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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:DuBois and Black Sovereignty: The Case of Liberia
Author:Robinson, Cedric
Periodical:Race and Class
Geographic terms:Liberia
United States
Subjects:African Americans
foreign policy
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Abstract:The political and intellectual activities of the Afro-American W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963) span a critical period in world history. Among the developments most immediately pertinent to an inquiry into DuBois' articulation with Liberia are colonialism and its concomitant formation of black middle classes; the peculiar and unique history of the 'Americo-Liberian' elite; and the equally curious advent of the United States as a colonial power. By the early 20th century, these elements were destined to collide when the US actively challenged the autonomy of Liberia. This article examines how DuBois responded to the attempt to reduce Liberia to an American colony. It argues that DuBois, blinded by the elitism of his class's prerogative, fell prey to American colonialism. DuBois' encounters with Americo-Liberia in the 1920s and 1930s exposed a set of characterological weaknesses in his historical and social consciousness. At the root of these weaknesses was the class arrogance exhibited repeatedly by intellectuals of the black middle class. Notes, ref.