There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained.

— W. E. B. Du Bois

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Strive for that greatness of spirit that measures life not by its disappointments but by its possibilities.

349

Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.

348

There is no force equal to a woman determined to rise

328

We must complain. Yes, plain, blunt complaint, ceaseless agitation, unfailing exposure of dishonesty and wrong - this is the ancient, unerring way to liberty and we must follow it.

282

In 1956, I shall not go to the polls.

I have not registered. I believe that democracy has so far disappeared in the United States that no 'two evils' exist. There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say.

271

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

271

Today I see more clearly than yesterday that the back of the problem of race and color lies a greater problem which both obscures and implements it: and that is the fact that so many civilized persons are willing to live in comfort even if the price of this is poverty, ignorance, and disease of the majority of their fellow men.

210

I am especially glad of the divine gift of laughter: it has made the world human and lovable, despite all its pain and wrong.

204

Oppression costs the oppressor too much if the oppressed stands up and protests.

The protest need not be merely physical-the throwing of stones and bullets-if it is mental, spiritual; if it expresses itself in silent, persistent dissatisfaction, the cost to the oppressor is terrific.

183

It is the wind and the rain, O God, the cold and the storm that make this earth of yours to blossom and bear its fruit. So in our lives it is storm and stress and hurt and suffering that make real men and women bring the world's work to its highest perfection.

175

Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season.

It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.

128

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

108

About W. E. B. Du Bois

Quotes 189 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Writer
Birthday October 16

Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season.

It is today that our best work can be done.

108

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.

102

It is the growing custom to narrow control, concentrate power, disregard and disenfranchise the public; and assuming that certain powers by divine right of money-raising or by sheer assumption, have the power to do as they think best without consulting the wisdom of mankind.

98

The favorite device of the devil, ancient and modern, is to force a human being into a more or less artificial class, accuse the class of unnamed and unnameable sin, and then damn any individual in the alleged class, however innocent he may be.

79

The emancipation of man is the emancipation of labor and the emancipation of labor is the freeing of that basic majority of workers who are yellow, brown and black.

65

Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. How does it feel to be a problem?

61

The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line, -- the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea.

51

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.

49

There are certain books in the world which every searcher for truth must know: the Bible, the Critique of Pure Reason, the Origin of Species, and Karl Marx's Capital.

48

All womanhood is hampered today because the world on which it is emerging is a world that tries to worship both virgins and mothers and in the end despises motherhood and despoils virgins.

43

The cause of war is preparation for war.

37

We shall never secure emancipation from the tyranny of the white oppressor until we have achieved it in our own souls.

36

The worker must work for the glory of his handiwork, not simply for pay;

the thinker must think for truth, not for fame.

35

Disfranchisement is the deliberate theft and robbery of the only protection of poor against rich and black against white.

32

Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.

30

The function of the university is not simply to teach breadwinning, or to furnish teachers for the public schools, or to be a centre of polite society; if is, above all, to be the organ of that fine adjustment between real life and the growing knowledge of life, an adjustment from which forms the secret of civilization.

26

A little less complaint and whining, and a little more dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills.

26

Herein lies the tragedy of the age: Not that men are poor, - all men know something of poverty. Not that men are wicked, - who is good? Not that men are ignorant, - what is truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men.

22

No universal selfishness can bring social good to all.

22

One ever feels his twoness - an American, a Negro;

two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

21

The power of the ballot we need in sheer defense, else what shall save us from a second slavery?

20

Histories of the world omitted China;

if a Chinaman invented compass or movable type or gunpowder we promptly "forgot it" and named their European inventors. In short, we regarded China as a sort of different and quite inconsequential planet.

19

Here is the chance for young women and young men of devotion to lift again the banner of humanity and to walk toward a civilization which will be free and intelligent; which will be healthy and unafraid; and build in the world a culture led by black folk and joined by peoples of all colors and all races - without poverty, ignorance and disease!

18

I refused to teach Sunday school. When Archdeacon Henry Phillips, my last rector, died, I flatly refused again to join any church or sign any church creed. From my 30th year on I have increasingly regarded the church as an institution which defended such evils as slavery, color caste, exploitation of labor and war.

18

Whiteness is ownership of the earth.

18

To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires.

17

Life has its pains and evils-its bitter disappointments;

but like a good novel and in healthful length of days, there is infinite joy in seeing the World, the most interesting of continued stories, unfold.

17

The future woman must have a life work and economic independence.

She must have the right of motherhood at her own discretion.

16

What do nations care about the cost of war, if by spending a few hundred millions in steel and gunpowder they can gain a thousand millions in diamonds and cocoa?

16

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.

16

Honest and earnest criticism from those whose interests are most nearly touched,- criticism of writers by readers, of government by those governed, of leaders by those led, - this is the soul of democracy and the safeguard of modern society

14

Harriet Tubman fought American slavery single handed and was a pioneer in that organized effort known as the Underground Railroad.

13

The music of an unhappy people, of the children of disappointment;

they tell of death and suffering and unvoiced longing toward a truer world, of misty wanderings and hidden ways.

12

Education is that whole system of human training within and without the school house walls, which molds and develops men.

12

So often do you see collegians enter life with high resolve and lofty purpose and then watch them shrink and shrink to sordid, selfish, shrewd plodders, full of distrust and sneers.

11

There may often be excuse for doing things poorly in this world, but there is never any excuse for calling a poorly done thing, well done.

10

If there is anybody in this land who thoroughly believes that the meek shall inherit the earth they have not often let their presence be known.

10
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