Amidst organizing against the Trumpite attacks on many of our rights — attempts to immerse the whole country in bigotry, anti-worker sentiment and war — a talk by Du Bois reminds us of the significance of solidarity. The brilliant author, sociologist, historian and activist was 78 when he presented “Behold the Land” in 1946 to a multiracial audience at a conference sponsored by the Southern Negro Youth Congress in South Carolina. Read the full speech at: www.crmvet.org/info/dubois1.htm
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The future of American Negroes is in the South. … This is the firing line not simply for the emancipation of the American Negro but for the emancipation of the African Negro and the Negroes of the West Indies; for the emancipation of the colored races; and for the emancipation of the white slaves of modern capitalistic monopoly.
Remember here, too, that you do not stand alone. It may seem like a failing fight when the newspapers ignore you; when every effort is made by white people in the South to count you out of citizenship and to act as though you did not exist as human beings while all the time they are profiting by your labor; gleaning wealth from your sacrifices and trying to build a nation and a civilization upon your degradation. You must remember that despite all this, you have allies and allies even in the white South. First and greatest of these possible allies are the white working classes about you. The poor whites whom you have been taught to despise and who in turn have learned to fear and hate you. This must not deter you from efforts to make them understand, because in the past in their ignorance and suffering they have been led foolishly to look upon you as the cause of most of their distress.
… Slowly but surely the working people of the South, white and black, must come to remember that their emancipation depends upon their mutual cooperation; upon their acquaintanceship with each other; upon their friendship; upon their social intermingling. Unless this happens each is going to be made the football to break the heads and hearts of the other.