Role Models in Pan-Africana: W.E.B. Du Bois

Go Lean Commentary

Here’s the summary of the life and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois – see Appendix below:

The smartest Black man in America – the first to earn a doctorate – “wised” up and left America.

Du Bois lived from February 23, 1868 to August 27, 1963. That dash in between birth and death (1868 – 1963) was a long learning period for him (… and us). He died in Africa …

… after abandoning his American citizenship and taking up residence in Ghana, West Africa.

Dr. Du Bois was a sociologisthistoriancivil rights activistPan-Africanist, author, writer, editor and professor. He was front-and-center of all efforts to reform and transform America’s relations with the African-American population during his lifetime:

Du Bois’s life-long creed was that African-Americans should fight for equal rights and higher opportunities, rather than passively submit to the segregation and discrimination of White Supremacy[53]; he felt that in time, they would succeed.

“Silly Rabbit” …

Perhaps the biggest lesson he taught us was that the America of old could not be redeemed.

Go back to Africa! – chant of so many White Americans objecting to Civil Rights protests and demonstrations.

So simple, yet still so wise.

This is Black History Month; the media is filled with biographies or men and women who have toiled, labored and achieved in America despite the suppression, repression and oppression against them. Most just endured … until their end. This one though – Du Bois – the world smartest Black Man – in his day – did something different-better: He left!

Yes, Dr. Du Bois abandoned his American citizenship de facto (all practicality), not “de jure” (by law). How?

  • Even though Du Bois was not convicted [of any crimes], the [US] government confiscated Du Bois’s passport [in 1951] and withheld it for eight years.[261]
  • In 1958, Du Bois regained his passport …
  • In early 1963, the United States refused to renew his passport, so he made the symbolic gesture of becoming a citizen of Ghana.[277] While it is sometimes stated that he renounced his U.S. citizenship at that time,[278][279][280] and he did state his intention to do so, Du Bois never actually did.[281] His health declined during the two years he was in Ghana, and he died on August 27, 1963, in the capital of Accra at the age of 95.[277]

This history is apropos to consider now during February, during Black History Month. This entry – 5 of 5 – completes this series from the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean in consideration of the impact that Black people have had on the recent history of modern society.

The full list of commentaries in the series are cataloged as follows:

  1. Black History Month 2019: Dr. Bennet Omalu – Definer of Gladiator Sports
  2. Black History Month 2019: Marcus Garvey’s World View
  3. Black History Month 2019: Starting 75 years of Bob Marley’s legacy
  4. Black History Month 2019: Angela Davis – Hero or Villian?
  5. Black History Month 2019: W.E.B. Du Bois – Moved to Africa for Later Life

Though he was not of Caribbean heritage, this submission about Dr. Du Bois helps us to appreciate that it is difficult for Black-and-Brown people to prosper where planted in the USA. Du Bois is hereby presented as a Role Model for our quest to dissuade Caribbean youth from leaving their homelands for American shores and encouraging the Diaspora there already to contemplate repatriating back home.

In all truth and fairness, change finally did come to America. The next generation of activists and advocates were able to “stand on the shoulders of Du Bois – and others – accomplishments” and reached greater heights … even an African-American President. This was openly acknowledged immediately after his death on August 27, 1963, on the occasion of Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech on August 28.

The following day, at the March on Washington, speaker Roy Wilkins asked the hundreds of thousands of marchers to honor Du Bois with a moment of silence.[282]

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, embodying many of the reforms Du Bois had campaigned for his entire life, was enacted almost a year after his death.[283]

But this Go Lean movement has repeatedly asserted that America is not home for the Black-and-Brown of the Caribbean. The racism that Dr. Du Bois navigated has only gone underground; so many facets of American life still reflect a “Less Than” disposition for Black Americans, even more so for those of Caribbean heritage. Many previous commentaries have highlighted the need for Caribbean people to Go Home and/or Stay Home; consider this sample here: Time to Go: States must have Population Increases Time to Go: Blacks Get Longer Sentences From “Republican” Judges Time to Go: Racist History of Loitering Time to Go: Mandatory Guns – Say it Ain’t So Time to Go: “Windrush” – 70th Anniversary of Migration to the UK Stay Home! Outreach to the Diaspora – Doubling-down on Failure Stay Home! Immigration Realities in the US Stay Home! Remembering ‘High Noon’ and its Back-Story Time to Go: Public Schools for Black-and-Brown Time to Go: American Vices; Don’t Follow Time to Go: Marginalizing Our Vote Time to Go: Logic of Senior Immigration Time to Go: No Respect for our Hair Time to Go: Spot-on for Protest

Dr. W.E.B Du Bois is dead-and-gone now, but his legacy remains. Let’s not let his labors go in vain.

Take heed.

Learn to “prosper where planted” in the Caribbean. Yes, we can!

This is what so many of our forefathers lived and died for:

Oh, island in the sun
Willed to me by my father’s hand
All my days I will sing in praise
Of your forest, waters,
Your shining sand … – Calypso song by Harry Belafonte – Island in the Sun

As we close-out this series on great Black men and women who have impacted the recent history of modern society, let’s give a “shout of gratitude” to these Role Models of the past – they are deserving of double honor. Let us now lean-in to this roadmap described in the Go Lean book to reform and transform our Caribbean homeland. We truly believe that …

… Yes, we can!

Reforming and transforming America may be possible … eventually. But it will take less effort now to make our Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

xxxiii. Whereas lessons can be learned and applied from the study of the recent history of other societies, the Federation must formalize statutes and organizational dimensions to avoid the pitfalls of communities… . On the other hand, the Federation must also implement the good examples learned from developments/communities …

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix A – Reference: W.E.B. Du Bois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an American sociologisthistoriancivil rights activistPan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community, and after completing graduate work at the University of Berlin and Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

Before that, Du Bois had risen to national prominence as the leader of the Niagara Movement, a group of African-American activists who wanted equal rights for blacks. Du Bois and his supporters opposed the Atlanta compromise, an agreement crafted by Booker T. Washington which provided that Southern blacks would work and submit to white political rule, while Southern whites guaranteed that blacks would receive basic educational and economic opportunities. Instead, Du Bois insisted on full civil rights and increased political representation, which he believed would be brought about by the African-American intellectual elite. He referred to this group as the Talented Tenth and believed that African Americans needed the chances for advanced education to develop its leadership.

Racism was the main target of Du Bois’s polemics, and he strongly protested against lynchingJim Crow laws, and discrimination in education and employment. His cause included people of color everywhere, particularly Africans and Asians in colonies. He was a proponent of Pan-Africanism and helped organize several Pan-African Congresses to fight for the independence of African colonies from European powers. Du Bois made several trips to Europe, Africa and Asia. After World War I, he surveyed the experiences of American black soldiers in France and documented widespread prejudice in the United States military.

Du Bois was a prolific author. His collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk, was a seminal work in African-American literature; and his 1935 magnum opus, Black Reconstruction in America, challenged the prevailing orthodoxy that blacks were responsible for the failures of the Reconstruction Era. Borrowing a phrase from Frederick Douglass, he popularized the use of the term color line to represent the injustice of the separate but equal doctrine prevalent in American social and political life. He opens The Souls of Black Folk with the central thesis of much of his life’s work: “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line.”

He wrote one of the first scientific treatises in the field of American sociology, and he published three autobiographies, each of which contains essays on sociology, politics and history. In his role as editor of the NAACP’s journal The Crisis, he published many influential pieces. Du Bois believed that capitalism was a primary cause of racism, and he was generally sympathetic to socialist causes throughout his life. He was an ardent peace activist and advocated nuclear disarmament. The United States’ Civil Rights Act, embodying many of the reforms for which Du Bois had campaigned his entire life, was enacted a year after his death.

Source: Retrieved February 7, 2019 from:

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  • Robb Sawyer says:

    Frankly, I do not think I would have liked DuBois personally, he seemed very pompous, arrogant and biggety. His concept of the “Talented Tenth” was flawed from the beginning. It presented a nonchalance towards the other people, the 90 percent.
    Yes, the attitudes and actions of White America was inexcusable, but the best way to mitigate that was the effective non-violent civil rights movement that MLK (copying Gandhi) executed.
    So I am “Team Booker T”, who often debated with DuBois, his strategy called for elevating all of the Black community and prospering where planted in the homeland.

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