Books by & about W.E.B. Du Bois
Suppression of the African
Slave Trade (1896) /
Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study (1899)
Souls of Black Folk:
Essays and Sketches
Quest of the Silver Fleece
Voices Within the Veil
Gift of Black Folk: The Negroes in the Making
of America (1924) /
Dark Princess: A Romance
Black Reconstruction in America
Black Folk, Then and Now
Color and Democracy: Colonies and Peace
The World and Africa: An Inquiry
In Battle for Peace
The Ordeal of Monsart
a School (1959) nd
Worlds of Color (1961)
An ABC of Color:
Autobiography of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing
My Life from the Last
Decade of Its First
* * *
Shirley Graham Du Bois,
His Day Is Marching On: A Memoir of
W.E. B. Du Bois (1971)
Leslie Alexander Lacy.
The Life of W.E.B. Du Bois:
Cheer the Lonesome Traveler (1970)
Brian Johnson, ed.
Bois on Reform: Periodical-based
Leadership for African Americans.
A Du Bois Bibliography
* * * *
Denmark Vesey & Nat
By W. E. B. Du Bois
"The role which the great Negro
called L'Ouverture, played in the history of the United States has
seldom been fully appreciated. Representing the age of revolution
in America, he rose to leadership through a bloody terror, which
contrived a Negro "problem" for the Western hemisphere,
intensified and defined the anti-slavery movement, became one of
the causes, and probably the prime one, which led Napoleon to sell
Louisiana for a song; and, finally, through the interworking of
all these effects, rendered more certain the final prohibition of
the slave-trade by the United States in 1807"
Suppression of the African
Slave Trade, p. 70).
The effect of the revolution on the religious
life of the Negro was quickly felt. In 1800, South Carolina
"It shall not be lawful for any number of
slaves, free Negroes, mulattoes, or mestizoes, even in company
with white persons, to meet together and assemble for the purpose
of mental instruction or religious worship, either before the
rising of the sun or after the going down of the same. And all
magistrates, sheriffs, militia officers, etc., etc., are hereby
vested with power, etc., for dispersing such assemblies"
On petition of the white churches the rigor of
this law was slightly abated in 1803 by a modification which
forbade any person, before 9 o'clock in the evening, "to
break into a place of meeting wherein shall be assembled the
members of any religious society in this State, provided a
majority of them shall be white persons, or otherwise to disturb
their devotions unless such persons, etc., so entering said place
[of worship] shall first have obtained from some magistrate, etc.,
a warrant, etc., in case a magistrate shall be then actually
within a distance of three miles from such place of meeting;
otherwise the provisions, etc., [of the Act of 1800] to remain in
full force." (Stroud, 93-4; Goodell,
So, too, in Virginia the Haytian revolt and the
attempted insurrection under Gabriel in 1800 led to the Act of
1804, which forbade all evening meetings of slaves. This was
modified in 1805 so as to allow a slave, in company with a white
person, to listen to a white minister in the evening. A master was
"allowed" to employ a religious teacher for his slaves (Stroud,
94; Ballagh, 95). Mississippi passed similar restrictions.
By 1822 the rigor of the South Carolina laws in
regard to Negro meetings had abated, especially in a city like
Charleston, and one of the results was the Vesey plot.
"The sundry religious classes or
congregations, with Negro leaders or local preachers, into which
were formed the Negro members of the various churches of
Charleston, furnished Vesey with the first rudiments of an
organization, and at the same time with a singularly safe medium
for conducting his underground agitation. It was customary, at
that time, for these Negro congregations to meet for purposes of
worship entirely free from the presence of whites. Such meetings
were afterwards forbidden to be held except in the presence of at
least one representative of the dominant race. But during the
three or four years prior to the year 1822 they certainly offered
Denmark Vesey regular, easy and safe opportunities for preaching
his gospel of liberty and hate. And we are left in no doubt
whatever in regard to the uses to which he put those gatherings of
"Like many of his race, he possessed the
gift of gab, as the silver in the tongue and the gold in the full
or thick-lipped mouth are oftentimes contemptuously characterized.
And, like many of his race, he was a devoted student of the Bible,
to whose interpretation he brought, like many other Bible students
not confined to the Negro race, a good deal of imagination and not
a little of superstition, which, with some natures, is perhaps but
another name for the desires of the heart. Thus equipped, it is no
wonder that Vesey, as he poured over the Old Testament scriptures,
found many points of similitude in the history of the Jews and
that of the slaves in the United States. They were both peculiar
peoples. They were both Jehovah's peculiar peoples, one in the
past, the other in the present. And it seemed to him that as
Jehovah bent his ear, and bared his arm once in behalf of the one,
so would he do the same for the other. It was all vividly real to
his thought, I believe, for to his mind thus had said the Lord.
"He ransacked the Bible for apposite and
terrible texts whose commands in the olden times, to the olden
people, were no less imperative upon the new times and the new
people. This new people was also commanded to arise and destroy
their enemies and the city in which they dwelt, 'both man and
woman, young and old, with the edge of the sword.' Believing
superstitiously as he did in the stern and Nemesis-like God of the
Old Testament he looked confidently for a day of vengeance and
retribution for the blacks.
"He felt, I doubt not, something
peculiarly applicable to his enterprise and intensely personal to
himself in the stern and exultant prophecy of Zachariah, fierce
and sanguinary words, which were constantly in his mouth: 'Then
shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations as when he
fought in the day of battle.' According to Vesey's lurid exegesis
'those nations' in the text meant beyond peradventure the cruel
masters and Jehovah was to go forth to fight against them for the
poor slaves and on whichever side fought that day the Almighty God
on that side would assuredly rest victory and deliverance.
"It will not be denied that Vesey's plan
contemplated the total annihilation of the white population of
Charleston. Nursing for many dark years the bitter wrongs of
himself and race had filled him without doubt with a mad spirit of
revenge and had given to him a decided predilection for shedding
the blood of his oppressors. But if he intended to kill them to
satisfy a desire for vengeance he intended to do so also on
"The conspirators, he argued, had no choice in
the matter, but were compelled to adopt a policy of extermination
by the necessity of their position. The liberty of the blacks was
in the balance of fate against the lives of the whites. He could
strike that balance in favor of the blacks only by the total
destruction of the whites. Therefore the whites, men, women, and
children, were doomed to death"
Right on the Scaffold [Pub. American Negro Academy], pp. 11-12).
plot was well-laid, but the conspirators were betrayed.
Turner & Southampton
Less than ten years after this plot was
discovered and Vesey and his associates hanged, there broke out
the Nat Turner insurrection in Virginia. Turner was himself a
He was a Christian and a man. He was conscious
that he was a Man and not a "thing;" therefore, driven by
religious fanaticism, he undertook a difficult and bloody task.
Nathaniel Turner was born in Southampton county, Virginia,
October 2, 1800. His master was one Benjamin Turner, a very
wealthy and aristocratic man. He owned many slaves, and was a
cruel and exacting master.
Young "Nat" was born of slave parents,
and carried to his grave many of the superstitions and traits of
his father and mother. The former was a preacher, the latter a "mother in Israel." Both were unlettered but, nevertheless, very
pious people. The mother began when Nat was quite young to teach
him that he was born, like Moses, to be the deliverer of his race.
She would sing to him snatches of wild, rapturous songs and repeat
portions of prophecy she had learned from the preachers of those
Nat listened with reverence and awe, and
believed everything his mother said. He imbibed the deep religious
character of his parents, and soon manifested a desire to preach.
He was solemnly set apart to "the gospel ministry" by his father,
the church, and visiting preachers. He was quite low in stature,
dark, and had the genuine African features. His eyes were small,
but sharp, and gleamed like fire when he was talking about his
'mission' or preaching from some prophetic passage of scripture.
It is said that he never laughed. He was a dreamy sort of a man,
and avoided the crowd.
Like Moses he lived in the solitudes of
the mountains and brooded over the condition of his people. There
was something grand to him in the rugged scenery that nature had
surrounded him with. He believed that he was a prophet, a leader
raised up by God to burst the bolts of the prison-house and set
the oppressed free. The thunder, the hail, the storm-cloud, the
air, the earth, the stars, at which he would sit and gaze half the
night all spake the language of the God of the oppressed. He was
seldom seen in a large company, and never drank a drop of ardent
spirits. Like John the Baptist, when he had delivered his
message, he would retire to the fastness of the mountain or seek
the desert, where he could meditate upon his great work
II, pp. 85-86).
In the impression of the Richmond Enquirer
of the 30th of August, 1831, the first editorial or leader is
under the caption of "The Banditte." The editor says:
|They remind one of a parcel of
blood-thirsty wolves rushing down from the Alps; or, rather
like a former incursion of the Indians upon the white
settlements. Nothing is spared; neither age nor sex
respected--the helplessness of women and children pleads in
vain for mercy. . . . The case of Nat Turner warns us. No
black man ought to be permitted to turn preacher through the
country. The law must be enforced--or the tragedy of
Southampton appeals to us in vain.[* Quoted in Ibid, p. 90.]
Mr. Gray, the man to whom Turner made his
confession before dying, said:
It has been said that he was ignorant and
cowardly and that his object was to murder and rob for the purpose
of obtaining money to make his escape. It is notorious that he was
never known to have had a dollar in his life, to swear an oath or
drink a drop of spirits. As to his ignorance, he certainly never
had the advantages of education, but he can read and write, and
for natural intelligence and quickness of apprehension is
surpassed by few men I have ever seen.
As to his being a coward,
his reason as given for not resisting Mr. Phipps, shows the
decision of his character. When he saw Mr. Phipps present his gun,
he said he knew it was impossible for him to escape as the woods
were full of men. He, therefore, thought it was better for him to
surrender and trust to fortune for his escape.
He is a complete fanatic or plays his
part most admirably. On other subjects he possesses an uncommon
share of intelligence, with a mind capable of attaining anything,
but warped and perverted by the influence of early impressions. He
is below the ordinary stature, though strong and active, having
the true Negro face, every feature of which is strongly marked.
shall not attempt to describe the effect of his narrative, as told
and commented on by himself, in the condemned hole of the prison;
the calm, deliberate composure with which he spoke of his late
deeds and intentions; the expression of his fiend-like face when
excited by enthusiasm, still bearing the stains of the blood of
the helpless innocence about him, clothed with rags and covered
with chains, yet daring to raise his manacled hand to heaven, with
a spirit soaring above the attributes of man. I looked on him and
the blood curdled in my veins." (George W. Williams. History
of the Negro Race in America. Vol. II, New York, 1883, pp.
The Turner insurrection is so connected with
the economic revolution which enthroned cotton that it marks an
epoch in the history of the slave. A wave of legislation passed
over the South prohibiting the slaves from learning to read and
write, forbidding Negroes to preach, and interfering with Negro
religious meetings. Virginia declared, in 1831, that neither
slaves or free Negroes might preach, nor could they attend
religious service at night without permission.
In North Carolina slaves and free Negroes were
forbidden to preach, exhort or teach "in any prayer-meeting
or other association for worship where slaves of different
families are collected together" on penalty of not more than
thirty-nine lashes. Maryland and Georgia had similar laws. The
Mississippi law of 1831 said: It is "unlawful for any slave,
free Negro, or mulatto to preach the gospel" upon pain of
receiving thirty-nine lashes upon the naked back of the
presumptuous preacher. If a Negro received written permission from
his master he might preach to the Negroes in his immediate
neighborhood, providing six respectable white men, owners of
slaves, were present (Williams II, 163).
In Alabama the law of 1832 prohibited the
assembling of more than five male slaves at any place off the
plantation to which they belonged, but nothing in the act was to
be considered as forbidding attendance at places of public worship
held by white persons. No slave or free person of color was
permitted to "preach, exhort, or harangue any slave or
slaves, or free persons of color, except in the presence of five
respectable slaveholders or unless the person preaching was
licensed by some regular body of professing Christians in the
neighborhood, to whose society or church the Negroes addressed
In the District of Columbia the free Negroes
began to leave white churches in 1831 and to assemble in their
Select Bibliography of Negro Churches
A brief statement of the rise and progress
of the testimony of the religious society of Friends against
slavery and the slave-trade. Philadelphia: Joseph and William
Ernest H. Abbott. Religious life in America.
A record of personal observation. New York: The Outlook, 1902
XII, 730 pp. 80.
Nehemiah Adams. A South side view of slavery.
80. Boston, 1854.
Richard Allen, first bishop of the A. M. E.
Church. The life, experience and gospel labors of the Rt. Rev.
Richard Allen. Written by himself. Philadelphia, 1833.
Richard Allen and Jacob Tapisco. The
doctrine and discipline of the A. M. E. Church. Philadelphia,
Matthew Anderson. Presbyterianism and its
relation to the Negro. Philadelphia, 1897.
A statistical inquiry into the condition of the
people of color of the city and districts of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia, 1849, 1856 and 1859.
Samuel J. Baird. A collection of the acts,
deliverances and testimonies of the Supreme Judiciary of the
Presbyterian Church, from its origin in America to the present
time, with notes and documents explanatory and historical,
constituting a complete illustration of her polity, faith and
history. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publications.
J. C. Ballagh. A history of slavery in
Virginia. John Hopkins University Studies. Extra vol., No. 24.
Albert Barnes. Inquiry into the scriptural
views of slavery. Philadelphia, 1857.
John S. Bassett. History of slavery in North
Carolina. Johns Hopkins University studies. Baltimore, 1899.
Slavery and servitude in the colony of North
Carolina. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, April and May,
David Benedict. A general history of the
Baptist denomination in America and other parts of the world.
Edward W. Blyden. Christianity, Islam and
the Negro race. With an introduction by the Hon.
Samuel Lewis. 2d edition. London: W. B.
Whittingham & Co. 432 pp. 80.
George Bourne. Man-stealing and Slavery
denounced by the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches. Boston:
Garrison and Knapp.
Jeffrey R. Brackett. Notes on the progress
of the colored people of Maryland since the war. A supplement to
the Negro in Maryland, a study of the institution of slavery.
Baltimore: J. Hopkins Univ., 1890. 96 pp. 80.
The Negro in Maryland. A study of the
institution of slavery. Baltimore: N. Murray. (6) 268 pp. 80.
(Johns Hopkins University studies in historical and political
science.) Extra vol. 6.
William Burling. An address to the elders of
the church upon the occasion of some Friends compelling certain
persons and their posterity to serve them continually and
arbitrarily, without regard to equity or right, not heeding
whether they give them anything near so much as their labor
deserveth. 1718. In Lay, All Slave Keepers Apostates. pp. 6-10.
Rev. Dr. R. F. Campbell. The race problem in
the South. Pamphlet, 1899.
W. E. Burghardt DuBois. 1900. The religion
of the American Negro. New World, vol. 9 (Dec. 1900) 614-625.
The Philadelphia Negro. A Social Study.
Philadelphia, 1899: Ginn & Co.
The Negroes of Farmville, Va. 38 pp. Bulletin
U.S. Department of Labor, Jan. 1898.
Some efforts of American Negroes for their own
social betterment. Report of an investigation under the direction
of Atlanta University, together with the proceedings of the third
Conference for the study of the Negro problems, held at Atlanta
University, May 25-26, 1898. Atlanta, Ga. (Atlanta University,
1898. 66 pp.)
The Souls of Black Folk. Chicago, 1903.
William Douglass. Sermons preached in the
African Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Thomas.
Annals of St. Thomas's Church. Philadelphia,
Bryan Edwards. History, civil and
commercial, of the British Colonies in the West Indies.
Friends. A brief testimony of the progress
of the Friends against slavery and the slave-trade. 1671-1787.
William Goodell. The American slave code in
theory and practice. Judiciary decisions and illustrative
facts. New York, 1452.
H. Gregoire. Enquiry concerning the
intellectual and moral faculties, etc., of Negroes. Brooklyn,
L. M. Hagood. The Colored Man in the
Methodist Episcopal Church. Cincinnati.
Bishop J. W. Hood. One Hundred Years of the
A. M. E. Zion Church.
Edward Ingle. The Negro in the District of
Columbia. Johns Hopkins University studies. Vol. XI.
Samuel M. Janney. History of the religious
society of Friends. Philadelphia, 1859-1867.
Chas. C. Jones. The religious instruction of
the Negroes in the United States. Savannah, 1842.
Absalom Jones. A Thanksgiving sermon on
account of the abolition of the African slave-trade.
Robert Jones. Fifty years in the Lombard
Street Central Presbyterian Church. Philadelphia, 1894. 170
Fanny Kemble. A journal of a residence on a
Georgia plantation. New York, 1863.
Walter Laidlow, editor. The Federation of
Churches and Christian Workers in New York City. New York,
Lucius C. Matlack. The history of American
slavery and Methodism from 1789-1849. New York, 1849.
Holland McTyeire. A history of Methodism,
comprising a view of the rise of this revival of spiritual
religion in the first half of the eighteenth century.
Nashville, Tenn.: Southern Methodist Publishing House, 1887.
Minutes, Annual Conferences, A. M. E. Church.
Minutes, Annual Conferences, C. M. E. Church.
Minutes, Annual Conferences, M. E. Church.
Minutes, Annual Conferences, A. M. E. Z.
Minutes, General Conferences, A. M. E. Church.
Minutes, General Conferences, C. M. E. Church.
Minutes, General Conferences, M. E. Church.
Minutes, General Conferences, A. M. E. Z.
Minutes, National Baptist Convention.
Edward Needles. Ten years' progress or a
comparison of the state and condition of the colored people in the
city and county of Philadelphia from 1837-1847. Philadelphia,
Daniel A. Payne. History of the A. M. E.
Church. Nashville, 1891.
I. Garland Penn and J. W. E. Bowen. The
United Negro; his problems and his progress. Containing the
addresses and proceedings of the Negro Young People's Christian
and Educational Congress, held August 6-11, 1902. Atlanta, Ga.: D.
E. Luther Publishing Co., 1902, XXX, 600 pp. Plates, portraits.
Reports, Freedmen's Aid Society, Presbyterian
Robert R. Semple. History of the rise and
progress of Baptists in Virginia. Richmond, 1810.
William J. Simmons. Men of Mark, Eminent,
Progressive and Rising. Cleveland, Ohio.
Slavery as it is; the testimony of a
thousand witnesses. Publication of Anti-Slavery Society. New
George Smith. History of Wesleyan Methodism.
David Spencer. Early Baptists of
Philadelphia. Philadelphia, 1877.
William B. Sprague. Annals of the American
Pulpit. New York, 1858.
Benjamin T. Tanner. An outline of history
and government for A. M. E. Churchman. Philadelphia, 1884.
An apology for African Methodism.
H. M. Turner. Methodist Polity.
United States Census, 1890. Churches.
A. W. Wayman. My Recollections of A. M. E.
Ministers. Philadelphia, 1883.
S. D. Weld. American Slavery as it is:
testimony of thousands of witnesses. New York, 1839.
Stephen B. Weeks. Anti-slavery sentiment in
the South. Washington, D. C., 1898. Southern Quakers and
Slavery. Baltimore, 1896.
George W. Williams. History of the Negro
Race in America. New York, 1883.
White. The African Preacher.
Source: Chapter 9 Of W. E. B. Du Bois Negro
* * *
* * * *
Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays
Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a
collection of fourteen essays by scholars and
creative writers from Africa and the Americas.
Called one of two significant critical works on
Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late
1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of
Carter G. Woodson and
Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as
well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations
were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early
essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish
medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an
historical context for understanding 20th-century
creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone
writers, such as Cuban
Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist,
Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the
significance of Negritude in Latin America. This
collaborative text set the tone for later
conferences in which writers and scholars worked
together to promote, disseminate, and critique the
literature of Spanish-speaking people of African
descent. . . .
Cited by a
literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the
field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which
most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."
* * *
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
According to the
author, this society has historically exerted
considerable pressure on black females to fit into one
of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the
Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless
Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to
white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of
those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the
relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable
temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as
an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the
characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television
shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
points out how the propagation of these harmful myths
have served the mainstream culture well. For instance,
the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for
black females to feel a maternal instinct towards
As for the source
of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their
own bodies during slavery given that they were being
auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless,
it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate
the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate
* * * * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
* * * * *
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Negro Digest /
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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