ATLANTA -- As critics debate Manning Marable's recent reinterpretation of Malcolm X, an Atlanta-based publishing company plans to reveal the "real" W. E. B. Du Bois - who was not the conservative many made him out to be.
This month, Two Horizons Press plans to introduce the world to a Du Bois that protested capitalism, championed women's rights, prayed for the end of Western rule, and who would eventually quit the NAACP and left the U.S. to live in Africa, when it republishes an annotated edition of Du Bois's Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil.
This new book promises readers a reinterpretation of the man who pioneered the idea of the "color-line" dividing Black and white America. His 1909 Souls of Black Folk is a classic in the canon of American sociology for its perceptive - but careful - treatment of race and society. "Du Bois was brilliant, but I don't think he was a revolutionary like Malcolm... or a Pan-African like [his contemporary Marcus] Garvey," says Justin Johnson, an Atlanta college student studying Sociology at Morehouse College.
The republication of Darkwater promises to rewrite that history, offering an extended introduction explaining Du Bois's transformation, the context in which Darkwater was written, and the reason it was nearly written out of history. "Darkwater is a masterpiece which boldly displays Du Bois' intellectual evolution and provides rich insights into race, not just as a local but also a global phenomenon," says R. L'Heureux Lewis, a professor of Sociology and Black Studies at the City College of New York - CUNY, and author of the book's introduction. "This book is needed, because the transformation of the Black community will ultimately lie in its ability to know its past in order to carve its path forward."
Lewis and colleagues also spent countless hours researching and writing annotations to make the text accessible for casual readers and students. The current edition contains 17 pages of endnotes, as well as dozens of rare photographs of Du Bois with personalities ranging from Mao Tse Tung to Paul Robeson.
Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil is scheduled to be released on June 19th. The date marks the commemoration of Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, the day in 1865 when emancipated slaves in Texas learned of their freedom.