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Against racism: unpublished essays, papers, addresses, by William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, Herbert Aptheker

By William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, Herbert Aptheker

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The Negro has at last come to consider that whatever is for the benefit of the White man is for his detriment. Nor is it strange he should jump at such a conclusion; a blind prejudice has too often heaped injustice of the grossest kind upon him; the rights dearest to a freeman, trial by his peers, a free ballot, a free entrance into the various callings of life, have been ruthlessly wrested from him in multitudes of cases. Arguing him into an inferior being you have forced him into the gallery, the hovel, and the "Jim Crow" car; arguing his ignorance have rendered nearly seven millions of people practically voiceless in politics; in the face of this you have refused his children equal educational advantages with yours, because, forsooth, we do not pay as many taxes.

B. * It opens with a letter from Du Bois dated 29 October 1887, written from Fisk and addressed to the secretary of Harvard University. * I gratefully acknowledge the research assistance of Malcolm L. Call on this point. This letter is given in the Correspondence, 1:6. Page 5 Dear Sir: I am a Negro, a student of Fisk University. B. from this institution next June at the age of 20. D. in Political Science after graduation. I am poor and if I should enter your college next year would probably not be able to raise more [than] $100 or $150.

But the vast majority of the Negro race, thanks in great measure to your own lack of foresight, are not intelligent. The stone which the builders rejected had at length become the head of the corner. The short-sighted policy which refused us education and oppressed us with caste prejudice recoiled upon its strongest advocates. The wages of prejudice was distrust. The great mass of ignorant voters looked upon Prohibition with suspicion simply because those who hitherto had seldom deigned to ask their votes or to argue with them on political matters, were suddenly so very anxious for their suffrages.

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