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W.E.B. DuBois Quotes

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W.E.B. Dubois: Biography of a Race

"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line."

"The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression."

"In my own country for nearly a century I have been nothing but a nigger."

"The most ordinary Negro is a distinct gentleman, but it takes extraordinary training and opportunity to make the average white man anything but a hog."

"The Negro cannot stand the present reactionary tendencies and unreasoning drawing of the color line indefinitely without discouragement and retrogression. And the condition of the Negro is ever the cause for further discrimination."

"To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships."

"There is but one coward on earth, and that is the coward that dare not know."

"It is, then, the strife of all honorable men and women of the twentieth century to see that in the future competition of the races the survival of the fittest shall mean the triumph of the good, the beautiful, and the true; that we may be able to preserve for future civilization all that is really fine and noble and strong, and not continue to put a premium on greed and imprudence and cruelty."

"The theory of democratic government is not that the will of the people is always right, but rather that normal human beings of average intelligence will, if given a chance, learn the right and best course by bitter experience."

"There is always a certain glamour about the idea of a nation rising up to crush an evil simply because it is wrong. Unfortunately, this can seldom be realized in real life; for the very existence of the evil usually argues a moral weakness in the very place where extraordinary moral strength is called for."

"I insist that the object of all true education is not to make men carpenters, it is to make carpenters men."

"Liberty trains for liberty. Responsibility is the first step in responsibility."

"I believe that there are human stocks with whom it is physically unwise to intermarry, but to think that these stocks are all colored or that there are no such white stocks is unscientific and false."

"The cause of war is preparation for war."

"The return from your work must be the satisfaction which that work brings you and the world's need of that work. With this, life is heaven, or as near heaven as you can get. Without this with work which you despise, which bores you, and which the world does not need this life is hell."

"The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self."

"Daily the Negro is coming more and more to look upon law and justice, not as protecting safeguards, but as sources of humiliation and oppression. The laws are made by men who have little interest in him; they are executed by men who have absolutely no motive for treating the black people with courtesy and consideration; and, finally, the accused law-breaker is tried, not by his peers, but too often by men who would rather punish ten innocent Negroes than let one guilty one escape."

"Unfortunately there was one thing that the white South feared more than Negro dishonesty, ignorance, and incompetency, and that was Negro honesty, knowledge, and efficiency."

 

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