52 Social Quotes of W. E. B. Du Bois

” I believe in Liberty for all men: the space to stretch their arms and their souls, the right to breathe and the right to vote, the freedom to choose their friends, enjoy the sunshine, and ride on the railroads, uncursed by color; thinking, dreaming, working as they will in a kingdom of beauty and love. “
” Education must not simply teach work – it must teach Life. “
” No universal selfishness can bring social good to all. Communism – the effort to give all men what they need and to ask of each the best they can contribute – this is the only way of human life. “
” To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships. “
” Education is that whole system of human training within and without the school house walls, which molds and develops men. “
” From the very first, it has been the educated and intelligent of the Negro people that have led and elevated the mass, and the sole obstacles that nullified and retarded their efforts were slavery and race prejudice; for what is slavery but the legalized survival of the unfit and the nullification of the work of natural internal leadership? “
” The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men. The problem of education, then, among Negroes must first of all deal with the Talented Tenth; it is the problem of developing the Best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own and other races. “
” Education is the development of power and ideal. “
” Education and work are the levers to uplift a people. “
” School houses do not teach themselves – piles of brick and mortar and machinery do not send out men. It is the trained, living human soul, cultivated and strengthened by long study and thought, that breathes the real breath of life into boys and girls and makes them human, whether they be black or white, Greek, Russian or American. “
” What a world this will be when human possibilities are freed, when we discover each other, when the stranger is no longer the potential criminal and the certain inferior! “
” Most men today cannot conceive of a freedom that does not involve somebody’s slavery. “
” I believe in God, who made of one blood all nations that on earth do dwell. I believe that all men, black and brown and white, are brothers, varying through time and opportunity, in form and gift and feature, but differing in no essential particular, and alike in soul and the possibility of infinite development. “
” Like Nemesis of Greek tragedy, the central problem of America after the Civil War, as before, was the black man: those four million souls whom the nation had used and degraded, and on whom the South had built an oligarchy similar to the colonial imperialism of today, erected on cheap colored labor and raising raw material for manufacture. “
” From the day of its birth, the anomaly of slavery plagued a nation which asserted the equality of all men, and sought to derive powers of government from the consent of the governed. Within sound of the voices of those who said this lived more than half a million black slaves, forming nearly one-fifth of the population of a new nation. “
” Capitalism cannot reform itself; it is doomed to self-destruction. “
” The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line: the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea. “
” Strange, is it not, my brothers, how often in America those great watchwords of human energy – ‘Be strong!’ ‘Know thyself!’ ‘Hitch your wagon to a star!’ – how often these die away into dim whispers when we face these seething millions of black men? And yet do they not belong to them? Are they not their heritage as well as yours? “
” It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. “
” All men cannot go to college, but some men must; every isolated group or nation must have its yeast, must have, for the talented few, centers of training where men are not so mystified and befuddled by the hard and necessary toil of earning a living as to have no aims higher than their bellies and no God greater than Gold. “
” The Talented Tenth of the Negro race must be made leaders of thought and missionaries of culture among their people. “
” Every argument for Negro suffrage is an argument for women’s suffrage. “
” Men we shall have only as we make manhood the object of the work of the schools – intelligence, broad sympathy, knowledge of the world that was and is, and of the relation of men to it – this is the curriculum of that Higher Education which must underlie true life. “
” Reconstruction was a vast labor movement of ignorant, muddled, and bewildered white men who had been disinherited of land and labor and fought a long battle with sheer subsistence, hanging on the edge of poverty, eating clay and chasing slaves and now lurching up to manhood. “
” The power of the ballot we need in sheer defense, else what shall save us from a second slavery? “
” Progress in human affairs is more often a pull than a push, surging forward of the exceptional man, and the lifting of his duller brethren slowly and painfully to his vantage ground. “
” Before and after emancipation, the Negro, in self-defense, was propelled toward the white employer. The endowments of wealthy white men have developed great institutions of learning for the Negro, but the freedom of action on the part of these same universities has been curtailed in proportion as they are indebted to white philanthropies. “
” How hard a thing is life to the lowly, and yet how human and real! “
” I had a happy childhood and acceptance in the community. “
” Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself. “
” The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression. “
” Rule-following, legal precedence, and political consistency are not more important than right, justice and plain common-sense. “
” After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, – a world which yields him no self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. “
” A little less complaint and whining, and a little more dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills. “
” A system of education is not one thing, nor does it have a single definite object, nor is it a mere matter of schools. Education is that whole system of human training within and without the school house walls, which molds and develops men. “
” An American, a Negro… two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. “
” If the leading Negro classes cannot assume and bear the uplift of their own proletariat, they are doomed for all time. It is not a case of ethics; it is a plain case of necessity. The method by which this may be done is, first, for the American Negro to achieve a new economic solidarity. “
” My great-grandfather fought with the Colonial Army in New England in the American Revolution. “
” There was not a single Negro slave owner who did not know dozens of Negroes just as capable of learning and efficiency as the mass of poor white people around and about, and some quite as capable as the average slaveholder. They had continually, in the course of the history of slavery, recognized such men. “
” Before the Civil War, the Negro was certainly as efficient a workman as the raw immigrant from Ireland or Germany. But, whereas the Irishmen found economic opportunity wide and daily growing wider, the Negro found public opinion determined to ‘keep him in his place.’ “
” But what of black women?… I most sincerely doubt if any other race of women could have brought its fineness up through so devilish a fire. “
” I believe in the Prince of Peace. I believe that War is Murder. 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. “
” For fifteen years, I was a teacher of youth. They were years out of the fullness and bloom of my younger manhood. They were years mingled of half breathless work, of anxious self-questionings, of planning and replanning, of disillusion, or mounting wonder. “
” It can be safely asserted that since early Colonial times, the North has had a distinct race problem. Every one of these States had slaves, and at the beginning of Washington’s Administration, there were 40,000 black slaves and 17,000 black freemen in this section. “
” When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books You will be reading meanings. “
” The Negro was freed and turned loose as a penniless, landless, naked, ignorant laborer. Ninety-nine per cent were field hands and servants of the lowest class. “
” In the Constitution of the United States, Negroes are referred to as fellows although the word ‘slave’ is carefully avoided before the thirteenth amendment. “
” The ruling of men is the effort to direct the individual actions of many persons toward some end. This end theoretically should be the greatest good of all, but no human group has ever reached this ideal because of ignorance and selfishness. “
” One ever feels his twoness – an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. “
” For the Negro, Andrew Johnson did less than nothing when once he realized that the chief beneficiary of labor and economic reform in the South would be freedmen. His inability to picture Negroes as men made him oppose efforts to give them land; oppose national efforts to educate them; and above all things, oppose their rights to vote. “
” All art is propaganda, and ever must be, despite the wailing of the purists. I stand in utter shamelessness and say that whatever art I have for writing has been used always for propaganda for gaining the right of black folk to love and enjoy. I do not care a damn for any art that is not used for propaganda. “
” A classic is a book that doesn’t have to be written again. “