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(1934) W.E.B. Du Bois, “A Negro Nation Within a Nation"

W.E.B Du Bois, a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) through most of his life was a staunch integrationist.  In 1934 however he advanced the argument that since integration would not happen in the nation any time soon, African Americans had to take steps to develop their own economic and political resources independent of white help and support.  Du Bois gave this speech on June 26, 1934 as he resigned from the NAACP.

No MORE CRITICAL SITUATION ever faced the Negroes of America than that of today-not in 1830, nor in 1861, nor in 1867. More than ever the appeal of the Negro for elementary justice falls on deaf ears.

Three-fourths of us are disfranchised; yet no writer on democratic reform, no third-party movement says a word about Negroes. The Bull Moose crusade in 1912 refused to notice them; the La Follette uprising in 1924 was hardly aware of them; the Socialists still keep them in the background. Negro children are systematically denied education; when the National Educational Association asks for federal aid to education it permits discrimination to be perpetuated by the present local authorities. Once or twice a month Negroes convicted of no crime are openly and publicly lynched, and even burned; yet a National Crime Convention is brought to perfunctory and unwilling notice of this only by mass picketing and all but illegal agitation. When a man with every qualification is refused a position simply because his great-grandfather was black, there is not a ripple of comment or protest.

Long before the depression Negroes in the South were losing "Negro" jobs, those assigned them by common custom-poorly paid and largely undesirable toil, but nevertheless life-supporting. New techniques, new enterprises, mass production, impersonal ownership and control have been largely displacing the skilled white and Negro worker in tobacco manufacturing, in iron and steel, in lumbering and mining, and in transportation. Negroes are now restricted more and more to common

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