Tuesday 23 February 2010

Happy Birthday W E B Du Bois !

Today would have been W E B Du Bois` birthday (he was born 23 February 1868), so this seems a good opportunity to share some current news which I`m sure would meet with his approval.

Firstly, the NAACP is marking 100 years of the NAACP and The Crisis, so Crisis Publishing and Gibbs Smith Publishing have teamed up to produce a new book, `NAACP 100 - Celebrating A Century ; 100 Years In Pictures`. The book is currently available, and can be ordered via the NAACP website, or contact Kim Eddy at keddy@gibbs-smith.com for more information.

Secondly, Du Bois biographer David Levering Lewis has co-edited (along with Michael Nash and Daniel Leab) a volume entitled Red Activists and Black Freedom, about James and Esther Jackson, close friends of both Du Bois and Robeson during the `50s. The book,  which was launched during January of this year,  arose from a symposium during 2006 entitled `James and Esther Jackson ; The American Left and the Origins of the Modern Civil Rights Movement`. Contributors include Tim Johnson, Maurice Jackson, Michael Anderson and Angela Davis. The book is published by Routledge.

Levering Lewis has been sharply critical  of some of the stances taken by Du Bois later in life, so this may seem a surprising project for him. However, I understand he has interviewed the Jacksons several times in the course of research for his books and believes that it is impossible to understand the Civil Rights Movement of the `60s without first understanding the pioneering work they undertook in the `30s. He is at pains to stress that the Civil Rights movement didn`t begin with Martin Luther King, it has a long history and is ongoing. Esther Jackson has commented that "the book would not have been possible" without Lewis. It`s interesting to note that the  launch of the book was attended by  Jarvis Tyner, once a key figure in the Committee to Defend Dr Du Bois.

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