yaymukund’s weblog

“Of course, the old thing that we always fear is tending to happen in the Association [the NAACP]. It is tending to become a white man’s organization working for the colored people in which no colored people have any real power.” In the white world, ability, temperament, determination were assets– “the rule of effective work”– but, as his racial experience of nearly half a century cruelly reconfirmed, “the colored man gets no such chance. He is seldom given authority or freedom; when he gets these things he gets them accidentally,” as with the creation of The Crisis. “Even when his ability is patent,” wise and cautious white people deem it “inexpedient to trust him.” Everything “tends to this break along the color line.” For Du Bois, the encouraging fact that there were small yet growing numbers of white people free of prejudice and unequivocally enlisted in the crusade against Jim Crow was reason not for celebration but for rededicated militancy, and he governed his office manners accordingly.

W.E.B. Du Bois, 1869-1919: Biography of a Race (1994) by David Levering Lewis