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Darkwater

Darkwater

The Givens Collection

Introduction by: David Levering Lewis
W.E.B. Du Bois, one of the most celebrated intellectuals of the twentieth century, published Darkwater -- a powerful collection of essays, verse and fiction -- in 1920, two decades after his most famous book, The Souls of Black Folk. Throughout his long life and extraordinary career as a scholar, activist, writer and educator, Du Bois's body of work illumined America's understanding of the "problem of the color line." While much of his early texts were sociological investigations of the Black community, the author increasingly incorporated autobiographical, poetic and spiritual elements into his works. The results are some of the most electrifying commentaries ever written on race and class in America.

After decades of obscurity, this literary jewel is presented with a new introduction written by David Levering Lewis, author of W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919 and W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963; Lewis is the foremost scholar of the work of Du Bois.

"If The Souls of Black Folk achieved its singular impact through W.E.B. Du Bois's masterly interweaving of the personal and the universal in such a way that each appropriated something of the illustrative and symbolic value of the other, much of Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil was a cri de coeur in which the author's anger at the absurdities of racial prejudice crackled through the text like electric jolts that scorched, illumined, or stunned."

-- David Levering Lewis, from the Introduction
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  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451604252 | 
  • June 2010
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CHAPTER I: THE SHADOW OF YEARS

I was born by a golden river and in the shadow of two great hills, five years after the Emancipation Proclamation. The house was quaint, with clapboards running up and down, neatly trimmed, and there were five rooms, a tiny porch, a rosy front yard, and unbelievably delicious strawberries in the rear. A South Carolinian, lately come to the Berkshire Hills, owned all this -- tall, thin, and black, with golden earrings, and given to religious trances. We were his transient tenants for the time.

My own people were part of a great clan. Fully two hundred years before, Tom Burghardt had come through the... see more

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