In the history of nearly all other races
and peoples the doctrine preached at such crises has been that manly self-respect is
worth more than land and houses, and that a people who voluntarily surrender such respect,
or cease striving for it, are not worth civilizing.
In his essay The
Talented Tenth DuBois reflected the view that a core of educated, intelligent
leadership achieves and promotes the interests of the masses: abolitionism was such an
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; ...Now the training of men is a difficult an
intricate task. Its technique is a matter for educational experts, but its object is
for the vision of seers. If we make money the object of man-training, we shall
develop money makers but not necessarily men; if we make technical skill the object of
education, we may possess artisans but not, in nature, men. 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. On this
foundation, we may build bread winning, skill of hand and quickness of brain with never a
fear lest the child and man mistake the means of living for the object of life.
He felt that:
Too little notice has been taken of the
work which the Talented Tenth among Negroes took in the great abolition crusade.
From the very day that a Philadelphia colored man became the first subscriber
to Garrisons "Liberator," to the day when Negro soldiers made the
Emancipation Proclamation possible, Black leaders worked shoulder to shoulder with
white men in a movement, the success of which would have been impossible without them...
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