On The Spirit of A People’s Future: Excerpt From The Souls of Black Folk

By W. E. Burghardt Du Bois

(From The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches, Chapter 5, “Of The Wings Of Atalanta,”page 80-81, Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1903, second edition)

“In the Black World, the Preacher and Teacher embodied ‘ once the ideals of this people,—the strife for another and a juster world, the vague dream of righteousness, the mystery of knowing; but today the danger is that these ideals, with their simple beauty and weird inspiration, will suddenly sink to a question of cash and a lust for gold. Here stands this black young Atalanta, girding herself for the race that must be run; and if her eyes be still toward the hills and sky as in the days of old, then we may look for noble running; but what if some ruthless or wily or even thoughtless Hippomenes lay golden apples before her? What if the negro people be wooed from a strife for righteousness, from a love of knowing, to regard dollars as the be-all and the end-all of life? What if to the Mammonism of America be added the rising Mammonism of the re-born South, and the Mammonism of this South be reinforced by the budding Mammonism of its half-awakened black millions? Whither, then, is the new-world quest of Goodness and Beauty and Truth gone glimmering?”

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868 – 1963), co-founder of ...

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868 – 1963), co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in 1918. Deutsch: Der Soziologe William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868–1963), Mitbegründer der afroamerikanischen Bürgerrechtsorganisation National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), aufgenommen 1918 von C.M. Battey (1873–1927). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)