William Edward Burghardt Du Bois: A Man Of The Renaissance

1389 words - 6 pages

Commonly referred to as a Renaissance man, W.E.B. Du Bois is revered in the present-day as an intellectual sociologist who contributed much knowledge to the greater understanding of African Americans in the twentieth century. While Dr. Du Bois wanted to be in a leadership position during the movement of a large concentration of high-spirited blacks to Harlem, New York, in search of a liberating surroundings, he was rejected such a role because of his Victorian-style ways that were obsolete to the "New Negro."
Harlem, New York saw a youthful, bustling new era that ushered in thriving black communities which found prosperity in both the pre- and post- World War I atmosphere. Home to more than 100,000 African Americans, Harlem saw a surge in black culture that encompassed a revitalized approach to American literature and redefined the sense of creativity with respect to fine arts (Kennedy et al. 741). It was the 1920 United States’s census that reported more Americans were living in cities than in rural towns which was significant because it was the first time in the young nation’s history that urban areas proved to be more populated than the formerly inhabited bucolic areas. More specifically, previously mechanized cities lured southerners, particularly those of African American descent, to the northeast and midwest sections of the United States. Historians collectively refer to the movement of these peoples to the Industrial north as the Great Migration which embodies the notion that blacks were the new source of labor that fueled the lively metropolises that were once occupied by European immigrants. This mass movement of African Americans to generally specific areas dramatically increased the concentration of this ethnicity which in turn raised the “racial pride” resulting in an overall revision of attitude toward literary works and other liberal arts pioneered by blacks (Goldfield et al 639). This Pro-African movement attracted blacks and whites alike for two basic purposes both of which were ethnically unique. While African Americans migrated northward in search of jobs and freedom from oppression, it was most common for whites to visit those black infused towns for entertainment and voyeuristic purposes. It was the combination of an economically favored climate combined with the artistic freedoms explored by blacks that magnetized whites toward Harlem, New York that came to be jointly known as the Harlem Renaissance.
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was successful at a young age when it was discovered he had a knack for learning and was destined for a virtuous life in which he vowed to become the best he could whether it be in school or life in general (Hamilton 13). At the time of the 1920 Renaissance, Du Bois was already an accredited researcher in the land of social science. It was through The Souls of Black Folk, a collection of essays, that Du Bois came to the conclusion that racial prejudice would not be stopped...

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