The Prophetic Propaganda of W.E.B. Du Bois: Religion and The Crisis, 1910–34

Friday, January 8, 2010: 9:50 AM
Marina Ballroom Salon F (Marriott)
Phillip Luke Sinitiere , University of Houston, Cypress, TX
"The Prophetic Propaganda of W.E.B. Du Bois: Religion and The Crisis, 1910-1934" explores the religious fiction Du Bois wrote for The Crisis and demonstrates that he possessed keen spiritual insight into the dilemmas of his day.  Regarding religious subjects, on the pages of The Crisis not only did Du Bois report on denominational meetings and congregational events, but he offered spiritual meditations of his own: gospel remembrances of a black Jesus born in the city to a black maiden; stories of a black Jesus lynched in the countryside, the redemptive death of a son whose mother cried out: “Behold the Sign of Salvation—a noosed rope”; tales of a Jewish surgeon dressed in black working in an urban hospital, one acquainted with suffering and grief yet with healing power in his hands; and accounts of a proletarian prophet who in the city streets railed against big business and a white Christianity in collusion with wealth and power.  An examination of religious reflections while editor of The Crisis confirms the spiritual dimensions resident in Du Bois’s life, and attests to the creatively subversive ways Du Bois responded to the social, cultural, political, and religious trends of his day.