Community & Government

Extraordinary Black Voices

Explore the achievements of three exemplars of Black intellectualism and cultural leadership: legendary scholar W. E. B. Du Bois, activist Booker T. Washington, and intrepid investigative reporter Ida B. Wells.

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Topics include: Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du Bois • Marcus Garvey • Fearless: Ida B. Wells

Seven preeminent Black thought leaders share their insight on the reckoning with race in America in three parts: past, present, and future.

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 - Well, any time you talk about lifting every voice, we do in the end end up highlighting certain kinds of voices even more than others, and it's primarily because they gave so much. They had so much for us to see and to feel, and their courageous actions provide a basis for how we proceed in the future. And there's no doubt when it comes to Black scholarship and Black intellectual life tied to loving Black people that the great W.E.B. DuBois looms large. There has never, ever been such a Black scholar. I don't think there ever will be. DuBois, born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, that is about as vanilla as it come, predominantly white across the board, raised by his mother, his father distant, makes his way to Fisk University, one of the great institutions of high living where my mother and father met right in front of Jubilee Hall, shaped by those Black scholars, and then makes his way to Harvard, then goes to Germany, comes back to Wilberforce, then goes to Atlanta University, ends up one of the co-founders of NAACP, editor of "The Crisis," its newspaper, and becoming more radical as he gets older. That's usually not the case. But his focus was always on Black folk, peoples of color, and other oppressed people around the world. When he said the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line, not just in the United States, all around the world, and that white supremacy was inseparable from a predatory capitalist expansionism hand in hand with a patriarchy and a homophobia and an attempt to diminish the human spirit, the sheer aggressiveness and acquisitiveness-- give me more, give me more, give me more, give me more-- rather than sense of community, rather than integrity, rather than honesty, rather than decency, DuBois gave his all. That's kenosis. That's self-emptying and self sacrifice. And over 20 texts, thousands of articles, writing plays about Ethiopia, putting on these plays in the Hollywood Bowl in front of thousands and thousands of Black people, going to jail, running for office, I mean, DuBois was a-- there's nobody like him. DuBois is 90-something years old saying I have no money, I have no property, I have no wealth. All I have is my soul. I never sold that soul, and I stand in profound solidarity with Black people and oppressed people all around the world. In 1961, he leaves the United States, goes to Ghana, and dies in Ghana the night before Martin Luther King, Jr. told America about a dream that he had. He lived 95 years. ANNOUNCER: Dr. Edward William Burkhardt DuBois, who a couple of days ago was with us in flesh but today is no more. Now with us in spirit. - Unbelievable. And what did he do? He used his time, his energy, every fiber of his being, to be true to his calling of Black love-- Black love of truth, Black love of beauty, Black love of goodness. All of us are who we are, but we also have to be honest about our differences, very honest about our...

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From critical race theory to the 1619 Project, Black intellectuals are reshaping conversations on race in America. Now seven of those preeminent voices share their insight on the reckoning with race in America in three parts: past, present, and future. Gain a foundational understanding of the history of white supremacy and discover a path forward through the limitless capacity and resilience of Black love.

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Angela Davis, Cornel West, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Sherrilyn Ifill, Jelani Cobb, and John McWhorter

Seven preeminent Black thought leaders share their insight on the reckoning with race in America in three parts: past, present, and future.

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