quotation from another writer. Anatole France in The Red Lily (1894) wrote:
The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets or steal bread.
Du Bois' spirit remains vital and cogent even today.
—Robert W. Williams, Ph.D. [Bio]