Strivings of the Negro People

1178 words 5 pages
The Strivings of The Negro People
The essay that I am presenting today is “Strivings of the Negro People” by W.E.B Dubois. This essay was written in as an article in the Atlantic Monthly in 1987, but before I get to essay, I would like to give some background information about Mr. Dubois. Both scholar and activist, W.E.B. Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He studied at Harvard University and, in 1895, became the first African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard. He wrote extensively and was the best known spokesperson for African American rights during the first half of the 20th century. Du Bois co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909. He died in
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For Dubois, this double-consciousness both gives blacks a "second sight" and hinders their progress toward a simple access to identity. He argued that African Americans struggle with a multi-faceted conception of self, a double consciousness. They are constantly trying to reconcile the two cultures that compose their identity. Early African Americans saw Africa as their homeland and the place they belonged while they saw America as the land they were brought to against their will in order to be enslaved. This led to the idea that all African Americans should one day return to their rightful home, Africa. However, as a result of the experiences of slavery and southern acculturation, early African Americans' ideas of both of their identities were greatly distorted. While race differences have followed mainly physical race lines, yet no mere physical distinctions would really define or explain the deeper differences—the cohesiveness and continuity of these groups. The deeper differences are spiritual, psychical, differences—undoubtedly based on the physical, but infinitely transcending them. The forces that bind together the nations are, then, first, their race identity and common blood; secondly, and more important, a common history, common laws and religion, similar habits of thought and a conscious striving together for certain ideals